The answer is: YES, the employee may terminate the employment contract without notice, provided that the employer, as the Labour Code says, grossly violates his or her basic duties with regard to the employee.
The key issue for the employee is then what situations are caught by gross violation in question.
First and foremost, the employer will be considered to grossly violate his or her duties with regard to the employee, when they fail to pay wages on time intentionally or negligently so that material interests of the employee become threatened or the employee suffers a loss in that respect. These two sets of circumstances – one on the part of the employer, and the other on the part of the employee – must coexist for the employer’s failure to pass the test for “gross violation of his or her duties with regard to the employee”. As a result, in many cases a one-time several day delay in payment of wages, especially when the employee’s salary is considerable, though clearly a violation of the employer’s duties, may not be found gross. It will then not adequately justify termination of the employment contract without notice.
If termination of the employment contract is justified, the employee may claim damages:
- equal to wages due for the applicable notice period – with regard to employment contracts for indefinite time;
- equal to two weeks’ wages – with regard to employment contracts for definite time.
However, there is a trap for the employee if the termination without notice is found unjustified, i.e. when the employer’s conduct is not qualified as gross violation of basic duties with regard to the employee. In such a case it is the employer that may claim damages, in the same amounts as above.