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What does instant soup and last year's approval of legislation have in common? Reflections by V. Klimeš for ihned.cz

2021-01-25

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What does instant soup and last year's approval of legislation have in common? Reflections by V. Klimeš for ihned.cz

8 of last year’s updates to our OKbase human resources system were issued due to new legislation. Usually there are two updates, in the middle and at the end of a year.

What impact does this “instant lawmaking” have on our customers and how did we cope with it while having only a minimal amount of time to implement the changes into the system? Everything is described by the head of the Development Division, Vojtěch Klimeš, in a new article for ihned.cz.

We are helping companies to ensure they are in legal compliance, and we appreciate the trust that they have in us.

Read the english version below or an original article here: Vojtěch Klimeš - instant lawmaking article on ihned.cz

 

Instant lawmaking. Is it easy to put it into practice?

What do instant soup and last year’s enactment of legislation have in common? Let’s look into the kitchen of the human resources system developers.

Author: Mgr. Vojtěch Klimeš, head of the OKbase Development Division within OKsystem a.s.

If one is hungry and hasn’t much time, instant soup is a solution. Pour into a mug, add hot water, and the fast food is ready. Surely a good solution for an extraordinary situation. But from a long-term point of view? Healthy this certainly is not.  

Unfortunately, a similar principle has throughout the past “covid” year been expanding also to such things as legislating. It’s almost as though lawmakers forgot that it is not enough just to pass a law but it also is necessary to put it into practice. In today’s “digital age,” this means adjustments to many programs, including in the personnel and payroll areas. Considering the complexity of our legislation, nobody can imagine that any company would calculate payrolls using a calculator and paper.

It became customary in previous years that statutory changes affecting payrolls and labor law were introduced once, at most twice, a year (at the turn of the year and possibly also in mid-year). Last year, we had to release even 8 different legislative updates. In some cases, it was a quick and adequate reaction to the new situation and we agree that it was necessary to react right away. This approach should not become the rule, however, as this places a huge strain on all employers as well as on us as their responsible suppliers.

Let’s look at two examples. Nearly all people in an employment relationship were following the changes in tax rates. The government, parliament, and president kept us on the edges of our seats until the very end of the year. It probably makes no sense to dwell upon the argument that payrolls for January need to be calculated no earlier than February and therefore there is enough time to change the laws. There was actually some time to introduce the changes into the software, but how can employers plan when they have no idea even at Christmas how much the work of their people will cost?

A second example: A praiseworthy idea to raise salaries for health care and social workers from 1 January 2021 was carried out as follows: The change in salary scales was approved not earlier than during the Christmas holidays and published in the Collection of Laws on 30 December 2020. Do you have an idea what one needs to do when new salary scales are issued? Software producers have to incorporate the scales into their programs and distribute a new version. The customer deploys the new version or leaves it to the producer to do so. Then human resources departments have to issue new salary slips to all those employees concerned and ideally also let them sign the new slips before the change enters into force. This is really not something one can manage in the last 2 days of the year – especially in severely impacted health care or social care facilities.

The aforementioned examples are unfortunately not demonstrating rarities but rather something that became a new standard in the course of last year. Instead of clear rules defined in a timely manner, we were caught in a vortex of legal uncertainty.  

It is in such situations that the mutual trust between us as suppliers and our customers comes to the fore. It is the employers who are presented with the problems of carrying out all these changes at short notice. Therefore, we base our software development (and we put a lot of effort into this) on closely following legislative changes and implementing them into our system in a timely manner. In this way, we are helping companies in these difficult times to ensure they are in legal compliance. This really is no easy thing, and it requires enormous effort on both sides.

So, I wish that the Czech legislative process would move away from making instant soup and returned to a long-simmered stock, because things are not finished by publishing something on Facebook, Twitter, or in the Collection of Laws. For us and for our customers, this is just the beginning.

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