Employment Relations Change With New Labour Code

The revised Labour Code took effect yesterday 1 September, changing employer-employee relations and the rules of employment, but not to the satisfaction of everyone, of course.

The revision caused huge discontent among trade unions, who felt they had been shunned and ostracised from tripartite talks on the Labour Code, leading to various protests and planned strikes. The revision changed and fine-tweaked all aspects of relations between employee and employer, but trade unions feel it is now more in favour of employers.

The standard three-month notice period has been extended to six months for management workers, for instance, but is only one month for employees who have worked less than a year, and just two months for those who have worked as much as five years. The specifics of notice periods can also be agreed in collective agreements.

An important aspect in this respect is that now the employee must agree with the employer on either serving out the notice period or taking severance pay instead. They can also agree on a ratio of the two.

A new non-competition clause has been introduced, which means employers can prevent employees from working for a competitor or in a competitive field for at least one year, provided the former employer pays them a minimum of 50% of their standard salary during the non-competition period. This clause has to be included in the employment contract.

Changes were made to holiday entitlement as well, favouring new employees who were at a disadvantage before, but also those over the age of 33, who have had additional days added to their annual entitlement, which now comes to 25 days per year.

The maximum volume of overtime work has been increased and capped at 400 hours a year for employees and at 550 for managers.

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