Slovakia

    1.1 In what circumstances does the employee transfer law apply?

    The employee transfer law applies upon the transfer of an ‘economic unit’, which consists of the employer (or part of it) or an activity that retains its identity as an organised group of resources after the transfer. It is irrelevant whether the activity is core or ancillary to the business.

    In general terms, Slovakia takes a broad view of what falls within the scope of a transfer.

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    Author: Nitschneider & Partners

    Date: February 2017

    1.2 Does the employee transfer law apply to (a) a sale of a business or (b) outsourcing?

    (a) Sale of a business

    The employee transfer law applies to the sale of a business.

    (b) Outsourcing

    As the law applies to an ‘employer’s activity or task’ it is likely it will apply to outsourcing.

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    Author: Nitschneider & Partners

    Date: February 2017

    1.3 In outline, what are the implications of the employee transfer law?

    If the employee transfer law applies:

    • employees assigned to the undertaking transfer from the transferor to the transferee on their existing (pre-transfer) terms and conditions of employment;
    • collective agreements and union recognition arrangements also transfer;
    • both the transferee and transferor are required to notify and negotiate with employee representatives (or individually with employees where no representatives);
    • the transferee takes on all the rights and obligations pursuant to the employment relationships with the transferred employees and if employees make claims relating to their employment with the transferor (e.g. for pay, personal injury or discrimination) the transferee becomes liable in place of the transferor;
    • if an employee is dismissed for a reason connected to the transfer the dismissal is automatically invalid.
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    Author: Nitschneider & Partners

    Date: February 2017

    2.1 Who transfers?

    The employee transfer law applies to employees assigned to the relevant business or part of it. If the employee works only within the business to be transferred he or she will be assigned to it. If an employee’s role involves work partly within the business to be transferred and partly to a different part of the business the position is more complicated and will depend on factors such as:

    • the proportion of time spent within the entity transferring as compared to other parts of the business;
    • the value given to each part by the employee;
    • the employee’s job description; and
    • how the employer allocates the costs of the employee’s services.
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    Author: Nitschneider & Partners

    Date: February 2017

    2.2 Can employees object to transferring?

    Generally speaking, employees may object to transferring but this will not affect or delay the transfer itself. However, if the working conditions of a transferred employee would fundamentally change as a result, and the employee objects to the transfer, the employment will be deemed terminated by agreement for redundancy. The employee would then be entitled to severance pay calculated according to length of service (from one to five months’ salary).

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    Author: Nitschneider & Partners

    Date: February 2017

    2.3 What happens to terms of employment contracts?

    The employment terms transfer to the transferee. The transferee ‘steps into the shoes’ of the transferor and becomes the employer on the transferor’s terms. All rights and obligations under the employment contract transfer to the transferee.

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    Author: Nitschneider & Partners

    Date: February 2017

    2.4 What about other employee benefits?

    The transferee is required to maintain all contractual (bilateral) benefits. This can be difficult in relation to benefits which are linked directly to the transferor’s business. Examples may include bonuses, commission, profit share schemes and share options. In such cases, the transferee is generally required to provide schemes of broad equivalence.

    Benefits that arise from the internal company rules at the transferor do transfer but the transferee is entitled to change them.

    Past employment with the transferor will count as ‘continuous employment’ with the transferee.

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    Author: Nitschneider & Partners

    Date: February 2017

    2.5 What happens to pension rights?

    Pensions are regulated by public law and there is very limited opportunity for private pension schemes. Private pension schemes may be provided as an additional benefit to employees and they may choose whether they wish to participate in them. 

    State pension rights transfer together with the employees and private schemes transfer if they are included in the individual employment contract. If they are based on the internal rules at the transferor, they will transfer but the transferee has the right to change or terminate them after the transfer.

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    Author: Nitschneider & Partners

    Date: February 2017

    2.6 What liabilities transfer?

    The transferee is responsible for any liabilities that concern employment before the transfer. Any act or omission of the transferor will be treated as an act or omission of the transferee. 

    For example, claims may be in respect of unlawful discrimination by the transferor, accrued holiday rights or unpaid bonus. The transferee also assumes responsibility for outstanding personal injury claims. The transferor and transferee are jointly and individually liable for any failure to inform and consult about the transfer.

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    Author: Nitschneider & Partners

    Date: February 2017

    2.7 Do collective agreements transfer?

    Collective agreements with a recognised trade union transfer and remain in force until they expire. The original collective agreements that applied at the transferor may expire quite soon, as are usually concluded for a maximum period of one year. There is no rule about whether they can be altered within that time. In general terms, they may be changed only with the consent of trade unions representing the employees. The transferee must be told whether there are trade unions and allow them to operate at the transferee.

    The legal status and position of employee representatives remains intact until the end of their term of office, unless they agree otherwise.

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    Author: Nitschneider & Partners

    Date: February 2017

    2.8 How does the transferee obtain information on transferring employees?

    There are no mandatory rules about the provision of information from the transferor to the transferee. This is a matter for agreement between the parties. However, in practice, there will normally be an agreement between the transferor and transferee that requires the provision of information about the transferring employees and the terms on which they work.

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    Author: Nitschneider & Partners

    Date: February 2017

    3.1 Can employers make changes to employment contracts?

    Employers cannot make unilateral changes to the employment contracts in any circumstances (either during or after transfer). Changes to the employment contracts can only be made in writing and with the consent of both parties. If the working conditions of the transferred employees will undergo fundamental change as a result of the transfer and the employees do not agree to this, the employment will be deemed terminated by agreement by reason of redundancy and the employees will be entitled to compensation.

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    Author: Nitschneider & Partners

    Date: February 2017

    3.2 When can employers safely dismiss employees before or after a transfer?

    There is no period, before, during or after a transfer in which a dismissal for reasons to do with a transfer would be safe. If the working conditions of the transferred employees undergo fundamental change as a result of the transfer and the employees do not agree to this, the employment will be deemed terminated by agreement by reason of redundancy and the employees will be entitled to compensation. However, any dismissal for reasons not linked to the transfer is valid whenever it is carried out. Nevertheless, as the courts tend to favour employees, it is advisable not to carry out dismissals for any reason for three months following a transfer.

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    Author: Nitschneider & Partners

    Date: February 2017

    4.1 Who must employers consult?

    No later than one month before the transfer, both the transferor and transferee must provide certain information to the employee representatives or, if none, the employees themselves.

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    Author: Nitschneider & Partners

    Date: February 2017

    4.2	What information must they provide?

    Employers must provide information about:

    • the proposed date of the transfer;
    • the reasons for it;
    • the employment, economic and social impact of the transfer on the employees;
    • the planned transfer measures that will apply to the employees.
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    Author: Nitschneider & Partners

    Date: February 2017

    4.3	What does consultation involve?

    Consultation is defined as an ‘exchange of views’. As part of the consultation, there is an obligation to provide information about the transfer but there is no requirement for the employer and employee representatives to reach an agreement.

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    Author: Nitschneider & Partners

    Date: February 2017

    4.4	How long does consultation last?

    The length of consultation varies but, except in particularly simple or complex cases, typically lasts one week.

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    Author: Nitschneider & Partners

    Date: February 2017

    4.5	What happens if an employer fails properly to inform or consult?

    If the employer fails to properly inform or consult about a planned transfer with the employee representatives, the transfer will remain valid and effective, but the National Labour Inspectorate may impose a fine for breach of these obligations.

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    Author: Nitschneider & Partners

    Date: February 2017

    5.1	Identify up to three issues in this country of which employers should be aware?

    If an employee objects to the transfer and informs the transferor in writing, the employment is deemed to be terminated by mutual agreement. The employee is then entitled to severance pay.

    If the transferor and transferee do not complete their agreement, but withdraw from it before completion, no rights or obligations are transferred and the original employer will remain responsible for all claims in relation to employment.

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    Author: Nitschneider & Partners

    Date: February 2017

    5.2	Would the employee transfer law apply on a cross-border transfer into or out of this country?

    The employee transfer law applies to cross-border transfers either into or out of Slovakia. This is because the rules relating to the transfer of employees form part of the Slovak Labour Code and are therefore directly applicable to all employees employed in the Slovak Republic.

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    Author: Nitschneider & Partners

    Date: February 2017

    6.1	What are the main national laws protecting employees upon transfers of businesses?

    The main applicable law is the Labour Code.

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    Author: Nitschneider & Partners

    Date: February 2017

     

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