In the Czech Republic, travel allowances are regulated by the Labor Code (Act No. 262/2006 Coll.), Decrees of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (No. 589/2020 Coll.), and the Ministry of Finance (No. 510/2020 Coll.). In Slovakia, it is governed by Act No. 283/2002 Coll., On Travel Compensation, as well as Decrees of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (No. 143/2019 Coll.) and the Ministry of Finance (No. 401/2012 Coll.). Amendments to decrees always enter into force on 1 January of the given year in the Czech Republic and most often as of 1 July in Slovakia.
The amount of the meal allowance depends on the duration of the business trip in one day. The rates are regulated annually by a decree of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of the Slovak Republic. However, a private company also has the option to determining the amount of the meal allowance by an internal guideline (directive, regulation). If they do not stipulate this, the meal allowance is paid in the minimum amount specified in the legal regulation. In order to be entitled to a meal allowance at all, a Czech and Slovak employee must spend at least 5 hours on a business trip. In both countries, the employer has the option to provide employees with additional so-called pocket money, but its amount is limited to a maximum of 40 % of the right to meal allowance.
The table below relates to domestic business trips, there is the biggest difference in the amount of the meal allowance, while in the Czech Republic the amount of the meal allowance is determined as a percentage of the basic rate, in Slovakia it is determined by the absolute rate in EUR for each band of business travel. However, at different times each year, the basic rates are announced by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in Czech and Slovakia.
Duration of the BT
Within 5 hours
Within 5 hodin
5 – 12 hours
1/3 basic rate
5 – 12 hours
>12 – 18 hours
2/3 basic rate
Over 18 hours
In the case of sending an employee on a business trip abroad, the amount of the meal allowance is determined differently in Slovakia, see table below, both the travel duration bands and the percentage of the basic rate are different. In the Czech Republic, except for the minimum duration of a business trip, it is same as for a domestic business trip.
Within 1 hours
1 – 12 hours
0 – 6 hours
1/4 basic rate
6 – 12 hours
1/2 basic rate
Over 12 hours
The reduction of the meal allowance depends on two factors: the duration of the business trip and the food provided. If the employee was provided with food (breakfast, lunch or dinner) free of charge during the business trip, the employee is entitled to reduce the meal allowance. In both countries, a different reduction mechanism is used and the resulting effect is significantly different.
If a Czech employee was provided with a free meal during a business trip (ie a meal to which the employee did not contribute financially), the employee is obliged to reduce the meal allowance for each free meal by the value of
A Czech employee is not entitled to a meal allowance if during a business trip that lasts
In Slovakia, a free lunch is reduced by 40 % from the basic rate of EUR 11.60, with a free dinner by 35 % from the basic rate and in the case of breakfast by 25 % from the basic rate.
Even during business trips abroad, the Slovak employee's meal allowance is reduced with free meals provided. It is not reduced from the basic rate of EUR 11.60 both for a domestic business trip, but it is reduced from the basic meal rate set for a specific country.
Unlike in Slovakia, where the meal vouchers are required by law, for Czech employees, meal vouchers provided by the employer are only an optional benefit. A Czech company employing Slovak workers must think about this obligation. However, in both countries, you are not entitled to a meal voucher if the employee was on a business trip on the same day and was entitled to a meal allowance.
If you are interested in this issue, sign up for the webinar we are preparing called Doing business in "Czechoslovakia" - issues of VAT, permanent establishments and travel allowances if Slovak companies operate in the Czech Republic and vice versa, which will take place online on 17.6.2021 at 10:00.
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