Intervals for hazardous occupations are 5 minutes. The government is looking for another solution

Extending the gaps will make it difficult for companies to apply and cause significant losses to the national economy, the Ministry of Health (MZd) writes in an explanatory statement. However, early next year, the Ministry of Health wants to create a task force that will continue to deal with work breaks.

“The main reason for the amendment of the government regulation is that from January 1, 2024, new conditions are introduced in the provision of safety gaps at work (…), which will be returned after their assessment. It is very difficult to apply, disrupts the operation of companies, setting established exchange regimes (.. .) and ultimately lead to increased costs for employers and a negative effect on employees,” the document states. .

In an eight-hour work shift, a worker who works in a highly hazardous environment, for example in a high physical or visual load, at a forced work speed or in monotonous movements, must have at least two breaks in twelve hours. Shift four. Currently, breaks must be five to ten minutes, and a regulation approved in October allowed breaks of at least ten minutes from January.

This, according to the rationale of the new proposal, will have negative effects on the national economy. For example, the automotive industry, one of the pillars of the Czech economy, could suffer from a reduction in net production hours, the document says.

Five minutes is not enough

In a three-shift operation, according to the Ministry of Health, extending the break to five to ten minutes means a loss of 3.5 percent of the production time of a normal shift in a three-shift operation, depending on the material. According to him, 1.4 million passenger cars are produced annually in the Czech Republic, an average of one per minute. “The strict extension of the gaps means a reduction in production capacity of around 50,000 vehicles, which means losses in the range of 25 to 75 billion kroner, depending on the specific cars produced,” MZd added.

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The unions disagreed with the five-minute break. “According to the opinions of occupational health service doctors, a five-minute break is not enough for rest and regeneration of stressed parts of the body,” writes the Confederation of Czech-Moravian Trade Unions in a note to the previously approved material.

The Ministry of Health intends to continue to address the issue of safety gaps. “At the beginning of 2024, (the Ministry of Health) will form a working group of representatives of tripartite members – employees, employers and civil servants, where a proposal for a new adjustment of the entire chapter on safety gaps will be developed,” the Ministry of Health added.

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