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Inspection of working conditions of Ukrainian refugees by the Labour Inspectorate

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In the past year, the State Labour Inspection Office of the Czech Republic (hereinafter referred to as the “Labour Inspectorate”) initiated over 500 inspections beyond the scope of planned inspections aimed at ensuring compliance with the working conditions of Ukrainian refugees, who entered into employment after arriving on our territory. During the above-mentioned inspections, the Labour Inspectorate focused primarily on combating illegal employment of Ukrainian refugees, their labour abuse and possible exploitation.

Specifically, the Labour Inspectorate checked compliance with legal regulations on remuneration, working hours and rest periods, as well as the principles of equal treatment, non-discrimination and, last but not least, OSH compliance.

Of the more than 500 inspections initiated, violations of the law were found in 330 cases, i.e. in more than one half. One of the most frequently detected violations was the facilitation of illegal work (a total of 65 temporary protection holders from Ukraine). It should be added here that, for example, in the case of planned inspections of illegal employment, the number of people working illegally decreased last year. According to the Labour Inspectorate, the main reason for this was the regulation of access to the Czech labour market for Ukrainian refugees under temporary protection. Ukrainian refugees, who hold temporary protection, are considered permanent residents and do not need a work permit or an employment card. In the previous year, one of the objectives of the Labour Inspectorate was to help the proper and legal integration of temporary protection holders into the domestic labour market.

Other most frequently detected violations also included the so-called disguised employment mediation, which is a situation where agency employment is actually taking place, but its legal conditions are not observed (a total of 467 temporary protection holders from Ukraine). Furthermore, in many cases, misconduct was also found in the area of agency employment, where the same wage conditions were not respected for temporarily assigned workers as for comparable workers (119 temporary protection holders from Ukraine in total), and in the area of additional payments for Saturday and Sunday work (108 temporary protection holders from Ukraine) or night work (98 temporary protection holders from Ukraine), which were not properly paid. Violations of the obligation to keep proper working time records were also frequently detected (453 temporary protection holders from Ukraine).

A total of 44 fines totalling CZK 5,422,000 were issued for inspections already completed. At the same time, 73 on-the-spot fines in the total amount of CZK 291,000 were issued to employers for less serious violations of the legislation – in particular failure to comply with the information and registration obligation when employing foreign nationals or the lack of copies of documents proving the existence of the employment relationship at the employer’s workplace.

It is evident from the above that the Labour Inspectorate, beyond its planned inspections, also pays increased attention to compliance with the obligations when employing Ukrainian refugees. Their employers should therefore be vigilant in this regard and set up all employment processes and conditions properly.

Author: Veronika Odrobinová, Martina Šumavská, Jessica Vaculíková