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Rights of Employees (Hours of Work, Annual Leave, Salary, Pension) in Cyprus

One of the most important matters for employees, concerns their rights in employment. Every employer must ensure that, through the employment contract, each employee is given the following information:

• Details of the employer and employee.
• The place of employment and the registered address of the employer.
• The position of the employee.
• The date of commencement of employment.
• The period of employment.
• The number of paid leave days which the employee is allowed.
• The period of hours per day or number of days of employment per week of the employee.
• Any collective agreements which govern the employment conditions of the employee.

Employees, whether working full time or part time have the same rights in relation to social insurance contributions, parental leave, sick leave and paid leave.

Salary:

According to the Minimum Salary Order of 2012, the lowest gross monthly salary (from the 1st of April 2012) is €870 and after a continuous 6 month work period with the same employer, this rises to €924.

Hours of Employment:

The period worked by an employee must not exceed a total of 44 hours per week or eight (8) hours per day.
The following are exceptions to the above:

1. Cases of actual or imminent accident, force majeure, urgent work in mechanical and other facilities etc.
2. Cases of necessary labour to prevent damage to goods or any other risk to the technical results of the employer.
3. Special employment cases which include receipt of goods, balance sheet preparation, the settlement of accounts, clearing and balance sheet closure.

4. Cases of abnormal pressure in work due to special circumstances.

Annual Paid Leave:

Under the Hours of Employment Law (Cap 182), it is provided that the minimum annual leave is 20 days for those working a 5-day week and 24 days for those working a 6-day week. A precondition for annual leave is that the employee works for 48 weeks within the year. If the employee did not, the annual leave decreases depending on the weeks he worked. During the period of the annual leave, the employee is paid by the Central Leave Fund. The employer’s contribution to the Central Leave Fund is 8% on the total earnings of the employee.

The employer is allowed to exercise discretion on whether the employee will go on leave but in no case can the employer reduce the period of leave.

The following are not considered as annual leave: public holidays, maternity or parental leave, absence due to accident or illness, absence from work due to a strike or lockout, time given as notice period for termination of employment, leave on grounds of force majeure.

It is important to mention that, by agreement between the employer and employee, the annual leave can be accumulated for a period of 2 years.

Sick Leave:

Sick leave and its payment thereof, are not subject to rules, except in certain specific areas where there are relevant regulations in place or where this is provided in the contract of employment.

The social insurance legislation provides for sick pay from the fourth day of the incapacity of an employee, while in the case of self-employed persons, the sick pay is allowed from then ninth day of incapacity.

To be eligible for sick pay the employee must file a specific form and submit this to any District Social Security Office or Citizen Service Bureau. The application must be accompanied by an original medical certificate and other evidence in the application.

Parental Leave:

Parental Leave is unpaid leave granted to each employee parent (mother or father) for child care purposes. Parental Leave may be given for a period of up to 18 weeks. It is important to note that the legislation provides for special provisions in cases of adoption, children with disabilities or serious and chronic diseases.

Pension:

Employees or self-employed, are allowed to a pension paid by the Social Insurance Fund provided the following conditions are met:

1. The employee must have reached the retirement age of 65 years of age.
2. The employee must have spent 520 weeks in employment from the starting week of the payment of Social Insurance Contributions.

It should be mentioned that when the employee reaches the age of 68 and does not satisfy the insurance conditions for pensions, he is entitled to a lump retirement sum instead of a pension if he has passed 312 weeks in employment from the starting week of the payment of Social Insurance Contributions.

This article only provides an outline of the current status for workers’ rights. In each case the employee must seek legal advice before making any decision with respect to any matter within the working area, so as to guarantee the best possible outcome.