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Ukraine introduces zero-hours employment agreement

On 18 July 2022, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted the Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine on Regulation of Zero-Hours Labor Relations” (the “Law“). The Law was signed by the President and enters into force on 10 August 2022. The Law envisages regulation of relations upon a new zero-hours employment agreement and contemplates the following changes.

Definition of zero-hours employment agreement

It is a separate type of employment agreement, which does not provide for specific working time for performance of work, and an employee’s obligation to perform such work arises subject to the provision of the work by an employer without guaranteeing that it will be constantly provided.

The Law envisages that it is an employer who independently determines the necessity and time of engaging an employee to work, the scope of work, and agrees with an employee on the work schedule and the duration of working hours necessary to perform the relevant work.

Requirements to the form and the content of zero-hours employment agreement

A zero-hours employment agreement shall be made only in writing and include the following information:

  • a manner and a minimum period of notification of an employee on the start of the performance of work, which should be sufficient for an employee to start performing the duties on time
  • a manner and a maximum period of notification of an employer on the readiness to start work or refusal to perform it
  • basic hours and days during which an employee may be required to work

Employment rights of an employee

The Law states that an employer cannot prohibit or impede an employee to perform work under other employment agreements for other employers. It is also emphasized that the performance of work under conditions of a zero-hours employment agreement does not entail any restrictions on the scope of the employment rights of employees. Therefore, employees under such agreements are not limited in general employment rights, for example, in the right to vacation.

Refusal to work

An employee is entitled to refuse from performing work and cannot be subject to disciplinary liability if:

  • an employer requests performance of work beyond the basic hours and days
  • an employee is temporarily incapable or performs state or public duties
  • an employer notifies an employee about the work with violation of the minimum period established in an employment agreement

Working time

Working time of an employee should not exceed 40 hours and 6 days per week. At the same time, the minimum duration of an employee’s working time during a calendar month is 32 hours.

Salary

The salary is paid for actually worked time or performed work, depending on a relevant remuneration system. However, if an employee did not perform work at all during the calendar month, or performed it for less than 32 hours, he/she should still be paid the salary for at least 32 hours of working time in accordance with the salary conditions.

Termination of an agreement

The general grounds for termination of an agreement apply to zero-hours employment agreements. Along with this, an agreement may establish additional grounds for its termination, which should be related to the skills or behavior of an employee or other reasons of an economic, technological, structural, or similar nature.

Liability of an employer

The Law provides that the number of zero-hours employment agreements of one employer cannot exceed 10 percent of the total number of employment agreements of such an employer. If less than 10 individuals are employed, an employer has the right to conclude no more than one zero-hours employment agreement. Exceeding such number of employment agreements is a ground for imposing fines on an employer.

Fines are also established for entering into a zero-hours employment agreement, which covers up a classic employment agreement.

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