27 April 2022
Labour relations in Ukraine during martial law
The Law of Ukraine “On the Organisation of Labour Relations during Martial Law” No. 2136-IX dated 15 March 2022, effective from 24 March 2022 (the “Law”) is aimed at regulating and optimising labour relations during the effective period of martial law in Ukraine.
Key notable changes of the Law include:
- Suspension of employment agreements. Pursuant to the Law, an existing employment agreement may be suspended if, due to military aggression against Ukraine, work cannot be provided or performed by an employer/employee. The suspension of the employment agreement does not lead to the termination of labour relations within the underlying employment agreement. The employee’s salary, guarantee and compensation payments lost due to and during the suspension period shall be reimbursed by the state which has commenced the military aggression against Ukraine.
- Entering into employment agreements during martial law. To promptly recruit new employees and to eliminate staff/labour force shortages (including due to the actual absence of employees whether due to their evacuation, incapacitation or otherwise) an employer may now enter into fixed-term employment agreements with new employees for the duration of martial law or for the period of replacement of a temporarily absent employee. Probation may be now established for all categories of employees.
- Termination of an employment agreement. During martial law, an employer may dismiss an employee during sick leave or a vacation (except for maternity leave and parental leave). An employer is not required to receive a trade union’s approval (when applicable) for an employee’s dismissal, unless the employee is a member of the trade union’s managing body. An employee may voluntarily terminate an employment agreement without the obligatory prior two-weeks’ notice in case of (i) military action on the territory where the company is located or (ii) threats to the life and health of the employee, unless the employee is engaged in community service during martial law or works upon critical infrastructure.
- Transfer of employees and change of essential labour terms and conditions. An employee may be transferred to perform a job not specified by an existing employment agreement without the employee’s prior consent if (i) the employee does not have any health-related contraindications to perform the job and (ii) the purpose of the transfer is the prevention or the elimination of consequences of military action and provided that the salary of the employee shall be no lower than the average salary for the employee’s standard job. A prior two-months’ notice on the change of essential labour terms and conditions by the employer shall not apply.
- Salary payment. An employer shall be released from liability for the breach of timely salary payment if it proves that the breach occurred due to military action or other force majeure event. If it is impossible to make timely payments due to military action, the payment of salary may be suspended until such time as the company resumes operations.
- Working hours. Standard weekly working hours shall not exceed 60 hours per week. Reduced working hours (for applicable categories of employees) shall not exceed 50 hours. A five-day or six-day working week may be established by an employer based on a decision by military command and a military administration (if established).
This publication may not cover every potentially relevant aspect of the Law.
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