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LABOR LAW:

 

Introduction 

The labor laws, which were originally enacted in 1946, are intended to protect the rights of the employee and that of the employer. In 1963, a Social Security law came into effect, which includes provisions for social benefits such as end-service compensation, family allowance, sickness and maternity benefits, and compensation for work –related accidents. The legal framework also provided for Labor Arbitration Council, a judicial committee that resolves disputes between employers and employees. 

 

WORKING HOURS 

All employees, regardless of age or gender, are subject to the work hour guidelines set by the labor law. An employer may demand a maximum of 48 regular hours per week from his employees. This applies to all business except agriculture, which is recognized to have more irregular hours and seasonal work. Under special circumstances, employers are permitted to add extra hours to an employee’s regular shift, a restaurant or café for instance, but this requires a permit from the Ministry of Labor. The law also requires employers who retain workers in difficult or physically demanding jobs to set the workers’ regular hours at less than 48 hours per week. 

A normal working day should be eight hours. However, if the work is not damaging to one’s health, it can be as much as 12 hours A DAY. Every company should note its fixed schedule of hours in writing and display it in an area where all employees can see it, i.e. in the lunch or break room. An employer is required to give his male employees a one hour break if they work six consecutive hours per day. Female employees must be given a one hour break if they work five consecutive hours per day. Should an employer find it necessary to have his employees work overtime, the Ministry of Labor should be informed the day before and the employee should be compensated at a rate of 50 percent more than their regular hourly salary for each additional hour worked. Employees must be given nine consecutive hours off between working days. For a six-day working week, the ‘weekend’ break must be 36 consecutive hours without work. It is up t o the employer to set the days that it will fall on. 

 

ANNUAL LEAVE 

Full time employees are entitled to 15 days paid vacation at the end of their first year of employment. The employee should inform the employer of when he wants to take leave but it is up to the employer‘s discretion to approve the request. If the employer to take the leave at another mutually convenient time. When an employee is on vacation, the employer cannot issue a warning against or fire the employee. The employee can cumulate two annual leaves. 

HOLIDAYS 

There is two compulsory public holidays on which all employers must give their employees holiday with pay: Labor Day (May 1) and Independence Day (November 22). In addition, there are 13 other government recognized holidays during which all public offices and most businesses are closed. 

SICK LEAVE 

After an employee has been with employer for more than three months, he is entitled to a half month paid sick leave. Should an employee become very ill or require a long convalescence from surgery or illness, the employer is required to provide paid sick leave in accordance with the employee’s number of years of service. 

An employer has the right to request a doctor of his/her own choice to examine an employee seeking extended medical leave. 

If an employee’s sick leave exceeds their entitled annual amount, then the employer has the right to deduct the extra days from the employee’s annual leave. When an employee is out on sick leave, an employer is forbidden from issuing a warning to or firing him. 

 

BEREAVEMENT LEAVE 

In addition to annual and sick leave, an employer is required to provide his employees with two days bereavement leave, to be used upon the death of close family members, including grandparents. 

 

 
FIRING 

The employer and the employee can mutually agree to break a written work contract at any time, then there is no payment for damages or entitlements. However, in situation where one party breaks the contact, the injured party is entitled to seek compensation. If the employee believes that he was fired without just cause and is the injured party, he may seek compensation based on the type of work he performed, his age, length of service with the company, marital status, health and how unfair the decision was. Compensation should not be less than two and not more than 12 months salary, plus any legal compensation the employee may be entitled to depending on the circumstances of his case. 

Should an employee quit for no legal reason, or should he cause his employer embarrassment or hardship by quitting, then the employer is entitled to seek compensation from the employee. The amount of the compensation is between one and four months of the employee’s salary plus the amount that would have been paid to the employee had he given his employer the required notice. 

Once an employee is fired or gives notice that he is quitting, the law allows him one hour each business day to look for new work. The employer also cannot fire an employee who is on holiday or sick leave, unless during that time the employer discovers that the employee is working elsewhere. If an employer fires a pregnant, sick or vacationing employee, then he must compensate them by paying the salary for the days during which he had no legal right to fire the worker (i.e. the vacation days) plus an additional amount for the salary of the notice period. 

 

MISCONDUCT 

In situation where either party breaks the work contract for reasons of misconduct, the party seeking compensation must file a lawsuit no later one month after the violation occurred. It is then up to the court to decide whether compensation should be paid.

Firing an employee is considered misconduct or abuse of power if the action is based on an unjust or personal reason. For example, it is abuse of power if an employer fires an employee who refuses to join a union or association in order to hire another who is amenable to the employer’s request and will vote for the employer in a company or union election. 

 

NOTICE 

If either the employee wants to quit or the employer wants to fire a worker, both parties are required to give the other a written one-month notice if the work contract has been in effect for less than three years. In cases of three to six years of service, two months written notice is required, for six to 12 years of service, three months written notice is required, and in situation where the employee has worked more than 12 years, four months written notice is required. The notice must clearly state the reasons for breaking the work contract. The party who breaks the contract is responsible for paying compensation in situation where it is necessary. However, three is no financial penalty if either party wants to terminate a contract during the probationary period. 

 

FINANCIAL HARDSHIP 

An employer is allowed to end commercial contracts with his employees if he has a significant reason, such as financial difficulties. However, the Ministry of Labor must be informed of the move at least one month prior to the employees being released. In addition, should the company’s financial picture improve within one year, the employer is legally obligated to offer to rehire the employees he let go before hiring new staff.