3An amendment to the Labor Relations Act (ZDR-1D) was adopted in the National Assembly on 26 October 2023, which was approved again by the National Assembly on 7 November 2023, following a veto by the National Council. New features brought by the ZDR-1D amendment:
1. Subsidiary liability of the main contractor in the construction industry for the wages of the subcontractor’s workers
The amendment introduces the subsidiary liability of the main contractor in a construction project for the wages of the subcontractor’s workers. If the subcontractor, as an employer, does not pay the salary to its employee, the main contractor is subsidiarily responsible for the payment.
2. The possibility of defending the employee against dismissal
According to the new law, the employer will have to give the employee the opportunity, before the employment contract is terminated due to fault, to declare the alleged violations, which the employee can use within three working days of receiving the written warning. The employer must allow the employee the so-called a statement about alleged violations within a reasonable period of time, which may not be shorter than three working days and not longer than 30 days, unless it would be unreasonable to expect the employer to enable the employee to do so.
Within 8 days after the employee’s defense, the employer must communicate its decision to the employee and justify it.
3. The right to disconnect
The amendment to the law introduces the so-called the right to disconnect, which means that the employer must ensure that the employee will not be available to the employer during a daily rest, weekly rest, annual leave or other justified absence from work. The amendment to the law leaves the adoption of appropriate measures to the level of collective agreements and to the level of the employer.
4. The worker’s demand for better employment
The employee can propose another form of employment to the employer, when it is available from the employer, with the aim of safer employment and improved employment conditions. The employee will therefore be able to propose e.g. entering into a fixed-term contract into an indefinite-term contract or concluding a contract for a position with more favorable working conditions, better salary, etc.
5. Reconciliation of professional and private life for childcare and care, work from home
The amendment to the law introduces the possibility for a worker who cares for a child up to the age of eight, or a care worker in the case of care, to propose concluding a part-time employment contract for a certain period of time due to the need to balance professional and private life. After the expiration of the period of the employment contract for short-time work, the employment relationship continues on the basis of the previously concluded employment contract.
The amendment also introduces the possibility for an employee to submit a request for flexible work arrangements, which also includes working from home, due to the need to balance professional and private life.
In the case of such employee proposals, the employer is required to respond within 15 days of the employee’s proposal.
6. Five days a year of unpaid leave for care and nursing, contributions to be borne by the employer
The amendment introduces an additional five days of unpaid leave in the case of caring for a family member or a person with whom the worker lives in the same household and needs more extensive care for medical reasons. Before the start of the absence, the employee is obliged to inform the employer about the absence and about the reasons for the absence, for which he must submit appropriate documents showing the reason for the care and maintenance of a family member, e.g. medical certificate, social work center certificate, etc.
7. Protection of workers who are absent from work due to illness or injury at the expiration of the notice period
With the amendment, the postponement of the effect of termination of the employment contract due to business reasons and due to incapacity is slightly modified in the event that the employee is absent at the expiration of the notice period due to temporary inability to work due to illness or injury. In these cases, the employment contract ends with the expiration of the last day of absence, but no more than six months after the expiration of the notice period.
For employers, such an employee’s absence will still represent a burden due to the payment of contributions.
8. Extended transfer of annual leave due to illness, injury, maternity or care leave
In cases of absence from work due to illness, injury, maternity leave or child care leave, the amendment to the law extends the transfer of annual leave from 31 December of the following year to 31 March a year later.
9. Limitations of probation
The amendment to the law determines the duration of the probationary period in the case of a fixed-term employment contract in proportion to the expected duration of the employment contract and the nature of the work. If a new fixed-term employment contract for the same job is concluded, it may no longer include a trial period.
10. Shorter deadline for repeated violations by the employee
The proposed amendment to the law re-determines the deadline for possible termination of employment due to fault if the employee again violates contractual or other obligations from the employment relationship after the employer has warned him in writing of the violation or non-fulfillment of obligations.
The deadline for terminating an employment contract due to fault or if the employee violates contractual or other obligations from the employment relationship after the employer has already warned him in writing of the violation or non-fulfillment of obligations, is shortened from one year to six months. The term in collective agreements at the activity level is also shortened from two years to 18 months.
11. Additional protection of trade union trustees and establishment of a special fund
The termination of the employment contract for employee representatives, in the event that the employee representative asserts judicial protection, is suspended until the court’s decision at first instance, or for a maximum of six months. During this time, the worker can work. In the event of a work ban, he is entitled to compensation of 80% of his salary.
The amendment to the law foresees the possibility of establishing a special fund for the reimbursement of salary compensations paid to the employee for the period of the prohibition to perform work during the suspension of the termination of the employment contract, and the legality of the termination of the employment contract has been established by the court.
12. Additional leave and the possibility of reduced working hours for victims of violence
The amendment to the law introduces an additional five working days of paid vacation per year and the possibility of shorter working hours for victims of violence for the purposes of arranging protection, legal and other procedures at institutions, and for the purposes of eliminating the consequences of domestic violence.
An employee who works part-time and is a victim of domestic violence has the right to be paid for work according to the actual work obligation, while other rights and obligations from the employment relationship apply as for an employee who works full-time.
13. Employment information, payment information and right to training
The amendment introduces additional obligations for the employer, as he must provide the employee with adequate information in writing about the employment relationship and information about payment, which includes all components of payment and information about the possible right to training.
14. Set-off of obligations
When offsetting payment for work, the employer will have to obtain the consent of the employee for the offsetting, if he wants to offset the obligation to pay other benefits from the employment relationship (for example, reimbursement of expenses) with his obligation, and this will not be limited only to the salary, as has been regulated until now.
15. Workers posted abroad
With the amendment to the law, the employer will have to provide workers posted abroad with information about the payment to which the worker is entitled in accordance with the legal order of the host country. The employer must provide posted workers with certain rights according to the legislation of the Republic of Slovenia and collective agreements at the activity level, insofar as these rights are more favorable for the posted worker (rights in the field of payment for work, working hours, breaks and rest, night work, minimum annual leave, safety and occupational health and others).
16. Higher compensation and better employee information for agency workers
For agency workers on standby, compensation in the amount of 70% of the minimum wage is increased to 80% of the wage that the worker would get if he were working.
The agency employee must be informed in writing about the assignment to the user, the rights and obligations of the user, and the terms of work.
17. Additional possibility of extraordinary termination by the employee
According to the new law, the employee will be able to terminate the employment contract in an extraordinary manner even if the employer does not pay him salary compensation.
The amendment to the law brings important additional rights for workers and introduces additional procedures within the framework of employment relationships that burden employers with increased responsibilities. To ensure the correct implementation of these procedural rules and to exercise the rights of workers, we highly recommend that employers consult with a legal expert – a lawyer. This not only avoids the possibility of financial sanctions (fines), which are also introduced by the amendment to the law in cases of violation of workers’ rights, but also reduces possible business losses in the event of legal disputes with workers.