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24 March 2022

Barely over the first shock from the wider war, Ukraine is scrambling to cope by changing its labor rules. A new law, in effect from today, limits employee rights and makes it easier to fire staff.

The new regime extends the legal working time to 60 hours a week. It also permits employees to be put on unpaid leave indefinitely, thus bringing in a milder form of dismissal (as people will tend to resign over time).

Critical infrastructure workers may be refused an annual leave in case of need, and companies have got a right to transfer staff to other jobs without the latter’s consent. Gone is the rule whereby employees had to be notified two months in advance about serious changes in the nature of work. Finally, workers may now be fired while on a sick or annual leave. 

Seemingly harsh, the new legislation reflects a new reality, as neither firms nor workers can any longer afford business as usual. Some people can’t get to work due to transport disruptions, and others have simply fled to safer areas.

In any event, given the locals' normally scant regard for regulation, many, especially in the service economy, will likely shrug the innovations off. So the changes will chiefly affect the larger firms that operate above board. 


Ukraine declared martial law in response to Russia’s military invasion in February 2022. 

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