Cyprus – Amendment to the Legislation on Paid Leave

As a significant step forward in labour rights, the House of Representatives in Cyprus has recently enacted a transformative amendment to the country’s labour laws regarding paid leave. This legislative development has profound implications for both employees and employers in the Republic of Cyprus, signalling a progressive shift in the country’s labour practices.

The new legislation, enacted in April 2023, modifies the pre-existing regulations around paid leave entitlements for employees. Prior to this amendment, employees were required to have worked for the same employer for a minimum of thirteen weeks to legally qualify for paid leave. This stringent provision often left newly employed individuals without the safety net of paid leave, placing a financial burden on those who might require time off in their first few months of employment.

The revised legislation, however, now allows workers to apply for paid leave from their first month of employment. This timely reform serves to extend the benefits of paid leave to a broader demographic of workers, including those newly integrated into the workforce.

This new legislation is governed under the broader umbrella of the Cyprus Employment Law, which provides a comprehensive framework for the rights and obligations of employees and employers and falls under the provisions relating to annual leave, which are outlined in Section 63 of the Termination of Employment Law of 1967 (Law No. 24/67).

It’s important to understand the scope of the amendment. Paid leave, as defined by the Cyprus Employment Law, can encompass several types of leave, including annual leave, sick leave, and maternity leave, among others. Under this new legislation, the ability to apply for these types of leave from the first month of employment means that employees no longer need to wait until they have fulfilled a certain period of service.

For employers, this new legislation necessitates adjustments to existing leave policies and human resources procedures. It is crucial for employers to ensure their compliance with the new laws to avoid potential legal complications. This includes updating employment contracts and company handbooks, and re-educating both management and staff about the new regulations.

However, it’s important to note that while the law enables employees to apply for paid leave from their first month of employment, it does not necessarily guarantee the approval of such leave. The decision to grant leave remains at the discretion of the employer, subject to the specific circumstances of each case.

In conclusion, the new legislation on paid leave marks a significant improvement in Cyprus’ labour laws, promoting more inclusive and equitable workplace practices. Both employees and employers will need to familiarise themselves with the new law and its implications for their rights and responsibilities in the employment relationship.