Working in Slovakia and the Labour Code

You got a job in Slovakia. Congratulations. Now you have to sign a contract. In Slovak. Yes, in the Slovak language. According to Slovakia’s Labour Code, an employment contract must be concluded in the Slovak language. Which makes it really uncomfortable, I know. Therefore, make sure you can take the contract with you for at least one day and ask a lawyer or a very good Slovak friend to read it. If you can ignore the HR department’s (usually) absurd requirements. Also, don’t be surprised if they get offended when you want to read the contract. It looks like you don’t trust them. Well, you shouldn’t anyway.

The contract usually includes information about the workplace location, start date, job description, wage, payday(s), working hours, probation period, notice period, annual leave and other additional conditions. Also in the Slovak Labour Law:

  • Basic annual leave is four weeks. That’s 20 days off for the regular Monday to Friday 40-hours working time. If you are more than 33 years old, you are entitled to 25 days of annual leave. Some employers take the liberty to tell you how and when to take your time off.
  • Maximum weekly working time is 40 hours
  • Probation period cannot exceed three months.
  • You can leave/get fired any time during the probation period, without any notice.
  • Otherwise, the minimum period of notice for both the employer and the employee is one month within the first year of employment. Then it’s two months. After five years with the same employer, the notice period is three months.
  • A work contract cannot be signed for a period longer than three years.
  • An employer is allowed to include 150 hours of overtime in your wage. Meaning, if you work 150 hours overtime, you won’t get any more money than usual.
  • A full-time employee has the right to receive a meal voucher, worth a minimum of €2.85, for each working day.
  • The employer has the right to deduct a maximum of 45% of the value of these vouchers from the employee’s wage. And be sure most of them will do it.
  • You will receive the salary by the 15th of the following month.

Before signing my contract (in Slovak), I was asked to fill in a form with basic information (name, date of birth, etc.). I was asked to bring:

  • Passport, which I didn’t have at the time. I offered them my national ID card, which is a valid travel document within the European Union, but they didn’t really like it. I got myself a passport meanwhile.
  • Health Insurance Card. As I had recently moved to Slovakia, I didn’t have the card.
  • Bank account number. Same as above. New immigrant, no bank account.
  • CRB check (crime record). When I explained to them I needed one from Romanian and one from the UK, they told me to forget about it.
  • Original Degree Certificate / Diploma. This one I had🙂

In conclusion, I could sign the contract having only the passport and the diploma. Although I did bring a CRB check from Romania. I had one week to sign up for a health insurance plan, about 40 days (until my first salary) to open a bank account and 90 days to get the residence permit. I highly recommend going to a bank as soon as possible, as it takes quite a long time to issue a card. But that’s another blog post.

Happy signing!

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