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Labour relationships during the martial law

Overview of significant changes in the regulation of labour relationships in Ukraine during the war period (Law of Ukraine "On the organisation of labour relationships during the martial law" No 2136-IX of 15.03.2022)

1. Fixed-term employment agreement
During martial law, it is permitted to conclude fixed-term employment agreements with new employees. This will let employers who have a workforce shortage (among others due to the actual absence of workers who have fled to another area or whose location is temporarily unknown) to promptly engage new employees on a temporary basis and, therefore, cover workforce shortage for the relevant period.

2. Assignment of an employee to another job
During martial law, an employer may assign an employee, without his/her consent, to another job not indicated in the employment agreement (except for the assignment to work in another area where active war actions are taking place), unless such work is unsuitable for an employee for health reasons, with the payment for the new work performed at the level not lower than the average remuneration paid for the earlier work.
Such an assignment is permitted solely to prevent or eliminate the effects of war actions and other circumstances that pose or may pose a threat to life or normal living conditions of people.

3. Change of material employment terms
Due to changes in production and work organization, it is permitted to change material terms of work provided that an employee continues to work in the same profession, qualification or position. As a general rule, an employee has to be notified not later than two months in advance of any changes in the material employment terms, such as the system and amount of remuneration, benefits, working hours, introduction or cancellation of part-time work, combination of professions, change of grades and job titles, etc. However, during martial law, the aforementioned requirement to notify an employee of changes in material employment terms no later than two months does not apply.

4. Termination of an employment agreement upon an employee's initiative
Under a general rule, an employee may terminate an employment agreement concluded for an indefinite period by giving two weeks' prior notice in writing to an employer. However, due to war activities in the area where an enterprise, institution, organization is located and existence of threat to the life and health of the employee, the employee concerned may terminate the employment agreement upon his/her own initiative within the period specified in his/her application. This right of the employee to terminate the employment agreement without observing the two-week notice period does not apply to cases where the employee is forced to perform socially useful work under martial law or is engaged to perform work on critical infrastructure objects.

5. Dismissal of an employee during the period of his/her sick leave or vacation
During martial law, it is permitted to dismiss an employee upon the employer's initiative during the employee's sick leave and vacation (except maternity leave and childcare leave until the child reaches the age of three) with indication of the dismissal date such as to be the first working day after the end of the sick leave, as indicated in the sick leave document, or the first working day after the end of vacation.

6. Changes in working hours and rest periods
The normal working hours of employees during martial law may be increased up to 60 hours per week. In this case, work of more than 40 hours per week will not be considered and paid for as overtime work.
Duration of weekly uninterrupted rest may be reduced to 24 hours.
In addition, during martial law, regulations of the Employment Code of Ukraine shall not apply to:

  • reduction of working time by one hour for both five-day and six-day workweeks on the eve of public holidays and non-working days;
  • the duration of the working day on the eve of holidays in a six-day working week not exceeding five hours;
  • limitation of maximum overtime work;
  • shift of the day-off to the next day after a holiday or a non-working day;
  • shift of holidays and working days in accordance with the recommendation of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine;
  • prohibition of employee's involvement in work on weekends, public holidays and non-working days;
  • compensation for employee's involvement in work on weekends, public holidays and non-working days.

7. Violation of timelines for payment of remuneration
The employer shall be released from liability for violation of timelines for payment of remuneration if the employer proves that such violation occurred due to war activities or other force majeure circumstances. If it is not possible to pay remuneration on time as a result of war activities, the timelines for payment of remuneration may be postponed until the company resumes operations.

8. Duration of the annual base paid vacation
During martial law, annual base paid vacation is given to employees for a period of 24 calendar days. This means that in those cases where an employee is entitled to a longer annual base paid vacation under an employment agreement (contract) or a collective bargaining agreement, during martial law such an employee may be actually given a maximum of 24 calendar days of such vacation. At the same time, the days of unused annual base paid vacation exceeding 24 calendar days are not cancelled and may be used after the termination of martial law.

9. Duration of unpaid leave
During martial law, an employer may, upon an employee's request, grant unpaid leave without a limitation of its duration.

10. Suspension of an employment agreement
An employment agreement may be suspended due to Russia's military aggression against Ukraine. However, such suspension is only permitted in cases that preclude the granting and performance of work. Such cases may be, for example, destruction of the employer's production facilities where the work was performed or active war activities that create a real threat to the life and health of an employee take place in the area where the employee's working place located.
Suspension of an employment agreement does not result in the termination of employment relationship. Both an employer and an employee may initiate the suspension of an employment agreement. However, in order to eliminate legal uncertainty, we recommend that the parties notify each other in writing or electronically, using means of electronic communication, of the suspension of an employment agreement.

Rödl & Partner
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Phone: +380 (44) 586 23 03
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E-Mail: kiew‎@‎roedl.com
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