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Innovations of the Law on strengthening the protection of workers’ rights

We would like to inform you that on May 12, 2022 the Law “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Strengthening the Protection of Workers’ Rights” (hereinafter – the Law) was adopted and entered into force on May 27, 2022. Next we offer you an overview of its main provisions and innovations.

1. Novelties in the conclusion of collective agreements

As you know, previously the law provided a rule according to which the collective agreement “should” be concluded at “all” enterprises, which gave grounds for the State Labor Service of Ukraine to require its conclusion at any enterprise.

The Law has now removed the relevant provision and stipulates that the conclusion of a collective agreement is voluntary, and becomes mandatory only if employees take the initiative to conclude it.

Another innovation of the Law is the extension of the possibility of concluding collective agreements not only to enterprises but also to natural persons-entrepreneurs.

In addition, the Law regulates the nuances of concluding collective agreements at an enterprise where there are several trade unions, and establishes the conditions for their participation in the signing of a collective agreement.

At the same time, a detailed list of requirements was introduced regarding the procedure for providing employees with information on concluding a collective agreement, making changes and additions to it, and special liability was provided for their non-compliance.

2. Effect of sectoral (cross-sectoral) agreements

Previously, the legislation did not properly enshrine the status and binding nature of sectoral (cross-sectoral) agreements (hereinafter – agreements) for individual enterprises.

In this regard, the Law defines the specific conditions under which the agreement becomes binding on all businesses in a particular industry, regardless of ownership:

A. the party to the agreement must be a ministry or other central executive body;

B. the agreement must be registered with the Ministry of Economy without any comments, i.e. fully comply with the requirements of the law;

С. the parties to the agreement must jointly send a request to the Ministry of Economy to extend the agreement to all employers in the industry;

D. information on the extension of the agreement must be made public by the Ministry of Economy and the parties to the agreement.

This means that in case of non-compliance with such conditions under the new Law, the provisions of the agreement will not become mandatory for all enterprises in the industry.

The Law also stipulates that the Cabinet of Ministers must approve the relevant Procedure for the extension of the agreement or its individual provisions. We are not aware yet of the content of such a Procedure, but we can assume that it may establish additional conditions for the binding nature of the provisions of the agreement for businesses in the industry.

3. New rules for selecting candidates for the position

The law expands the list of requirements for advertising vacancies, as well as for refusal to hire.

Also, from now on, a person who has been denied employment may request a written notice of the reason for such refusal, which must comply with the provisions of the Law.

4. Specified rules of mass dismissal

First of all, it should be noted that the Law on Employment has always contained special rules for dismissal of a large number of employees, which is called “mass”: criteria for classifying dismissal as mass (depending on the number of employees) and the procedure.

The new Law changed the criteria for recognizing dismissal as mass for large enterprises – with more than 300 employees (for enterprises with fewer employees, the criteria have not changed).

The Law also detailed the procedure for conducting mass dismissals for all enterprises: the procedure for notifying and holding consultations with the trade union on this issue was specified, as well as the procedure for notifying the Employment Center of mass dismissals.