Hire in Cyprus
Here’s where you get started with human resources best practices and hiring in Cyprus.
Key Country Facts
Cyprus is an island nation in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. It became independent from Great Britain in 1960 and, thereafter, has been known as the Republic of Cyprus.
Cyprus covers a total land area of 9,251 square kilometers and is the third largest island in the Mediterranean, measuring 240 kilometers long and 100 kilometers wide. It lies about 65 kilometers south of Turkey, 100 kilometers west of Syria and 770 kilometers southeast of mainland Greece. It has a 640 kilometer coastline that is indented and rocky with long, sandy beaches.
The climate in Cyprus is intense and Mediterranean with hot, dry summers and rainy winters. Autumn and spring are short and the weather volatile then. Summers in Nicosia range between 21 and 37 degrees celsius and winters range between 5 and 15 degrees celsius.
Cyprus has two distinct ethno-religious communities, the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots, who share cultural affiliations with Greece and Turkey. The country is largely partitioned into two parts, each with its own geography, culture, politics and daily life.
The majority of Greek Cypriots are Christians ( approximately 73%), specifically Greek Orthodox while Turkish Cypriots are Sunni Islam (approximately 25%). There are small communities of Anglicans, Catholics and Armenian Apostolics.
Cyprus has two official languages, Greek and Turkish. Armenian and Cypriot Maronite Arabic are recognized as minority languages. English is widely spoken and features widely on road signs, notices and advertisements. English was the official language during British colonial rule until 1960 and continued to be used in courts of law and legislation until 1996. It is spoken by approximately 80% of the population today.
Cyprus HR at a Glance
Employment relationships in Cyprus are governed by ordinary contract law principles and are supplemented by statutory rights and obligations where appropriate. The Constitution guarantees certain basic rights relating to employment (e.g. the right to work, the right to strike and the right to equal treatment).
The main employment-related statutes are the following:
- Termination of Employment Law of 1967 (amended)
- Social Insurance Law of 1980 (amended)
- Annual Paid Leave Law of 1967 (amended)
- Protection of Maternity Law of 1997
- Minimum Salaries Law (amended)
- Equal Treatment at Work and Employment Law of 2004 (amended)
- Health and Safety at Work Law of 1996 (amended)
- Law 100(I)/2000, providing for an employer’s obligation to inform employees about the conditions applicable to their contract or employment relationship
- Collective Redundancies Law of 2001
An employment contract must contain the following information:
- Identity of the employee and employer
- Place of work and the registered address of the employer
- Position and job scope of the employee
- Start date of contract (and the end date for fixed-term contracts)
- Notice period
- Paid annual leave entitlement
- Remuneration and frequency of payment
- Number of days per week of work (and working hours)
- Collective agreements (if any)
Employment contracts can be written in any language that is understandable by both the employer and the employee. If the contract is written in a language that the employee does not understand, its provisions must be explained to the employee. The employee must receive the written contract within a month of commencing work.
The most common type of employment in Cyprus is an employment contract of indeterminate or indefinite duration.
If there is a collective agreement made between trade unions and employers, job contracts are not mandatory.
Part-time employees are entitled to the same rights and conditions as full time employees.
In general, health checks are permitted if they are required to determine if the candidate is physically capable to perform the specific duties as listed for the job role.
Credit history checks, even if the employee consents, is only permitted if the role involves financial control or frequent handling of funds.
Probation Period / Trial Period
The minimum probation period is six months and it can be extended for up to two years. During the probation period, an employer may dismiss an employee without cause.
The normal working week in Cyprus is 40 hours. A working week cannot exceed 48 hours, including overtime (the maximum overtime per week is eight hours). The employee is entitled to a break of at least 15 minutes if the daily period of work is more than six continuous hours.
There should be a minimum of 11 hours of continuous rest per day and 24 hours of continuous rest per week, and either two rest periods each of 24 continuous hours or one rest period of 48 continuous hours every 14 days.
Overtime pay is not regulated by law and it is left up to negotiations between the employer and employee.
However, in some industries, this is covered in a collective agreement.
Timesheets and Record Keeping
Payroll and payment records of employees must be maintained (including employee details, offer letter, employment contract, working hours and attendance records, paid leave days, remuneration, overtime earnings, expense reimbursements, proof of payment, documents showing contributions and deductions).
The Cyprus Tax Authority has six years to raise any inquiry (or 12 years in the event of fraud or wilful deceit). It is recommended to keep payroll and tax related documents for this time period.
Health and Safety in the Workplace
Employers are required to ensure the general prevention of injury at work without financial costs to the employee, including evaluating occupational risks and outfitting the workplace. The appropriate health and safety training should also be provided to all employees throughout the period of employment.
Bonus payments are at the discretion of the employer and may be paid out based on individual or company performance. However, this is not mandated by the law.
Termination without notice is allowed for the below reasons:
- a criminal offense committed by the employee
- improper behavior by the employee
- violation of work rules or regulations in relation to the employment
Severance compensation is not payable if the termination is for the below reasons:
- inability to perform the job role as described due to skills required or temporary incapacitation
- Redundancy due to change in economic conditions
- Expiration of fixed term contract (either by date or by completion of task/project)
- Force majeure, act of war, civil commotion or an act of God.
The below categories of employees are protected from termination:
- Pregnant women and new mothers (for up to five months following the end of maternity leave)
- Employees participating in trade union related activities
- Employees on sick leave
If the employer intends to terminate an employee, notice must be given to the employee in writing. The notice period depends on the period of continuous employment.
26-51 weeks: 1 week
52 – 103 weeks: 2 weeks
104- 155 weeks: 4 weeks
156 – 207 weeks: 5 weeks
208 – 259 weeks: 6 weeks
260-311 weeks: 7 weeks
>312 weeks: 8 weeks
The payment of wages in lieu of notice is permissible.
During the notice period, the employee is entitled to paid time off during normal working hours to seek new employment. The paid time off cannot exceed eight hours per week or 40 hours in total.
If an employee intends to terminate his or her employment, he or she must also give the employer notice depending on the period of continuous employment:
26-51 weeks: 1 week
52-259 weeks: 2 weeks
>260 weeks: 3 weeks
Redundancy / Severance Pay
For terminations due to redundancy, payments are made by the state Redundancy Fund as follows, based on employee’s length of service and wages drawn:
Up to 4 years – 2 weeks wages for each period of continuous employment of 52 weeks
5-10 years – 2.5 weeks wages for each period of continuous employment of 52 weeks
11-15 years – 3 weeks wages for each period continuous of employment of 52 weeks
16-20 years – 3.5 weeks wages for each period continuous of employment of 52 weeks
>20 years – 4 weeks wages for each period continuous of employment of 52 weeks (capped at 75.5 weeks of wages)
Severance pay for unlawful dismissal is to be paid by the employer. It is calculated the same way as for redundancy above, capped at two years wages.
For the purpose of calculating severance, employment of more than 26 weeks in a given year is considered a full year of employment.
Post-Termination Restraints / Restrictive Covenants
Any restrictive covenant must be reasonable in its geographical coverage and time scope. It cannot restrain the employee from being engaged in a lawful profession.
For a restrictive covenant to be enforceable:
- The work has to be of a sensitive nature (e.g. R&D).
- the employer must offer monetary compensation during the period of non-compete or when there is a restrictive covenant in place.
To protect its confidential interests and information, an employer should have non-disclosure contracts. It is assumed that the employee’s duty to act in good faith will continue beyond the termination.
Trade Unions / Collective Agreements
It is not required by law for workers to be represented by a trade union. However, it is more common in certain industries to have trade union representation and collective agreements (e.g. hotels, transport sector and building & construction).
Tax and Social Security
Personal Income Tax
Personal income tax (PIT) in Cyprus is imposed on the worldwide income of individuals who are tax residents in Cyprus. Employees must be registered with the Tax Department and submit a personal tax return by July 31 following the tax year of assessment.
Employers are required to deduct income tax under the pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) system and make the payment to the tax department by the end of the following month.
|Annual Chargeable Income (EUR)||Tax Rate %||Accumulated Tax (EUR)|
|0 – 19,500||0.0||0|
|19,501 – 28,000||20.0||1700|
|28,001 – 36,300||25.0||3755|
|36,301 – 60,000||30.0||10,885|
|Contributions||Employer (%)||Employee (%)||Annual Cap (EUR)|
|Social Insurance Contributions||8.3||8.3||58,080|
|Social Cohesion Fund||2.0|
|General Healthcare System||2.9||2.65||180,000|
|Industrial Training Fund||0.5|
|Holiday Fund (if not exempt)||8.0 (maximum)|
The rate for social insurance contributions will increase in 2024 to 8.8%. Thereafter, it will increase 0.5% every five years until it reaches 10.3% (January 1, 2039).
The employer’s required contribution to the Central Holiday Fund will depend on the duration of leave the employee is entitled to. It is based on gross earnings (before deductions of taxes and contributions). Gross earnings include basic salary, any cost of living allowances, bonuses, overtime pay and any other remuneration the employee receives.
*The above rates serve as a broad guideline. Actual rates charged will differ.
The frequency of salary payments is not mandated by law in Cyprus and the pay period can be decided by the employer. However, it is common to pay an employee’s salary on a monthly basis.
The monthly salary is paid in 14 installments, with the 13th and 14th installment paid in June and December each year.
Employers generally provide monthly payslips and either an electronic or hard copy is acceptable. In addition, the employer must provide a certificate of emolument on an annual basis. This certificate must include the details of employee, gross emoluments, income tax, social insurance and healthcare contributions.
An employee who has worked 48 weeks in a year is entitled to paid annual leave with pay of four weeks. The entitlement is as follows:
- For employees on a 5 day work week – 20 working days
- For employees on a 6 day work week – 24 working days
For employees who have worked less than 48 weeks, the annual leave is prorated accordingly.
A temporary absence from work counts towards the 48 weeks of work. These include sickness, maternity and paternity leave.
Annual leave can be carried forward for up to two years, given the mutual agreement of both employer and employee. An employer has to pay employees’ unutilized annual leave upon termination.
An employee’s wages during the annual leave is either paid for by the employer directly or out of the Central Holiday Fund (to which employers are required to contribute).
If an employer provides more annual leave than what is required statutorily, the employer can apply for exemption to pay contributions towards the Central Holiday Fund. However, wages must still be paid to the employee for the period of leave.
An employee has to have worked for at least 13 weeks in the previous year to be entitled to payments from the Central Holiday Fund. For an employee to receive payment, the annual leave has to be taken for at least nine consecutive days. If the employee worked less than 48 weeks in the previous year, the annual leave taken has to be for at least four consecutive days.
Sick leave benefits are paid out by Social Insurance from day four of the sick leave (no payment of benefit will be made in the first three days). The employee must file a claim with the Ministry of Labor, Welfare and Social Insurances. The employer is not legally required to pay for the first three days of sick leave.
The maximum number of days for which an employee’s sick leave is payable is 156 days during a single period of interrupted employment.
Compassionate & Bereavement Leave
Employees are entitled to seven unpaid days for taking care of a dependent.
Employees are entitled up to five days of leave for the death of a child or spouse, three days for the death of a parent or a sibling and one day for the death of other family members.
Maternity & Parental Leave
Maternity leave is 18 consecutive weeks, 11 of which are mandatory (two weeks before expected delivery date, week of delivery and eight weeks after the week of delivery). The pregnant employee must give advance notice to the employer, providing a medical certificate of her pregnancy specifying the expected week of delivery.
Maternity leave is extended for multiple births, at four additional weeks per child.
Paternity leave is two weeks and is given to employees whose wife gave birth, had a child through a surrogate mother or who adopted a child below 12 years old. The two week leave must be taken consecutively and anytime up to 16 weeks from the date of the birth or the adoption. The employee must provide a written notice to the employer at least two weeks in advance prior to taking the paternity leave.
Female employees expecting a child through a surrogate are entitled to 18 weeks leave. A medical certificate with a relevant court order must be provided. The leave can commence two weeks prior to the expected week of delivery. This leave is extended by four weeks per additional child (e.g. 22 weeks for twins).
A female employee who has adopted a child below 12 years old is entitled to 12 weeks’ maternity leave. The employee must provide a written notice to the employer at least six weeks in advance prior to the effective date of adoption.
An employed employee who is a parent is entitled to unpaid parental leave of up to 18 weeks. For multiple births, the unpaid leave entitlement is 18 weeks per child. For a single parent, the unpaid leave entitlement is 23 weeks. The employee must provide a written notice to the employer at least three weeks in advance, specifying the start and end dates of the parental leave.
There are 14 public holidays in Cyprus.
Benefits to the Employee in Cyprus
All persons employed in Cyprus either as employees or as self-employed individuals are covered by the Social Insurance Scheme. The following benefits are provided:
- sickness benefit
- maternity grant & allowance
- benefits for accidents at work and occupational diseases, including temporary incapacity (injury benefit), disability benefit and death benefit
- invalidity pension
- redundancy payments
- unemployment benefit
- old-age pension
- widows’ pension
- orphans’ benefit
- funeral grant
Visas and Foreign Workers
Visas are issued by all the Diplomatic Missions (Embassies and General Consulates) of the Republic of Cyprus as well as by all the Honorary Consulates of the Republic of Cyprus abroad in their respective countries.All non-EU nationals who intend to stay in Cyprus for more than three months must apply for a long-stay visa. EU nationals are required to obtain a residence permit if they intend to stay and work in Cyprus for more than three months. During the first three months, EU nationals must file an application for a Certificate of Registration within eight days of their arrival to Cyprus. The Civil Registry and Migration Department of the Ministry of Interior is the authority that grants entry permits and residence permits.
A work permit application for a non-EU national can take up to six months and is administered by the Council of Ministers and the Ministerial Committee. There are specific conditions for the approval of a work permit (e.g. lack of qualified local candidates to meet the employer’s specific need).
Getting A Tax Number
Individuals must fill-in the form TD2001 (application for obtaining a tax number) from the Department of Inland Revenue to get a Taxpayer’s Identification Code (TIC).
The below documents are required depending on status of individual:
For Cypriot citizens: Copy of Identification Card (ID).
For EU citizens (resident in Cyprus): Copy of ‘Registration Certificate’ from the Civil Registry and Migration Department.
For Non–EU citizens (resident in Cyprus): Copy of ‘Permanent Residence Certificate’ from the Civil Registry and Migration Department.
For Non Cyprus residents: Copy of any other official certificate from the country of residence, which clearly states Tax Code/Identification Card (ID)/Social Insurance number and a letter that explains the reason the individual is requesting registration with the Cyprus tax authorities.
Public Holidays in 2022
|1.||New Year’s Day||1st January|
|3.||Green Monday||7th March|
|4.||Greek Independence Day||25th March|
|5.||National Day||1st April|
|6.||Orthodox Good Friday||22nd April|
|7.||Orthodox Easter Monday||25th April|
|8.||Labour Day||1st May|
|9.||Orthodox Whit Monday||13th June|
|10.||Assumption Day||15th August|
|11.||Cyprus Independence Day||1st October|
|12.||Ochi Day||28th October|
|13.||Christmas Day||25th December|
|14.||Boxing Day||26th December|