ASK AN EXPERT: What can I do legally if I'm not paid for my work in Czechia?

We spoke with an expert in labor law about the legal obligations of your employers, and how to approach salary issues. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 03.04.2023 14:00:00 (updated on 06.06.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

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The Labor Code ensures that you, as an employee, have a right to receive your pay every month. If you don’t, there are legal ways to enforce your rights. While the rights of a freelancer are limited compared to employees, self-employed (contract) workers do have rights. We asked Jiří Melkus of MELKUS KEJLA & PARTNERS what legal recourse you have to get your well-earned money.

for employees

When is your salary due?

Melkus told us that the salary for full-time employees is usually due the month following the month when the employees completed their work.

“For example, your salary for the month of January is due in February, meaning that your employer has until the last day of February to pay your salary for the work you did in January, otherwise the employer will be in default,” says Melkus.

In addition, employees who do not receive their paycheck within 15 days after when their salary was due can instantly resign.

“If your salary was due in February and now it’s now March 16 and your employer still hasn’t paid you, you can resign with immediate effect,” according to Melkus.

One important detail is that the resignation must be submitted in written form – a letter of resignation. Otherwise, from a legal standpoint, the intended resignation would be rendered void.

You are still owed a salary after you quit

After you submit your resignation, you are not only entitled to the salary you haven’t received but also to interest on debt money. And that's not all – according to the Labor Code you should also receive two more monthly salaries as compensation. To sum it up – that is three salaries in total and the interest on the owed money.

When your employer still won't pay

If your employer (or your ex-employer) refuses to fulfill their obligation and ignores your calls and e-mails, you can petition the court. After that, the court should issue a payment order to the employer. In any case, if an employee finds himself in a situation like this, it is advisable to seek help from a lawyer so that their rights are properly taken care of. 

for freelancers

What if you work as an independent contractor?

The options for enforcing your right to receive your payment as a freelancer are limited compared to the employees, but you are still able to protect and enforce your rights. 

First of all, Melkus recommends approaching your client in an amicable manner – by phone call, e-mail, and so on – since there is always a possibility of an administrative error on the client’s side.

Should this approach prove unsuccessful, you will probably have no other choice than to enforce your rights via a lawsuit. Considering the precarious nature of a lawsuit, it may be a good idea to consider getting yourself an attorney to represent you in the proceeding. 

Another important point is that if your client owes you payment, meaning your client has not paid for your work on time, you are entitled to default interest at a statutory or contractual rate.

Furthermore, in addition to this interest that accumulates over time, you are also owed a one-off compensation for recovery costs, which is a fixed sum of EUR 40 EUR (or CZK 1,200). But you can only claim recovery costs if the transaction in question was carried out for business purposes.

“Let’s take an example: Your client is a commercial company. You did the job and issued an invoice with the amount in question due on March 15. It’s March 16 and your client has not paid on time. You are entitled to the debt money, a fixed sum of CZK 1,200 as recovery costs (since the client is a commercial company), and also default interest, which starts accumulating on March 16 and increases over time,” Melkus explains.

If you find yourself in a situation where your client or your employer owes you money, do not hesitate to contact 

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