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Slovakia – New labour code to grant more protection to workers

23 August 2012

Slovakia's centre-left government introduced proposals to reform the labour code yesterday, that will grant more rights to worker, Reuters reports.

The legislation aims to strengthen overtime pay and make it harder to dismiss workers who have been employed for over two years or are leaving for health reasons. The reform would also limit the duration of assignment for temporary workers as well as putting caps on contract renewal. Finally, the new legislation is likely to align contractors’ benefits with those of the employees of client businesses.

The proposals are due to come into force next year. However, they will first have to be voted by the parliament, where Prime Minister Robert Fico's government holds a safe majority. Fico swept to power in March this year on a pledge to bring Slovakia's fiscal budget in order at the expense of the rich and without costing the poor.

Several business figures have already voiced their fears that the new law will dent labour market flexibility, sour foreign investment and harm job creation in the country of 5.4 million, whose cheap labour and reforms over the past decade have made it a hub for car and electronics factories.

Manufacturing growth in recent years has helped the small euro zone member weather the economic downturn and Slovakia is projected to be the fastest-growing economy in the eurozone this year. Growth was stemmed by pro-business legislation that was set out over the past decade and steadily rolled back regulations of the pre-1990 communist era.

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