Dear Colleagues, Colleagues, Trade Unions
Because we do not quite good understand the issue of KPD, we gave it to our lawyers to prepare a document for easier understanding of the issue. We would like to share this information with you.
Working hours account (KPD)
The Working Time Account (hereinafter referred to as the “Account”) is a method of working time adjustment regulated by the Labor Code, which allows the employer to respond more flexibly to market developments and demand changes by allowing more flexible planning of work for employees during the balancing period. For employees, the account means primarily less certainty about how the work will be planned and scheduled.
If necessary, the employer can cancel employees’ shifts and employees are not entitled to compensation for obstacles to work on the part of the employer or to order extra shifts which is not considered as an overtime. This is what the working time account differs from the normal uneven working time allocation. The aim of the account is that the fixed working hours are flexibly adapted to the needs of the employer within the balancing period.
On the other hand it must be said, that the ability to impose shifts more flexibly usually leads to the saving of employer´s money (depending on the conditions, he does not have to pay overtime, allocate work in full or pay for obstacles to work). From the trade union’s perspective, it is therefore justified that if the account is implement, the achieved savings must be reflected in an increase in employees’ wages, ie. the negative effects that the working time account will bring to employees must be compensated by a higher wage.
Specific deviations from the “normal” working system in unequal working hours are as follows:
- Employees in the account do not have to be assigned work within the scope of the set weekly working hours (Paragrapf 34b, Section 1 of the Labor Code). In other words, for uneven working hours, you get a calendar where all shifts are scheduled. This does not apply to the working hours account system. This is the only schedule where the employer can plan less shifts and then added next shifts as they suit. However, there are opposing views, according to which the employer must plan the shifts but not actually allocate the work. This view is more beneficial for employees, because it is better for assessing obstacles to work and taking leave (both are drawn in shifts). How it will proceed in practice can be negotiated in a collective agreement.
- The employer must inform the employee of the weekly work schedule at the latest 1 week before the start of the period for which the work hours are scheduled (in case no different condition is agreed) (Paragrapf 84 of the Labor Code). Otherwise (at uneven working hours) at least 2 weeks are needed. However, in this case, the collective bargaining may require that a longer period be incorporated into the collective agreement, ie that employees are made aware of changes in their work schedule in advance.
- The account may only be implement by a collective agreement (Paragrapf 86, section 1 of the Labor Code). Otherwise, only an employer with no trade unions may implement the account. I.e. in case an account is not agreed in collective bargaining, it cannot be introduced.
- The balancing period may be agreed in the collective agreement for up to 52 consecutive weeks (Pragraph 86, section 3) of the Labor Code). From an employee’s point of view, it is generally better for the adjustment period to be shorter. Indeed, the compensatory period means that after its end it is counted worked hours, wages paid and any debts, overtime are balanced.
- Only in the collective agreement can it be agreed that the work overtime worked in the account in the balanced period can be included in the working time in the next period in the extent of maximum 120 hours. This is called the “Long-term account” (Paragraph 86, section 4 of the Labor Code). In other words, these overtime worked will not be paid to employees at the end of the balanced period, but will be transfer to the next balanced period. If the implementation of a “long-term account” is considered, then in the case of dismissal from organizational changes, severance payments are increased by three times the average monthly earnings. However, this can not be considered as an argument for its introduction. In the case of a “long-term account”, employees can work on non-working days at most twice within a period of 4 consecutive weeks. If the working time account is to be negotiated, the collective bargaining can be used to promote a more favorable conditions for employees.
Negotiating a “long-term account” has a negative impact on employees (any higher severance pay in case of dismissal due to organizational changes is “balanced” by the fact that the employee loses his job).
- In the case of obstacles to work on the part of the employee, time off is granted to the extent of the necessary time, or in the extent of the shift scheduled by the employer for the relevant day (Paragraph 97, section 5 of the Labor Code).
- Overtime is work performed in the balanced period beyond the scope of work, which is a multiple of the weekly working time and the number of weeks of the balanced period (Paragraph 98, section 2). Overtime work is paid after the end of the balanced period. Therefore, overtime extra pay are not paid every month, but once every few months when the balancing period ends. Moreover, the fact that an employee goes to work in extra shift that was not scheduled does not mean that it is overtime. In the account, overtime is evaluated only at the end of the balanced period by comparing (simplified) the working time account and the hours worked.
- Employees are entitled to a fixed wage (hereinafter referred to as the “fixed wage”) agreed in the Collective Agreement for the individual months of the adjustment period. The fixed wage must not be less than 80 % of the employee’s average earnings. If a long-term account has been agreed (see point 5), then the fixed wage must not be less than 85 % of the average earnings (Paragrapf 120 of the Labor Code).
From the point of view of employees, it would be best if a fixed wage ideally corresponds to 100% of average earnings. This would correspond to the fact that the employee still receives the same guaranteed wage and receives it in real time. In addition, if the employer did not order the employee as many shifts as would correspond to the fixed wages paid, the employee would not have to return the wages what has been already paid. If a fixed wage is negotiated lower than the average monthly earnings, the employee may receive several months of salary, which is lower than the actual work has been done and the rest is paid once in several months.
- For the balanced period, the employee is entitled to a wage equal to the sum of fixed wages paid. In case, after the balanced period, the employee’s wage is higher than the sum of the fixed wages paid, the employer is obliged to pay the difference to the employee (Paragraph 121, section 1 of the Labor Code). If the opposite situation occurs, ie the sum of the fixed wages paid is higher than the employee’s wage, then the employee does not have to repay the difference.
- Permanent wages will be provided to the employee for working hours allocated by the employer in the calendar month (in full even if the working hours are not allocated). If the employee does not work in the scheduled time, he is not entitled to a fixed wage (Paragraph 121, section 2 of the Labor Code). It is not meant cases, when the employee is not working because the employer does not allocate work, but when the employee does not work because of personal obstacles to work on the part of the employee or on vacation. In such cases, the fixed wage is partly reduced.
- In the case of other obstacles to work on the part of the employer (with the exception of downtime and work interruption due to adverse weather conditions), employees are not entitled to wage compensation. This means that, unlike the normal uneven distribution of working hours, the employee is not entitled to wage compensation, for example, in the absence of work, when the employer does not schedule shifts and allocate work (Paragraph 208 of the Labor Code). However, it must be taken into account that the employee is rewarded by a fixed wage. Regardless of the fact that the employer does not have enough work, the employee still receives the same fixed wage.
- The decisive period for calculating the average earnings is 12 calendar months before the start of the balanced period. (Paragraph 354, section 4 of the Labor Code). The account does not count the average earnings every 3 months, but remains the same for the whole year.