The employment relationship
Country specific laws
What laws and regulations govern the employment relationship?
The employment relationship in the private sector is generally governed by the terms of the contract of employment. In addition, there are certain statues which govern specific issues. The main employment-related statutes include:
- the Termination of Employment Law 1967, as amended;
- the Social Insurance Law 1980, as amended;
- the Annual Paid Leave Law 1967, as amended;
- the Protection of Maternity Law 1997;
- the Minimum Salaries Law, as amended;
- the Equal Treatment at Work and Employment Law 2004, as amended;
- the Health and Safety at Work Law 1996, as amended;
- the Law Providing for an Employer’s Obligation to Inform Employees of the Conditions Applicable to their Contract or Employment Relationship 2000; and
- the Collective Redundancies Law 2001.
Further, the Constitution guarantees certain fundamental rights relating to employment (eg, the rights to work, to strike and to equal treatment). International treaties that were ratified by the Republic of Cyprus regarding employment issues are also applicable. EU regulations and directives regarding employment and labour issues are also applicable in Cyprus following the country’s accession to the European Union in 2004.
Who do these cover, including categories of worker?
These laws and regulations apply to all employees. There are a number of other lex specialis statutes which apply to specific sectors and types of worker (eg, retail sector workers, personnel aboard vessels, underage workers and military personnel).
Are there specific rules regarding employee/contractor classification?
The question as to whether the relationship of employer and employee exists is always a question of fact and all the facts of each particular case must be taken into consideration. The criteria for determining whether an individual is considered to be an employee not only include the payment of a salary for services rendered and the way that the parties choose to label their relationship, the courts will also take into account:
- whether the employer exercises control over the work of the employee;
- whether renumeration is dependent on the performance of the employee; and
- the employee’s role in the employer’s business.
Must an employment contract be in writing?
No, but employers are obliged by statute (the Law Providing for an Employer’s Obligation to Inform Employees of the Conditions Applicable to their Contract or Employment Relationship 2000 (Law 100(I)/2000)) to provide employees with specific information about the terms of employment within one month from the commencement of the employment.
The information given by the employer must be in writing and must include at least:
- the identity of the parties;
- the place of work and the registered address of the business or the home address of the employer;
- the position or the specialisation of the employee, their grade, the nature of their duties and the object of their employment;
- the date of commencement of the contract or the employment relationship and its anticipated duration if this is for a fixed time;
- notice periods;
- the duration of any annual leave to which the employee is entitled, as well as the manner and time in which it may be taken;
- the time limits which must be observed by the employer and the employee in the event of a termination of employment, either by consent or unilaterally;
- all types of renumeration to which the employee may be entitled and the time schedule for payment;
- the usual duration of the employee’s daily or weekly employment; and
- details of any collective agreements which govern the terms and conditions of the employment.
Are any terms implied into employment contracts?
Under Cypriot law, employees have an implied duty of loyalty and fidelity to their employer and should offer their services in a trustworthy and faithful manner.
Are mandatory arbitration/dispute resolution agreements enforceable?
The Industrial Disputes Tribunal has exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide on any disputes arising from the application of the law relating to the termination of employment. However, any person has the right to apply to a district court in relation to a dispute concerning employment where their claim is greater than the maximum amount that may be ordered by the Industrial Disputes Tribunal (two years’ salary) or for any claim arising during the first 26 weeks of employment. Recourse to one court excludes the jurisdiction of the other. In view of the above, it is questionable whether an arbitration clause is enforceable without the consent of both parties.
How can employers make changes to existing employment agreements?
Amendments to an employment agreement may only be made with the consent of both parties. The consent must be confirmed either with an amending agreement or by conduct. Any unilateral change in employment terms that is detrimental to the employee may give rise to a claim for constructive dismissal and/or damages.
Is a distinction drawn between local and foreign workers?
The maximum period of stay for all foreign nationals for the purpose of employment is four years, except in the livestock farming and agriculture sectors, where the maximum period is six years. This limitation does not apply in a few exceptional cases (eg, highly skilled personnel employed in companies with a significant turnover and athletes or coaches of sports teams). EU nationals may work in the Republic of Cyprus provided that they comply with a relatively simple and straightforward registration procedure, without any further restrictions. Non-EU nationals are required to obtain a residence and employment permit before commencing employment in Cyprus.
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