Cyprus transposed the EU Directive 2019/1152 on transparent and predictable working conditions ( “EU Directive”) into national law. The EU Directive’s aim is to improve employment conditions by enforcing more transparent and predictable employment conditions and increasing flexibility in the labour market. The national legislation that transposes the EU Directive, is namely the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Law of 2023 N.25(I)/2023 (the “Working Conditions Law”), which is enforceable with effect from 13 April 2023. The EU Directive and the Working Conditions Law introduces new employee rights and amends employers' obligations. In this article, the key provisions will be outlined.
The main areas that have undergone a change are as set out below:
Maximum Duration of Probationary Period
It is important to note that the maximum period of 6 (six) months does not apply to individuals holding a managerial or a director’s position. Further, if the contract of employment is set for a fixed term, the probationary period shall be proportionate.
Furthermore, the new Working Conditions Law requires employers to offer to their employees, if so required by relevant legislation or collective agreements, training for the employment which has been assigned to the said employee. The training should be offered for free to the employee. The time that an employee will need to spend on mandatory training shall be counted as working time and, if possible, it shall be carried out during working hours.
Minimum Predictability of Work
Employees should be informed in writing of all the working conditions making specific reference to various aspects. Some key aspects include:
The Working Conditions Law prohibits employers from treating their employees adversely for filing a complaint in accordance with the provisions of the said Law. Additionally, the Working Conditions Law, prohibits employers from dismissing or taking any such steps against employees who have exercised their rights according to the Working Conditions Law. In this scenario, the employee shall (amongst others) retain the right to request a written letter of termination in which the reasons for termination have to be fully justified and explained. If the employee proceeds to submit an application to Court for unfair treatment or unlawful dismissal, the burden of proof rests on the employer. Consequently, an employee who files the aforementioned complaint or a request for more predictable and secure work shall be protected from dismissal.
The adoption of the Working Conditions Law in Cyprus introduces a series of new obligations to employers operating in Cyprus imposing the obligation to comply with the new provisions and the new framework. Employers and employees are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the changes that the Working Conditions Law has introduced so as to be fully informed about their rights and obligations. For those who breach these obligations, penalties will be imposed on them. The Working Conditions Law outlines that employers who may be found to be in breach of any of the provisions of the law shall be held liable and, in case of conviction, a fine not exceeding €5,500 could be imposed on them.
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