Czech morning news in brief: top stories for March 19, 2021

Czech video games see a big 2020, Senate rejects food quota draft legislation, and Slavia Prague makes Europa League quarterfinal.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 19.03.2021 09:48:00 (updated on 19.03.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

Senate rejects mandatory quota on Czech food in stores

The Czech Parliament's upper house on Thursday rejected draft legislation to reduce dependency on imports by imposing a quota of locally-produced food including pork, beef, milk, honey, and vegetables to be sold in supermarkets. Members of the Senate voted 75–0 against the bill, under which the percentage of Czech food sold in stores bigger than 400 square meters would be a minimum of 55 percent in 2022 and rise to at least 73 percent in 2028. The lower house of Parliament, which approved the quota in January, can overturn the Senate’s rejection by a simple majority. Those in favor of the bill argue that the coronavirus pandemic has shown the importance of self-sufficiency in food production. The EU has strongly criticized the bill, saying it discriminates against imported products.

Paternity leave to be extended in the Czech Republic

Paternity leave in the Czech Republic will be extended. The changes should take effect no later than August next year, Dana Roučková, deputy minister of labor for legislation, said in a Thursday meeting of the Chamber's Social Committee. The amendments are based on European directives, which the Czech Republic must reflect in its laws. The rules amend the EU directives on work-life balance and on foreseeable working conditions from June 2019. They are intended to ensure a minimum standard in all Member States. According to the work-family balance regulation paid paternity should be extended to ten days and parental leave should be two months non-transferable so that mother and father take turns in care. 

An eighth of Czech employers support four-day work week

A new survey found that 13 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises are considering introducing a four-day working week over the next five years. The research was carried out by the Ipsos research agency for the consulting company Moore CR found that two-thirds of managers in Czech companies perceive the idea of ​​a shorter workweek positively. One-fifth, on the other hand, believe that such a move would be more detrimental to companies. The second part of the survey focused on the general population showed that more than 60 percent of Czechs would like shorter working hours. According to a proposal that has early support in the Chamber of Deputies, a shortened working week would mean a restriction to four working days with the aim of reducing working hours from 40 to 35 hours. In European countries, the model is dominated by a maximum of 40-hour weekly working hours. 

2020 successful year for Czech video game companies

Despite the pandemic, 2020 was successful for Czech creators of animation and computer games. Many companies saw greater interest in their products, had higher sales, and remain optimistic about the future of their industries according to a survey conducted by Creatoola, a platform that connects these industries. At the end of 2020, 19 leading Czech companies in the field of animation and computer games took part in the survey. A total of 70 percent of the surveyed companies state that their situation and sales were better in 2020 than in the previous year, two companies from this group even recorded a significant improvement. Another 15 percent do not perceive any large year-on-year shift, the remaining 15 percent experienced a deterioration, but mostly only a slight one. In the game world, the situation improved for all respondents during 2020; in the field of animation, the range of answers was more varied. Popular Czech video game studios include Hangar 13 (Mafia) and Warhorse Studios (Kingdom Come: Deliverance).

Prague falls 10 spots in ranking of world financial powers

Prague fell 10 positions to 76th place in a ranking of world financial centers, placing behind Warsaw and Bratislava. New York, London, and Shanghai remained in the lead according to a study by the Global Financial Centers Index (GFCI) published by the China Development Institute (CDI) in collaboration with the London-based consulting company Z / Yen Partners. CDI and Z / Yen Partners surveyed 126 financial centers and ranked 114 for the 29th edition of the index. Of the Central European capitals, Warsaw did the best this year in 61st place, Bratislava came in 66th place, but advanced 21 places higher than last year. Budapest fared the worst in 85th place, although it also jumped 16 places ahead. From European cities, in addition to London, Frankfurt am Main, and Zurich also made it among the ten most competitive financial centers. 

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Slavia Prague makes Europa League quarter-final

Slavia Prague has moved into the Europa League quarter-final after a 2–0 away win in the second leg of their tie against Scottish Champions Rangers. The home side had two players sent off in the second half with one incident seeing Slavia goalkeeper Ondřej Kolář injured and replaced by 18-year-old Matyás Vágner, who made his debut in the game. Peter Olayinka and Nicolai Stanciu scored the goals for the Czech league leaders to beat a side managed by former England captain Steve Gerrard. The draw for the last eight of the competition and quarter finals will take place on the afternoon of Friday, March 18. Former European Champions Ajax and Manchester United are among the teams left in the competition alongside Villarreal, Arsenal, Dinamo Zagreb, AS Roma and Granada. The next round will take place next month with the first and second legs on April 8 and 15. Slavia last made the quarter-finals of the competition in 2019 where they lost 5–3 on aggregate to English side Chelsea.

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