2 MOVING TO ANOTHER COUNTRY
2.1 Movement of goods and capital
2.2 Finding accommodation
2.3 Finding school
2.4 Taking a car with you (includes information on driving licences)
2.5 Registration procedures and residence permits
2.6 Checklist for before and after you arrive in a new country
3 WORKING CONDITIONS
3.1 An opening paragraph briefly describing working conditions in Europe
3.2 Recognition of diplomas and qualifications
3.3 Kinds of employment
3.4 Employment contracts
3.5 Special categories
3.8 Working time
3.9 Leave (annual leave, parental leave, etc.)
3.10 Ending employment
3.11 Representation of workers
3.12 Labour disputes – strikes
4.1 Summary of living conditions in Europe
4.2 The political, administrative and legal systems
4.3 Income and taxes
4.4 Costs of living
4.6 The healthcare system
4.7 The educational system
4.8 Cultural and social life
4.9 Private life (birth, marriage, death)
If you are planning to find a job in Slovakia, we recommend that you select the type of work you are interested in. When choosing a suitable occupation, we recommend considering the actual jobs currently available within our labour market, occupations in which there are labour shortages, and your own qualifications and practical skills.
The largest number of vacancies on the Slovak labour market are available, in particular, in the transport, healthcare and warehousing sectors. The Slovak economy is gradually recovering and the demand for workers is increasing too, in particular in the automotive and mechanical engineering industries. The IT sector also offers jobs with the possibility to work from home, the so-called ‘HOME OFFICE’, and there is still interest in the professions of doctors, nurses, medical assistants and carers in Slovakia.
Formal letters of recommendation from former employers and informal references from relatives, acquaintances and friends can also help you to be successful in our labour market. You should choose your job search strategy after considering the above factors. You have the following options:
Today, one of the most common ways that people search for work online in Slovakia is by turning to government and privately-run job sites. Some job sites are multilingual, let you register your CV, and offer to test your job prospects.
Labour, Social Affairs and Family Offices maintain up-to-date job offers at their regional branches. At every Labour Office, EURES advisers are available to help you in your search for employment. If you are unemployed, Labour, Social Affairs and Family Offices can also offer various counselling services.
Job agencies can also help you to find a job. Please note that they may charge administration fees for their services in some situations.
Temporary employment agencies and supported employment agencies are another avenue you can explore when searching for work in Slovakia.
If you come across a job that is suited to you, you should respond as quickly as possible and send your CV and a cover letter using the contact details provided in the job advert. When you prepare these documents, make sure you do the best you can as this is your first contact with your future employer. In the current circumstances, we recommend that you do not hand in CVs personally to employers, but send them via email or post. Most recently, the SLOVENSKO SK portal, which operates in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council, has also been used for sending out CVs and applying for jobs. The coordinated electronic services of SLOVENSKO SK are also available to EU citizens on the basis of coordinated electronic cooperation in the eIDAS system.
One of the best and most effective ways to find work is to contact employers by phoning them.
You will find the following websites particularly helpful when you are actively searching for work or need information about the job market.
1.2 How to apply for a job
The most common way of applying for a job is to submit (send) a cover letter and curriculum vitae (CV). A written job application is your first means of contact with a potential employer. Your application, along with your attached CV, serves as a calling card and personal advertisement, so you should prepare it carefully. Pay attention to the style, quality of expression and spelling. Avoid phrases and statements that are empty or have no meaningful value. Your application should be persuasive. It is meant to create interest in arranging an interview. It should be no longer than one sheet of A4 paper.
Structure of the application
In the header, state your contact details: your first name, surname, title, address, telephone number and email address (provide a formal email address consisting of your name and surname, not an email address such as email@example.com). Under the header, write the name and address of the employer, the place and the date. It is a good idea to state the name of the person in charge of recruitment.
The main body of the application should contain: the position you are applying for, where you heard about the job, why you are applying for that particular position, a summary of your work experience and education, any knowledge and skills that the potential employer could make use of, and when you would be available to start work.
At the end, write a polite sentence expressing interest in an interview. Sign the application by hand.
Don’t forget to attach your consent to the processing of your personal data so that employers can enter your application in their database.
Ján Malý, Hlavná 30, 040 01 Košice, tel.: 090X 123 456, email: jan.maly….
Južná trieda 72
040 01 Košice
Košice, 18 June 2020
Further to the advert you published in Korzár on 17 June 2020, I would like to apply for the position of international trade agent at your company.
After graduating from university, I worked as a sales representative at an international company for two years. I can communicate effectively in English and German, both in writing and speaking. I used both languages frequently in my previous job when communicating with foreign partners. I am able to work well online and utilise standard MS Office applications. My strengths include flexibility, the ability to work in a team, and communication and presentation skills.
I would be delighted to accept an invitation for an interview at a time convenient to you. Thank you in advance for considering my application.
In accordance with Act No 18/2018 on the protection of personal data and amending certain acts and Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation), I hereby give consent to the employer (insert the employer’s official name), registration number: ABC, s.r.o., to manage, process and disclose all of the personal data provided in my personal profile, CV, cover letter and other attached documents related to my job application for the purposes of entry in the jobseekers register and recruitment. I declare that all of the personal data I have provided is true, correct and complete. This consent is voluntary and will remain valid for three years. This consent may be revoked at any time in writing.
The free movement of goods is one of the cornerstones of the European Single Market
The removal of national barriers to the free movement of goods within the EU is one of the principles enshrined in the EU Treaties. From a traditionally protectionist starting point, the countries of the EU have continuously been lifting restrictions to form a ‘common’ or single market. This commitment to create a European trading area without frontiers has led to the creation of more wealth and new jobs, and has globally established the EU as a world trading player alongside the United States and Japan.
Despite Europe’s commitment to breaking down all internal trade barriers, not all sectors of the economy have been harmonised. The European Union decided to regulate at a European level sectors which might impose a higher risk for Europe’s citizens – such as pharmaceuticals or construction products. The majority of products (considered a ‘lower risk’) are subject to the application of the so-called principle of mutual recognition, which means that essentially every product legally manufactured or marketed in one of the Member States can be freely moved and traded within the EU internal market.
Limits to the free movement of goods
The EU Treaty gives Member States the right to set limits to the free movement of goods when there is a specific common interest such as protection of the environment, citizens’ health, or public policy, to name a few. This means for example that if the import of a product is seen by a Member State’s national authorities as a potential threat to public health, public morality or public policy, it can deny or restrict access to its market. Examples of such products are genetically modified food or certain energy drinks.
Even though there are generally no limitations for the purchase of goods in another Member State, as long as they are for personal use, there is a series of European restrictions for specific categories of products, such as alcohol and tobacco.
Free movement of capital
Another essential condition for the functioning of the internal market is the free movement of capital. It is one of the four basic freedoms guaranteed by EU legislation and represents the basis of the integration of European financial markets. Europeans can now manage and invest their money in any EU Member State.
The liberalisation of capital markets has marked a crucial point in the process of economic and monetary integration in the EU. It was the first step towards the establishment of our European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the common currency, the Euro.
The principle of the free movement of capital not only increases the efficiency of financial markets within the Union, it also brings a series of advantages to EU citizens. Individuals can carry out a broad number of financial operations within the EU without major restrictions. For instance, individuals with few restrictions can
- easily open a bank account,
- buy shares
- invest, or
- purchase real estate
in another Member State. EU Companies can invest in, own and manage other European enterprises.
Certain exceptions to this principle apply both within the Member States and with third countries. They are mainly related to taxation, prudential supervision, public policy considerations, money laundering and financial sanctions agreed under the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy.
The European Commission is continuing to work on the completion of the free market for financial services, by implementing new strategies for financial integration in order to make it even easier for citizens and companies to manage their money within the EU.
Many people in Slovakia live in privately-owned houses or flats. In urban areas, privately-owned flats and rented accommodation are the most common type of housing. In smaller towns and villages, people are more likely to live in houses. Accommodation in Slovakia is generally easy to find if you wish to buy a house or flat. Property prices in the capital and in university towns and their suburban areas are higher than in other regions. Regional and local newspapers are a good source of information about available accommodation. There are also private estate agencies, although these charge a fee for their services.
Types of housing:
- property – in personal ownership
- social – housing for disadvantaged groups of citizens
- private rent – renting flats for profit.
Buying a property: The price of property is often calculated on a price-per-square-metre basis. If you do not have enough capital, you may be eligible to apply for a loan to buy a flat or a house, or to build your own house. Banks and financial institutions provide loans to buy property in the form of mortgages.
To avoid unnecessary problems when buying property, you should consult the cadastral offices and the seller.
It is also advisable to involve an expert in the buying process. The expert should have practical experience of the sale and transfer of property rights, and be familiar with sales and other relevant contracts. Such a person might be an experienced estate agent or a solicitor.
The main steps required when buying a property are as follows:
- Verification of the property. First of all, it is essential to verify that the property or flat is not encumbered by any charges and that the seller is indeed the sole owner of the flat. If relevant, also check whether the co-sellers are actually the co-owners of the flat. You can obtain this information from the deed of title at the relevant land registry (cadastral) office.
- Preparing documents. If everything is in order, prepare all the necessary documentation for the conveyance of the property. The most important document is the purchase agreement.
Renting a property: There is also the option of renting, if you do not wish to buy a flat or house. Renting a house is not common practice; it is much more common to rent a flat. There are relatively good rental opportunities. It is possible to do so in any town in Slovakia. Information on renting can be found in the advertising sections of newspapers, on the internet, or directly from estate agencies, which can be found in every town. Please note, however, that estate agents charge a commission for their services. This type of accommodation is relatively expensive. Renting is most expensive in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, while in smaller towns the prices are more affordable but the range of accommodation is more limited than in the capital. In addition to rent, tenants are usually required to pay for utilities themselves, which means that the monthly cost of renting, especially in some towns, may effectively be doubled. Rent is normally paid monthly. A deposit of several months’ rent is usually required. It is standard procedure to sign a tenancy agreement.
Education at nursery schools, primary schools, secondary schools, primary art schools, language schools, schools for children and students with special educational needs, and school facilities is provided in accordance with Act No 245/2008 on instruction and education (the School Act) and amending certain acts, as amended. Education at universities takes place in accordance with Act No 131/2002 The Act on Universities and on amendments to certain acts.
The Education section of the Ministry of Education website provides up-to-date information on preschool education, primary education, secondary education, higher education, national education, lifelong learning, the youth, special and inclusive education, education in primary art schools, language schools, private and ecclesiastical schools and other areas of education.
A list of nursery schools, primary schools and primary art schools can be found on the websites of each city. A list of universities and other higher-education institutions can be found in the ‘Universities’ section of the Ministry of Education website.
In larger towns, you may also obtain information from municipal information centres.
The implementation of the principle of free movement of people, is one of the cornerstones of our European construction, has meant the introduction a series of practical rules to ensure that citizens can travel freely and easily to any Member State of the European Union. Travelling across the EU with one’s car has become a lot less problematic. The European Commission has set a series of common regulations governing the mutual recognition of driving licences, the validity of car insurance, and the possibility of registering your car in a host country.
Your driving licence in the EU
The EU has introduced a harmonised licence model and further minimum requirements for obtaining a licence. This should help to keep unsafe drivers off Europe’s roads – wherever they take their driving test.
Since 19 January 2013, all driving licences issued by EU countries have the same look and feel. The licences are printed on a piece of plastic that has the size and shape of a credit card.
Harmonised administrative validity periods for the driving licence document have been introduced which are between 10 and 15 years for motorcycles and passenger cars. This enables the authorities to regularly update the driving licence document with new security features that will make it harder to forge or tamper - so unqualified or banned drivers will find it harder to fool the authorities, in their own country or elsewhere in the EU.
The new European driving licence is also protecting vulnerable road users by introducing progressive access for motorbikes and other powered two-wheelers. The “progressive access” system means that riders will need experience with a less powerful bike before they go on to bigger machines. Mopeds will also constitute a separate category called AM.
You must apply for a licence in the country where you usually or regularly live. As a general rule, it is the country where you live for at least 185 days each calendar year because of personal or work-related ties.
If you have personal/work-related ties in 2 or more EU countries, your place of usual residence is the place where you have personal ties, as long as you go back regularly. You don’t need to meet this last condition if you are living in an EU country to carry out a task for a fixed period of time.
If you move to another EU country to go to college or university, your place of usual residence doesn’t change. However, you can apply for a driving licence in your host country if you can prove you have been studying there for at least 6 months.
Registering your car in the host country
If you move permanently to another EU country and take your car with you, you should register your car and pay car-related taxes in your new country.
There are no common EU rules on vehicle registration and related taxes. Some countries have tax-exemption rules for vehicle registration when moving with the car from one country to another permanently.
To benefit from a tax exemption, you must check the applicable deadlines and conditions in the country you wish to move to.
Check the exact rules and deadlines with the national authorities: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/vehicles/registration/registration-abroad/index_en.htm
EU citizens can insure their car in any EU country, as long as the chosen insurance company is licensed by the host national authority to issue the relevant insurance policies. A company based in another Member State is entitled sell a policy for compulsory civil liability only if certain conditions are met. Insurance will be valid throughout the Union, no matter where the accident takes place.
Value Added Tax or VAT on motor vehicles is ordinarily paid in the country where the car is purchased, although under certain conditions, VAT is paid in the country of destination.
More information on the rules which apply when a vehicle is acquired in one EU Member State and is intended to be registered in another EU Member State is available on this link https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/vehicles/registration/taxes-abroad/index_en.htm.
EU/EEA citizens only require a valid travel document (a passport or identity card) to enter Slovakia. Conditions governing foreign nationals’ entry into Slovakia and their residence here are governed by Act No 404/2011 on the residence of foreign nationals and amending certain acts, effective from 1 January 2012.
EU/EEA and Swiss citizens may stay in Slovakia for longer than three months if they:
- are employed in Slovakia
- are self-employed in Slovakia
- are studying at a primary or secondary school or at a higher education institution in Slovakia
- have sufficient funds to cover their stay and that of their family members, and they have health insurance in Slovakia
- are likely to become employed
- are a family member of an EU/EEA citizen whom they have accompanied here and who fulfils the conditions listed above.
Reporting of residence
Within 10 business days of entering Slovakia, EU/EEA citizens are required to report their arrival date and place of residence here to the Immigration Police Department, unless this is done for them by the provider of their accommodation (their hotel). The relevant police department in their town of residence will require proof of address and/or the name and personal identification number of the person with whom they are staying.
Registration of residence in Slovakia
EU/EEA citizens staying in Slovakia for longer than three months must apply for their stay to be registered no later than 30 days after their first three months in the country have elapsed. There is an official form that needs to be filled in by those applying to be registered as residents free of charge. Applicants submit these forms, together with a valid identity card or travel document and documentation proving any of the facts listed above (an employment contract, a trade licence, a letter of confirmation from a school, a bank statement, etc.), in person at the Immigration Police Department.
On receipt of a complete application, the police department issues – on the same day – confirmation of the registration of residence of an EU/EEA citizen, stating their first name, surname and address, and the date of registration. If an EU/EEA citizen fails to submit proof of address, the address stated in the confirmation of registration will be considered the municipality where the EU/EEA citizen is going to stay.
EU/EEA citizens may apply for a 5-year residence permit (a plastic card) in person at their local Immigration Police Department in Slovakia. An EU/EEA citizen is required to submit a valid travel document or identity card, 2 photographs (3 x 3.5 cm) and evidence of accommodation with the residence permit application.
The right of permanent residence for EU citizens
EU/EEA citizens have the right of permanent residence once they have resided legally in Slovakia for a continuous period of 5 years. In certain cases it is possible to apply for permanent residence before the five-year period has elapsed.
The right of residence or the right of permanent residence for an EU/EEA citizen ceases to exist if:
- the person notifies the police department in writing that they are terminating their residence;
- he/she has been expelled from the country;
- the respective police department has deprived him/her of the right of residence or permanent residence;
- he/she has died or has been declared dead;
- has acquired national citizenship of the SR.
In view of the epidemiological situation, find out about the pandemic measures and the situation at the borders in advance. Before arriving in a new country, the following formalities need to be taken into account:
- arrange accommodation (at least temporary accommodation);
- bring sufficient funds to live on until you receive your first pay cheque;
- find out what permits (related to residence and work) you need in Slovakia;
- if you have decided to work in another country, you should secure an employment contract before you arrive; you should check the working conditions, the wage amount, the wage payment method, requirements for the payment of compulsory contributions, the place of work, the type of work, the duration of your employment, etc.;
- find out whether it is necessary to have your qualifications recognised in the country where you want to work.
- Required documents:
- a valid passport / identity card;
- a driving licence;
- European Health Insurance Card;
- U1a U2 forms or other U forms that may be relevant to your situation;
- documents concerning your completed education and work experience (preferably with a certified Slovak translation);
- a CV in Slovak;
- several passport photos;
- general knowledge about your new country of residence.
Promptly after your arrival in Slovakia:
- if you are an EU citizen, notify the local police station of the arrival date, place and expected duration of your stay within 10 business days (if you are staying in a hotel, hostel or similar facility, this must be done by the accommodation provider); third-country nationals must do this within 3 days;
- if you plan to stay in Slovakia permanently, register your permanent residence at the local police station; for this, you will need a travel document and a document confirming where you are staying;
- ask the police station to issue a permanent residency card;
- if you are unemployed and you want to look for work, register with your local Office for Labour, Social Affairs and the Family (this is not compulsory);
- if you wish to transfer your unemployment benefits, register with your local Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family within 7 days of your arrival, fill in a U2 form and submit it to the local branch of the Social Insurance Agency.
Quality of work and employment – a vital issue, with a strong economic and humanitarian impact
Good working conditions are important for the well-being of European workers. They
- contribute to the physical and psychological welfare of Europeans, and
- contribute to the economic performance of the EU.
From a humanitarian point of view, the quality of working environment has a strong influence on the overall work and life satisfaction of European workers.
From an economic point of view, high-quality job conditions are a driving force of economic growth and a foundation for the competitive position of the European Union. A high level of work satisfaction is an important factor for achieving high productivity of the EU economy.
It is therefore a core issue for the European Union to promote the creation and maintenance of a sustainable and pleasant working environment – one that promotes health and well-being of European employees and creates a good balance between work and non-work time.
Improving working conditions in Europe: an important objective for the European Union.
Ensuring favourable working conditions for European citizens is a priority for the EU. The European Union is therefore working together with national governments to ensure a pleasant and secure workplace environment. Support to Member States is provided through:
- the exchange of experience between different countries and common actions
- the establishment of the minimum requirements on working conditions and health and safety at work, to be applied all over the European Union
Criteria for quality of work and employment
In order to achieve sustainable working conditions, it is important to determine the main characteristics of a favourable working environment and thus the criteria for the quality of working conditions.
The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) in Dublin, is an EU agency that provides information, advice and expertise on, as the name implies, living and working conditions. This agency has established several criteria for job and employment quality, which include:
- health and well-being at the workplace – this is a vital criteria, since good working conditions suppose the prevention of health problems at the work place, decreasing the exposure to risk and improving work organisation
- reconciliation of working and non-working life – citizens should be given the chance to find a balance between the time spent at work and at leisure
- skills development – a quality job is one that gives possibilities for training, improvement and career opportunities
The work of Eurofound shall contribute to the planning and design of better living and working conditions in Europe.
Health and safety at work
The European Commission has undertaken a wide scope of activities to promote a healthy working environment in the EU Member States. Amongst others, it developed a Community Strategy for Health and Safety at Work for the period 2002-2006. This strategy was set up with the help of national authorities, social partners and NGOs. It focuses on the promotion of international cooperation and the necessity of a strong culture of prevention. A new strategy for the period 2007-2012 is underway.
The Community policy on health and safety at work aims at a long-lasting improvement of well-being of EU workers. It takes into account the physical, moral and social dimensions of working conditions, as well as the new challenges brought up by the enlargement of the European Union towards countries from Central and Eastern Europe. The introduction of EU standards for health and safety at the workplace, has contributed a lot to the improvement of the situation of workers in these countries.
Improving working conditions by setting minimum requirements common to all EU countries
Improving living and working conditions in the EU Member States depends largely on the establishment of common labour standards. EU labour laws and regulations have set the minimum requirements for a sustainable working environment and are now applied in all Member States. The improvement of these standards has strengthened workers’ rights and is one of the main achievements of the EU’s social policy.
The importance of transparency and mutual recognition of diplomas as a crucial complement to the free movement of workers
The possibility of obtaining recognition of one’s qualifications and competences can play a vital role in the decision to take up work in another EU country. It is therefore necessary to develop a European system that will guarantee the mutual acceptance of professional competences in different Member States. Only such a system will ensure that a lack of recognition of professional qualifications will become an obstacle to workers’ mobility within the EU.
Main principles for the recognition of professional qualifications in the EU
As a basic principle, any EU citizen should be able to freely practice their profession in any Member State. Unfortunately the practical implementation of this principle is often hindered by national requirements for access to certain professions in the host country.
For the purpose of overcoming these differences, the EU has set up a system for the recognition of professional qualifications. Within the terms of this system, a distinction is made between regulated professions (professions for which certain qualifications are legally required) and professions that are not legally regulated in the host Member State.
Steps towards a transparency of qualifications in Europe
The European Union has taken important steps towards the objective of achieving transparency of qualifications in Europe:
- An increased co-operation in vocational education and training, with the intention to combine all instruments for transparency of certificates and diplomas, in one single, user-friendly tool. This includes, for example, the European CV or Europass Trainings.
- The development of concrete actions in the field of recognition and quality in vocational education and training.
Going beyond the differences in education and training systems throughout the EU
Education and training systems in the EU Member States still show substantial differences. The last enlargements of the EU, with different educational traditions, have further increased this diversity. This calls for a need to set up common rules to guarantee recognition of competences.
In order to overcome this diversity of national qualification standards, educational methods and training structures, the European Commission has put forward a series of instruments, aimed at ensuring better transparency and recognition of qualifications both for academic and professional purposes.
- The European Qualifications Framework
The European Qualifications Framework is a key priority for the European Commission in the process of recognition of professional competences. The main objective of the framework is to create links between the different national qualification systems and guarantee a smooth transfer and recognition of diplomas.
- The National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARICs)
A network of National Academic Recognition Information Centres was established in 1984 at the initiative of the European Commission. The NARICs provide advice on the academic recognition of periods of study abroad. Located in all EU Member States as well as in the countries of the European Economic Area, NARICs play a vital role the process of recognition of qualifications in the EU.
- The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)
The European Credit Transfer System aims at facilitating the recognition of periods of study abroad. Introduced in 1989, it functions by describing an education programme and attaching credits to its components. It is a key complement to the highly acclaimed student mobility programme Erasmus.
Europass is an instrument for ensuring the transparency of professional skills. It is composed of five standardised documents
- a CV (Curriculum Vitae),
- a language passport,
- certificate supplements,
- diploma supplements, and
- a Europass-Mobility document.
The Europass system makes skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in the different parts of Europe. In every country of the European Union and the European Economic Area, national Europass centres have been established as the primary contact points for people seeking for information about the Europass system.
The majority of employment contracts in Slovakia are permanent.
Employment is of indefinite duration, unless the employment contract expressly specifies the duration or if the employment contract or an amendment to it does not fulfil the statutory requirements for fixed-term employment. Employment is also of indefinite duration unless an agreement concerning a fixed-term basis is drawn up in writing.
Fixed-term employment may be agreed for a maximum of 2 years. Fixed-term employment may be extended or renewed for a two-year period no more than twice.
Employment beginning less than 6 months after the end of any previous fixed-term employment between the same parties is treated as the renewal of that fixed-term employment.
The further extension or renewal of employment for a fixed period of up to or more than 2 years is possible only on the following grounds:
- for covering an employee during maternity leave, parental leave, leave immediately following maternity leave or parental leave, temporary incapacity to work, or an employee seconded long-term to perform a public function or trade union function;
- for work where it is necessary to significantly increase the number of employees for a transitional period not exceeding 8 months per calendar year;
- for work that is linked to certain seasons, is repeated every year, and does not exceed 8 months in any calendar year (seasonal work);
- for work covered by a collective agreement.
The reason for extending or renewing employment is stated in the employment contract.
Further extension or renewal of the employment relationship for a fixed period of up to two years – or over three years for a university lecturer or creative employee in science, research and development – is also possible if there is an objective reason based on the nature of the work of the university lecturer or creative employee in science, research and development, specified by separate legislation.
An employment relationship with a shorter working time
In the employment contract, the employer may agree working hours shorter than the designated working week with the employee. The employer may agree with the employee to change the established weekly working hours to shorter working hours or to change a shorter working week to the established weekly working hours.
The shorter working time need not be spread over all working days.
An employee in an employment relationship with a shorter working time will receive wages corresponding to the agreed shorter working time.
An employee employed for a shorter working time may not be favoured or disadvantaged in comparison with other employees.
A job-sharing post is one in which employees in an employment relationship with shorter working time allocate among themselves the working hours and workload attributed to that post.
Working from home and teleworking
Where work that could be carried out at the employer’s place of work is carried out on a regular basis within a fixed weekly working time, or part thereof, from the employee’s household, it is work from home or teleworking if the work is carried out using information technology that regularly involves remote electronic data transmission.
Work done by the employee on an occasional basis or in exceptional circumstances, with the employer’s consent or following agreement with the employer, at home or at a place other than that of the usual place of work, cannot be deemed to constitute working from home or teleworking, subject to the condition that the type of work that the employee does under the employment contract allows this.
The employer’s agreement with the employee in the employment contract is required for the performance of work from home or teleworking.
An employee performing work from home or teleworking shall not be favoured or restricted in comparison with a comparable employee with the place of work at the employer’s place of work.
Employees doing religious work
Provisions on working time and on collective labour-law relations do not apply to the labour-law relations for employees of churches and religious communities who do religious work.
An employment contract with a student of a secondary vocational college or a secondary apprenticeship school
An employer may conclude an agreement on a future employment contract with a student of a secondary vocational college or a student of a secondary apprenticeship school, no earlier than the date on which the student reaches 15 years of age. The agreement can be a commitment by the employer to accept the student into an employment relationship after the final examination, baccalaureate-level exam or graduation test, and a commitment by the student to become an employee of the employer. In this case, no probation period may be agreed. The type of work agreed must correspond to the qualifications obtained by the student upon completion of the field of training or study. The agreement on the future employment contract must be concluded with the consent of the student’s legal guardian, otherwise it is invalid.
An agreement on a future employment contract must include a commitment by the student of the secondary vocational school or secondary apprenticeship school to remain, on completion of their final exams, in the employment of the employer for a fixed term of not more than three years. Otherwise the employer may demand that the student reimburse the costs incurred in training them in the relevant field of study.
Agreements on work performed outside an employment relationship (independent contractor agreements)
In exceptional cases, in order to get their tasks performed or meet their needs and requirements, employers may enter into independent contractor agreements (examples of which are known under Slovak law as an ‘agreement on the performance of work’ or an ‘agreement on casual student labour’) if the work is defined by the result it achieves (an ‘agreement on the performance of work’) or if it concerns occasional activity defined by the type of work (an ‘agreement on work activity’ or an ‘agreement on casual student labour’).
Seasonal work for the purposes of a work-related agreement for the performance of seasonal work is a work activity which is dependent on the rotation of the seasons, is repeated each year and does not exceed eight months in a calendar year, in agriculture during cultivation, harvesting, sorting and storage, in tourism, in the food sector in the processing of agricultural products, and in forestry.
Prior to concluding an employment contract, the employer is required to inform the individual of their rights and obligations arising from the employment contract, and the working and remuneration conditions. An employment relationship is based on a written employment contract between the employer and the employee. Employment is established as of the date agreed in the employment contract as the work start date. The employment contract must be concluded on the basis of the Labour Code. The employer is required to issue one written copy of the employment contract to the employee. In the employment contract, the employer is required to agree with the employee on essential particulars, such as: the type of work for which the employee has been recruited, a brief job description, the place of work (the municipality, part of municipality or other specified place), the work start date and wage conditions, unless already agreed in the collective agreement. In the employment contract, the employer must also state other working conditions, including paydays, working hours, holiday allowance and notice period. The employment contract may also specify conditions that the parties wish to include, in particular bonuses or benefits in kind. A valid employment contract must be concluded no later than the start of employment (first day of work).
If work is to be carried out in another country and the duration of employment abroad exceeds one month, the length of the work abroad, currency of the salary or relevant part of the salary, other monetary benefits or benefits in kind related to the work abroad, and any terms and conditions concerning the return of the employee from abroad are specified by the employer in the employment contract.
The employment contract may specify a probation period, which may not be more than 3 months, and in the case of a manager directly reporting to the statutory body or a member of the statutory body, and a manager directly reporting to such a manager, the probation period is a maximum of 6 months. A probation period may not be extended. The probation period will be extended for the duration of any time that the employee is unable to work. The probation period must be agreed on in writing, otherwise it is invalid. It is not possible to agree a probation period when renewing a fixed-term employment contract.
Amendments to an employment contract
The agreed content of an employment contract may be amended only if the employer and employee agree on the changes. Any amendment to an employment contract must be made in writing by the employer.
Employment of women
Women are entitled to the same treatment as men regarding access to employment, remuneration, promotion, professional training and working conditions. Employment and labour relations are generally governed by the Labour Code, unless international regulations specify otherwise. Employers may not dismiss female employees during a protected period or during pregnancy, maternity leave or parental leave, or where a single-parent female employee is caring for a child under three years of age. The list of work forbidden to pregnant women and women after giving birth is regulated by Government Decree No. 272/2004. The employer is required temporarily to adjust working conditions in order to exclude any harmful factors. Any employer assigning employees to respective shifts is required to take the needs of pregnant women into account.
Employment of adolescents
An adolescent employee is an employee who is less than 18 years old. An employer may only employ a natural person who has reached the age of 15 and completed compulsory education. The exception is certain light work. This is work during involvement or cooperation in cultural performances and artistic performances, sporting events or advertising activities.
An adolescent employee under the age of 16 has a maximum working time of 30 hours per week. An adolescent employee aged 16 or above has a maximum working time of 37.5 hours per week. This condition applies even if they work for more than one employer. The Labour Code also prohibits adolescent employees from working overtime, working at night, and carrying out types of work prohibited for adolescent employees.
Employment of persons with a disability
Under Act No 5/2004 on employment services and the amendment of certain acts (as amended), a citizen with a disability is a person recognised as disabled in accordance with a special rule. A person with a disability proves their disability and the percentage reduction in their capacity for gainful employment due to a physical, mental or behavioural disorder, by means of a decision or notification from the Social Insurance Agency or an assessment by a Social Security Unit, in accordance with a special rule.
Persons with a disability may find work directly with employers who are required by law to employ a certain percentage of employees with a disability, or to provide financial contributions for such purpose. They may find work through supported employment agencies or in sheltered workshops or workplaces. These bodies also assist employees (who are temporarily unable to do their current jobs for health reasons) with opportunities to learn new occupational skills. Government subsidies are available to help establish and run a sheltered workshop or workplace.
Pursuant to Section 158 of the Labour Code, the employer is required to:
employ a disabled employee in appropriate job positions and provide them with training or education in order to achieve any necessary qualifications, and take care of their career development; create conditions for job opportunities for disabled employees; improve workplace facilities so that disabled employees can achieve the same work results as other employees, if possible, and to facilitate their work as much as possible.
Self-employment is governed by Act No 455/1991 on trade licensing. Trades are a systematic activity that traders carry on independently, on their own account, under their own responsibility, and under statutory conditions with a view to making a profit. If you want to start a business, the Central Government Portal and the Ministry of the Interior (the trade licensing section) websites are helpful.
A natural person (sole trader) or a legal entity may carry on a trade if they meet statutory conditions. The general conditions for sole trading by natural persons are that they be aged 18 or over and have legal capacity and integrity. When applying for a trade licence, it is necessary to select the line of business. The Trading Act distinguishes between what are known as vocational, regulated and unqualified trades. The type of trade determines what professional competence is required to carry on that trade.
When notifying a trade, it is necessary to submit the identity card, public health insurance card of the insured person, documents proving professional competence if required, and an extract from the judicial register if a natural person is not a citizen of the Slovak Republic to the single contact point (hereinafter SCP) of the local Trade Licensing Department of the District Authority.
Along with the trade notification, the SCP registers the natural person (sole trader) with their health insurer and the tax authority.
A trade notification may also be submitted electronically by using the electronic services offered by the Central Government Portal. The fee for issuing a trade licence is EUR 5 for each unqualified trade, EUR 15 for each vocational or regulated trade, and EUR 3 for an extract from the Trade Licence Register. The contributions to the Social Insurance Agency that a starting sole trader is required to pay are specified once the trader has filed their first income tax return, and are income-related. . Jobseekers may qualify for a self-employment allowance from the Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family.
In Slovakia the statutory minimum wage is set by law and an implementing government regulation. The amount is based on the average earnings of employees in the previous year and adjusted by a factor indicated in an agreement between representatives of employers’ associations, trade unions and the government. In sectoral collective agreements (known as ‘higher-level collective agreements’) and company collective agreements between employer representatives and employees, a higher minimum wage may be negotiated.
Pay conditions are set out in collective agreements negotiated between the employer and relevant trade union, or directly in the employment contract between the employer and employee. If the remuneration is not set out in a collective agreement, the employee is entitled to be paid a wage in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in the employment contract. As part of these pay conditions, the employer specifies in particular the forms of remuneration for employees, the basic wage component and other components of remuneration for work and the conditions for providing them. The basic wage component is the component provided according to the time worked or performance achieved. The wage must not be less than the minimum wage set by the special rule.
In addition to these entitlements, the Labour Code also guarantees specific financial compensation for overtime, for work on public and national holidays, for work at night, or for work in conditions harmful to health, as classified by an independent authority for health protection. Such compensation is provided in the form of a wage supplement. When wages are paid, the employer is required to issue the employee with a written statement itemising the wage components, the deductions and the total cost of the work. The document shall be provided in paper form, unless the employer agrees with the employee that it be provided by electronic means. The total cost of work comprises the wage and related allowances (including compensation for being on standby to work) and, in particular, contributions to cover health insurance, sickness insurance, pension insurance, disability insurance, unemployment insurance, guarantee insurance, accident insurance, solidarity reserve fund and any pension fund contributions that the employer pays. At the employee’s request, the employer is required to provide access to the documentation used to calculate the wage.
The employer deducts tax monthly on behalf of employees. Income tax rates: 19% of that part of the tax basis not exceeding EUR 41 445.46 per year (i.e. 176.8 times the current subsistence level) and 25% of that part of the tax basis exceeding EUR 41 445.46 per year. When the calendar year has ended, employees are required to settle their income tax bill. They must either ask their employer to create an annual tax assessment for them (annual assessment of tax advances from the income of a natural person from dependent activity) or must submit a tax declaration on their own.
The employer is required to deduct employee insurance contributions from an employee’s wages. Employers make the following deductions from employees’ wages as a matter of priority: social security contributions, public health insurance contributions, arrears arising from the annual assessment of public health insurance contributions, contributions to pension plans paid by employees under special legislation, advance tax payments, arrears of advance tax payments, outstanding tax balances, arrears of advance tax payments and taxes incurred through the fault of the taxpayer, including penalties, and any arrears arising from the annual assessment of advances on employment-related income tax. Wages are payable monthly in arrears. They are paid by the end of the following calendar month, unless agreed otherwise in the collective agreement or employment contract. The wage is paid on the pay day agreed in the employment contract or in the collective agreement. Employers pay wages to employees’ bank accounts so that the amount can be credited to the account on the specified pay day. Employers may provide advance wage payments on agreed dates in between pay days.
The statutory working week in Slovakia may not exceed 40 hours. Depending on the type of work, normal working hours may range from 37.5 to 40 hours a week. Employees normally work 5 days a week. The work break, of 30 minutes, is generally not included in working hours and employees are entitled to it if the work shift is longer than 6 hours. A different arrangement of weekly working hours may be set out in a collective agreement or employment contract. The Labour Code also provides for a minimum uninterrupted daily rest period of 12 hours in a 24-hour day, uninterrupted rest of 2 consecutive days per week, work on weekends and public holidays, work at night, and overtime. It is not the norm to work overtime and, if there is overtime, employees are entitled to additional compensation on top of their normal wage. However, if the employer and employee have agreed that the employee will take time off as recompense (time in lieu) for working overtime, the employee is not also entitled to wage compensation. The average weekly work time, including overtime, must not exceed 48 hours. There are also specific provisions regulating the working hours of adolescents, pregnant women, male or female employees caring for children and employees with reduced working capacity.
Employees in Slovakia are entitled to the following types of leave:
Annual leave – you are entitled to claim annual leave from your employer after working at least 60 days in a calendar year. If you do not work for the whole year (but at least 60 days) for your employer, you are entitled to pro rata annual leave.
The pro rata portion for each calendar month is calculated as 1/12th of the annual leave.
The Labour Code clearly stipulates that the basic annual leave allowance is a minimum of four weeks. Leave is a minimum of five weeks for employees who are at least 33 years old by the end of the current calendar year or who have a child in their permanent care. Teaching and professional staff, as defined in special legislation, university teachers, research and artistic staff of public or state universities and staff with at least a second-degree university education who carry out research, teaching, scientific or development activities are entitled to more annual leave than the basic annual leave allowance, namely annual leave of at least 8 weeks.
Annual leave for employees on flexitime arrangements – one day’s leave is considered to be the time corresponding to the average working time per day, which is derived from the employee’s stipulated weekly working hours and assumes a five-day week.
Leave for days worked – if your job at a particular employer lasts for fewer than 60 days before the end of the year, you are entitled to leave for days actually worked at a rate of one twelfth of annual leave for every 21 days worked during the current calendar year.
Supplementary leave – granted when the work is classified as particularly demanding or harmful to health. Legislation designates the workplaces or areas where this type of work is carried out. Employees who do such work for the entire calendar year are entitled to one week’s additional leave. If employees under these conditions work only part of a calendar year, they are entitled to pro rata leave, one twelfth of the supplementary leave for each 21 days worked. Additional leave must be taken, and it has priority over other leave; it is not possible to provide wage compensation for untaken leave.
Curtailment of leave – for any employees who have worked for at least 60 days in the calendar year, the employer may curtail by one twelfth the leave for the first 100 missed working days, and by a further twelfth for every additional 21 missed working days, if the employee did not work for reasons stipulated by the Labour Code (Section 109). The leave entitlement for the relevant calendar year may be curtailed only for reasons arising in that year.
For each shift (working day) missed without authorisation, the employer may curtail the employee’s leave by one or two days. Unauthorised absences for shorter parts of individual shifts are aggregated.
Maternity leave – lasting 34 weeks, (37 weeks for a single mother or 43 weeks if the mother gave birth to two or more children at once). As a rule, a woman takes maternity leave from the beginning of the sixth week before the expected date of the birth, but no earlier than the eighth week.
Paternity leave – in connection with care for a newborn, a man is entitled to 28 weeks of leave, a single man to 31 weeks of leave, and when caring for 2 or more newborns, to 37 weeks of leave.
Parental leave – employees may request parental leave from their employer in order to spend more time looking after their children. Employers must grant such a request. Parental leave is provided for as long as the parent requests it (as a rule for at least one month) until the child reaches three years of age. In the case of a long-term adverse health status of a child requiring special care, the employer is obliged to grant women and men, who request it, parental leave up to 6 years of the child’s age.
Paid leave to obtain more qualifications – this leave may be provided by the employer with pay amounting to the employee’s average earnings, especially if the qualifications to be obtained by the employee are relevant to the employer’s needs. ‘Obtaining more qualifications’ is also taken to mean the acquisition of new qualifications or an extension to existing qualifications.
Paid leave may also be granted for the following reasons:
- examination or treatment of an employee at a medical facility (maximum 7 days per calendar year);
- escorting a family member to a medical facility (maximum 7 days per calendar year), accompanying a disabled child to a social care institution or special school (maximum 10 days per calendar year);
- the birth of an employee’s child;
- the death of a family member;
- the employee’s own wedding;
- other serious reasons.
National and public holidays – days of continuous rest for employees during the week or on public holidays. Employees may be ordered to work on such days only in exceptional cases and after consultation with employee representatives.
On 1 January, 6 January, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, 1 May, 8 May, 5 July, 29 August, 1 September, 15 September, 1 November, 17 November, 24 December after midday, and 25 and 26 December, employees may not be ordered to do work – nor may agreement be reached with them to do work – involving the sale of goods to final consumers, including any associated work, i.e. retail sales. Exempted from this rule are sales:
- of fuel and lubricants at petrol stations;
- and the dispensing of medicines at pharmacies;
- at airports, ports, other public transport facilities, and hospitals;
- of travel tickets;
- of souvenirs;
- of flowers on 8 5, 1 September and the sale of flowers and decorative items for graves on 1 November
National holidays: 1 January, 5 July, 29 August, 1 September, 28 October (not a non-working day), 17 November.
Public holidays (other than Sundays): 6 January, Good Friday, Easter Monday, 1 May, 8 May, 15 September, 1 November, 24 December, 25 December, 26 December
The employer must pay a wage to the employee for national and public holidays.
Employment may be terminated by:
- notice of termination;
- immediate dismissal;
- notice of termination during a probation period.
Any agreement to terminate an employment relationship between an employer and employee must be made in writing. Fixed-term employment ends when the agreed period expires. Either the employer or the employee may terminate the employment relationship by serving notice of termination, in writing and duly delivered, otherwise it is invalid. The notice period is at least 1 month. The Labour Code governs cases where the notice period may be longer.
An employer may immediately terminate an employment relationship by dismissing an employee in exceptional circumstances only, for example where the employee has been convicted of committing a criminal offence or has seriously breached work discipline. Employees need not cite reasons for ending their employment when they hand in their notice to their employer. Employees may immediately terminate their employment if a medical report states that they are unable to continue working without serious risk to their health and the employer fails to transfer them to more suitable work within 15 days of receiving that report, or if the employer fails to pay their wages, wage compensation, travel expenses, compensation for work standby, sick pay, or any part thereof, within 15 days of the due date for payment, or if their health or life is in immediate danger.
Fixed-term employment ends when the agreed period expires.
Unless already terminated in another way, the employment relationship of a foreign national or a stateless person is terminated on the day:
- on which the person’s right to reside in Slovakia is to end according to an enforceable decision to cancel the person’s residence permit;
- on which a ruling for the deportation of the person concerned from Slovakia enters into force;
- on which the person’s permit for residence in the Slovak Republic expires;
- on which the period for which the work permit was granted expires;
- on which the work permit was revoked.
Employment lapses upon the death of the employee.
The following retirement options exist in connection with the termination of employment:
- old-age retirement;
- early retirement;
- disability retirement.
The old-age pension is the most frequently granted pension. Insured persons are entitled to this pension if they have had pension insurance for at least 15 years and have reached retirement age. The retirement age is set within the range of 53 to 64 years of age of the insured person. The exact retirement age depends on the insured person’s year of birth, gender and the number of children raised. The Social Insurance Agency provides indicative calculations of the retirement age to anyone interested.
An early retirement pension is a pension benefit granted to a citizen who decides to retire early if he or she has pension insurance for at least 15 years, has no more than two years left until retirement age, or has obtained at least 40 years of service, and the amount of the early retirement pension on the date on which he or she applies for it is higher than 1.6 times the minimum subsistence level for one adult natural person under a special regulation; as of 1 July 2022, this amount is EUR 234.42.
A disability pension is a separate type of benefit designed to cover the material needs of those who have become disabled.
At the workplace, employees have the right to express their opinion, directly or indirectly, on matters relating to working conditions and organisation of work. Employee participation in labour relations, its form and the selection of employee representatives is governed by the Labour Code. The development of the relations between the trade union and the employer is governed by the Collective Bargaining Act.
Collective bargaining is the decisive and most important form of establishing and developing legal relations between the trade union and the employer. The objective of collective bargaining is to define working conditions, including:
- wage conditions,
- conditions of employment,
- relations between employers (or their organisations) and employees (or their organisations).
Employees may be represented in negotiations with the employer by:
- the relevant trade union body,
- a works council or an employee trustee,
- a special body of a cooperative elected by the membership meeting,
- the employees’ representative for occupational health and safety.
The conditions negotiated in collective bargaining are applicable to all employees, even though joining a trade union is a voluntary decision for everyone.
The right to strike is a fundamental civil right and liberty. This right is guaranteed not only by the basic legislation of Slovakia, but also by international documents binding on Slovakia.
Among national legal standards, Article 37(4) of the Constitution of the Slovak Republic (Act No 460/1992, as amended), as the fundamental legislative norm, guarantees the right to strike subject to statutory conditions, with the proviso that judges, prosecutors, members of the armed forces, armed corps, fire brigades and rescue services do not have this right. The right to strike is regulated by law only in the event of a dispute concerning the signing of a collective agreement. There are no other instances where a strike is regulated or prohibited by any law.
Collective disputes arise due to a clash of interests between an employer and a trade union body. Under the Collective Bargaining Act, two kinds of collective dispute may arise:
- a dispute regarding the conclusion of a collective agreement,
- a dispute regarding the fulfilment of obligations under a collective agreement.
Disputes between an employer and employee representatives are resolved by mediators and arbitrators.
The parties to a dispute over the conclusion of a collective agreement may seek resolution initially before a mediator. If the parties fail to resolve the dispute, they may agree to request resolution of the dispute by an arbitrator, or:
- the trade union organisation can declare a strike (Section 17 of the Collective Bargaining Act);
- the employer may declare a lockout (Section 27 of the Collective Bargaining Act).
Following any failure to resolve a dispute before a mediator, the parties have the option of requesting resolution of the dispute by an arbitrator; they must, however, agree to this option.
If they opt for resolution of the dispute by an arbitrator, they can agree jointly on who the arbitrator is to be. If they do not agree on a particular person, they may request that the ministry appoint an arbitrator. The ministry will select an arbitrator from the list of arbitrators (Section 10a(8) of the Collective Bargaining Act).
If, following failure to reach a resolution in a dispute before a mediator, the parties to the dispute do not agree to continue resolving the dispute before an arbitrator, the proceedings before an arbitrator cannot begin. A dispute may be resolved only by way of a strike or lockout.
A strike is understood to be a partial or complete interruption of work by employees. An employee who agrees to the strike is considered a strike participant throughout its duration; an employee who joins a strike is considered a participant to it from the day on which they join it. A strike to resolve a dispute over the signing of a collective agreement may be announced and initiated by the competent trade union, if an absolute majority of the employer’s voting employees (whom the collective agreement concerns) vote in favour of it, and provided that an absolute majority of all employees take part in the voting. Employees cannot be prevented from taking part in a strike and may not be forced to take part in a strike.
The right to strike is also guaranteed in Article 27 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms (Constitutional Act No 23/1991).
The term Vocational Education and Training refers to practical activities and courses related to a specific occupation or vocation, aimed at preparing participants for their future careers. Vocational training is an essential means to achieve professional recognition and improve chances to get a job. It is therefore vital that vocational training systems in Europe respond to the needs of citizens and the labour market in order to facilitate access to employment.
Vocational education and training has been an essential part of EU policy since the very establishment of the European Community. It is also a crucial element of the so-called EU Lisbon Strategy, which aims at transforming Europe into the world’s most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based society. In 2002 the European Council reaffirmed this vital role, and established yet another ambitious goal – to make European education and training renowned globally by the year 2010 – by championing a number of world-class initiatives, and in particular by strengthening cooperation in the area of vocational training.
On 24 November 2020, the Council of the European Union adopted a Recommendation on vocational education and training for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience.
The Recommendation defines key principles for ensuring that vocational education and training is agile in that it adapts swiftly to labour market needs and provides quality learning opportunities for young people and adults alike.
It places a strong focus on the increased flexibility of vocational education and training, reinforced opportunities for work-based learning, apprenticeships and improved quality assurance.
The Recommendation also replaces the EQAVET – European Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training – Recommendation and includes an updated EQAVET Framework with quality indicators and descriptors. It repeals the former ECVET Recommendation.
To promote these reforms, the Commission supports Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) which bring together local partners to develop ‘skills ecosystems’. Skills ecosystems will contribute to regional, economic and social development, innovation and smart specialisation strategies.
Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe.
It has an estimated budget of €26.2 billion. This is nearly double the funding compared to its predecessor programme (2014-2020).
The 2021-2027 programme places a strong focus on social inclusion, the green and digital transitions, and promoting young people’s participation in democratic life.
It supports priorities and activities set out in the European Education Area, Digital Education Action Plan and the European Skills Agenda. The programme also
- supports the European Pillar of Social Rights
- implements the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027
- develops the European dimension in sport
Who can take part? Find out here.
Adult Education and Lifelong Learning in Europe
Lifelong learning is a process that involves all forms of education – formal, informal and non-formal – and lasts from the pre-school period until after retirement. It is meant to enable people to develop and maintain key competencies throughout their life as well as to empower citizens to move freely between jobs, regions and countries. Lifelong learning is also a core element of the previously mentioned Lisbon Strategy, as it is crucial for self-development and the raising of competitiveness and employability. The EU has adopted several instruments for the promotion of adult education in Europe.
In order to make lifelong learning a reality in Europe, the European Commission has set itself the objective of creating a European Area of Lifelong Learning. In this context, the Commission focuses on identifying the needs of both learners and the labour market in order to make education more accessible and subsequently create partnerships between public administrations, suppliers of educational services and civil society.
This EU initiative is based on the objective of providing basic skills – by strengthening counselling and information services at a European level, and by recognising all forms of learning, including formal education and informal and non-formal training.
EU organisations promoting vocational education in Europe
With the objective of facilitating cooperation and exchange in the field of vocational training, the EU has set up specialised bodies working in the field of VOCATIONAL TRAINING.
The European Centre for Vocational Training (CEDEFOP / Centre Européen pour le Développement de la Formation Professionnelle) was created in 1975 as a specialised EU agency for the promotion and development of vocational education and training in Europe. Based in Thessaloniki, Greece, it carries out research and analysis on vocational training and disseminates its expertise to various European partners, such as related research institutions, universities or training facilities.
The European Training Foundation was established in 1995 and works in close collaboration with CEDEFOP. Its mission is to support partner countries (from outside the EU) to modernise and develop their systems for vocational training.
Quality of life – on top of the EU social policy agenda
Favourable living conditions depend on a wide range of factors, such as quality healthcare services, education and training opportunities or good transport facilities, just to name a few aspects affecting citizens’ everyday life and work. The European Union has set for itself the aim to constantly improve the quality of life in all its Member States, and to take into account the new challenges of contemporary Europe, such as socially exclude people or an aging population.
Employment in Europe
Improving employment opportunities in Europe is a key priority for the European Commission. With the prospect of tackling the problem of unemployment and increasing the mobility between jobs and regions, a wide variety of initiatives at EU level are being developed and implemented to support the European Employment strategy. These include the European Employment Services network (EURES) and the EU Skills Panorama.
Health and healthcare in the European Union
Health is a cherished value, influencing people’s daily lives and therefore an important priority for all Europeans. A healthy environment is crucial for our individual and professional development, and EU citizens are ever more demanding about health and safety at work and the provision of high quality healthcare services. They require quick and easy access to medical treatment when travelling across the European Union. EU health policies are aimed at responding to these needs.
The European Commission has developed a coordinated approach to health policy, putting into practice a series of initiatives that complement the actions of national public authorities. The Union’s common actions and objectives are included in EU health programmes and strategies.
The current EU4Health Programme (2021-2027) is the EU’s ambitious response to COVID-19. The pandemic has a major impact on patients, medical and healthcare staff, and health systems in Europe. The new EU4Health programme will go beyond crisis response to address healthcare systems’ resilience.
EU4Health, established by Regulation (EU) 2021/522, will provide funding to eligible entities, health organisations and NGOs from EU countries, or non-EU countries associated to the programme.
With EU4Health, the EU will invest €5.3 billion in current prices in actions with an EU added value, complementing EU countries’ policies and pursuing one or several of EU4Health´s objectives:
- To improve and foster health in the Union
- disease prevention & health promotion
- international health initiatives & cooperation
- To tackle cross-border health threats
- prevention, preparedness & response to cross-border health threats
- complementing national stockpiling of essential crisis-relevant products
- establishing a reserve of medical, healthcare & support staff
- To improve medicinal products, medical devices and crisis-relevant products
- making medicinal products, medical devices and crisis-relevant products available and affordable
- To strengthen health systems, their resilience and resource efficiency
- strengthening health data, digital tools & services, digital transformation of healthcare
- improving access to healthcare
- developing and implementing EU health legislation and evidence-based decision making
- integrated work among national health systems
Education in the EU
Education in Europe has both deep roots and great diversity. Already in 1976, education ministers decided to set up an information network to better understand educational policies and systems in the then nine-nation European Community. This reflected the principle that the particular character of an educational system in any one Member State ought to be fully respected, while coordinated interaction between education, training and employment systems should be improved. Eurydice, the information network on education in Europe, was formally launched in 1980.
In 1986, attention turned from information exchanges to student exchanges with the launch of the Erasmus programme, now grown into the Erasmus+programme, often cited as one of the most successful initiatives of the EU.
Transport in the EU
Transport was one of the first common policies of the then European Community. Since 1958, when the Treaty of Rome entered into force, the EU’s transport policy has focused on removing border obstacles between Member States, thereby enabling people and goods to move quickly, efficiently and cheaply.
This principle is closely connected to the EU’s central goal of a dynamic economy and cohesive society. The transport sector generates 10% of EU wealth measured by gross domestic product (GDP), equivalent to about one trillion Euros a year. It also provides more than ten million jobs.
The Schengen area
The Schengen Convention, in effect since March 1995, abolished border controls within the area of the signatory States and created a single external frontier, where checks have to be carried out in accordance with a common set of rules.
Today, the Schengen Area encompasses most EU countries, except for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania. However, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania are currently in the process of joining the Schengen Area and already applying the Schengen acquis to a large extent. Additionally, also the non-EU States Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein have joined the Schengen Area.
The creation of a single European market in air transport has meant lower fares and a wider choice of carriers and services for passengers. The EU has also created a set of rights to ensure air passengers are treated fairly.
As an air passenger, you have certain rights when it comes to information about flights and reservations, damage to baggage, delays and cancellations, denied boarding, compensation in the case of accident or difficulties with package holidays. These rights apply to scheduled and chartered flights, both domestic and international, from an EU airport or to an EU airport from one outside the EU, when operated by an EU airline.
Over the last 25 years the Commission has been very active in proposing restructuring the European rail transport market and in order to strengthen the position of railways vis-à-vis other transport modes. The Commission’s efforts have concentrated on three major areas which are all crucial for developing a strong and competitive rail transport industry:
- opening the rail transport market to competition,
- improving the interoperability and safety of national networks and
- developing rail transport infrastructure.
The Slovak Republic is a parliamentary democracy. The head of state is the president elected for a five-year term by direct general election. The Slovak National Council is the supreme constitutional and law-making body in Slovakia. It is a single-chamber parliament and has 150 deputies. The deputies of the Slovak National Council are elected in general, equal and direct elections by secret ballot for a four-year term. The following political parties are currently represented in parliament: SMER-SD (Direction – Social Democracy), SaS (Freedom and Solidarity), OĽaNO (Ordinary People and Independent Personalities), ĽSNS (People’s Party Our Slovakia), SME Rodina (We are Family), and Za ľudí (For the People). The Government of the Slovak Republic constitutes the executive power. The government is appointed by the president on the basis of parliamentary elections, and its programme must be approved by the parliament. The leader of the strongest coalition party usually becomes the prime minister. The government consists of the prime minister and ministers, four of whom are deputy prime ministers.
The principal legislative act of the state is the Constitution of the Slovak Republic. The Constitution defines the basic organisation of state power and the fundamental principles of the social, political, government and economic system. It also sets out citizens’ fundamental rights and obligations.
The judicial system in Slovakia comprises general courts, the Constitutional Court, and the Prosecutor-General’s Office. General justice is served by independent and impartial courts. Slovakia has a two-instance judicial system. District courts are first-instance courts. Regional courts act as appeal courts. The Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic acts as a court of cassation. As the highest judicial body, the Supreme Court never acts as a court of first instance.
General courts of law make decisions in civil and criminal matters and review the lawfulness of decisions by administrative bodies. Court rulings are made by a tribunal of judges, unless a specific law stipulates that a ruling is to be made by a single judge. The prosecutor’s office is an independent, hierarchically structured uniform system of public authorities headed by the Prosecutor General. In general, the prosecutor’s office examines issues of lawfulness. The police are responsible for public law and order.
As regards the administrative system, Slovakia is divided into eight higher territorial units (self-governing regions) and 79 districts. There are 2 927 municipalities in Slovakia (including 17 districts of Bratislava and 22 districts of Košice) of which 141 have urban status. Municipalities and towns have their own local authority, which is represented by the respective municipal or town councils. A municipality or town is headed by a mayor. Councillors and mayors are directly elected in communal elections for a four-year term. Every municipality and town has a municipal or town authority.
Taxation in Slovakia is regulated by specific statutory provisions. All taxpayers are subject to tax obligations.
Taxes paid in Slovakia:
Direct taxes are imposed on natural and legal persons, and are levied on their income or property.
INCOME TAX of a natural person:
- income from business, from another self-employed activity, from rental and from use of a work and artistic performance
- income from capital assets
- income pursuant to Section 3 and other income pursuant to Section 8 of the Act
Personal and corporate income tax is governed by Act No 595/2003 on income tax, as amended
LOCAL TAXES, which may be imposed by municipalities:
- property tax (tax on land, buildings and housing)
- dog tax
- tax on use of public space
- accommodation tax
- tax on vending machines
- gaming machine tax
- tax on the entry and parking of motor vehicles in historic city centres
- nuclear installation tax
Municipalities also levy local charges for municipal waste and small-scale construction waste.
Local taxes and the charge for municipal waste and small-scale construction waste are governed by Act No 582/2004 on local taxes and the local charge for municipal waste, as amended.
The administration of local taxes is carried out by the municipality concerned.
Indirect taxes are paid by natural persons and legal entities in the prices of goods and services, and are collected and passed on by manufacturers and service providers. Indirect taxes include VAT, excise duties, insurance tax.
VALUE ADDED TAX (VAT) – the basic tax rate for goods and services is 20% of the tax base. A reduced tax rate of 10% of the tax base applies to certain types of goods and services, such as medicines, selected medical supplies, selected types of food, and others. The reduced tax rate of 5% on the tax basis relates to the statutorily defined conditions relating to publicly supported rental housing.
EXCISE DUTIES – from alcoholic beverages, alcohol, electricity, coal and natural gas, mineral oil, tobacco products
Income from employment
An employee is taken to mean a taxpayer who receives income from employment.
Income from employment means income that is paid to the taxpayer, for example, on the basis of an employment contract or an agreement on work performed outside an employment relationship (independent contractor agreement) under the Labour Code, a service relationship, a civil service relationship (by a current or former employer), or a similar relationship (e.g. a ‘mandatory contract’ or contract of mandate) in which the taxpayer, in the performance of work, is required to follow the instructions and orders of the person paying this income – see Act No 595/2003 on income tax, as amended.
The tax basis is taxable income from employment less insurance and other contributions that the employee is obliged to pay, or contributions to the foreign insurance of an employee who is subject to compulsory foreign insurance of the same type.
Calculation and payment of advances
Advances on tax on the taxable pay cleared and paid to employees comprise:
- 19% of that part of the tax base not exceeding 176.8 times the amount of the current subsistence level, inclusive; and
- 25% of that part of taxable income exceeding 176.8 times the current subsistence level.
- These calculated tax advances are reduced by the amount of any tax credit claimed by the taxpayer.
In accordance with the law, a taxpayer who satisfies all the statutory conditions may reduce their tax basis or, where appropriate, their tax liability by applying certain tax advantages, namely: The tax-free allowance for the taxpayer (only from active income)
- The tax-free allowance for a spouse (only from active income)
- Reduction of the tax base by contributions to supplementary pension savings (III pillar)
- Tax bonus for a dependent child
- Employee bonus
- Tax bonus for interest paid
For more information on the conditions for applying tax advantages and bonuses: Act No 595/2003, as amended, or the website of the Financial Administration of the Slovak Republic.
Annual tax settlement
An employee with several employers may, not later than 15 February of the year following the end of the tax period, request any of those to draw up an annual statement of the aggregate amount of the taxable wages from all those employers who are taxpayers. The employee delivers the request for the annual statement to the employer in paper form, unless they agree to receive it by electronic means.
The annual statement is drawn up by an employer who is the taxpayer at the request of the employee. If the employee did not apply the non-taxable part of the tax basis to the taxpayer and the tax bonus to any employer who is the taxpayer in the tax period, the employer shall take them into account additionally in the annual statement if the employee proves that they were entitled to application of the non-taxable part of the tax basis and the tax bonus. An employer who is a taxpayer will calculate the tax and, simultaneously, take into account the exempt income for which the conditions for exemption have not been met, the retained advance tax payments, the tax-free portion of the tax basis per taxpayer, the tax-free portion of the tax basis per spouse in the tax-free portion of the tax basis, the employee premium, the tax bonus and the tax bonus for the interest paid if, by 15 February following the end of the tax period, the employee requests an annual statement and signs a request including personal data, a model of which is provided by the Financial Directorate. Such personal data is not required for persons subject to special methods of reporting data under special rules. The annual statement and the calculation of the tax will be carried out by the taxable employer who is a taxpayer no later than 31 March of the year following the end of the tax period.
The minimum wage is determined on the basis of how labour-intensive a job is.
The minimum monthly wage in 2023 is EUR 700 for level-one labour intensity. Jobs are classified by labour intensity on a scale of six levels. Each labour-intensity level has a specific minimum wage. The minimum wage is EUR 816 at level 2, EUR 932 at level 3, EUR 1048 at level 4, EUR 164 at level 5 and EUR 1 280 at level 6.
Calculation of net wage:
The following deductions (contributions) are taken from an employee’s gross monthly wage:
- Health insurance – 4%
- Sickness insurance – 1.4%
- Retirement insurance – 4%
- Disability insurance – 3%
- Unemployment insurance – 1%
- Σ TOTAL CONTRIBUTIONS – 13.4%
Gross wage – contributions = monthly tax basis
The tax-free allowance is deducted from the monthly tax base (if applicable). Tax at 19% or 25% is calculated based on the resulting amount.
If a tax credit is claimed, it is deducted from the tax, resulting in the following calculation:
Monthly tax basis – (tax – tax credit) = net monthly wage
Average monthly wages in the national economy in February 2022, by sector:
|Industry||EUR 1 494|
|Wholesaling||EUR 1 329|
|Retailing||EUR 1 352|
|Restaurant and hospitality services||EUR 2 165|
|Information and communication||EUR 2 381|
|Transport and storage||EUR 1 358|
|Sale and repair of motor vehicles||EUR 1 126|
The cost of living varies from region to region and changes in response to increases in the prices of food, energy and other everyday spending.
Average consumer prices for selected products in Slovakia in 2023: dark bread – EUR 2.24; ordinary white roll 40 g – EUR 0.11, fresh butter 125 g – EUR 1.72; ordinary wheat flour 1 kg – EUR 0.89; granular sugar 1 kg – EUR 1.45; egg pasta 500 g – EUR 1.83; ham salami 1 kg – EUR 8.13, whole pasteurised milk 1 l – EUR 1.39, boneless pork leg 1 kg – EUR 6.05, chicken 1 kg – EUR 3.69, Edam 1 kg – EUR 11.49, eggs 10 x – EUR 3.18, cooking oil – EUR 3.48, rice husked 1 kg – EUR 2.24, potatoes for consumption 1 kg – EUR 1.13, apples 1 kg – EUR 1.26, beer 12% bottled 0.5 l – EUR 0.82, Marlboro cigarettes – King Size – EUR 5, detergent 1 kg – EUR 4.14, gasoline natural 95 oct – EUR 1.53, diesel EUR 1.53, passenger train ticket 2nd class 60 km – EUR 2.55, bus 91-100 km – EUR 4.98, men’s shirt with long sleeves – EUR 31.26, women’s pullovers – EUR 26.09, children’s winter jacket – EUR 37.72, children’s sweatpants – EUR 14.13.
Short-term accommodation can be found in hotels, guest houses, motels, campsites, holiday cottages or chalets, and also in private houses offering short-term rental accommodation. For a long-term accommodation, the possible options are to either rent or buy a property. When buying a property, the buyer becomes the legal owner on registering the property with the land registry.
Various fixed and variable costs are connected with housing. These include payments for heating, electricity, water, sewerage, property insurance, radio and TV fees, waste collection, rent (if renting) and also membership fees for housing cooperatives or housing administration companies.
Service fees associated with housing depend on:
- the type of housing (family house, new flat, older flat),
- the floor space and the location (city, town, village).
- The rise in real estate prices in Slovakia is still continuing. Once again, flat prices increased most in the Bratislava Region, followed by a significant increase in flat prices in the Košice and Trnava regions. Even though flat prices have risen more, family homes have also become more expensive. According to official statistics, housing prices rose by 8.5 % on average in the first quarter of 2022. Looking at the annual increase from May 2021 to May 2022, it was as high as 31.1%. Until recently, the record low interest rates on mortgages and the unaffordability of mortgages have certainly contributed to this increase.
- At the end of March 2022, 1 m2 of housing cost an average of EUR 3 230 in Bratislava, EUR 2 244 in Košice and EUR 1 828 in Žilina, and ‘only’ EUR 1 300 in Nitra, for example. Thus, in the 2nd half of 2022, housing in Košice was 25% cheaper than in Bratislava.
Average price of residential properties
General guide to accommodation prices:
- single hotel room in Bratislava, per night: EUR 53 – EUR 200;
- one-room flat in Bratislava, per month: EUR 400 – EUR 700;
- room in a shared flat in Bratislava, per month: EUR 150 – EUR 250;
- purchase of a one-room flat in Bratislava: EUR 100 000 – EUR 150 000;
- purchase of a house in Bratislava: EUR 340 000 – EUR 1 800 000;
- Košice, Žilina, Nitra, Poprad, Zvolen, Banská Bystrica, purchase of 1 room apartment between EUR 95 000 and 230 000.
Accommodation, renting and purchasing property in smaller towns and in the country is cheaper than in Bratislava.
Average property prices by region (EUR /m2) 2022:
Bratislava Region: 3 357
Trnava Region: 1 842
Nitra Region: 1 401
Trenčín Region: 1 629
Žilina Region: 2 021
Banská Bystrica Region: 1 757
Prešov Region: 2 335
Košice Region: 2 062
The National Bank of Slovakia has published data on residential property prices for 2022.
The end of 2022 saw property prices fall.
The offer prices of residential properties decreased by 1.94 % in Q4 2022 compared to the previous quarter. The most significant decreases were recorded in
Žilina and Bratislava regions, between October and November. Prices of flats and houses have fallen to a similar extent, while the share of flats in the supply is increasing.
In Q4 2022, the offer prices of residential properties fell by 1.94% compared to the preceding quarter. This is the first quarter-on-quarter decrease since the end of 2019.
The average price of residential properties fell by almost EUR 53/m2 quarter to EUR 2 660/m2 quarter-on-quarter, practically clearing the growth from Q3. Year-on-year, price growth slowed to 15%.
The average price of apartments fell by 2.6 % in the fourth quarter (+ 14.4 % year-
on-year), reaching EUR 2904/m². The most significant drops were seen in 5-room and 3-room flats.
The average house price has fallen to EUR 1975/m², i.e. a decrease of 2.3 % on a quarterly basis. Compared with the same period of the previous year, their prices are still 7.8% higher.
In the fourth quarter, we observed a significant decrease in the contribution of houses to the overall year-on-year change. This is a result of an increase in the number of flat offers and, conversely, a slight decrease in the number of house offers. It is also an explanation of why the overall decrease in housing prices is more moderate than the decrease in flat and house prices in particular.
Property prices fell in the majority of the regions in Q4. The most significant quarter-on-quarter decline was recorded in the Žilina (-3.5%) and Bratislava regions (-3.2%). Quarter-on-quarter prices increased only in Trnava (4.2%) and Banská Bystrica Region (2.9%). In the last quarter of the year, it was only in these regions that prices fell.
In Žilina Region, the districts of Žilina and Čadca played a role in the price decrease, while, in Bratislava Region, it was Bratislava III District, . In the Trnava Region, the development in the districts of Trnava and the Dunajská streda contributed to the increase in prices.
If you decide to buy a property, it is advisable to consult a solicitor or use the services of an estate agency. That way you will avoid any unnecessary risks.
In accordance with the Civil Code, any contract concerning the transfer of property (i.e. the sale or purchase of property) as well as any lease contract must be made in writing.
The healthcare system is administered by the Slovak Ministry of Health. Healthcare services are provided by public and private healthcare facilities. Initial examinations are carried out by general practitioners for adults or children. You are free to choose your own doctor, who will provide primary healthcare and who can also refer you for examination or treatment by a specialist. Outside your practitioner’s surgery hours and at weekends you can use the outpatient emergency service (APS). There is a EUR 2 charge. Patients are not required to pay this fee if they come for treatment immediately after an accident (this does not apply to accidents resulting from the use of alcohol, drugs, or medication other than those recommended by a doctor) or if they are subsequently hospitalised. APS are available in almost every district town. If the APS is not open, you will be admitted to an inpatient emergency service within any hospital. There is a EUR 10 charge for urgent admissions, which is payable if the patient’s condition is not acute as this constitutes misuse of the service.
Medicines, either prescription or over-the-counter, can be obtained in pharmacies. There are lots of pharmacies in Slovakia and they are generally well stocked. Pharmacies normally open on business days between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. At weekends and on public holidays, designated out-of-hours pharmacies provide an emergency service.
Under the Health Insurance Act, employees, self-employed persons, employers and the State are required to pay health insurance contributions. A large part of healthcare costs are paid from health insurance. Certain medicines and healthcare procedures must be paid in full. Fees for medical procedures are charged according to set tariffs. Health insurance does not always cover the full cost of, e.g., the purchase of prescription glasses, certain types of medication or dental treatment.
All employees must be insured with a health insurer, which then issues them with a registration number and a health insurance policy (HIP) card for use at every visit to or from a doctor. Employers are required to register employees for health insurance within 8 working days of the employment start date, and likewise to deregister the employee when employment ends. Other changes in the health insurance payer’s data must be reported to the health insurer by the policyholder, specifically within 8 days. If you are self-employed in Slovakia, you are obliged to register with a health insurance company within eight days of the date as of which you are required to have public health insurance, and to deregister within the same time limit.
If you have health insurance provided by a Slovak health insurer because your employment is in Slovakia, but you live in another EU Member State, you should ask your Slovak health insurer to issue an S1 form (formerly E 106). Submit this form to the local health insurer where you live in order to be registered. The S1 form (E 106) entitles you to full coverage, by your Slovak insurer, of healthcare provided in the place of your residence. Your dependants are also covered.
Compulsory school attendance in the Slovak education system lasts for 10 years. It normally starts at the beginning of the school year following the date when a child reaches 6 years of age. It lasts from the age of 6 to 16.
Basic school types: nursery schools (3-6 years), primary schools (6-15 years), secondary schools (15-19 years), colleges and universities (from 19). Depending on the administrator, these schools may be state, private or religious schools, but they all provide education to an equal standard.
Nursery schools (for children aged 3-6) teach basic knowledge and skills. They teach basic knowledge relevant to the children’s age, drawing, reciting, singing, how to explore nature, colours and information about things children come into contact with. At preschool age (5-6 years old), children learn, for example, how to distinguish geometrical shapes, the months of the year, and the names of days. They also acquire hygiene habits and prepare to start primary school.
Primary schools prepare children for further study and experiences. As a rule, it has 9 year-olds, divided into first and second steps. Level 1 of primary school normally comprises years 1 to 4, while level 2 comprises years 5 to 9. To reach Level 2, pupils are not required to pass any entrance examination; they continue their studies upon successful completion of year four. Or they may go to a grammar school providing eight years of education. Study at a grammar school is conditional upon passing the entrance examination and acceptable results in Level 1 of primary school.
Level 2 education differs from Level 1. In Level 1, only one teacher teaches most subjects, but in Level 2 each subject is taught by a different teacher.
In Level 1, pupils have at least four and no more than eight periods a day, and on average teaching lasts until 12.30 p.m. Pupils in Level 2 have five or six periods, which end between 1 p.m. and 1.30 p.m. Each lesson lasts for 45 minutes and there are short breaks between lessons.
Younger pupils at primary schools may spend their time after lessons have ended in school clubs.
The education system also allows children to attend primary art schools on a voluntary basis in their free time.
Secondary schools. After completing the ninth year of primary school, pupils continue compulsory school attendance at a selected secondary school, where they were accepted by decision of the relevant school system. Education in Slovakia includes several types of secondary school.
Vocational secondary schools: at vocational secondary schools and related secondary schools providing apprenticeship training, the study takes two (in a limited number of fields), three or four years. Three-year studies for individual trades are completed with a final examination, after which the student receives a vocational qualification and may continue in two-year advanced studies in order to obtain a baccalaureate-level qualification. Full secondary school education is achieved by passing the baccalaureate-level exam. Studies that go on for four years are completed with the baccalaureate-level exam.
Secondary and grammar schools: Secondary schools provide education for 4 or 5 years. In Slovakia, there are electrical engineering, geodetic, hotel management, industrial, nursing, sporting, art, agricultural, forestry, pharmaceutical, chemical and pedagogical secondary schools, as well as conservatories and business academies, among others. Grammar schools in Slovakia provide education for four years (if the pupil applies to grammar school after the ninth year of primary school), eight years of study (if the pupil applies to grammar school after the fifth year of primary school), or five years of study (in bilingual grammar schools which the pupil applies for after the eighth or ninth year of education). Bilingual studies are also provided by some business academies.
Studies are rounded off with the maturita examination, which has both a written and an oral part.
There is an average of 6-7 lessons; lessons last for 45 minutes and there is a short break between lessons.
Secondary schools also organise post-secondary and post-maturita-level courses. Here, students complete further study in readiness for the qualified pursuit of an occupation, or supplement and deepen the education they have already attained.
Universities and colleges help prepare students to be skilled professionals with tertiary education in scientific, economic, social and artistic disciplines. The school system allows students who have completed secondary or grammar school with a maturita exam to study at universities and colleges. There are currently 20 public universities, 10 private universities, 3 state universities and 6 foreign universities in Slovakia. Study programmes are organised at three levels. At the end of their studies, students defend their thesis or dissertation and sit a state examination. The first level of study for a Bachelor’s degree takes 3-4 years, the second level is a Master of Arts, Science, Engineering or medical degree which takes 4-6 years (including the Bachelor level) and the third level is the doctorate (3-4 years).
Slovak cultural and social life is very rich and diverse. It is influenced by various traditions and customs passed from generation to generation and still surviving today.
Numerous social and cultural events and activities take place in every town and village. People gather to enjoy themselves, meet one another and talk and, of course, enjoy cultural events. Information about social and cultural events and various other activities can be found on the internet, in newspapers, on television and in tourist information or community centres.
Among the more physical activities, trips to the countryside around cities, towns and villages are popular. The most popular sports are football, cycling, water sports and more recently golf. Skiing is a popular winter sport.
The birth of a child should be reported to the competent registry depending on the child’s place of birth, within three working days of the birth. The registry enters the child in the register of births and issues the birth certificate together with the application for a childbirth allowance and declaration of the child’s birth.
Practical advice – the first original birth certificate is issued free of charge, EUR 5 is paid for a duplicate, and the application for a duplicate birth certificate is subject to a fee of EUR 2.50.
Responsibilities after the birth of a child
Important facts that must be provided after the birth of a child:
- signature of the agreement on the child’s name and surname;
- their birth certificate;
- registration of the child with a health insurer;
- registration of the child with a paediatrician;
- cash allowances provided by the Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family (‘the Office’) and benefits provided by the Social Insurance Agency.
- Obtaining documents for the child (identity card or passport);
- fulfilment of reporting obligations (for example: municipal waste and others).
An engaged couple marries by declaring that they consent to their marriage before a body of a municipality or a city district that maintains a registry, or before an authority of a registered church or religious community. The couple declare publicly and solemnly that they are marrying in the presence of two witnesses.
They make their declaration of marriage at a registry office with jurisdiction for the district in which one of them resides. This ceremony is held in front of the mayor or a delegated member of the municipal assembly and in the presence of the registrar.
Before marrying, the couple must submit the documents required by law.
A minor cannot marry. In exceptional cases and depending on the reason for the marriage, a court may allow a minor over the age of 16 to marry. Unless permitted by a court, this sort of marriage is null and void. If such a marriage does take place, it will be ruled null and void by a court of its own motion.
Death in a medical facility is reported by the healthcare provider. If a person dies outside a medical facility, telephone numbers 112 or 155 should be contacted. The death is subsequently certified by a doctor who determines the time and cause of death and draws up a certificate of examination of the deceased.
The death is then reported to the civil registry at the place where the death occurred (possibly to the ecclesiastical registry). To do so, you will need the certificate of examination of the deceased, your identity card and the identity card of the deceased. The registry will make an entry in the death register and issue a death certificate.
Then you select and contact a funeral service.
The civil registry reports deaths to the Social Insurance Agency once a month, and the deaths are reported to the health insurance company by the Healthcare Supervisory Authority. If the deceased had borrowed medical devices, return them to the health insurance company. The personal documents (identity card, driving licence, passport, licence to bear arms) of the deceased become invalid on the day of death and must be handed over immediately to any district headquarters of the Police Force. Police officers will pick up the weapon themselves and kept it until the end of the inheritance proceedings.
Applications may be made to the Office for Labour, Social Affairs and the Family for a contribution of EUR 79.67 towards burial at the deceased’s place of residence.
Transport in Slovakia is overseen by the Ministry of Transport and Construction.
Železničná spoločnosť Slovensko, a. s. [railway provider] (ZSSK) is the largest passenger rail transporter in Slovakia. Železnice Slovenskej republiky (ŽSR) [Slovak Railways] are the operator and manager of railway infrastructure in Slovakia and provide transport services. The railway company Cargo Slovakia a.s. (ZSSK Cargo) provides freight transport by rail. The IDeme application allows passengers to purchase their tickets easily and quickly. It also gives you an overview of arrivals and departures, services and train delays.
In Slovakia, vehicles drive on the right. The maximum permitted speed for vehicles up to 3.5 t is 50 km/h in the village, 90 km/h outside the village and 130 km/h on motorways and high-speed roads. Motorway use is subject to a toll, a vignette can be purchased electronically or in a network of sales points, such as petrol stations. Electronic motorway vignette for a vehicle of up to 3.5 t: 10 days – EUR 12, monthly – EUR 17, annual – EUR 60. Electronic motorway vignette for a towed vehicle: 10 days – EUR 12, monthly – EUR 17, annual – EUR 60 The validity of a 10-day electronic motorway vignette is 10 days including the specified day. The validity of a 30-day electronic motorway vignette is 30 days including the specified day. The validity of a yearly electronic motorway vignette is from 1 January of the given calendar until 31 January of the following year. With a 365-day vignette it is 365 calendar days from purchase. For vehicles above 3.5 tonnes, an electronic toll system is in place for the use of the defined road sections.
Public transport is provided by buses, trams and trolleybuses. The tickets can be bought on board, from newspaper kiosks or from automatic ticket vending machines.
There are three public international airports in Slovakia with scheduled flights: Bratislava, Košice and Poprad-Tatry. Another six international airports do not have scheduled flights: Nitra, Piešťany, Prievidza, Sliač, Šamorín and Žilina. Passengers can also use the nearest airport, Schwechat in Vienna (60 km from Bratislava) or the airport in Budapest (200 km from Bratislava).
The Danube, Morava and Váh rivers are used for transport in Slovakia. The two largest ports are in Bratislava and Komárno.
Universal postal services, both domestic and international, are provided by the company Slovenská pošta, a.s. (Slovak Post).
Telecommunication services are provided by Telekom, Orange, O2 and 4ka.