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TITLE:  SLOVAK REPUBLIC HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE:  FEBRUARY 1995









                        SLOVAK REPUBLIC


The Slovak Republic became an independent state in 1993, 
following the dissolution of the Czech and Slovak Federal 
Republic (CSFR).  Its Constitution provides for a multiparty, 
multiethnic parliamentary democracy.  Slovakia chose to carry 
over the entire body of CSFR domestic legislation and 
international treaty obligations, which gradually are being 
renewed or updated.

In March President Michal Kovac dismissed the government headed 
by Vladimir Meciar, chairman of the Movement for a Democratic 
Slovakia (HZDS), following a parliamentary vote of no 
confidence.  Pending early parliamentary elections on
September 30/October 1, a coalition government headed by Jozef 
Moravcik, leader of the Democratic Union of Slovakia (DU), held 
office.  In the elections, the HZDS obtained a plurality of 40 
percent of the parliamentary seats and formed a working 
parliamentary alliance with the Slovak National Party (SNS) and 
the Association of Slovak Workers (ZRS).  On December 12, a 
government of those three parties, led by Vladimir Meciar, was 
sworn in by President Kovac.

The Slovak Information Service (SIS) is responsible for all 
civilian security and intelligence activities.  A five-member 
parliamentary commission oversees the SIS.  There were no 
reports of human rights abuses by the SIS or the military 
security apparatus of the Slovak Government.

Since independence, Slovakia has made intermittent progress in 
developing a market economy.  The private sector accounts for 
some 40 percent of the gradually rising gross domestic 
product.  After the elections, the HZDS announced that the 
second wave of voucher privatization, scheduled for December by 
the Moravcik government, would be postponed until late January 
1995.  Industry and construction employ 43 percent of the labor 
force, and agriculture 12 percent.  Major exports are machinery 
and transport equipment, chemicals and fuels, minerals, and 
metals.

The Government respects freedom of assembly, association, and 
religion.  Laws prohibiting defamation of the President and 
utterances fostering ethnic or religious hatred limit freedom 
of speech, and dismissals of media personnel following changes 
of government in March and December infringed on the freedom 
and independence of the media.  Laws permitting bilingual road 
signs in areas inhabited by ethnic Hungarians and the 
registration of non-Slovak names eased some ethnic tensions.  
Skinheads occasionally attacked Roma and at times harassed Jews 
as well.  Discrimination against minorities, particularly Roma, 
continued to be a problem.  Violence against women is a serious 
problem.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no reports of political or other extrajudicial 
killings.  The village policeman charged in 1993 with murder in 
connection with the abduction and killing of two Roma at 
Klenovec was remanded to psychiatric care.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of disappearances.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

There were no reports of any such practices.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The Constitution provides for protection against unlawful or 
unreasonable detention.  A person accused or suspected of a 
crime must be given a hearing within 24 hours and either set 
free or remanded to the court.  During this time, the detainee 
has the right to an attorney.  If remanded to a court, the 
accused is entitled to a hearing within 24 hours, at which the 
judge will set the accused free or issue a substantive written 
order placing the accused in custody.  Investigative detention 
may last up to 2 months and may be extended.  The total length 
of pretrial detention may not exceed 1 year, unless the Supreme 
Court extends it by determining that the person constitutes a 
serious danger to society.  The law allows family visits and 
provides for a court-paid attorney, if needed, although human 
rights observers point out that this applies only to defendants 
whose alleged offenses are punishable by more than 5 years in 
prison.  A system of bail has existed since July 1990.

There is no exile.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The Constitution provides for courts that are independent, 
impartial, and separate from the other branches of government.  
Some critics allege, however, that the dependence of judges 
upon the Ministry of Justice for logistical support, the 
granting of leave requests, and other services undermines their 
independent status.  The President appoints Constitutional 
Court judges, while Parliament elects other judges, based on 
recommendations from the Ministry of Justice.

The court system consists of local and regional courts, with 
the Supreme Court as the highest court of appeals.  In 
addition, there is a separate military court system, the 
decisions of which may be appealed to the Supreme Court and the 
Constitutional Court.

Persons charged with criminal offenses are entitled to fair and 
open public trials.  They have the right to be informed of the 
charges against them and of their legal rights, to retain and 
consult with counsel sufficiently in advance to prepare a 
defense, and to confront witnesses.  They enjoy a presumption 
of innocence and have the right to refuse to testify against 
themselves.  They may appeal any judgment against them.

The "lustration" law of the former CSFR, barring from high 
public office persons who previously collaborated with the 
Communist-era secret police, is technically still in effect in 
Slovakia, though not enforced.  Opponents of enforcement 
consider the law discriminatory and a violation of due process 
because decisions would be based on unverifiable secret police 
records and no mechanism for appeal is available.  The law's 
supporters cite the need to ban from public office those 
responsible for abuses of power and repression during the years 
of Communist rule.  A challenge to the lustration law was filed 
in the Slovak Constitutional Court in May 1994, but the Court 
declined to hear the case citing a 1991 decision by the 
Czechoslovak court on this issue as a precedent.

With respect to the Roma minority, human rights monitors 
charged that police appeared reluctant to take the testimony of 
witnesses to skinhead attacks on Roma.  Further, they reported 
that police used the device of countercharges to pressure Roma 
victims of police brutality to drop their complaints, that 
medical doctors and investigators cooperated with police by 
refusing to describe accurately the injuries involved, and that 
lawyers often were reluctant to represent Roma in such 
situations, for fear this would have a negative effect on their 
practice.

There were no reports of political prisoners in 1994.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
         Correspondence

The Criminal Code requires police to obtain a judicial search 
warrant in order to enter a home.  The court may issue such a 
warrant only if there is a well-founded suspicion that 
important evidence or persons accused of criminal activity are 
present inside or if there is some other important reason.  
Police must present the warrant before conducting the house 
search or within 24 hours after the search.

The 1993 police law regulates wiretapping and mail surveillance 
for the purposes of criminal investigation, which may be 
conducted, on the order of a judge or prosecutor, only in cases 
of extraordinarily serious premeditated crimes or crimes 
involving international treaty obligations.  There were no 
reports of illegal surveillance of persons or communications or 
of mail tampering.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution prohibits censorship and provides for freedom 
of information and the right of expression.  In a December 
speech introducing his new Government, Prime Minister Meciar 
said that "We recognize that a free and independent media is 
also the foundation of a democratic society" and thus "the 
Slovak Government shall, in the spirit of the Constitution of 
the Slovak Republic, consistently protect the freedom of 
expression as one of the fundamental human rights."  However, 
the law prohibits public utterances fostering ethnic or 
religious hatred.

Human rights monitors objected to Article 103 of the Slovak 
Criminal Code, which prohibits defamation of the President, on 
the grounds that it was being implemented in a manner that 
limited freedom of the press.  They cited the case of a 
newspaper editor under investigation in 1994 for publishing the 
letter of a reader who was indirectly critical of the 
President.  Observers voiced concern over proposals by some 
nationalist politicians for a law on the protection of the 
Republic, fearing that such a law would undermine freedom of 
speech.

During 1994 numerous newspapers, magazines, and journals 
spanning the entire spectrum of political views were published 
freely.  The print media continued frank and occasionally 
critical coverage of government activities, but the HZDS 
renewed its call for increased government regulation of 
journalism, promising in its election program that it would not 
allow "tendentious fabrications and reporting by people in the 
mass media."

There is no civil service law protecting jobs after a change of 
government.  In March the Moravcik government took steps to 
restore employment to two persons who had lost their jobs in 
1993 on free speech grounds.  Lubomir Lintner, the Slovak radio 
journalist fired in 1993 because of alleged government 
pressure, was named press spokesman for the Office of the Prime 
Minister.  Slovak Press Agency Chief Dusan Kleiman, dismissed 
by the incoming Moravcik government in March was reinstated in 
his position by the incoming Meciar Government in December.  
The director of the National Oncology Institute, fired in 1993 
after he had spoken critically of the health care system on 
television, regained his post in 1994 in a competitive 
selection process.

Councils made up of nine members elected by Parliament to 
6-year terms administer the government-sponsored Slovak Radio 
and Slovak Television.  Slovakia has one government-sponsored 
television station broadcasting on two channels.  One of 17 
radio stations is government sponsored; the remainder are 
privately owned and controlled.

The pro-HZDS majority in November replaced the members of both 
councils.  Simultaneously, the Radio Council fired the director 
of Slovak Radio, who had served continuously since 1989.  A new 
director of Slovak Television--the seventh since the 1989 
revolution--was appointed in January.  Subsequently a number of 
other staff changes were made at both radio and television.  
Listeners report that coverage of internal political news was 
greatly reduced, with the views of opposition politicians 
reported only minimally, if at all.

Early in 1994, agreement was reached for Radio Free Europe 
(RFE) to continue its medium-wave broadcasts to Slovakia.  At 
an HZDS demonstration on the day of the Meciar government's 
March ouster, an angry crowd viciously beat RFE journalists 
covering the event after a speaker at the rally identified 
them.  Police refused to aid the journalists, who subsequently 
reported they were afraid to cover HZDS meetings.  The 
Government later replaced the police chief of Bratislava.

Just prior to the Meciar government's fall, reception of some 
Radio Free Europe (RFE) broadcasts was blocked for several 
hours.  The Meciar government denied responsibility, and 
reception subsequently was restored.

After the fall of the Meciar government, the new government 
dismissed the general director and chief editor of the 
government-owned Slovak Republic Press Agency (TASR).   TASR 
soon thereafter divested itself of its ownership of the 
pro-HZDS newspaper Republika, which continued its activities 
under private ownership as Slovenska Republika.  Some HZDS 
representatives criticized these actions as interference in the 
media.  Subsequently the HZDS hired the editor as its press 
spokesman.  (HZDS restored him to his former position when it 
returned to power in December.)

The law provides for academic freedom, which is generally 
respected, and grants universities the authority to decide 
their internal affairs, including pedagogic and academic 
orientation and internal structure.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The law provides for the right of persons to assemble 
peacefully.  The Government requires permits for some public 
demonstrations, but there were no reports of refusals, nor of 
police interference with public demonstrations.

The law also provides for the right of persons to associate 
freely and to form political parties and movements, a right 
which was respected in practice.  Some organizations, including 
political parties, are required to register, but there were no 
reports that this requirement presented an obstacle to free 
association.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

The Constitution provides for freedom of religious belief and 
faith, and the Government respects this provision.  Under 
existing law, only registered churches and religious 
organizations have the explicit right to conduct public worship 
services and other activities, although no specific religions 
or practices are banned or discouraged by the authorities.  The 
State provides financial subsidies only to registered churches 
and religious organizations, of which there are 15.  There are 
no special laws or regulations governing foreign missionaries 
desiring to enter the country and proselytize or foreign clergy 
entering to serve expatriate congregations; they fall under the 
general provisions concerning the entry of foreigners.

Based on a law passed in 1993, the property of religious 
organizations that was confiscated during World War II and the 
Communist period was returned to them.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

There are no restrictions on the freedom of movement of 
citizens within or outside the country.  Former Czechoslovak 
citizens who emigrated during the period of Communist rule are 
free to return for visits and may obtain Slovak citizenship if 
they wish.

Refugees and asylum seekers are treated in accordance with 
international norms.  There were no reports of refugees being 
forced to return to countries in which they feared 
persecution.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Citizens have the constitutional right to change their 
government through the periodic free election of their national 
and local representatives.  Citizens over the age of 18 are 
eligible to vote, and voting is by secret ballot.  The 
Constitution reserves certain powers to the President as Chief 
of State (elected by the Parliament), but executive power rests 
with the Government.  Legislative power is vested in the 
National Council of the Slovak Republic (parliament).

There are no official restrictions on the participation of 
women or minorities in politics, but they are underrepresented 
in government.  A total of 22 women were elected to the 
150-member Parliament in October, a reduction from 26 in the 
previous parliament.

The ethnic Hungarian coalition gained 17 seats in Parliament.  
Ethnic Hungarian calls for greater local self-government, or 
"autonomy," in the January 1994 Komarno declaration, which were 
repeated in the Hungarian political parties' coalition 
agreement, caused anxiety among Slovaks that the Hungarians 
intended eventually to secede from Slovakia and become a part 
of Hungary.  The Slovak National Party (SNS) reacted by calling 
for a ban on ethnic Hungarian political parties, but no action 
was taken in 1994.

Some members of the opposition have charged that, in its rush 
to implement changes following the election, the HZDS violated 
the Constitution on a number of occasions, for example, by 
nominating a new Prosecutor General before waiting for the 
President to act on Parliament's proposed recall of the then 
current prosecutor general.  Opposition members have also 
voiced serious concern over HZDS attempts to deprive deputies 
from former Prime Minister Moravchik's DU of their electoral 
mandates by claiming that they failed to gain enough voter 
signatures, despite the fact that the DU obtained significant 
voter support in the election itself.  Critics assert that the 
HZDS violated citizens' right to privacy after a HZDS-led 
parliamentary committee broke the seals on the signature 
petitions.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

Representatives of local and international nongovernmental 
human rights organizations worked freely, without government 
interference.  The Commissioner for Minorities of the 
Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) visited 
the country to study conditions facing ethnic Hungarians (see 
Section 5).

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

The law prohibits discrimination and provides for the equality 
of all citizens.  Health care, education, retirement benefits, 
and other social services are provided regardless of race, sex, 
religion, disability, language, or social status.

     Women

Women in Slovakia are equal under the law.  They enjoy the same 
property, inheritance, and other legal rights as men and 
receive pay equal to that of male colleagues for the same job.  
Women are well represented in the judicial and administrative 
professions but are underrepresented in other public service 
areas.  Despite the lack of overt discrimination, some cultural 
barriers to their advancement remain.  Labor law prohibits 
women from engaging in certain types of work considered 
dangerous to their health.

The Democratic Union of Women of Slovakia monitors observance 
of the rights of women and their families in light of 
internationally accepted documents and the Constitution, 
especially as they affect the social and family spheres.  At a 
conference in Bratislava in October on intolerance and violence 
against women, participants reported that 80 percent of women 
frequently experienced family violence; 90 percent faced 
various forms of intolerance; and 25 percent had experienced 
sexual harassment and extortion in the workplace.

Police deal with spousal abuse, child abuse, and other violence 
against women in the same way as other criminal offenses.  They 
believe that two-thirds of female rape victims fail to report 
the cases for personal reasons.  Once reported, police 
investigate such cases as they would any other under the 
Criminal Code.

As a result of amendments to the Criminal Code which took 
effect during 1994, prostitution is not an illegal act.  
However, the Code prohibits activities related to prostitution, 
such as renting apartments for conducting prostitution, 
spreading contagious diseases, or trafficking in women for the 
purpose of prostitution.  The authorities prosecuted several 
cases involving prostitution-related offenses.

     Children

The Constitution, the Law on Education, the Labor Code, and the 
system of child welfare payments to families with children each 
provide in part for children's rights.  There is no evidence of 
a pattern of abuse or denial of rights to children.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The Constitution provides minorities with the right to develop 
their own culture, receive information and education in their 
mother tongue, and participate in decisionmaking in matters 
affecting them.  The Government continued to provide funding 
for cultural, educational, broadcasting, and publishing 
activities for the major ethnic minorities.  A November 
proposal by ethnic Hungarian parliamentarians to create a 
parliamentary committee for human rights, ethnic minorities, 
and religion was defeated.  In December incoming Prime Minister 
Meciar told the diplomatic corps, "The new Government of the 
Slovak Republic considers as its fundamental duty towards all 
citizens of Slovakia, regardless of their nationality ..., the 
fulfillment and protection of human rights as stipulated in the 
Constitution of the Slovak Republic."  He continued, "The 
Slovak Government denounces all manifestations of intolerance, 
above all chauvinism, aggressive nationalism, racism, 
anti-Semitism and xenophobia ...  That is why we shall try to 
suppress and remove them."

During 1994 educational benefits were extended in different 
forms to different minority groups, depending on the nature of 
their requests and the availability of government resources.  
For example, while German- and Ukrainian-speaking 
representatives preferred and were granted a mixed form of 
schooling only partly in the mother tongue, ethnic Hungarians 
actively sought complete mother-tongue education through 
university level.  (Currently Hungarian-language education is 
available only through secondary school.)

The ethnic Hungarian minority, which is the most numerous, is 
concentrated primarily in southern Slovakia, with a population 
estimated at 570,000 (many of whom are Roma).  During 1994 
Hungarians participated successfully at all levels in the 
political, economic, and social life of the country, although 
none rose to government ministerial posts.  Most ethnic 
Hungarians and ethnic Slovaks living in mixed areas continued 
to coexist peacefully, although political frictions were 
evident over the minority's legal status, and there were 
occasional outbreaks of anti-Hungarian feeling.  In March, on 
the day Parliament voted to recall the Meciar government, an 
angry crowd attacked two leading officials of the Hungarian 
Christian Democratic Movement (MKDH) as they exited the 
Parliament building.  Police at the scene declined to 
intervene, saying they lacked sufficient force.  The MKDH filed 
a complaint, but the authorities apparently took no 
disciplinary action against the police.

After his 1994 visit to Slovakia, the CSCE Commissioner for 
Minorities expressed confidence in the ability of Slovakia's 
democratic institutions to handle minority rights issues 
without external assistance.  He also noted that ample 
opportunities exist for the use of Hungarian as a minority 
language in Slovakia.

Although the Government provides elementary and secondary 
education in Hungarian, some 20 percent of ethnic Hungarian 
families choose to send their children to Slovak-language 
schools.  During 1994 the Government suspended plans to 
institute a number of "alternative" schools in which ethnic 
Hungarian students could choose to study some subjects in 
Slovak (aimed, according to the plan's advocates, at offering 
those students a chance to achieve a level of proficiency in 
technical fields that would enable them to compete more 
effectively for technical jobs later in life).  Some Hungarian 
representatives had criticized the plan as aimed at eroding the 
Hungarian-language educational base.

Controversy arose during 1994 when ethnic Hungarian parents 
sought to prevent a Slovak nationalist known for his negative 
attitudes toward Hungarians from teaching as a substitute in 
their children's class at their ethnically mixed local school.  
Slovak activists immediately protested, appealing to the 
Ministry of Education to prevent what they considered a 
violation of the teacher's rights.  The school's parent-
teachers' association, after considering the case, retained the 
teacher.

During 1994 Slovakia fulfilled two commitments made in 
connection with its acceptance into the Council of Europe: it 
altered legislation so as to allow towns to post road signs in 
the Hungarian language and to authorize Hungarians to register 
names officially in their Hungarian form, without Slovak 
grammatical endings.  By year's end, regulations were in place 
to implement both laws, and no complaints were reported.

Although Hungarian activists in the past had criticized a 
number of passages in the Constitution, including a phrase in 
its preamble ("we, the Slovak nation,") which they felt 
relegated nonethnic Slovak citizens to second-rate status, 
during 1994 they did not press for changes in the Constitution 
itself.  They did, however, call for a constitutional law 
protecting the rights of the non-Slovak minorities.

Roma constitute the second largest ethnic minority, although 
many do not officially declare their ethnicity because of 
social prejudice against them.  Thus, the official census 
figure of 81,000 is considered low; estimates of their actual 
numbers range as high as 500,000.  Roma are economically 
disadvantaged, and their situation worsened somewhat when the 
budget-strapped Government cut the Communist-era welfare 
subsidies on which many had come to depend.  In his December 
speech to the diplomatic corps, Prime Minister Meciar said, 
"The Government shall devote special attention to the economic, 
social, and cultural advancement of the national minority of 
the Roma, while using extensive possibilities of international 
cooperation."

Although the nation's higher pedagogical school has a division 
to train teachers for schools with a high Roma population and 
the first Roma-language primers and readers were published in 
1994, Education Ministry officials report that Roma have not 
requested separate mother-tongue instruction and Roma-language 
classrooms do not exist.  A 2-year pilot project for Roma 
preschoolers in six towns, designed to prepare them for 
successful entry into the Slovak school system, yielded 
impressive results, but resources may not be available for its 
continuation.  Both human rights monitors and Slovak officials 
report that many Roma pupils do not complete their secondary 
education because of poverty, unavailability of transportation 
from Roma settlements, and family and social pressures.

Roma representatives report that many employers are reluctant 
to hire members of the group, and that Roma unemployment soared 
when the Communist-era practice of universal mandatory 
employment ended in 1989.  Unemployment is highest in areas 
heavily populated by Roma.  During 1994 officials in one 
locality reportedly exerted psychological pressure on a hotel 
owner to revoke a residence permit he had given to two Roma 
families, on the grounds that allowing them to stay would 
stimulate a further influx of Roma into the town.

During 1994 several incidents of skinhead street violence 
against Roma were reported.  Human rights monitors charged that 
police often were absent during such incidents, seemed 
reluctant to take action, and in some cases were guilty 
themselves of brutality toward Roma.  Observers report that 
attempts to improve the poor relationship between Roma and the 
police by hiring Roma into the police force foundered when few 
Roma with clean police records could meet the minimum 
educational requirements.

Isolated incidents of verbal harassment of Jews by skinheads 
and others occurred during the year.  Jewish spokesmen voiced 
concern over a number of news articles with an anti-Semitic 
slant.  In the one reported case of the desecration of a Jewish 
cemetery, in which gravestones were overturned, local 
authorities apologized, and the juvenile perpetrators were 
sentenced to community service.

     People with Disabilities

The Constitution and implementing legislation provide for 
health protection and special working conditions for mentally 
and physically disabled persons, including special protection 
in employment relations and special assistance in training.  
The law also prohibits discrimination against physically 
disabled individuals in employment, education, and provision of 
other state services.  Nevertheless, experts report 
discrimination in such areas as accessibility of premises and 
access to education (especially higher education).  Although 
not specifically required by law, existing government executive 
orders mandate the provision of accessibility for the 
disabled.  However, the Government does not enforce these 
provisions effectively due to budgetary constraints.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The Constitution provides for the right to form and join 
unions, except in the armed forces.  In 1994 between 70 and 75 
percent of the work force was organized.  Unions are 
independent of the Government and political parties.  There are 
no restrictions on the right to strike, but there were no 
reports of strikes during the year.

There were no reported instances of retribution against 
strikers or labor leaders, but the law and regulations do not 
explicitly prohibit such retribution.  There were no reports of 
human rights abuses targeted against unions or workers.

Unions are free to form or join federations or confederations 
and to affiliate with and participate in international bodies.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The collective bargaining law provides for collective 
bargaining, which is freely practiced throughout the country.  
Employers and unions set wages in free negotiations.  The Law 
on Citizens' Associations prohibits discrimination by employers 
against union members and organizers.  Complaints may be 
resolved either in collective negotiations or in court.  If 
found guilty of antiunion discrimination, employers are 
required to reinstate workers fired for union activities.

The Customs Act of 1992 regulates duty-free stores and free 
customs zones.  Firms operating in several such zones must 
comply with the Labor Code; to date, there have been no reports 
of special involvement by the trade unions.  Slovakia has no 
special legislation governing labor relations in free trade 
zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Both the Constitution and the Employment Act prohibit forced or 
compulsory labor.  There were no reports of violations.  The 
Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, and Family, as well as 
district and local labor offices, have responsibility for 
enforcement.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The law sets the minimum employment age at 15 years of age.  
Under a law amended in 1994, children must remain in school for 
9 years, or until age 15.  Workers under age 16 may not work 
more than 33 hours per week; may not be compensated on a 
piecework basis; may not work overtime or night shifts; and may 
not work underground or in specified conditions deemed 
dangerous to their health or safety.  Special conditions and 
protections, though somewhat less stringent, apply to young 
workers up to the age of 18.  The Ministry of Labor enforces 
this legislation.  There were no reports of violations.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The minimum wage, effective October 1993, is $82 (2,450 Slovak 
crowns) per month.  Even when combined with special allowances 
paid to families with children, it does not provide an adequate 
standard of living for workers and their families.  The 
Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, and the Family is 
responsible for enforcing the minimum wage; no violations were 
reported.

The standard workweek mandated by the Labor Code is 42.5 hours, 
although collective bargaining agreements have achieved 
reductions in some cases.  The law requires overtime payment up 
to a maximum of 8 hours per week and 150 hours per year, and it 
provides 3 weeks of annual leave.  There is no specifically 
mandated 24-hour rest period during the workweek.  The trade 
unions, the Ministry of Labor, and local employment offices 
monitor observance of these laws, and the authorities 
effectively enforce them.

The Labor Code establishes health and safety standards which 
the Office of Labor Safety effectively enforces.  For hazardous 
employment, workers undergo medical screening under the 
supervision of a physician.  They have the right to refuse to 
work in situations which endanger their health and safety and 
may file complaints against employers in such situations.  In 
February the Government adopted a resolution on work safety, 
which created a timetable for taking the steps necessary to 
bring Slovakia into conformity with European Union norms.


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[end of document]

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