• Insights

No double punishment for illegal employment in Slovakia: a new ruling

Written by
NITSCHNEIDER & PARTNERS largest boutique firm focusing on HR law.
A ruling by the Slovakian Supreme Court confirms that employers cannot be penalised by two different agencies for one violation of employment law rules.

Illegal employment and its punishment is quite specific in Slovakia, because even one omission by the employer, in the form of late registration of an employee with the Social Insurance Agency, is treated as illegal employment and a violation of several legal regulations.

In this scenario, the employer is sanctioned by both the labour inspectorate and the Social Insurance Agency. In one specific case, the Social Insurance Agency ordered the employer to pay a penalty of up to EUR 10 and the labour inspectorate decided on a fine of up to EUR 2,200. The case came before the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court, which considered this procedure to be a violation of the principle of ne bis in idem (the prohibition on double jeopardy) in administrative punishment.

The Labour Inspection Act, as well as the Social Insurance Act, preclude the imposition of a financial sanction if one has already been legally imposed on another authority. The Grand Chamber concluded that, under this legislation, the employer should pay a fine to the authority which decided on the case first. It does not matter that the other authority could impose a higher fine, as the rule of punishing the most serious or most severely sanctionable offence does not apply.

When infringements are detected, the authorities should communicate intensively with each other. However, this gives priority to the labour inspectorate, since it would be the first to punish these violations.

Danica Černá Valentová