The draft of the labour code was discussed at the Parliament at a sitting of the Parliament's Legal Committee on April 2. The committee supported the draft suggested by the Ministry of Justice.
Labour code discussed in Parliament
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, April 3
Through various assessments made by certain foreign and inner organizations, the current labour code is discriminative towards the employees and grants most levers to the employers.
According to the Deputy Minister of Justice, Aleksandre Baramidze, the represented version fills the gaps in this regard and creates a balanced situation for both the employers and employees.
The main changes that are to be undertaken are the following:
Discrimination (gender, racial, ethnic, religious, etc.) made by the employer, shall be prohibited not only during the labor relations (while the employee works), but also during the pre-contractual relations (before taking on a job, at the time of the job interview, while the job application is being reviewed, etc.). In such a case, if a person makes a complaint, the burden of proof shall be placed on the employer.
The employer becomes obliged to provide the job candidate with full information about the work to be performed; the form and term of the labor contract; the working conditions and the legal position of the future employee during the labor relations.
The labor contract shall be concluded for a definite or indefinite term. It shall be concluded for a definite term only in cases when it is related to fulfilling a concrete job; seasonal work; a temporary increase in the amount of work; replacing an employee during his temporary absence; and other objective circumstances.
The working time determined by the employer during which the employee performs the obligations imposed by the contract shall not exceed 41 hours per week. The working time does not include a break and rest time. The working time for minors aged between 16 to 18 and persons employed to perform hard, harmful, or dangerous work, has also been limited and it shall not exceed 36 hours per week. Also, the working time of minors aged between 14 to 16 shall not exceed 24 hours per week.
The draft code defines overtime work as performance of work by an employee on the demand of an employer for a duration that exceeds the weekly limit of 41 hours, though it says that overtime work should be remunerated if it exceeds 48 hours per week (though the parties can also agree on less time). Overtime work shall be remunerated with a rate that exceeds the average hourly rate by at least 25%.
The employer is no longer entitled to dismiss an employee without indicating the grounds (it should be noted that an employee may leave the job without naming a cause), and these grounds must be envisaged in this code.
The draft also forbids signing of tempory contracts for doctors, teachers and some other profession representatives when they are hired to work more than a month period.
Head of Georgia's Professional Union, Irakli Petriashvili, states that a large part of the draft is acceptable and positive. However, he has a certain remarks concerning some changes.
"When there is a list in which case an employer might dismiss an employee and when at the end of the list you write 'and some other objective reasons' it is not right, as the employer might use the note for his interests more," Petriashvili said.
Georgian Dream member, Shalva Shavgulidze, stated that most of the remarks from the NGOs were taken into consideration, some others were not.
"However, it is excluded that the drafters left some space for misusing of the law. The draft is really balanced and acceptable," Shavgulidze said.
The parliamentary minority claims that if the draft is confirmed, the number of employees will be seriously decreased in the country and investors will not want to do business in Georgia.
"In case of confirmation of the draft, the hiring of staff will be more expensive and employers will have to run to the courts frequently," MP, Zurab Japaridze from the opposition, said.