Drinking during office hours now acceptable in Prague

Published:  20 Apr at 6 PM
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If lunch isn’t lunch without a few beers or glasses of wine, the Czech Republic is the perfect destination for that new expat job.

Although Czech employers have the right to fire employees who’re intoxicated in the workplace without even a written warning, in practice this drastic solution to the problem very rarely happens. The reason is that firing an employee involves finding a suitable replacement, something of a tricky task in these times of record low unemployment figures. It seems a significant shortage of suitable applicants for almost any lower-level position is changing official reactions to being intoxicated or even stoned in the workplace.

According to one well-known Prague consulting firm, today’s labour market is difficult, with a shortage of candidates for the vast majority of white-collar jobs. As a result, unsuitable behaviour during working hours is now tolerated in a manner unacceptable a decade ago. Basically, job-seekers and those already working, whether expat or local, have the upper hand due to less dependence on their employers and less motivation to behave according to previous cultural norms.

Worse still, random drugs tests are legal in the republic, with three refusals to take the test normally resulting in instant dismissal. Nowadays, it’s a similar situation as drinking on the job, with employers discreetly announcing a test is due and calling certain employees to advise them to stay home on a certain date. One employee at a large logistics firm told reporters workers usually drink beer, rum or vodka, with tramadol, marijuana and pervitin the favourite substances being abused in the office.

Apparently, it’s not just the staff who’re living it up at work, as at least a third of managers are abusing alcohol or drugs in the office. According to one headhunter, the vast majority of companies are aware of the problem, but ignore it and compensate by allowing managerial sick days, the provision of gym passes and other perks aimed at persuading offenders to change their ways. For expats looking to find the perfect job in Prague, finding out which company prefers which form of alcohol, whacky baccy or pill for consumption in the office might be a good idea.
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