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Employment relations under state of emergency or martial law


Leonid Gilevich, lawyer of Ilyashev & Partners Law Firm
Source: The Ekonomichna Pravda

On 17 March 2014, Interim President of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov issued Executive Order No. 303/2014 announcing limited mobilization in the entire territory of Ukraine, with the exception of Crimea and Sevastopol where conscription shall be voluntary. This Executive order was upheld and approved by the parliament on 17 March 2014 in accordance with Article 85(31) of the Constitution.

Amid forced separation of Crimea, ongoing confrontation with Russia and the continuing (at least on weekends) protests of pro-Russian forces in the East of Ukraine, there is still room for the imposition of martial law or state of emergency over the entire country or in some of its regions.

As any emergency essentially affects the health of country’s economy, employers are likely to face the reduction of costs, including personnel and payroll expenses. Today I have come up with an overview of employer rights with regard to redundancy/layoffs or other steps affecting employees that are aimed at cutting costs under state of emergency or martial law, and the specific duties and responsibilities employers and employees might have before the government.

This information can also prove useful for employees wishing to learn how to protect their employment rights and interests.

Importantly, Article 64 of the Constitution provides that certain constitutional rights and freedoms may be suspended during a state of emergency or martial law, save for the rights and freedoms guaranteed in Articles 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 40, 47, 51, 52, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62 and 63 of the Constitution. These include the right to life, freedom and personal security, the right to housing, etc., and do not include the right to exercise a profession envisaged by Article 43. This means that the right to work and other employment rights can be effectively restricted by a special order introducing the state of emergency or martial law. However, no emergency may be declared without stating its duration.

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