Cyprus Employment Law is a combination of common laws and statutes that govern the relationship between an employer and employee. Since employment is regarded as a contract, contract law's standard principles underlay all employment agreements in Cyprus. As such, it is understood that both parties agreed to the terms and conditions of the contract freely and willingly. Several statutory regulations and obligations, such as the Termination of Employment Law of 1967, and collective agreements, complement common law to ensure that employee rights are protected.
Employee Rights Safeguarded by the Statute
In addition to honoring contract law, employers are obligated to uphold all employees' constitutional rights( to work, strike, and be treated equally in the workplace). Furthermore, several statutes related to employment exist to safeguard workers' rights in Cyprus. The most important is the Termination of Employment Law of 1967. Others include:
- The Social Security Insurance Law of 1967,
- The Annual Paid Leave Law of 1967,
- The Protection of Maternity Law of 1997,
- The Health and Safety at Work Law of 1996,
- The Collective Redundancies Law of 2001,
- The Equal Treatment at Work and Employment Law of 2004, and
- The Minimum Salaries Law.
Employers are also obligated to inform employees of conditions related to the employment relationship or any changes to those conditions.
In Cyprus, contracts are binding whether they are written agreements or not. However, employers must provide details of the terms of employment within a month of the commencement date. It needn't be a formal employment contract either. Any document, contract, or letter of appointment that outlines the terms of employment and is signed by the employer will do.
It's important to note that statutory and common law rights and obligations apply to all employment contracts. This is irrespective of them being mentioned in the agreement or not. Some employee rights include the following:
- A working week, including or excluding overtime, cannot exceed 48 hours.
- Parents are entitled to maternity and parental leave.
- A minimum of 20 weeks should be available for maternity leave.
- All employees have the right to be paid equally for equal work done.
- The minimum wage is guaranteed for employees in specific industries.
Termination of Employment in Cyprus
In Cyprus, the most important employment law related statute is the Termination of Employment Law. It regulates termination of employment, and its primary purpose is to protect employees against dismissal. This law covers all employees, whether in the private or public sector.
According to the Termination of Employment Law of 1967, employers must give adequate notice of termination. However, the notice period varies depending on the length of service:
- 26 to 52 weeks of service requires a notice period of one week,
- 52 to 104 weeks of service requires a notice period of two weeks,
- 104 to 156 weeks of service requires a notice period of four weeks,
- 156 to 208 weeks of service requires a notice period of five weeks,
- 208 to 260 weeks of service requires a notice period of six weeks,
- 206 to 312 weeks of service requires a notice period of seven weeks, and
- 52 to 104 weeks of service requires a notice period of eight weeks
Employers are obligated to provide a reason for dismissal. If they cannot give a reason or the reason is unjustified, the employee has the right to file a claim of unlawful dismissal.
There are certain circumstances where employers are not lawfully entitled to terminate an employment contract. For instance, your employer legally can't fire you for being a member of a trade union or a safety committee. Similarly, you can't be dismissed for filing a complaint in good faith.
Employers are entitled to terminate an employment agreement and dismiss the employee in the following scenarios lawfully:
- An employee's work performance is not up to standard;
- A role has become redundant;
- Force majeure, war, civil unrest, natural disasters, or an act of God;
- Non-renewal at the end of a fixed period;
- An employee is subject to summary dismissal based on their conduct;
- The relationship between the employee and employer cannot be expected to continue due to the employee's conduct;
- An employee commits a disciplinary or criminal offense or behaved indecently;
- An employee repeatedly violates or ignores the terms of employment.
Termination based on redundancy has to meet certain criteria as well. If a company closes or relocates to a different premise, an employer may terminate the employment agreement lawfully as long as employees are given adequate notice. Technological advances or any other changes in its production method may also cause redundancy. Also in the below cases, a company has grounds to let go of employees on the bases of redundancy:
- when companies downsize,
- experience a reduction in profits,
- if a product is no longer successful in the market.
Maternity and Family Leave Rights
Cyprus' Protection of Maternity Law of 1997 guarantees female and male employees leave after a child's birth. Employees are entitled to 18 continuous weeks of maternity leave and up to two weeks of paternity leave.
This statute doesn't obligate employers to pay wages or benefits to employees on maternity leave. However, it does protect pregnant workers from dismissal due to pregnancy. Additionally, pregnant employees are entitled to paid time off.
For most employment agreements, the employer and employee agree upon a salary through negotiation. However, certain occupations have a guaranteed minimum wage. The amount is set yearly by the Ministerial Council's order, which sits annually on the 1st of April. The minimum wage statutes cover the following workers:
- Shop assistants
- School assistants
- Security guards
- Nursing assistants
- Assistant baby and childminders
- Employees with caring and sanitation duties in senior living communities, private hospitals, and clinics.
- A minimum hourly wage exists for security guards and cleaners.
Employment and labour law in Cyprus protects employees against all forms of discrimination (age, gender, language, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, or political beliefs). Unequal pay based on sex is prohibited explicitly in Cyprus, where workers are entitled to equal compensation for equal work.
The law also protects employees who file sexual harassment complaints. Sexual harassment complaints should be investigated by a Gender Equality Inspector or the Ombudsman.
In the event of unfairness, employees have two options. They may file a civil claim or file a complaint to the relevant authorities depending on the nature of discrimination. If the discrimination claim is successful, employees are entitled to claim damages, reinstatement, and attorney's fees.
Part-time and fix-time employees should also be treated equally. Part-time workers are entitled to the same salary and benefits as full-time employees fulfilling the same duties. Employers should pay part-time workers pro-rata to the number of hours worked.
Employees working a five-day week should not exceed 48 hours per week or eight hours a day. This restriction includes overtime. There are circumstances where different limitations apply. The hotel industry is one example. Shift workers also have other limits. Employees are also entitled to a minimum of 11 continuous hours of rest every 24 hours. Also, they have the right to a constant 24-hour rest period each week. Furthermore, employees are entitled to either two consecutive days off with a 14-day cycle.
Similarly, night workers should not, on average, work for longer than eight hours a night in a calendar month.
Our Law firm can offer the below services:
- Helping individuals with the process of filing a claim and a court case.
- Inform you of your rights and obligations under the law.
- Assess the strengths and limitations of your case.
- Employment contract drafting.
- General advice and legal consultation.
- Handling unfair dismissal claims and discrimination cases.