The Supreme Court has ruled that employers are not obliged to offer staff laid off for reasons of redundancy alternative positions within firms, even in cases where similar positions are open. The Supreme Court issued its ruling on Thursday after having studied the Labour Law in detail, in relation to a case in which an employee had been let go earlier for said reasons. The employee, a systems administrator, filed a complaint with the district court in Prague 10 after his position was scrapped, maintaining he should have been offered another job at a time when several within the company were available. Two courts, in Prague 10 and the Prague Municipal Court, originally ruled in his favour, but the Supreme Court struck down the earlier decisions, stressing that the obligation to offer alternative employment ended in 2006. The Supreme Court ruling will apply to all lower-instance court decisions.
The highest unemployment in the country at the end of last year was in the Ústí nad Labem region, according to figures released on Wednesday by the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry. The employment rate in this northern Bohemian region went up by 0.6% from November to reach 14% in December. Contributing factors to the worsening situation on the job market are cutbacks carried out by some of the major employers in the region.
Meanwhile, Czech authorities are preparing for the release of prisoners pardoned under the amnesty declared by President Václav Klaus which comes into effect on Wednesday. Courts are reportedly ready to work around the clock inside prisons to process the relevant cases. Each of the 24 Czech prisons is able to release dozens of prisoners a day, a deputy justice minister said. The police said they had reinforced patrols in regions where the prisons are located. For their part, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs issued directives for labour offices on how to proceed should released prisoners approach them for assistance. Labour offices were told to get sufficient funds in cash to be able to provide extraordinary financial support.
The Senate voted not to deliberate on a bill stipulating salaries for federal judges and tax regulations for lawmakers. The bill thus automatically passed through the upper house and will be going straight to the president to be signed into law. According to the bill, judges’ salaries will be calculated as 2.75 of the national average salary, instead of the current 2.5, as of 1 January. The monthly salary for a judge would thus come out to under 63,000 crowns. The legislation also exempts members of the parliament from paying health and social insurance on their salary bonuses. The bonuses will still be taxable.
Russian and German tourists coming to the Czech Republic support some 50,000 jobs in the local tourist industry, suggests a new survey by the firm Mag Consulting released on Friday. That accounts for more than 20 percent of jobs in the industry. Germans represent the largest group of tourists in the country; each year, around 1.4 million Germans visit the Czech Republic. The second highest number of tourists – around 700,000 – comes from Russia.
The lower house of Parliament has passed a bill which will raise the salaries of judges and state attorneys. The bill, which sets a legal framework for the calculation of salaries in 2013, was passed under an accelerated mechanism known as legislative emergency, in view of the fact that the current system has been abolished by the Constitutional Court as of the end of the year. Under the draft proposal, which still needs to be approved by the Senate and signed by the president, judges will receive 2.7 times the average wage in the public sector.
The speaker of the Czech lower house, Miroslava Němcová, has proposed what is known as a state of legislative emergency, in a bid to push through certain pieces of legislation by the end of the year. If approved by the relevant committees, the mechanism will allow one bill on judges’ salaries and another on the sKarta social welfare payment system to be passed in a single reading. It was last employed two years ago to push through a raft of cost-cutting measures.
Judges and prosecutors might not be receiving salaries as of next month due to a legislative snag. The lower house of Parliament on Wednesday failed to approve legislation which would, among other things, introduce new rules for the calculation of salaries. MPs voted down the bill because it would also tax their benefits. The Czech government is set to discuss the situation later on Wednesday. The current system of remunerating judges and prosecutors has been abolished by the Czech Constitutional Court as of the end of the year.
More Czech companies will lay off employees in the first quarter of 2013 than those planning to take on new staff according to a Manpower Labour Market Index poll conducted among 750 Czech firms. Only 3 percent of employers said they were hiring staff while 11 percent are planning lay-offs. 85 percent of respondents said they were not planning on significant changes in staff numbers. The report is the most pessimistic outlook in four years, a fact widely attributed to a fall in turnover due to dropping demand.
Twelve people, including three civil servants in the department of transport at the town hall in Kolín, central Bohemia, were arrested last week on suspicion of having legalised, on at least 44 counts, vehicles or parts from cars, stolen in Germany, Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Two of the three civil servants have been remanded in custody. The police believe the system was facilitated by the three at city hall, in return for bribes. Those arrested, if found guilty, could face up to 10 years in prison. The police say the ring of suspects could still be broadened.
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