Employment Disputes in Cyprus

Cypriot employment law is a social system and combines principles from English law and Greek law. It protects the employee more than the employer.

In order to enforce employment law in Cyprus you should do so before the limitation period for filing a claim of 1 year and the following options can be used:

  • Ministry of Labor and Social Insurance: Using mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution through the Department of Labor Relations.
  • Employments courts: Mediation and resolution.
  • Sometimes, the District Courts: The Employment Courts have exclusive jurisdiction for employment disputes BUT if the claims exceed 2 years salary, the District Court has the sole jurisdiction.

Though an agreement to begin employment can be made orally, employers must inform employee in writing about the basic terms of the employment within one month after commencement of the employment. Such terms should include:

  • Place of work
  • Position and objective of work
  • Date of commencement of employment and its duration (if fixed term)
  • Duration of paid leave and notice period for the leave
  • Notice period for contract termination
  • Remuneration and all issues attached to that including frequency of payment
  • Hours of work per day and week
  • Any collective agreements applicable to the terms and/or conditions of the employee’s employment.

Reasons for employment disputes

It is important, whether written or not within an employment contract, that between the employer and the employee there is; trust, good behavior, good faith, payment of salary in due time, to not abuse or harass or discriminate. Any breach in these factors and factors within the contract such as unfair dismissal on the part of the employer or breach of the work code-book by the employee can lead to a dispute.

The types of labor disputes are categorized by the Industrial Relations Code and are:

  1. Disputes about rights which arise from interpretation or implementation of existing collective agreements. So includes personal complaints which are submitted for examination by the employer. Representatives of the unions and employers’ organizations may take part in the discussion of the complaint. If not resolved through direct negotiations, it goes to the Ministry of Labor and Social Insurance for mediation. As a final resort, there is arbitration which is binding.
  2. Conflicts of interest which arise during the negotiation or renewal of collective agreements. This leads to resolution by direct negotiation; mediation by the Ministry of Labor and Social Insurance (Department of Labor relations); and finally is unresolved, arbitration or a public inquiry with the agreement of both parties or announcement of a deadlock if no agreement is reached.

The Cyprus Labor Disputes Court only examines violations of labor legislation.

In the settlement of complaints over rights disputes, there are three basic stages: Negotiations, Mediation and Arbitration.

During the direct negotiation stage (which should not exceed 1 month), examination of individual complaints involves three stages:

  1. Complaint must be submitted directly by worker to the supervisor in charge.
  2. If not solved at first, the worker has the right to demand that one or more higher levels examine his case. If there is a complaints settlement mechanism in place in the company, the procedure put in place should be followed under condition that there is clear possibility of complaint being settled.
  3. A settlement of a complaint achieved within the first 2 stages can be disputed by employer organizations or trade unions that have signed the collective agreement.

Direct negotiation stage failure

As mentioned above, where direct negotiation fails. The Ministry of Labor and Social Insurance provides mediation which must be completed within 15 days from the referral and after than, binding arbitration.

Binding arbitration

The Ministry of Labor and Social Insurance will appoint (with mutual acceptance) an arbitrator within 1 week from date the request was made from both sides, and will provide support, information, and anything else that it deems useful.

Usually each side will pay half of the arbitration expenses.
Alternative dispute resolution is in effect the only process to settle labor disputes and individual complaints.

For legal advice on employment disputes in Cyprus, you can get in touch with our lawyers specializing on Employment Law.