Hire in Slovakia
Here’s where you get started with human resources best practices and hiring in Slovakia.
Key Country Facts
Slovakia, officially called the Slovak Republic, is a landlocked country located in Central Europe. It hosts a high-income economy and has a comprehensive social security system. Citizens are provided with universal healthcare, free education and one of the longest paid parental leaves in the OECD. Slovakia became an independent state in 1993 after the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia.
Slovakia hosts a largely mountainous terrain and covers a total of about 49,000 square kilometers. The country is bordered by Poland to the north, the Czech Republic to the northwest, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south and Austria to the southwest. Heavily forested mountains cover a great portion of the northern regions (Carpathian Mountains) and central regions (Ore Mountains).
Slovakia has a typical European continental climate with relatively warm dry summers and cold humid winters. There are four distinct seasons and most rainfall happens in the spring and summer. January is the coldest month and the hottest months are July and August.
The largest ethnic group is the Slovaks, which make up more than 80% of Slovakia’s population. The country’s minority ethnic groups include the Hungarians, Czechs, Rusyns, Poles, Ukrainians and the Roma. Folk tradition is strongly rooted in Slovakia, having survived into modern times. This legacy is evident in Slovakia’s literature, music, dance and architecture.
The Slovak constitution guarantees freedom of religion. Approximately 62% of the population identifies as Roman Catholics, 5.9% as Lutherans, 1.8% as Calvinists, 3.8% as Greek Catholics and 0.9% as Orthodox. Approximately 13.4% declare themselves atheists or non-religious and around 10% did not declare their religion.
Slovak, the country’s official language, is a West Slavic language closely related to Czech, Polish and the Sorbian languages of Eastern Germany. It is spoken by more than 80% of the population. Slovak Speakers use three common and mutually intelligible dialects: eastern, central and western dialects. Hungarian is the second most widely spoken language and Rusyn is recognized as a minority language. Most Slovakians also understand Czech.
Slovakia HR at a Glance
The Labor Code defines Slovakia’s Labor Law. Special acts regulate related matters such as minimum wage, collective bargaining and employment via temporary agencies. The government agency responsible for the enforcement of employment statutes and regulations is the National Labor Inspectorate.
The Central Office of Labor, Social Affairs and Family also plays a role in helping people find a job. The agencies of the Public Health Authority manage inspections for working conditions relating to health and safety at the workplace.
Collective labor law is not as important in Slovakia as it is in Germany or France. It has neither a tradition nor are the trade unions strong enough in a majority of industrial sectors.
A written contract of employment is legally required within one month from the start date of employment. However, even without a written contract, it is assumed that an employment relationship exists if work has been performed. The contract must be in Slovak although additional languages are permitted.
The contract of employment must specify:
- identification information about the employer and employee
- type of work and its main characteristics
- working conditions and conditions of employment
- place of work
- start date of employment
- date of salary payment
- working hours
- holiday entitlements
- notice period
If a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) exists, the wage, date of payment, working hours, holiday entitlement and notice period of the CBA take precedence.
Employment contracts in Slovakia can be concluded for a definite (fixed-term) or indefinite period.
Fixed-term contracts can be signed for two years. A fixed-term contract must state the duration (start and end date) and without these the contract will be deemed to be for an indefinite term.
Extending a fixed-term contract is permissible up to two times, within a maximum two year period for specific cases such as substitution for employee during statutory leaves (e.g. maternity leave, parental leave and temporary incapacity to work), work that requires an increase in the workforce for a temporary period of time or work that is dependent on the season.
Temporary assignment of an employee between entities, when they meet the definition of a parent company and its subsidiary, is possible when it is done in accordance with the Commercial Code. This applies even without the existence of objective operational reasons on the side of the assigning employer.
Background checks are permitted only if they are required for the position (e.g. criminal record checks are acceptable for certain job roles such as public service). A medical examination is required for physically demanding job roles. Education checks are permitted with a candidate’s consent. If an employer has reasonable doubts regarding a candidate’s ability to perform the responsibilities of a role, the employer may request for the candidate to undergo a medical exam. The employee must oblige.
Employers may request references, proof of previous employment and education checks.
Probation Period / Trial Period
The probationary period is agreed upon, in writing, in the employment contract and can be for a maximum of three months (or six months for senior employees). The probationary period cannot be extended.
For fixed-term contracts, the probation period may not be longer than half the duration of the fixed-term.
The employment relationship can be terminated by either party without cause during the probation period. However, if the termination relates to a pregnant employee, a mother who has a child under nine months old or a mother who is breastfeeding, the termination reason must be given and notice of at least three days should be provided.
The total time spent working in any 24-hour period must not exceed eight hours and total working time should not exceed 40 hours per week. The average weekly working time, including overtime work, must not exceed 48 hours.
Employees must have an uninterrupted rest time of two consecutive days every week.
Overtime work must not exceed on average 8 hours per week within a period of not more than 4 consecutive months, unless the employer agrees with the employee representatives on a longer period, which must not exceed 12 consecutive months. The maximum overtime work that an employee may be ordered to carry out within one calendar year is 150 hours. However, up to 400 hours overtime in a calendar year is allowed if the employer has received prior agreement from the employee.
Workers who worked overtime are entitled to overtime pay or time off in compensation. The wage must be the wage plus at least 25%.
Work on Saturdays have to be paid a premium of at least 50% of the employee’s average salary, and 100% for work done on public holidays and Sundays.
Timesheets & Record Keeping
The employer should keep an employee’s documents only for as long as necessary. The generally accepted time period for archiving an employee file is until the employee reaches 70 years old.
The 13th and 14th month bonuses are not mandatory in Slovakia and are paid at the discretion of the employer. Such bonuses are exempt from taxes and social insurance contributions if they are not less than the employee’s average monthly earnings. The maximum amount of the exemption is EUR 500.
The employment relationship can be terminated in writing by both parties:
- By mutual agreement
- Immediate termination can only be used in exceptional circumstances as defined in the Labor Code (the employer must terminate the employment within two months from becoming aware of the circumstances leading to immediate termination and the latest within one year)
- During the probation period
- Termination with notice
The employment relationship is also terminated for fixed-term contracts at the end date and at the expiration of residence permit in the case of foreign citizens. Expiration is defined by either the end date or the permit being revoked.
The following situations protect an employee from termination. The employee is:
- incapable of work due to illness or injury
- carrying out duties during a crisis situation
- pregnant or maternity leave
- performing voluntary military training/service
- pursuing public office
Other Termination Formalities
Termination initiated by the employer (with notice or immediate) must be pre-negotiated with employee representatives. The termination will be deemed invalid without such negotiation.. Employee representatives are required to negotiate termination with notice within seven working days from the employer’s written request and within two working days for immediate termination.
Notice period depends on the length of employment and the reason for termination.
- Statutory minimum: one month
- Length of service of one to five years: two months
- Length of service more than five years: three months
Redundancy / Severance Pay
For termination due to redundancy or inadequate abilities of the employee, the required severance varies from one to three months of pay. This will depend on the duration of employment:
- Two to five years: one month
- Five to 10 years: two months
- 10 to 20 years: three months
- More than 20 years: four months
For termination by mutual agreement, severance varies:
- At least two years: one month
- Two to five years: two months
- Five to 10 years: three months
- 10-20 years: four months
- More than 20 years: five months
The employer must provide the employee with a written notice of dismissal. A payment in lieu of giving notice is not allowed.
Post-Termination Restraints / Restrictive Covenants
Section 83a of the Labor Code regulates post-termination covenants. The employer and the employee can agree on a non-compete clause only if the employee has access to confidential information of the employer’s business that is not normally available and which, if used, would be to the business’s disadvantage or detriment. A non-compete clause may be imposed for up to one year, restricting the employee from being engaged in activity that is in direct competition with the employer’s business. The employer has to provide appropriate financial compensation, equivalent to at least 50% of the employee’s average monthly earnings per month during the period of the non-compete.
Tax and Social Security
Personal Income Tax
Employment income types subject to tax include salaries, bonuses, regular/irregular compensations and most benefits-in-kind.
|Income Bracket (EUR)||Tax Rate (%)|
|Up to 38,553||19.0|
Both the employer and employee must pay social security contributions.
|Payment||Employee Contribution (%)||Employer Contribution (%)||Maximum Assessment Base (EUR)|
|Work Injury Insurance||–||0.8||No limit|
|Solidarity reserve fund (part of the retirement insurance)||–||4.75||7931.00|
|Health Insurance||4.0||10.0||No limit|
*The above rates serve as a broad guideline. Actual rates charged will differ.
The Salary payment must be administered at least once a month on a date no later than specified on the employment contract. It must be deposited into a Slovak (this is the recommended option) or a foreign bank account in the local currency.
Payslips must be provided two days at the latest following the pay date, either in hard copy or electronically.
Employees are entitled to at least four weeks’ vacation a year. The holiday entitlement is at least five weeks for an employee who reaches the age of 33 years before the end of a given calendar year. For employees with an employment agreement of less than a calendar year but more than 60 calendar days, the annual leave should be proportionate to the time worked for the year.
The Labor Code allows negotiation of additional paid holidays in an employment contract or through a CBA.
If an employee is unable to use the entire holiday entitlement due to work reasons, he or she is entitled to carry over the vacation days to the next year. If the carried over days still cannot be taken, the employee is entitled to compensation.
Companies with 50 or more employees are required to provide a holiday allowance. The mandatory amount is 55% of the eligible costs up to a maximum of EUR 275 per calendar year. This allowance can be given in the form of cash or holiday voucher.
Statutory sick leave and pay provisions allow for up to 10 days of employer-paid sick leave:
Zero to three days: paid at 25% of the daily assessment base
Four to 10 days: paid at 55% of the daily assessment base)
From the 11th day until the 52nd week of sickness, sick allowance is paid by the social insurance authorities at 55% of the daily assessment base.
Leave of absence
An employee may take a leave of absence for mandatory medical examinations, for the death of a family member or for performing trade union related duties. The leave of absence is paid only for reasons stipulated by the law.
For mandatory medical examinations, the maximum paid leave of absence is seven days per year but only if the examination or treatment cannot be done during non-working hours.
Compassionate & Bereavement Leave
Employees are entitled to two days’ paid leave following the death of an immediate family member.
Maternity & Parental Leave
An employee is entitled to paid maternity leave of 34 weeks. This is enhanced to 37 weeks if the employee is a single parent or 43 weeks if an employee gives birth to or takes care of two or more children at the same time. During this time, 75% of the worker’s salary during the leave is paid for by the government.
Maternity leave usually begins around six weeks before the expected date of birth but no earlier than eight weeks prior to the childbirth. It must not be shorter than 14 weeks after the birth.
New fathers are entitled to 28 weeks of paid leave from the date of birth of the child. For single fathers, the entitlement is 31 weeks and in the case of two or more newborns, the entitlement is 37 weeks. It is mandatory for the employer to grant fathers a leave of absence of 14 consecutive calendar days, no later than six weeks after the birth of the child.
An employee is entitled to maternity or parental leave until the time the child reaches age 3 (or age 6 if the child has a long-term health condition).
Child care leave
As of 2022, employees who are taking care of a child are entitled to additional leave. The number of entitled days starts from the date they permanently take care of the child and date of written announcement to the employer.
Adoptive and foster parents are entitled to 28 weeks maternity leave. This is enhanced to 31 weeks for single parents and 37 weeks for parents taking care of at least two children.
There are 15 public holidays in Slovakia.
Benefits to the Employee in Slovakia
There is a state pension system provided by the government and funded by mandatory contributions from salary. The compulsory system has two pillars:
- First Pillar: contributions to the state fund through the Social Insurance Agency (‘Socialna Poistovna’)
- Second Pillar: offers ‘Socialna Poistovna’ or private licensed providers (investment funds with varying degrees of risk)
- Third Pillar: voluntary for most sectors except hazardous occupations (e.g. miners) and uses only private providers
If unemployment insurance contributions were made for at least 730 days over the past three years, financial support will be provided for a maximum of six months.
- Meal tickets and meal allowances
- Company cars that can be used for personal reasons
- Premium healthcare
- Additional contribution to old-age pension scheme
- Extra holidays
- Reimbursement of sporting events
- Flexible working hours/work from home
Employers with more than 49 employees must provide employees with recreational vouchers that can be used for payment of vacation costs in Slovakia. This will be available to employees who have worked at least two years continuously for an employer. It covers up to 55% of eligible costs and is capped at EUR 275 per year.
Visas and Foreign Workers
Slovakia does not have any numerical limitations (quotas) either on short-term visas (which are for a maximum of 90 days) or on long-term visas. Foreign nationals (non-EU citizens) who wish to work in Slovakia can only be employed with a work permit (generally limited to two years) or a temporary stay permit for work purposes (the Act on the Residence of Foreigners).
An employment permit for a foreign worker is issued by the Office of Labor, Social Affairs and Family. If an employer would like to hire a foreign worker, the employer must report the job vacancy at least 20 working days. If the employee will be performing seasonal work or has been granted temporary residence, 10 working days are sufficient. This reporting of the vacancy must happen prior to filing an application for an employment permit.
Public Holidays in 2022
|1.||Day of the Establishment of the Slovak Republic||1st January|
|3.||Good Friday||15th April|
|4.||Easter Monday||18th April|
|5.||International Workers’ Day||1st May|
|6.||Day of Victory over Fascism||8th May|
|7.||St. Cyril and Methodius Day||5th July|
|8.||Slovak National Uprising Anniversary||29th August|
|9.||Day of the Constitution of the Slovak Republic||1st September|
|10.||Day of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows||15th September|
|11.||All Saints’ Day||1st November|
|12.||Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day||17th November|
|13.||Christmas Eve||24th December|
|14.||Christmas Day||25th December|
|15.||St. Stephen’s Day||26th December|