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Labour Relations During Martial Law

Labour Relations During Martial Law

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On 15 March 2022, the Parliament of Ukraine passed Law of Ukraine “On Organisation of Labour Relations under the Martial Law” No. 2136-IX, dated 1 July 2022 (“Law 2136”). Law 2136 was intended to define the aspects of labour relations during martial law.

However, the provisions of Law 2136 have displayed a number of collisions and legal gaps in the first months of application. In order to address these shortcomings, on 1 July 2022, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine Regarding Optimisation of Labour Relations” No. 2352-IX, dated 1 July 2022 (the “Law”). The Law came into force on 19 July 2022. Among other things, it contains critical changes regarding labour relations regulation during the martial law.

Remuneration for employees in military service

The employer is no longer obliged to pay the average salary to the employees currently in military service. However, the employer remains under the obligation to reserve the workplace and position of such an employee.

Suspension of employment agreements

The Law regulates suspension of employment agreements. Specifically, if parties to an employment agreement are unable to fulfil their duties due to the armed aggression against Ukraine, the employer may issue an HR order, for the duration of the martial law, suspending such an agreement with the consent of the civil-military administration. 

An employee may disagree with such an order. In that case, the employee or a trade union acting on the employee’s behalf may challenge the relevant order before the State Labour Service of Ukraine. In its turn, the State Labour Service of Ukraine may, with the consent of the civil-military administration, adopt a ruling to rescind the corresponding order or to address the violation of labour laws in another manner. The employer must take action prescribed by the ruling within 14 days from the day of its receipt. It may also revoke such a ruling in court within 10 calendar days.

Termination of labour relations

The legislator has introduced new grounds for dismissal, specifically:

  • death of the employer, or entry into effect of a court decision declaring the employer missing or deceased;
  • death of the employee, or a court decision declaring the employee missing or deceased;
  • employee’s absence from work without providing reasons for such absence during four consecutive months; and
  • inability to provide working conditions due to the destruction of the enterprise, its property or other work equipment as a result of hostilities. The notice period between the employee and the primary trade union organisation to effect further dismissal under this condition is ten calendar days. However, in this case the dismissal is possible if the employee cannot be transferred to another position with his/her consent. An employee dismissed on this ground will have the right to be reinstated for one year if employees with the same qualifications are hired.

Settlements upon dismissal

From now on, a limit is set on settlement payments for the employee upon dismissal. If the employer failed, through its fault, to make timely payments to the employee upon dismissal, the employee may demand payment of the average salary for the entire time of delay up to six months.

Electronic communication with employees 

For the duration of the martial law or state of emergency, the employer may communicate with the employees in electronic form, specifically notifying them about orders and directives. However, such communication must be effected subject to mandatory application of an advanced or qualified electronic signature.

Vacation regulations  

For the duration of the martial law, the annual paid vacation may not exceed 24 days. The remainder of the vacation days, to which the employee may be entitled, including the vacation from preceding years, is carried over to the period after the end of the martial law. The compensation for the unused vacation days may be paid out upon dismissal.

The legislators also simplified the procedure for payment of salary prior to the start of the vacation. As opposed to the mandatory payment no later than three days before the start of vacation, this issue is currently resolved at the discretion of the parties. However, such payment must be made no later than on the last day before the actual start of the vacation.

We will keep you updated and notified of the consequent changes in the labour regulations. 

By Bogdana Parkhomchuk, Senior Associate, and Andrii Andryishyn, Associate, Avellum

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