This is a step-by-step guide on what to do if you’re a foreigner living in the Czech Republic and you’ve lost your job. The text will help you understand what your rights and obligations are. Don’t give up, the Czech Republic remains to be the country with the lowest unemployment rate in the EU.
- Stay calm and start searching
- Get the necessary documents from your former employer
- Sort out your health insurance
- Register at the Employment Office & get unemployment benefits (possibility)
- Make sure your residence permit is still valid
- Once you’ve found a new employer, inform the authorities
1] Stay calm
It’s easier said than done, yes. But there are good reasons to try not to panic. Being nervous won’t make your search for a new job any easier. Also, there are always job positions open on the Czech labor market, so your chance of being hired elsewhere again probably doesn’t look at all bad. Just take a deep breath and start searching. You can read our guide on Getting a job – it contains a list of places where to start looking.
2] Get the necessary documents from your former employer
- the termination agreement (or the notice)
- the statement of the length of your employment
- the statement of your monthly income in the past 3 months
You will definitely need the termination agreement or the notice of dismissal from work. This paper confirms that you have indeed been laid off and it also includes the reason why such a thing has happened, which can be important for your next steps. Make sure that the termination agreement has been signed by both parties; or check that the notice was authorised by the employer.
Also, you should get a document where your former employer confirms the length of your employment, which is in Czech called zápočtový list. It has to be signed by your employer.
Finally, you should receive a document where your employer states your monthly income during the period of the last three months. It’s called Potvrzení zaměstnavatele pro účely posouzení nároku na podporu v nezaměstnanosti. It has to be signed by your employer too. This document is necessary when applying for unemployment benefits (if you qualify for those – read further).
3] Sort out your health insurance
This is one of your crucial steps when in between jobs. Our advice depends on whether you:
- have permanent residence
- are an EU citizen
- are a NON-EU foreigner with a long-term residence permit (e.g. employee card)
3.1) Foreigners with permanent residence
You remain in the public health insurance system even after you lost your job (regardless of whether you come from an EU or a NON-EU country).
Still, you have to contact your health insurance company and figure out who is going to pay for it and how. Here are your possibilities:
If you want the Czech government to pay for your health insurance whilst you’re unemployed and searching for a job, you need to register at the Employment Office (scroll down to step no 4).
If you don’t wish to register (=become an active job seeker who has to visit the Employment Office for regular reporting), you can register yourself as a person without taxable income (osoba bez zdanitelných příjmů). For that, you have to visit your health insurance company and bring your permanent residence permit card and the work termination agreement (or the notice of dismissal from work) with you. When they register you into the system, you’ll pay your health insurance monthly payments yourself (2 552 CZK a month as of 2024).
3.2) EU citizens (with or without the Registration Certificate)
You have the right to remain in the public health insurance system even after losing your job.
However, your former employer will deregister you the moment your employment terminates. Now, you have two options. You can stay deregistered; and rely on health insurance from your home country. That way, you’d function in the Czech Republic as a tourist. If you decide to do so, bear in mind that this insurance most likely only covers emergencies. We highly recommend contacting your health insurance provider back home, to ask for the rights and obligations coming from your decision not to use Czech insurance.
If you wish to stay registered in the Czech system, contact your health insurance company, explain your situation and ask how to get back into the system (=which documents you need to show to prove your factual residency). Also ask who is going to pay. Either it’s going to be you (with 2 552 CZK each month in 2024) or the Employment Office (read more in step no 4).
However- if you are a spouse of an employed EU citizen, you have to register with the Czech system.
3.3) NON-EU foreigners with a long-term residence permit (eg. employee card)
Once out of a job, you unfortunately fall outside the public health insurance system (unless you have a permanent residence – if you do, scroll up to 3.1).
This means that you have to pay for comprehensive commercial health insurance. You have a selection of several insurance compaines. The overivew of their offers is available here. Do it as soon as you can, ideally no later than 2-3 days after you receive your termination agreement/notice.
According to Czech laws, when you lose your job you lose the right to be in the public health insurance system the very same day. You have to prepay the commercial health insurance system for the whole 2-3 months of the grace period (see step no 5).
However! If you are a spouse of an employed EU citizen (apart from Czechs, unless they have been working in another EU country in the past), you have to register into the public health insurance system. If that is your case, contact your health insurance company.
4] Register at the Employment Office
IMPORTANT: Registering is only available to permanent residents, EU citizens, or family members of EU citizens.
You can (but don’t have to) register as an active job seeker at the Employment Office. If you do so, your health insurance will be covered by the state. However, once you are registered, you’ll have to regularly (every month or two) visit the office in person and confirm that you have been actively looking for a job. The time for this meeting is set by the office and you can only excuse yourself if you are ill and your doctor confirms it. Therefore, only register yourself if you know that you’re not leaving the country for a longer period. Read more in our guide on Registration at the Employment Office.
As an active job seeker, if you have been employed (or self-employed) for at least 12 not necessarily subsequent months in the last two years, you can apply for the unemployment benefit. This financial support is set between 45% to 65% of your previous salary, and paid for a period of time between 5-11 months, depending on your age. Please note that if you obtain severance pay, the unempolyment benefit is paid together with it, you receive payments from both the employer and the labour office. You can read more in our guide on Applying for unemployment benefits.
5] Make sure your residence permit is still valid
Depending on the type of your residence, you have a certain period of time to find a new job whilst still covered with your previous-employment visa:
- EU citizens: you have unlimited time to find a new job. You don’t need to inform the authorities when you do.
- Dual employee card (without free access to the labour market): you have only 60 days (including Saturdays, Sundays and state holidays) to report a new employer to the authorities. This is counted from your last day of work. By the 60th day, the application must be received at the Ministry of Interior! If you don’t find a job within 60 days, you must change your purpose of residence (eg. for a family reunification or study).
- Blue Card: you have 3 months to report a change of employer
- Non-dual employee card (with a free access to the labour market, ie. you have graduated from a Czech university): you can stay in the CR without a job for maximum of 3 or 4 months. The exact time varies from case to case. The Ministry of Interior will ask you to submit your previous employment contract and give you a deadline. If you don’t submit your new employment contract by that deadline, your residency will be cancelled.
6] Once you’ve found a new job, inform the authorities
You can have a look at our guide Getting a job for some tips when searching in Brno. When you have a new contract signed:
- you must report a change of employer to the Ministry of Interior, for your residence permit update – as discussed in the step no 5. Read how to report the change here. If you’re an EU citizen, you don’t need to report to the Ministry.
- you should inform your Health insurance company and the Social security authority of your new employer. Read how and why.
If you follow this list, a change of employer should be smooth, at least administration-wise. Now, all you need is a bit of luck. We wish you a lot of it when looking for a new job!
Written by Jarda Soukup and Veronika Kiruščanka. Photo courtesy of Brnoregion.com