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Workers’ rights laid out

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The Department of Labour Relations on Tuesday recapped the main changes to legislation that strengthen workers’ rights, such as the obligation to notify workers of their terms of employment.

The first recent change concerns the amendment to the Protection of Wages Law. It is now prohibited to pay employees in cash.

“Salaries must be paid either into a bank account or a payment account selected by the employee, or by cheque issued in the name of the employee,” the department said.

The issuing of payslips is mandatory, and they should be given to employees within five working days from the date of payment of the salary – either in print or digital form.

In addition, every employer must keep – for a period of no less than six years – records on each employee with information related to the gross and net salary, plus any wage deductions and the reasons for such deductions.

An important change is “the possibility of convicting any individual who, at the time of committing a criminal offence, held the position of director, chairman, manager, secretary or other similar position in a legal entity [corporation] when it has been proved that the offence was committed with their consent or complicity.”

Another important development, said the department, is the passage earlier this year of the Law on Transparent and Predictable Employment Terms. This maintains the requirement on employers to inform their employees in writing about the essential terms of employment, while reducing the time limit for providing such information.

“Information on the essential terms of employment should be provided at the latest within seven days from the commencement of work, and for any additional terms of employment at the latest within one month from the commencement of work.”

This information must be provided in either print or digital (electronic) form. If in digital form, the employer must make sure that the employee has access to the information and that this information can be saved and printed out. Moreover, the employer is obligated to keep records of the transmission and receipt of the related correspondence.

Information regarding employment terms must include the place of work, the nature/type of work, the starting date of the contract, the remuneration and the regulating of a non-fixed work schedule.

Any change to the terms of employment must be communicated in writing to the worker as soon as possible, and at the latest by the day on which the change takes effect.

Additionally, the new law cuts the trial period down to six months. In the event an employee is absent from work during his or her trial period, the employer may extend the trial period – but for a period not exceeding the time of absence.

The new law also regulates the possibility of an employee to engage in other gainful employment outside the work schedule “without the employer treating the employee unfavourably for this reason.”

 

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