An Act on support for short-time work in Slovakia entered into force on March 1, 2022. Its main purpose is to provide partial compensation of employer’s costs on employees’ wages in a situation in which the employer can’t assign them work due to external factors. What are the conditions for obtaining the subsidy and who may apply for it?
What is short-time work?
As the title of the Act states, the subsidy is provided by a state when the employer’s activity is temporarily restricted due to influence of external factors that could not be prejudiced or prevented and which have a negative impact on the assigned work to the employees. Put simply, they are circumstances that force companies to retain their employees at home due to obstacles at work on the employer’s side.
These circumstances are especially extraordinary situation, state of emergency or occurrence of force majeure. However, the Act also mentions that the external factor can’t be a war or a state of war, seasonality of the performed work or planned shutdown.
When can the employer apply for the subsidy?
The Act stipulates basic conditions that must be met on both employer and employee sides in order for the employer to apply for the subsidy.
- can’t assign work to at least one third of his employees in the extent of at least 10% of the established weekly working time,
- signed an agreement with employee representatives or concerned employees that allows the employer to apply for the subsidy, or he gained an approval of arbitrator according to the Labour Code in a case when the employee representatives or employees refused to sign the agreement,
- can’t assign employee to an alternative work within agreed type of work,
- doesn’t receive a subsidy for the same costs for a particular employee,
- didn’t break the prohibition of illegal employment within two years prior to the application,
- paid social insurance and other compulsory contributions to old-age pension savings over the duration of this obligation, but at least 24 calendar months prior to the application,
- filled an application until the end of the calendar month following the month for which the employer applies for the subsidy.
- worked for the employer for at least 1 month before submitting the application,
- works based on an employment contract (not on a basis of contract on works performed outside the employment relationship) and is not on a notice period,
- has used up his annual leave for the previous calendar year,
- has used up positive account of working time account.
Is the subsidy limited?
Yes, the subsidy is limited by the amount and the period during which it is provided. The subsidy is provided in the minimum amount of 60% of the employee’s average hourly earnings in a month for which it applies, up to the EUR 7.8138 per hour. The employer may apply for the subsidy only for 6 months during 2 years. In case when the external factors will last longer, the government can prolong the period.
How can the employer submit the application?
The application shall be submitted via electronic mailbox at slovensko.sk portal and signed by a qualified electronic signature.
How long does it take for the application to be approved?
The respective authority will examine the application and if it meets all conditions, it shall take a decision on its approval within 10-day period. Otherwise, it will ask the applicant to supplement the information. In a case when the authority approves the application, it shall pay out the subsidy without a written decision. If the authority denies it, it shall inform the applicant in a written form.
Do any obligations arise from the application in case it will be approved?
Yes. Pursuant to the related provision of the Labour Code, the employer is obliged to pay the employees compensation for the time of short-time work in the amount of at least 80% of their average earnings. If the employer has entered into an agreement with the employee representatives setting out the operational reasons due to which the employer can’t assign work, because of which they are entitled to a wage compensation of at least 60% of their average earnings, this will not apply for the period for which the employer is applying for short-time subsidy.
Besides, the employer is obliged to preserve a work position for which a subsidy was provided, for at least two months after the end of the calendar month for which the subsidy was provided. This shall not apply to cases when the employment relationship is terminated from employee’s own initiative.