Employment law in Cyprus governs the relationship between employers and employees, providing a legal framework for both parties’ rights and obligations. The Cypriot legal system is based on common law principles, with a mix of domestic and European Union (EU) laws. This article aims to provide a detailed overview of employment law in Cyprus, focusing on key legislation, rights, and obligations of both employers and employees.
The primary sources of employment law in Cyprus include:
The Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus
The Constitution, enacted in 1960, contains various provisions related to labor rights and equality, including the right to work (Article 20), the right to join trade unions (Article 28), and the prohibition of discrimination (Article 28).
The Termination of Employment Law (24/1967)
This law sets out the rules and procedures for the termination of employment, including notice periods, reasons for termination, and severance pay entitlements.
The Annual Paid Leave Law (8/1967)
The Annual Paid Leave Law stipulates the minimum annual leave entitlement for employees and the conditions under which this leave can be taken.
The Protection of Maternity Law (100(I)/1997)
This law outlines the rights and protections afforded to pregnant employees and new mothers, including maternity leave, protection from dismissal, and the right to return to work.
The Equal Treatment in Employment and Occupation Law (58(I)/2004)
This law implements the EU directives on equal treatment, prohibiting discrimination based on race, religion, sex, age, disability, or sexual orientation in the workplace.
The Minimum Wage Law (21/1973)
The Minimum Wage Law establishes a statutory minimum wage for certain categories of employees, which is reviewed periodically by the government.
The Social Insurance Law (59(I)/2010)
This law provides for the establishment and operation of a social insurance system in Cyprus, covering areas such as sickness, maternity, unemployment, and retirement benefits.
Types of Contracts
Employment contracts in Cyprus can be either written or verbal, although it is advisable to have a written agreement to avoid any misunderstandings. The contract may be for a fixed term or indefinite duration. Fixed-term contracts may be renewed, but after a certain number of renewals or a specific period, they may be considered indefinite contracts.
Terms and Conditions
Employment contracts must include the following terms and conditions:
- Names and addresses of the employer and employee
- Job title and description
- Date of commencement of employment
- Place of work
- Hours of work
- Wage or salary, including any overtime or bonus provisions
- Annual leave entitlement
- Notice period for termination
- Any probationary period
Employee Rights and Protections
The normal working week in Cyprus is 40 hours, spread over five or six days. Employees are entitled to at least one rest day per week, usually Sunday. Overtime work is regulated, and employees are entitled to overtime pay.
Employees are entitled to a minimum of 20 days of paid annual leave per year, increasing to 24 days after five years of service. The employer determines the timing of the annual leave, considering the employee’s preferences and operational requirements.
Pregnant employees are entitled to 18 weeks of maternity leave, with additional leave for multiple births or complications during pregnancy. The leave can be taken before or after the birth, but at least nine weeks must be taken immediately following the birth. Employees are entitled to receive maternity benefits from the Social Insurance Fund during this period, provided they meet the eligibility criteria.