Certain rules regarding labour safety and labour inspections are going to change on 1st of January. Workers’ representatives gain more power to check safety at work and the Labour Inspection Authority will have more competence during an inspection.

Workers’ representative empowered

The amendment slightly widens the powers of workers’ representatives. In order to cooperate on the implementation of measures taken to provide for occupational safety and occupational health, the representative shall be properly informed in advance about any decision affecting labour safety measures. Also,the representative will be entitled to participate in the investigation of industrial accidents and in the exploration of the circumstances of occupational diseases by its own discretion, without the initiative of the party entitled to conduct such investigations.

To strengthen the independence of the representative, the amendment declares that he shall not be impeded in exercising his rights.

Furthermore, the employer of the representative shall provide for the conditions for the representative to exercise their rights. In particular, the employer shall be obliged to provide the possibility for the representative to participate in a 16-hour training within one year after his appointment, and an 8-hour training in each subsequent year. Such training shall be delivered during working hours and in the course of an activity regulated in the act on vocational training.

Employment or not? Qualification by the Authority

The Labour Inspection Authority has already been entitled to qualify relationships between a company and the person performing work for the company as well as the legal relationship on assigning an employee. Based on practical experience and judicial practice, the amendment clarifies the aspects authorities shall keep in mind while they qualify such relationships.

The act declares that choosing the type of the contract on which the performance of work is based shall not aim to restrain nor diminish the effectiveness of regulations protecting the legal interests of the employee, and if the actual content of the relationship is employment, even the mutual consent of the parties shall not exclude the relationship from the scope of labour law. In other words, the act prescribes to label relationships on their actual content and includes a mandatory obligation to apply labour law regulations in actual labour relationships.

Identification of the employer

The amendment clarifies the subsidiary rule on identifying the employer, stating that, if the employer is not identifiable during an inspection, the following person shall be considered as employer: it is primarily the person liable for coordinating activities according to the contract between the parties performing work in the place of inspection, secondly, the person who manages the activities on site, and thirdly, the person bearing main liability at the place of work. If the employer is not identifiable using the aforementioned rules, the person on whose territory the work is performed shall be considered as employer.