On July 1, 2022, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted Law No. 2352-IX “On amending certain legislative acts of Ukraine designed to optimize employment relations”. The law came into effect on July 19, 2022.
In short, Law No. 2352-IX intends to amend and improve certain provisions of the Labor Code of Ukraine and the Law of Ukraine "On Organization of Labor Relations under Martial Law" No. 2136-IX dated March 15, 2022.
The most notable amendments are:
(a) Additional extraordinary reasons for employment termination (largely related to such circumstances as war) have been provided:
- death or declaration (by court) as missing of the employer or employee;
- the employee's absence from work for more than four months, if the reasons for the absence are unknown;
- the employer’s inability to provide employees with work due to the destruction of the employer's assets or lack of organizational conditions.
(b) Employees can no longer carry over unused vacation days to a new employer if they are transferred from one employer to another. Thus, the previous employer must compensate all unused vacation days at termination.
(c) The period for payment of compensation due to employees (amounting to their average monthly salary) by the employer who fails to pay out outstanding salary and other accrued payments on such employees’ termination day is now limited by six months (previously, such compensation was accrued up until the factual payment day).
(d) Mobilized (conscripted) employees will no longer retain their average salary for the time of mobilization (conscription). I.e., the employer will not have to pay to its mobilized employees their average salary for the time of mobilization. However, the employer shall further keep their position.
(e) The limitation period for employee claims related to remuneration due by the employer will be three months (previously, no limitation period applied).
(f) During martial law, a 60-hour working week can be provided only for employees of companies belonging to critical infrastructure, and not to any company, as was previously the case.
(g) During martial law, the employer and employee can agree on other (e.g., electronic) communication channels (including the transmission of the employer’s executive orders) that are alternative to traditional paper-form communication.
(h) During martial law, the employer is obliged (upon an employee's request) to grant an unpaid vacation of up to 90 calendar days to employees who have relocated abroad or are internally displaced persons. The employer's right to grant longer unpaid vacations in these and other cases during martial law also remains unaffected.
(i) The provisions on the so-called suspension of employment agreements during martial law have been improved. In particular, requirements to the content of the employer's order that suspends employment, and provisions clarifying the right to challenge it have been added.
(j) Law No. 2352-IX has added provisions stipulating that employment-related losses from the Russian aggression are to be compensated not only at the expense of the aggressor-state but from other sources as well (such as special funds for restoration, international aid, etc.). The Cabinet of Ministers shall approve a compensation procedure.
(k) Finally, provisions on inspections of compliance with the Law of Ukraine "On Organization of Labor Relations under Martial Law" have been introduced.
It is expected that Law No. 2352-IX will fill up certain legislative gaps and optimize the regulation of labor relations in Ukraine, in particular, during the martial law regime.
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