Belarus: Top 10 Amendments to the Labour Code 2020

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published on 29. Januar 2020 | reading time approx. 5 minutes

 

 

Legitimation of remote work, paternity leave, business trips for mothers with young children, mandatory extension of a fixed-term employment contract – that is all about only a minor part of amendments to the Labour Code of the Republic of Belarus (the “Labour Code”) which have affected more than 200 articles and come into force on 28 January 2020. Our article will provide you with a first insight into top 10 of the most crucial changes in labour laws which every and each employer shall be aware of.

 

Remote work

Finally, opportunity to work on a remote basis appears in Belarus. The Labour Code has been supplemented with Section 25-1 envisaging the peculiarities of remote work.

 
Remote work stands for work which is performed by an employee outside the employer's location using telecommunications networks for performance of such the work and interaction with the employer.

 
Please note, that the general rules of labour laws cover remote work as well, including those related to working hours, granting vacations, business trips and disciplinary sanctions. In the meantime, such rules shall apply by reference to specific features as set forth in Section 25-1 of the Labour Code. Moreover, execution of an employment agreement with a remote employee is only allowed in personal presence of such an employee.

 
Remote work may be performed by specialists with different level of qualification who may transfer work results via information and telecommunication networks, including online environment (e.g. engineers, lawyers, translators, designers, software developers, auditors etc).

 

Extension of a contract and conclusion of a new one*

As it stands, the laws provide for a minimum (1 year) and maximum (5 years) validity terms of employment contracts. To this end, from practical prospective employers mainly tend to extend employment contracts with employees only for one extra year. This results in constant fear for employees to lose their jobs shortly subsequent to expiration of an employment contract. This is the reason why the lawmaker attempted to reverse this overall trend and has introduced changes to the procedure for extension of employment contracts ensuring security of employment for diligent employees.


Thus, starting from January 28, 2020 the extension of employment contracts with employees who have been in compliance with operational, performance and labour discipline shall be performed, subject to the consent of the parties, within the five-year term of their validity for a period until expiration of a maximum duration of an employment contract. Upon expiration of such five-year term or in case such a diligent employee, upon his/her consent, is being transferred to another job the new employment contract shall be concluded for a period of at least three years, and only subject to the written consent of an employee the said period can be shortened up to one year.

 

*An employment contract is a fixed-term employment agreement that is concluded in the written form for a certain period of time for the performance of the work and containing specific  regulation of the employment relationship between an employer and an employee. In contrast to other fixed-term employment agreements, an employment contract may also be concluded for the performance of work of a lasting character.

 

Paternity leave

Finally, Belarusian fathers may enjoy their new status being entitled to have a social paternity leave. Upon the birth of a child in a family an employer, upon the request of a father (stepfather), is obliged to grant him an unpaid leave with a duration of up to 14 calendar days. Meanwhile, an employee itself or a respective collective agreement may provide for a different period of a paternity leave and (or) payments to be effected to an employee in case of granting a paternity leave.


Paternity leave is granted upon the written request of an employee (father, stepfather) on a one-time basis within six months following the date of birth of a child.

 

Changes in key employment terms

We recall that starting from 2015, in accordance with the Decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus No. 5 “On strengthening of requirements to managing personnel and companies’ employees”, the minimum term for notification of an employee on forthcoming changes in key employment terms was reduced from 1 month to 7 calendar days.

 
However, starting from 28 January 2020, once the new edition of the Labour code has taken effect, the previous regulation on a mandatory one-month notice period for changing key employment terms shall become effective once again.

 

The list of persons which may conclude fixed-term employment agreements with employees upon the mutual agreement of the parties, has been extended as well. In addition to individual entrepreneurs and microcompanies there have been added such natural persons as attorneys-at-law, notaries, persons engaged in rural tourism activities.

 
In addition, it would be allowed to conclude fixed-term employment agreements with persons working in 2 or more jobs irrespective of nature and conditions of the work to be performed.

 

New requirements for execution of an employment agreement

Following the amendments to the Labour Code each page of an employment agreement and the annexes thereto shall be numbered and signed by both the parties. The previous regulations provided solely for mandatory written form of an employment agreement to be signed by both the parties as well as for necessity to execute it in duplicate (Article 18 of the Labour Code).

 
In addition, an employer may empower its official by issuance of the respective Order to perform technical formalities (i.e. to sign each page of an employment agreement and annexes thereto). Therefore, an employment agreement may be signed directly by such an employer (head of a company), whereas each page of such employment agreement may be signed, for example, by a duly empowered specialist of HR-department.

 

Equal amount of a financial liability 

The limit of an employee's financial liability will no longer depend on the type of employment agreement concluded: an employment agreement or an employment contract. This issue was handled by exclusion of full financial liability from the list of mandatory conditions to be defined in an employment contract.

 
Thus, financial liability of employees being employed under employment contracts will be identical with the one of employees being employed under “simple” employment agreements.

 

Business trips: departure and arrival on days-off

The limit of an employee's financial liability will no longer depend on the type of employment agreement concluded: an employment agreement or an employment contract. This issue was handled by exclusion of full financial liability from the list of mandatory conditions to be defined in an employment contract.

 
Thus, financial liability of employees being employed under employment contracts will be identical with the one of employees being employed under “simple” employment agreements.

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