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The In-House Buzz: Interview with Richard Bacek of Siemens in the Czech Republic

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According to Richard Bacek, General Counsel at Siemens Czechia, there are three significant legislative changes underway in the Czech Republic, specifically in the areas of public procurement, construction, and whistleblowing. Meanwhile, Bacek reports that business in the Czech Republic is still burdened by the dearth of what he calls "reasonable regulation" of the home office concept.

“New public procurement regulation is in parliament at the moment,” Bacek says, explaining that the law will introduce a sustainability criterion into the public procurement process. “It is not generally understood what that criterion really means and how it should be evaluated during the selection process,” he says, and he reports that there are doubts among experts about how it will be implemented in practice.

The new Law on Construction is another significant development. Even though Bacek applauds the new law, which is designed to speed up the construction process, he fears that its short-term effect could be quite the opposite. “The new law might affect our clients by slowing down their ability to complete their construction projects,” he says, noting that every significant legal change causes delays, until the system adapts.

Finally, Bacek reports that the Czech Republic is going to adopt a new Whistleblowing law, which, in his opinion, might present a logistical inconvenience. “Although we understand that the intention is to better protect people claiming that actions by others contravene the law, the current proposal would create an unreasonable administrative burden for companies that are part of groups, including international holdings,” Bacek says. According to him, every company will have to hire a designated officer who will handle potential whistleblowing cases and keep its own whistleblowing processes and systems, instead of sharing the same one within the group.

In terms of the move towards telecommuting (or "home office"), Basek says, there are still many unresolved questions related to the concept. “There are two main questions,” he explains: “The first is how an employer can ensure that the home office complies with all health and safety regulations. The second is of a financial nature – should the employee be compensated for expenses incurred working from home?”

Bacek concludes by pointing out that the legal sector is still learning how to use new technologies and how to apply them in everyday work, while, of course, maintaining positive relationships within teams and helping people grow. “We use every opportunity for education and personal development,” he notes. “To that end, through the effort of the Siemens group globally and the Union of In-house Lawyers in Czechia locally, we participate as much as possible in webinars to keep contacts and to share knowledge and experience.” 

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