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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Strengthening the legislative framework for the protection of workers – What applies to wages and working hours

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The implementation of labor legislation and, by extension, the safeguarding of workers' rights, is a key mission of the Department of Labor Relations. On the occasion of the strengthening of the legal framework for the protection of workers in the context of the harmonization of national legislation with European law, a brief description of the most important reforms resulting is deemed necessary.

With the recent amendment of the Salary Protection Law, the payment of wages in cash is prohibited, except for specific exceptions. Salary must be paid either to a bank or payment account of the employee's choice or by bank check in the employee's name. Also, issuing a payslip is mandatory and must be given to employees within 5 working days from the date of salary payment, either in paper or electronic form, while the minimum information it must contain is determined by law.

Regarding deductions from the salary, they are now allowed when provided for by a collective agreement or a general agreement between employers and employee representatives, while for deductions with the employee's consent, his written and signed consent is a necessary condition. Each employer must keep records for each employee, with details of their gross and net salary, including any deductions made to the salary and the reasons for which these deductions were made, for a period of 6 years.

An important reform in case of violation of the provisions of the Law, is the possibility of sentencing any natural person who, at the time of committing a criminal offense, holds the position of advisor, president, director, secretary or other similar position in a legal entity, when it is proven that the offense has been committed with his consent or complicity.

Another, equally important development is the passing of the Law on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions (repeals the Law on Informing the Employed by the Employer about the Working Conditions), through which the employer's obligation to inform each employee in writing is maintained, for the essential conditions of his employment, while at the same time reducing the time available to him to do so. The notification for the basic terms of employment must be made no later than 7 days from the start of work, while for supplementary terms of employment no later than one month from the start of work. The update may be provided in paper or electronic form. In case the information is given in electronic form, there must be a practical possibility for the employee to access the information and this information can be stored and printed. Additionally, it is the employer's obligation to keep evidence of the transmission and receipt of the relevant correspondence. The information must include, among other things, the place of work, the nature or category of work, the date of commencement of the contract/employment relationship, remuneration and the arrangement of a non-fixed work schedule. In case of changes to the terms of employment, the employee must be informed in writing as soon as possible and no later than the day the change takes effect.

A substantial reform resulting from the passing of the aforementioned Law is the reduction of the duration of the probationary period, which, if it exists, cannot exceed six months. In the case of a fixed-term employment relationship, the duration of the trial period must be proportionate to the expected duration and nature of the employment and in no case may it exceed six months. The probationary period of managers of legal entities is excluded, while in case of renewal of a contract or fixed-term employment relationship for the same position and the same duties, a new probationary period will not be required. In cases where an employee has been absent from work during the trial period, his employer has the option of establishing an extension of the trial period for a period of time that will not exceed the period of his absence.

Other important changes that arise with the new legal framework are the regulation of issues concerning employees without predictable hours. In this context, the minimum conditions under which an employee can be called to work without predictable hours are regulated, while at the same time guaranteeing the employer's obligation to compensate the employee in case of cancellation of the work assignment outside the predetermined deadline. Also, the possibility of working on demand is reserved only for workers on a casual basis. In the event of a request to change to a form of employment with more predictable and secure working conditions, the employer must provide a reasoned response to the employee, in writing. his work, without being treated unfavorably by his employer for that reason. Mandatory training is still regulated, which is provided free of charge, is considered working time and, if possible, takes place during normal working hours.

For more information, frequently asked questions and information guides, visit the Department's website of Labor Relations (http://www.mlsi.gov.cy/dlr).

Department of Labor Relations

Ministry of Labor and Social Insurance

Source: 24h.com.cy

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