Hire in Slovakia
Here’s where you get started with human resources best practices and hiring in Slovakia.
Key Country Facts
Officially the Slovak Republic, Slovakia is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is a high-income economy and has a comprehensive social security system. Citizens are provided with universal health care, free education and one of the longest paid parental leaves in the OECD. Slovakia became an independent state in 1003 after the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia.
Slovakia has a largely mountainous terrain and covers a total of about 49,000 square kilometres. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to the southwest and the Czech Republic to the northwest. Heavily forested mountains cover much 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 the population. Minority ethnic groups include the Hungarians, Czechs, Rusyns, Poles, Ukrainians and the Roma. Folk tradition is strongly rooted in Slovakia, have survived into modern times, and this is evident in its literature, music, dance and architecture.
The Slovak constitution guarantees freedom of religion. ~62% identify themselves as Roman Catholics, 5.9% as Lutherans, 1.8% as Calvinists, 3.8% as Greek Catholics, and 0.9% as Orthodox. 13.4% declare themselves atheists or non-religious, and ~10% did not declare their religion.
The official language is Slovak, 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. Speakers of Slovak in the country use three common and mutually intelligible dialects: eastern, central, and western dialects. Hungarian is the second most widely spoken language, and Rusyn is recognised as a minority language. Most Slovakians also understand Czech.
Slovakia HR at a Glance
The Labour Code defines Slovakia’s Labour Law. Special acts regulate related matters such as minimum wage, collective bargaining, employment via temporary agencies. The government agency responsible for the enforcement of employment statutes and regulations is the National Labour Inspectorate.
The Central Office of Labour, 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 labour law is not as important in Slovakia as it is in Germany or France. It has neither tradition nor are the trade unions strong enough in a majority of industrial sectors.
It is legally required to have a written contract of employment 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 has to be in Slovak, although additional languages is permitted.
The contract of employment must specify:
- type of work and its main characteristics
- place of work
- start date of employment
- date of salary payment
- working hours
- holiday entitlements
- notice period
If a Collective Bargaining Agreement exists, the wage, date of payment, working hours, holiday entitlement and notice period of 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 2 years. A fixed-term contract must state the duration (start and end date), without which the contract would be deemed to be for an indefinite term. Extending a fixed-term contract is permissible up to 2 times, within a maximum 2 year period, for specific cases such as substitution for employee during statutory leaves (e.g. maternity/parental leave, temporary incapacity to work), work that requires an increase in the workforce for a temporary period of time, work that is dependent on the season.
Temporary assignment of an employee between entities which meet the definition of a parent company and its subsidiary in accordance with the Commercial Code will be possible even without the existence of objective operational reasons on the side of the employer who assigns the employee.
Background checks are permitted only if they are required for the position, e.g. criminal record checks are acceptable for certain job roles (e.g. public service), and medical examination is required for job roles that are physically demanding. Education checks are permitted with 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 and the employee has to oblige.
Employers may request for 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 3 months (or 6 months for senior employees). The probationary period cannot be extended.
The employment relationship can be terminated by either party without cause during the probation period. However, where the termination relates to a pregnant employee, a mother who has a child under 9 months old, or a mother who is breastfeeding, the termination reason must be given and notice of at least 3 days should be provided.
The total time spent working in any 24-hour period must not exceed 8 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 2 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 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.
13th and 14th month bonuses are not mandatory and are paid at the discretion of the employer. 13th/14th month bonuses paid 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 – this can only be used in exceptional circumstances as defined in the Labour Code. The employer must terminate the employment within 2 months from becoming aware of the circumstances leading to immediate termination, and the latest within 1 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 (either by date or by permit being revoked) of residence permit in the case of foreign citizens.
The following situations protect an employee from termination:
- employee is incapable of work due to illness/injury
- employee is carrying out duties during a crisis situation
- pregnant employees or employees on maternity leave
- during voluntary military training/service
- pursuing public office
Other Termination Formalities
Termination that is initiated by the employer (with notice/immediate), must be pre-negotiated with employee representatives, without which the termination will be deemed invalid. Employee representatives are obliged to negotiate termination with notice within 7 working days from the employer’s written request, and within 2 working days for immediate termination.
Notice period depends on the length of employment and the reason for termination.
- Statutory minimum – 1 month
- Length of service 1-5 years – 2 months
- Length of service >5 years – 3 months
Redundancy / Severance Pay
For termination due to redundancy, inadequate ability of the employee, severance varies from one to three months, depending on the duration of employment:
- 2-5 years: 1 month
- 5-10 years: 2 months
- 10-20 years: 3 months
- >20 years: 4 months
For termination by mutual agreement, severance varies:
- at least 2 years: 1 month
- 2-5 years: 2 months
- 5-10 years: 3 months
- 10-20 years: 4 months
- >20 years: 5 months
The employer is obliged to provide the employee a written notice of dismissal. Payment in lieu of notice is not allowed.
Post-Termination Restraints / Restrictive Covenants
Section 83a of the Labour Code regulates post-termination covenants. The employer and 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/detriment. A non-compete clause may be imposed for up to 1 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 subject to tax includes 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.
Salary payment has to be at least once a month on a date no later than specified on the employment contract, into a Slovak (this is recommended) or foreign bank account in the local currency.
Payslips have to be provided 2 days at the latest after the pay date, either in hard copy or electronically.
Employees are entitled to at least 4 weeks’ vacation a year. The holiday entitlement of an employee who reaches the age of 33 years before the end of a given calendar year is at least five weeks. For employees with an employment agreement of less than a calendar year but >60 calendar days, the annual leave should be proportionate to the time worked for the year.
The Labour 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/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 compensaion.
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.
Maximum number of sick leave days is up to 7 days per calendar year.
Statutory sick leave and pay provisions allow for up to 10 days of employer-paid sick leave (ie, 0 to 3 days: paid at 25 percent of the daily assessment base; 4 to 10 days: paid at 55 percent of the daily assessment base) followed by sick allowance paid by the social insurance authorities (55 percent of the daily assessment base, paid from the 11th day until the 52nd week of sickness).
Leave of absence
An employee may take a leave of absence for mandatory medical examinations, death of a family member, 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 7 days per year, but only if the examination/treatment could not have been done during non-working hours.
Compassionate & Bereavement Leave
Employees are entitled to 2 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 (37 weeks if the employee is a single parent, 43 weeks if an employee gives birth to or takes care of 2 or more children at the same time). 75% of the worker’s salary during the leave is paid for by the government.
Maternity leave usually begins around 6 weeks before the expected date of birth but no earlier than 8 weeks prior to the childbirth, and it must not be shorter than 14 weeks after the birth.
Male employees are entitled to take paid leave for the birth of his 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
Implemented in 2022, employees who are taking care of a child are entitled additional leave. The number of days entitled starts from the date they permanently take care of the child and date of written announcement to the employer.
Adoptive/foster parents are entitled to 28 weeks maternity leave (31 weeks for single parents, 37 weeks for parents taking care of at least 2 children).
There are 15 public holidays in Slovakia.
Benefits to the Employee in Slovakia
There is a state pension system provided by the government, funded by mandatory contributions from salary. The compulsory system has 2 pillars.
- 1st Pillar – contributions to the state fund Socialna Poistovna (the Social Insurance Agency)
- 2nd Pillar – offers Socialna Poistovna or private licensed providers (investment funds with varying degrees of risk)
- 3rd Pillar – voluntary for most sectors except hazardous occupations (e.g. miners), only private providers
If unemployment insurance contributions were made for at least 730 days over the past 3 years, financial support will be provided for a maximum of 6 months.
- Meal tickets/meal allowance
- Company cars that can be used for personal reasons
- Premium health car
- Additional contribution to old-age pension scheme
- Extra holiday
- Reimbursement of sporting events
- Flexible working hours/work from home
Employers with >49 employees have to 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 2 years continuously for an employer. (up to 55% of eligible costs, capped at EUR 275/year)
Visas and Foreign Workers
Slovakia does not have any numerical limitations (quotas) either on short-term (for a maximum of 90 days) or on long-term visas. Foreign nationals (non-EU citizens) who wish to work in Slovakia can be employed only with a work permit (generally limited to two years) and 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 Labour, Social Affairs and Family. If an employer would like to hire a foreign worker, the employer is obliged to 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) 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|