On 15 March 2022 the Parliament of Ukraine adopted the Law of Ukraine ''On Organization of Employment Relations during Martial Law'' (the ''Law''). The Law is not in force yet, as it awaits for the signature of the President and official publication. Nevertheless, as enactment of the Law appears to be a matter of couple days, therefore we suggest reviewing its main provisions based on the currently available text.
Entering into and suspension of employment agreement
The Law simplified the procedure to enter into employment agreements and transfer to another job. In particular, the employer is entitled to:
- establish probation period for all categories of employees.
- conclude fixed-term employment agreements for the period of martial law or replacement of temporary absent employees that are evacuated, on leave or idle time, became disabled or whose fate is unknown.
- transfer employees to another job without their consent in order to prevent consequences of (i) military actions; (ii) other circumstances which endanger or may endanger lives and normal living conditions of population.
The Law also envisages a new possibility of suspension of employment agreements. Suspension of an employment agreement does not cause its termination but implies that an employer is temporary released from the duty to provide work, while an employee is released from the duty to perform such work. Suspension of an agreement suspends an employer's obligation on payment of a salary. The Law makes the aggressor state liable for recovery of the salary and other payments for the time of suspension of the employment agreement, however, the mechanism for such recovery is not yet clear.
Termination of employment agreement
The Law introduces the following new rules for termination of employment during martial law:
- simplified staff redundancy procedure but only in case of liquidation of an entity due to destruction of all its production, organizational or technical facilities or property as the result of military actions. In this case, an employer shall issue a 10 days prior notice and pay a severance payment in the amount of not less than one average salary.
- possibility to terminate employees during sick leave or vacation (except for maternity and parental leave). The date of termination would be the first working day after sick leave or vacation.
- right for employees to resign voluntarily without prior two-weeks' notice if the reason for resignation is (i) military actions on the territories where the entity is located, or (ii) threat to life and health of an employee. However, notice period remains mandatory if an employee performs socially useful works or works at critical infrastructure facilities.
- possibility to dismiss unionized employees without approval of relevant trade union, unless an employee is a member of the trade union's managing body.
Payment of salary
If an employer cannot pay salaries due to military actions, it may suspend such payments till recovery of its core business activities.
During martial law, an employer may refuse to provide vacations to employees who perform work at critical infrastructure facilities. The rule does not apply to maternity and parental leaves.
In addition, the Law:
- increases normal duration of working time to 60 hours per week.
- decreases minimum duration of continuous weekly rest to 24 hours.
- suspends restrictions regarding overtime, night, holidays, weekends work;
- removes limitations on maximum lengths of unpaid leaves.
For further information please contact Asters' Counsel Inesa Letych and Associate Iryna Shaposhnikova