New Slovak law on accessibility of products and services for persons with disabilities
The European Union is working to improve the accessibility of products and services for people with disabilities and older people. For example, if a blind person wants to buy a travel ticket online, the website must be usable with a screen reader, or an ATM must provide vocal assistance for the blind. Therefore, the European Union has adopted the European Accessibility Act, which member states of the European Union have also had to incorporate into their laws.
Who is affected by the law?
The new law does not specifically define who it applies to. However, on closer examination, it applies to most services provided online. This is mainly because of the point - information society services, which is defined in the E-Commerce Act as follows:
An information society service is a service provided at a distance during the connection of electronic devices by an electronic communication network, usually for a fee, at the request of the recipient of the information society service. This includes commercial communication, processing, transmission, storage, searching, or collection of data and electronic mail, excluding personal electronic mail.
The new law 351/2022 mainly concerns providers of digital services and also products, for example:
- passenger transport services - buying travel tickets online or viewing travel information,
- financial services – e-banking, digital investment products,
- information society services - social networks, booking systems, online shops,
- audiovisual and media services - online television,
The law has exceptions
This law does not apply to services provided by micro-enterprises. These are businesses that employ fewer than 10 people and have an annual turnover of less than 2 million euros.
The law also does not apply to the content of websites and mobile applications if it involves:
- content not created or financed by the service provider
- pre-recorded media published before June 28, 2025
- files published before June 28, 2025
- websites or mobile apps that are considered archives if they contain only content that is not updated or edited after June 28, 2025.
Since when is the law valid?
The law was approved and became effective on June 28, 2025. Exempted are services provided based on contracts concluded before June 28, 2025, and lasting until the expiry of the term of that contract, but no later than June 28, 2030.
Why is this law important?
There are number of disabilities that prevent people from fully using websites. According to statistics, there were officially registered 337,147 persons with disabilities in Slovakia alone (data from 2020) and more than 1 billion people worldwide. The number of people with disabilities is set to increase significantly due to the ageing of the European Union's population.
What conditions need to be met?
In this article, we are primarily focusing on the area of websites and mobile applications. The accessibility standard that websites must meet is WCAG version 2.1.
Also, take a look at our article introducing accessibility, where you'll find all the essential information you should know about the WCAG specifications and how to make a website accessible.
For a website to be accessible, it must:
- Comply with WCAG 2.1 rules at levels A and AA
- Include in its terms and conditions a description of how the service meets accessibility requirements. This point is not specified in detail in the law, but government websites currently have this obligation:
- The website must publish its own accessibility statement. A template for a mandatory accessibility statement for a website or mobile app can be found on the Department's website.
- The link to the accessibility statement needs to be prominently placed on the homepage or in the footer of the page.
- The content of this statement is the compliance status with the law, indicating whether the website's content is accessible. If any rules are not met, they should be explicitly listed in this statement.
- The statement must also provide contact information where accessibility error can be reported for resolution. An example of such a statement can be found on the Department´s website.
Who will control the law?
The supervisory authority responsible for compliance with the requirements will be the Slovak Trade Inspection. Its role will be to monitor compliance with the obligations by service providers and investigating complaints related to non-compliance with the law. It will also act on administrative offenses (imposing fines).
Fines for Non-compliance with the Law
If a service provider fails to comply with accessibility requirements, they can be fined between 200€ and 6 000€. If it has not taken corrective action (within one year at the latest)it can be fined up to 20 000€. If necessary cooperation is not provided, the fine can be raised to 30 000€.
The Slovak Trade Inspection will waive imposing a fine if the service provider:
- takes corrective measures
- demonstrates that compliance with the law would result in a significant change to the service which would result in a fundamental change to its essential nature.
- represents an disproportionate burden for the service provider.
The accessibility of products and services for people with disabilities and older persons act in the European Union introduces important rules to ensure that digital services and products are accessible to all. Its main aim is to improve accessibility and convenience for people with disabilities and older people, who are equally entitled to access the digital world. Overall, this is a step towards true digital equality together, enabling a wide range of people to participate in modern online life.