Upgrade to labour regulations.
Upgrade to labour regulations
Five recent months of the war have harmed all economic sectors in Ukraine and significantly affected the quality of ordinary people’s life. Despite this, Ukrainians are uncompromisingly defending their land and doing their best to make the victory closer. For individuals and businesses, the government is trying to provide legislative solutions to questions arising in labour relations during the martial law period (the ML).
Unfortunately, it was the war to show that national laws on labour are outdated and need reprocessing. It is not a surprise because the Labor Law Code of Ukraine (LLCU) got passed and implemented 50 years ago, in a far-away 1972 year . The format of the LLCU considered industry-focused economics of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic; today, it has become too outdated to ensure efficient and timely responses to today’s challenges, especially within the ML.
To ensure the appropriate flexibility of labour relations, on July 01, 2022, the public deputies passed the Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Some Laws of Ukraine on Optimization of Labor Relations” No. 2352-IX  (Law of Ukraine No. 2352-IX, the Law), signed by the President of Ukraine on 15.07.2022. The Law came into force on 19.07.2022, and at the same time, two petitions were filed to the website of the Office of the President of Ukraine , , asking to veto the Law of Ukraine No.2352-IX. Let’s see what was so wrong for the petitions’ authors and which are the changes and novelties implemented by the Law.
First, the Law of Ukraine No. 2352-IX will “touch” state officers. Ukraine has a dedicated law “On State Service” No. 889-VIII , governing state service officers. Additionally, during the martial status, state service officers’ works are governed by the provisions of the Law of Ukraine No.2352-IX and the Law of Ukraine “On Labor Relations during the State of War” No. 2136-IX . For instance, from now it takes much less effort for an employer to terminate a labour contract. Also, employers are not responsible for violating terms of payments, etc. In other words, the legislator made it easier to dismiss, transfer, or suspend a salary for commercial companies, as for all state officers.
Petitions filed to the website of the Office of President related to employees mobilized to the army. According to the Law, the companies are not obliged to preserve a mean salary for those employees. Article 119 of the Labor Law Code of Ukraine contains the respective changes. Since then, mobilized employees shall have only their working place and position preserved. In other words, the legislation still prohibits the dismissal of mobilized employees. However, an employer is entitled not to pay the salary for the period of military
The Law of Ukraine No. 2352-IX is interesting for implementing electronic document exchange between employers and employees. It shall enable parties of a labour agreement to share information in digital form, for instance, making them aware of orders or other notifications. The legislator has established that the process must include an ordinary or a qualified electronic signature.
There are some changes to article 29 of the LLCU “The employer’s liabilities before the employee starts working under a labour agreement”. From now, employers must notify their employees, before the work starts and in a way agreed with the employee, about:
- place of work (details of the employer, location included), work function the employee shall fulfil (position and the list of duties), date of the start of work;
- arranged working place equipped with all means necessary for the job;
- rights and obligations, working conditions;
- duration of an annual vacation, conditions, and amount of remuneration, etc.
The Law contains new grounds to terminate a labour contract: the death of an employer who is a physical person; the death of an employee (or if an employee is recognized lost or announced dead); the absence of an employee absence at work without any information on the reasons for over fourth months in a row. Moreover, an employer has a right to terminate a labour contract, being unable to ensure the scope of works specified in the labour agreement due to the destruction (lack) of production, organizing, and technical conditions, the employer’s production means or property due to the military actions. Remarkably, this becomes possible only if the employer can’t transfer its employee to another work.
The Law of Ukraine No.2352-IX has finally established a distinct procedure to suspend a labour agreement. An employer should register it with an order (resolution) containing, for instance, the details of the suspension, including the impossibility for both parties to complete their obligations. On the contrary, the legislator enables an employee to apply at the State Service of Ukraine in charge of Labor to dispute such an order using a simplified procedure.
The changes also touched vacations. For instance, mobilized employees will not have their period of military service included in the time record used to calculate vacation periods. Namely, Law of Ukraine No. 2352-IX determines that within the martial law status, an employer may, by its own decision, restrict an employee’s annual vacation period to 24 days in the current working year. Other unused vacation days shall be preserved or compensated at dismissal according to article 24 of the Law of Ukraine “On Vacations” . It is noteworthy that since now, upon an application of an employee who moved abroad or got a status of an internally displaced person, an employer must provide him/her with unpaid leave for the period as indicated in the said application, but not exceeding 90 calendar days.
The Law alters article 233 of the LLCU “terms of applying at a court for labour disputes resolutions”, namely:
- on matters of dismissal, an employee can apply at a court within a month from the day of obtaining a copy of the dismissal order (resolution);
- on payments due to an employee as of the dismissal day, an employee can apply at a court within three months from the date of a certificate on sums accrued and paid as of the dismissal moment.
The court may extend the said terms if the default had reasonable grounds but took place within one year.
The Law also allows an extension of the working time during the martial law period, up to 60 hours a week. Noteworthy, this provision relates only to employees at critical infrastructure objects.
I am concerned that some alterations introduced by the Law of Ukraine No. 2352-IX are necessary to upgrade the labour laws and are especially important during the martial status period. These novelties will help businesses to get better adapted to the new reality. Labour guarantees, adequate running of businesses, workforce involvement, and prompt interaction between employees and employers will enhance the state’s economy. A strong economy and army are parts of the equation of a strong state! Let’s make the victory closer together!
- Labor Law Code of Ukraine (Digital Resource) //website of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. – Access https://zakon.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/322-08#Text
- Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Some Laws of Ukraine on Optimization of Labor Relations” No. 2352-IX (Digital Resource) //website of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. – Access https://zakon.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/2352-20#Text
- Electronic petition No.22/148488-еп (Digital resource) // Official Digital Representative Office of the President of Ukraine. – Access https://petition.president.gov.ua/petition/148488
- Electronic petition No.22/148488-еп (Digital resource) // Official Digital Representative Office of the President of Ukraine. – Access https://petition.president.gov.ua/petition/148496
- Law of Ukraine “On State Service” (Digital Resource) // website of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. – Access https://zakon.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/889-19#Text
- Law of Ukraine “On Labor Relations within the Marital Law Period” No.2136-IX (official translation) (Digital resource) // website of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. – Access https://zakon.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/2136-20#Text
- Law of Ukraine “On Vacations” 2229-VIII (Digital resource) // website of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. – Access https://zakon.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/504/96-%D0%B2%D1%80#Text