Information provided by Fórum pre pomoc starším (Forum for Help to Age, National Network) and desk research
The employment rate of 55–64-year-olds in Slovakia is 64.1%, within the European average. However, Slovakia has the highest long-term unemployment rate (12 months or more) for 55–64-year-olds in Europe (76.2%).
The Labour Code does not explicitly state how to protect older workers from long-term unemployment, yet it is common for older workers to be dismissed before retirement. However, the Labour Code provides protection for any worker in the event of a change in work organisation and requires retraining and changing working positions or types of work if necessary.
Also, the Labour Code provides for participation in further training for any employee who wishes to acquire skills necessary for the proper performance of his or her work and for the employer to grant leave and salary compensation if the employee increases his or her qualifications according to the demands of the job. This provision encourages the employer to invest in the workforce and not to replace employees who no longer have the necessary skills, which can happen, for example, with older workers who do not have the adequate skills that younger workers would have acquired after their education, but rather to allow them to evolve by staying with the company.
According to AGE members, the guidelines for retirement are inadequate while the law is complex and unreadable for many. The law states that the protection of these workers is assured, but this is not respected.
Slovakia has adopted a National Programme for Active Ageing (NPAA) for the period 2021-2030. It addresses active ageing in four key areas, including the contribution of older people to the development of sustainable societies through their active position in the labour market in paid employment. Focusing on the need to “support human resources throughout the life-course”, the NPAA calls for better legislation in favour of lifelong learning and “the education of older people to improve their employability or their retention in the labour market, accepting the key trends of the fourth age”. To achieve this, key educational programmes focusing on digital literacy, personal development and mental health in the context of the labour market and employment requirements will be developed.
The Constitution of the Slovak Republic stipulates the principle of equality before the law and non-discrimination in general on all grounds, including age.
The Labour Code provides that the employer must not violate the principle of equal treatment with regard to access to employment during the recruitment process. This protection is supplemented by the Law on Equal Treatment in certain areas and on protection against Discrimination, which also provides for the protection of age discrimination.
Some protections for the health and safety of older workers are provided by the Labour Code. The latter stipulates, among other things, that “an employee whose job falls within the category of health care in accordance with the Law and who is over 50 years of age may not be ordered to work overtime“. Similarly, it provides for employee security and preventive and therapeutic care in the event of temporary incapacity to work due to illness or disability, among other reasons set out in the Code. Finally, the Code provides that the employer shall provide the necessary working arrangements for employees with disabilities so that “they can, as far as possible, achieve the same work results as other employees and make their work as easy as possible”.
The previous National Programme for Active Ageing for 2014-2020 also planned to improve the safety and health protection of employees over 50 at work. The programme aimed to introduce targeted labour inspections and risk assessment for older workers. The focus was to be on “the creation of appropriate working conditions taking into account the ageing workforce, the adaptation of workstations and workplaces from an ergonomic point of view, working conditions taking into account the state of health, psychosocial load, stress factors and triggers for health problems, etc.”. These inspections were to result in a work plan to be implemented from 2014 and adapted every two years. These preventive measures can be helpful in terms of catering to changing needs, however attention must be paid not to stigmatize older workers.
Among the risks to future development, the new NPAA for 2021-2030 identified the pressure on older people to stay longer in paid employment without adequate working conditions and the low level of digital literacy among older people, which is a prerequisite for their access to quality jobs, information, goods and services, as well as social contacts;
According to the Proposal for a Joint Employment Report 2022, Slovakia has planned to use the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility to provide digital skills training and basic equipment for 172,800 older people and disadvantaged people.
Policy Officer on Employment and European Parliament Liaison
Sarah is in charge of AGE’s policy activities in the fields of employment, participation and active citizenship in old age. She also monitors EU initiatives on volunteering for older people and lifelong learning. She is responsible for the Task Force dedicated to on Employment, participation and active citizenship. Sarah also coordinates AGE’s relations with the European Parliament (EP).