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I am a student, I am looking for a job: answers to your questions

Aleksandra Baranova

3 July 2023

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Obviously, not every student come to study with full funding by their parents.

Many students try to combine their studies with a part-time job. Alexandra Baranova, the author of the GoStudy blog, prepared a useful guide on where and how to search for a part-time job, whether it is worth it and what requires paying close attention.

A student by law

Students of higher education institutions may legally find a part-time job during non-study time in accordance with the Czech legislation. Official employment is possible in either of two options: under a regular employment agreement (Czech. klasický pracovní poměr na základě pracovní smlouvy) or other special agreement (Czech. dohoda o práci konanou mimo pracovní poměr), for instance, so-called agreement on the performance of work (Czech. DPP – dohoda o provedení práce) or agreement on work activities (Czech. DPČ – dohoda o pracovní činnosti).

The main differences between these types of agreements lie in the number of working hours and whether you will pay for social and medical insurance on your own or not.

Part-time job in the Czech student slang is called "brigade" (Czech. brigada).

The most wide-spread option for the "brigade" is the conclusion of the DPP agreement. The number of working hours under this type of agreement cannot exceed 300 hours per calendar year, whereas a student may conclude such agreement with any number of employers.

The agreement is mandatory concluded in writing and does not assume any trial period; moreover, the cooperation may be cut by any party (either the employee or the employer) at any moment at their discretion without explanation. Payments against social and medical insurance are done by the employee themselves, which, by the way, is one of the reasons why employers prefer this type of agreement.

Neither you nor the employer has to contribute to medical or social insurance in case if the monthly final fee under the agreement does not exceed 10 thousand CZK. If salary exceeds this level, contributions are mandatory, thus, the final "net" fee is lower. Tax paying is also an essential point: determining elevation is the final fee of five thousand CZK.

If your salary is smaller, the next step depends on whether you sign declaration on income tax payment (Czech. přihlášení k dani z příjmu, you can sign it only with one employer per month). If you do not sign this document, the employer automatically deducts the 15% income tax from your salary and transfers it to the tax inspection (Czech. finanční úřad), so that you will not have to worry about it.

If you sign this paper, the employer deducts the 15% hypothecary tax (Czech zálohová daň) from your salary; as students have corresponding privileges, then as a result the tax will almost be equal to zero so your final fee will remain the same. However, in the end of the year, no sooner had you received income confirmation from your employer, you had to include it in your annual income report for tax inspection.

If your salary exceeds five thousand CZK, the employer is obliged to deduct 15% for the hypothecary tax from your salary that may be reduced in case of signing the declaration on income tax payment and if you have any privileges. The further procedure is the same as in the case with the salary below 5 thousand CZK.

The DPČ agreement resembles a regular employment agreement; it is also executed in writing but can be concluded for both definite or indefinite term (Czech. dohoda na dobu určitou or dohoda na dobu neurčitou, correspondingly).

The maximum number of working hours is a half of the full-time job rate. Cancellation period is within 15 days unless stated otherwise. Payments against medical and social insurance in this case are done by the employer which, obviously, has influence on the final fee.

The salary is also reduced by other obligatory payments like taxes. In fact, students are less restricted by the law; however, you need to notify your employer about your status of student in advance to get privilege or discount.

Employee-"stowaway"

When it comes to low-skilled jobs employers often offer their potential employees to work without execution of agreement of any kind, in other words, "off the books". If the job is paid per hours, it sounds temptingly at first sight: suppose, if you are not busy with your university matters, you can work almost a full working day.

However, you should not forget that the document that "ties your hands", on the other hand, discipline your employer: without having any written warrant of salary payment you risk to be left with nothing, which will be twice frustrating, especially if you worked like a dog.

Of course, such use of illegal employees could end up in large penalties for the employer but also may have unpleasant consequences for the employees: for instance, influence the decision of visa extension and similar.

Where is my money?

As soon as you get the precious agreement, take your time instead of happily signing in and starting to work. You must read the whole document, including fine prints notes. Ensure that the document clearly states salary rate you can count on, payment terms, number of working hours or work schedule that you have previously discussed, vacation conditions and other important points.

If you do not speak fluently in the language in which the agreement is written (English or Czech), do not hesitate to ask for a couple of days and look through the agreement with a lawyer who speaks fluent English or Czech.

How to find a job

So, you armed yourself with knowledge and are ready to work. The first and the easiest way to find a job is the university you are studying at. Subscribe for the newsletter that often includes the section "Job vacancies for students and graduates". Look through the bulletin boards at the university, in the university library or in the dormitory (if you live there) on a regular basis.

The second option is to search on different headhunter services where you can set a filter and notifications for a certain type of vacancies (examples of the key words: part-time, for students, for foreigners, online, freelance, etc.). There is a wide number of options at www.jobs.cz/, www.expats.cz/, www.prace.cz./

The third option is a summer one, to be exact, endless festivals, actions and competitions that are held in the Czech Republic starting with spring. Working on an event like this is a chance to not only earn some money but also have a lovely time, especially if you have chosen "your cup of tea". Some popular options are running competitions (www.runczech.com) or, for instance, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (www.kviff.com). Remember that similar work has a temporary character but may serve as a good starting point for future work searching.

The fourth option is a fundamental and focused one. Think carefully where exactly and how you see yourself after graduation and where you want to work. And start working at this direction now. In other words, if you have a goal of building career in Google, start knocking on every door and achieve employment on a part-time position or like a freelancer for now. Later, arrange an internship there.

After that, never look back, make your dream and goals come true!

P.S. And, finally, do not forget…

…about a decent and well-prepared CV and preparation for the interview.

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