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Electronic contracting under the amendment to the labour code: questions and answers

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One of the most anticipated changes contained in the amendment to the Labour Code is the legal establishment of the practice of entering into contracts electronically. This innovation will be especially appreciated by employers in the IT sphere, where teleworking is nowadays significantly prevalent, including even the so-called “full remote” work, where some employees and employers never meet physically. This article will guide you comprehensively through the issue of electronic contracting in a question-and-answer format – and in future you will know how to enter into an employment contract, even via LinkedIn.

Which contracts under labour law can be made electronically?

Section 21 of the Labour Code on the electronic making of contracts expressly refers to the possibility of electronic entering into employment contracts, agreements to complete a job (“DPP”) and agreements to perform work activity (“DPČ”), agreements on their modification or on the termination of employment relationships based on them. However, this does not mean that the use of electronic communications to enter into other contracts under labour law is not possible.

The above provision introduces additional rules to protect employees when entering into the most basic employment contracts. As regards other contracts regulated by the Labour Code (including, for example, telework agreements, agreements on deductions from income, agreements on liability for entrusted values, etc.), the principle of contractual freedom applies here: these contracts can also be made electronically and the Labour Code does not impose any additional formalities.

What means of electronic communication can be used to enter into a contract?

The legislator left it up to the contracting parties what means of electronic communication they use to enter into a contract. This includes data box or email, but also more innovative means such as social networks, electronic communication applications or recruitment portals.

What electronic signature can be used to sign a contract?

The question of signing is not regulated by law. Both the employee and the employer can theoretically use a simple electronic signature. For reasons of legal certainty, however, we continue to recommend that employees and employers use at least a guaranteed electronic signature, if the contracting party has one.

What are the specifics of remote contracting?

In the case of electronic entering into an employment contract, an agreement to complete a job, an agreement to perform work activity, agreements on their amendment or on termination of employment relationships based on them, the amendment introduces an additional obligation for the employer to send a copy of the contract made to the employee’s electronic address. It must be the employee’s private address (whether email or cloud storage, for example) that the employee has provided to the employer in writing for these purposes.

Only case law will show if it is sufficient to comply with the above requirement, when the employer makes the contract available to the employee for download, e.g. via the employer’s electronic portal. However, the text of the law shows that the legislator was rather conservative in this area and did not take into account this relatively widespread practice of recruitment/HR portals.

Is the employee protected from ill-considered decision-making in the online environment? 

The employee may withdraw in writing from the employment contract, agreement to complete a job, agreement to perform work activity or agreement on their change within 7 days from the date of delivery of their copy to the employee’s electronic address. Therefore, the employee may exercise this right at any time during the period, during which the employer has not fulfilled its obligation to deliver this contract to the employee’s electronic address.

The right of withdrawal expires on the date, on which the employee began to perform in accordance with the concluded contract, i.e. on the date of commencement of work or on the date, on which the employee began to perform work under an amendment to the contract.