News

21
February2013

Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI) publishes legal opinion on the new draft “Labor Code”

As is known, the Ministry of Justice of Georgia has been working actively to prepare a draft of the new Labor Code of Georgia which is supposed to be initiated in the Parliament of Georgia. The said document [[1]] has already been published on the official website of LEPL Legislative Herald of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia. In connection with this document, Georgian Democracy Initiative has prepared a legal opinion.

The novelties included in the draft code are generally assessed positively in the opinion, because they aim at providing better protection of the rights of employees. At the same time, we believe that some of the provisions of the draft code deteriorate the status of employees, instead of improving it, while a part of them are mutually contradictory and vague.

One of the key issues discussed in the opinion is related to remuneration for overtime work. In the form is it proposed, the draft code will create a situation where employers are obliged to limit work time to no more than 41 hours a week (in the case of minors, no more than 36 or 24 hours, depending on their age), while they are simultaneously given the right to refuse to remunerate workers for overtime work unless the work time exceeds 48 hours a week. Accordingly, the proposed draft code enables employers to make employees work for seven hours a week (and, in the case of minors, much longer) without any remuneration.

We believe that the requirement of the Constitution that the protection of labor rights and just remuneration for labor must be determined by an organic law not only imposes a formal obligation on the State to regulate the aforementioned issues by law, but also implies the legislator’s material obligation to ensure that the aforementioned act actually protects labor rights. Giving the employer the right to make the employee work for several hours a week overtime without any remuneration is not in conformity with Article 30 of the Constitution of Georgia and, unlike the current wording of the Labor Code of Georgia, deteriorates the status of employees.

The opinion also contains an analysis of the norms that are vague or mutually contradictory.

On behalf of the organization, we express hope that the authors of the draft code will take the observations and views presented in this opinion into account and the draft code will be initiated in the Parliament of Georgia in view of them.

The full text of the opinion is available at the following web address: