On 4 February 2021, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted Law № 4051 (the "Law"), which entered into force on 27 February 2021. The law regulates remote and home-based work, as well as flexible working hours.
The Law formalizes the possibility for employees to work remotely, meaning from any place at the employee's discretion, and with the use of communication technologies. When working remotely:
- it is mandatory to enter into an employment agreement in writing; though exceptions apply for epidemics and other emergencies, in which case it is allowed for the employer to issue an order instead of signing a reciprocal employment agreement in writing;
- employees are independently responsible for the safety of working conditions at their workplace (home or other), but the employer must hold relevant occupational safety trainings;
- employees work according to their own work schedule, established at their discretion (but the employment agreement may provide for exceptions);
- the employer must provide employees with the equipment and other necessities to perform their work, and reimburse employees for relevant expenses incurred in their functions, unless the employment agreement provides otherwise;
- employees may request to temporarily work remotely in case of alleged discrimination or sexual harassment against them in the workplace; remote work is also available for employees with children;
- remote employees are fully responsible for the safe upkeep of the employer's equipment.
The Law allows for a combination of remote work with work at the employer's premises.
The Law separately regulates home-based work, which is work performed by an employee outside of the employer's premises but from a designated workplace (place of residence or other pre-selected premises). As compared to "remote work" as described above, home-work differs in that:
- the employee's workplace is fixed and normally can change only upon the employer's approval;
- the employer must inspect the employee's living conditions prior to allowing home-based work;
- the employee works according to the employer's regular working hours (but the employment agreement may provide for exceptions);
- home-based work is not available as a temporary measure in case of alleged discrimination or sexual harassment against employees in the workplace.
Flexible working hours
The Law also envisages a specific regulation for flexible working hours. Under a flexible schedule, the working day consists of a combination of both:
- fixed hours during which employees are under an obligation to be working; and
- variable time (usually at the start and/or the end of working day), during which employees determine their working time at their own discretion.
In any event, employees must complete the total amount of work hours agreed in the employment agreement within the established accounting period (week, month, etc.).
Flexible working hours may be available:
- at the request of the employee;
- at the initiative of the employer as a substantial change of working conditions with two months' notice;
- at the initiative of the employer, if during a threat of epidemy or other emergency, without prior notice.
The Law also allows for the employer to force employees to temporarily revert to a regular work schedule without the employees' consent if business needs so require, or as a disciplinary measure.
For further information please contact Asters' Counsel Inesa Letych.