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Last updated at November 22, 2022
A beautiful view of Ukraine

Currency

Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH)

Capital

Kyiv

Time Zone

GMT+2

Key Country Facts

Introduction

Ukraine gained independence in the late 20th century with the dissolution of the USSR in December 1991. It helped to found the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), an association of countries that were formerly republics of the Soviet Union. After adopting a new constitution in 1996, Ukraine today is a unitary republic. The country is administratively divided into separate provinces.

Area

Ukraine is the second-largest country by area in Europe after Russia, covering an area of 603,628 km2. It borders Russia to the east and north-east, and shares borders with Belarus to the north; Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west; Romania and Moldova to the south; and has a coastline along the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.

Climate

Ukraine has a mostly temperate climate, except in the southern coast of Crimea which has a subtropical climate. The country’s climate is influenced by moderately warm, humid air from the Atlantic Ocean.

Culture

Ukrainian customs are heavily influenced by Orthodox Christianity and traditions from Slavic mythology. Because of the country’s geographical location, Ukrainian culture has also been shaped by the cultures of both western Europe and Russia.

Religion

Ukraine has the world’s second-largest Eastern Orthodox population after Russia: 82% of Ukrainians declare themselves Christians, out of which 72.7% are Orthodox, 8.8% Greek Rite Catholics, 2.3% Protestants and 0.9% Latin Rite Catholics; 2.3% are other Christians. Other religions in Ukraine include Judaism, Islam and Hinduism (approximately 0.2% each).

Official Language

The majority of people in Ukraine speak Ukrainian, which is written with a form of the Cyrillic alphabet. The language is closely related to Russian but also has distinct similarities to the Polish language. Significant numbers of people in the country also speak Polish, Yiddish, Rusyn, Belarusian, Romanian, Moldovan, Bulgarian, Crimean Turkish and Hungarian. Russian is the most important minority language in Ukraine.

Ukraine HR at a Glance

Employment Law

Ukrainian Labor Law has inherited a significant number of concepts and approaches from the Soviet era. The key piece of legislation regulating employment matters has remained highly employee-focused.

Relations in the field of employment are governed by the Labor Code of Ukraine, the Law of Ukraine on General Compulsory State Social Insurance Against Unemployment and other legislative acts.

There are a number of government agencies responsible for supervising and controlling labor law compliance, including the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, the State Labor Service and the Ministry of Health Protection.

Employment Contract

An employment relationship is established in Ukraine by an employment agreement between an employer and an employee. The agreement contains the terms of employment, including the job title and position, description of work duties, remuneration and the obligation of the employer to ensure adequate and safe working conditions. .

The Labor Code provides that employment agreements should generally be concluded in writing.

Employment agreements are generally for an indefinite term. Even though Ukrainian labor law allows for fixed-term employment agreements, these should be only for work that is of a limited duration (e.g. it is possible to determine the last day of employment).

The law requires all official documents that certify a citizen’s identity and legal status to be issued in Ukrainian. In practice, Ukrainian subsidiaries of multinational companies prepare and approve bilingual documents.

Contract Terms

A written employment agreement or contract can be concluded before or on the date that the employer issues a hiring order but it only becomes effective on the date of the hiring order. It must be signed by the employee.

The parties can amend the employment agreement or contract at any time. To make changes to the essential terms of employment (compensation, working hours, etc), the employer must issue an order notifying the employee of the changes at least two months in advance.

The employer must issue an internal hiring order to document the commencement of the employment relationship, stating the employee’s position and salary. The employer must also report all hired employees to the State Fiscal Service.

In addition, the employer must enter the relevant record in an employee’s labor book. The labor book records an employee’s employment activity and must be maintained by the employer for each employee working more than five days.

Pre-Employment Checks

The law states the documents that can be requested by an employer from a potential employee for each type of job (e.g. criminal records can be verified for teaching positions). An employer is not allowed to request information such as credit history or bank statements.

If a certain job has specific age or health requirements, the employer is authorized to request confirmation of these requirements from the potential employee.

Probation Period / Trial Period

The probation period cannot exceed one month for blue-collar employees or three months for other employees. The probationary period can be up to six months for some employees (e.g. state officials).

The duration of the probation period does not include the days when an employee does not work, irrespective of the reasons.

The terms of the probation period must be stated in the employment agreement. During this time, the employer can dismiss a non-performing employee by stating the performance is not satisfactory.

A dismissal notice should be issued three days in advance to an employee on probation. However, an employee is not required to give any notice if he or she resigns during the probation period.

Working Hours

The number of working hours for full-time employees cannot exceed 40 hours per week or eight hours per day in a five-day working week. Employees are entitled to unpaid breaks following four hours of work, which must not last more than two hours.

If a six-day working week is performed, the duration of the working day prior to the weekend cannot exceed five hours.

Overtime

The general rule is that overtime is not allowed in Ukraine. The Labor Code provides a list of exceptions of when an employee may be required to work overtime.

Employees are not permitted to work for more than four hours of overtime in two consecutive days and 120 hours of overtime in any one-year period.

Overtime must be paid at the rate of 200% of the regular hourly rate of the relevant employee. The law prohibits the compensation of overtime work with only additional vacation or a leave of absence.

In addition to paying overtime wages, employers are required to pay additional wages to employees who are asked to perform duties that have not been specified in the employment agreement.

Certain categories of employees may not be engaged for overtime work, including pregnant women, women with children of up to three years old and persons under 18 years old. Other special categories of employees can perform overtime work only with their consent, including women with children aged three to 14 years or with a disabled child.

Some categories of employees (e.g. executives and employees whose working hours are not possible to fix) may be engaged under variable working hours. There is no concept of overtime for these employees. Employees with variable working hours are entitled to up to seven days of additional paid annual leave.

Timesheets

All Ukrainian nationals are required to have a labor book, which is generally provided by the first employer of an employee. It is then the obligation of future employers to update the employee’s labor book.

Bonus

There are no guidelines on the payment of bonuses but it is common to reward employees with contractual or discretionary bonuses.

Termination

Parties may terminate employment only in the circumstances listed in the Labor Code.

These include:

  • termination upon agreement of the parties
  • expiration of a fixed-term agreement
  • at the employee’s will (with two weeks’ notice)

Grounds arising from the employer’s initiative include:

  • redundancy
  • employee’s failure or inability to fulfill employment duties
  • insufficient qualifications
  • deteriorating health conditions
  • disciplinary violations

Ukrainian law prohibits the dismissal of certain categories of employees. This includes pregnant women and women with children under 3 or under 6 for children with medical conditions) as well as single mothers who have disabled children or children under 14.

Notice Period

The statutory minimum notice period in Ukraine is two months if the case involves redundancy. Notification is not required in all cases (e.g. where there has been a single gross violation of employment duties).

Employees can voluntarily terminate an employment agreement by giving two weeks’ notice.

Redundancy / Severance Pay

For all types of dismissal, an employer must pay an employee all payments due under the employment agreement (e.g. salary and compensation for any of the employee’s unused annual leave).

If an employee terminates an employment contract due to the employer’s violation of the labor laws or employment agreement, the employee has a right to a severance payment of three months’ average wages.

The employer must pay a severance of one month average wage in the case of redundancy or termination due to unsuitability of skills. For termination of corporate officers, severance is six months’ average wages.

Voluntary severance payments are subject to negotiations between the employer and the employee.

Post-Termination Restraints / Restrictive Covenants

Non-compete clauses are not enforceable in Ukraine.

Fixed-Term Contracts

The parties can only sign fixed-term employment agreements under conditions allowed by the law or if the employer has a reasonable justification for offering temporary employment.

If the employment relationship continues beyond the expiration of the effective term of a fixed-term contract, it will be deemed to be an indefinite employment contract.

Any renewals of a fixed-term employment carry the risk that the temporary character of the employment will be challenged. Similarly, entering into a fixed-term employment contract without justification may result in it being reclassified into an indefinite one.

Tax and Social Security

Personal Income Tax

Employers are responsible for withholding personal income tax and military tax at source, unless the benefits are exempt (eg maternity leave compensation).

Both residents’ and non-residents’ salary, benefits, foreign income are taxable at 18%. Military income is taxed at 1.5%.

Social Security

Employers bear the cost of social security contributions on top of the salary amount. They amount to 22% of the employee’s salary with a cap currently at UAH 62,595 or approximately EUR 2,200 per employee.

The base cannot be lower than the minimum statutory salary and its maximum base is capped at 15 minimum statutory salaries.

The above rates serve as a broad guideline. Actual rates charged will differ.

Employees

Salary Payment

Employees whose pay is calculated on an annual or monthly basis must be paid at least twice per month. The interval between payments must not exceed 16 days.

Payslip

The payslip should contain information on vacation days, sick leave, business trips, overtime, work on weekends and holidays.

Annual Leave

Employees are entitled to 24 days’ paid annual leave after six continuous months of service with an employer. If employment is under six months, employees can take prorated paid annual leave. Unused annual leave can be carried over to the next year.

For certain professions or industries, persons with disabilities and young employees below 18 years of age, there are longer minimum paid annual holidays (from 28 to 56 calendar days).

Annual leave can be partially replaced by payment in lieu at the request of the employee. This only applies to the part exceeding 24 calendar days.

There are certain categories of employees where employers must grant additional annual leave:

  • third category of disabled persons: 26 calendar days
  • first or second category of disabled persons: 30 calendar days
  • minors: 31 calendar days
  • educators: 56 calendar days

Employees with irregular working hours are to be provided with additional annual leave of up to seven calendar days per year.

The total number of days of annual vacation (both basic and additional) cannot exceed 59 calendar days.

Sick Leave

The first five days of each period of an employee’s sickness is paid for by the employer and thereafter the compensation is covered by the Ukrainian State Social Security Fund.

The employee must submit a medical certificate only after his or her recovery. The sick leave allowance ranges from between 50% to 100% of an employee’s average salary, depending on the length of their employment insurance record as follows:

  • Up to three years: 50% of the average daily earnings
  • Three to five years: 60% of the average daily earnings
  • Five to eight years: 70% of the average daily earnings
  • More than eight years: 100% of the average daily earnings

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, new provisions have been introduced to allow sick leave to be granted with the payment of 50% of the employee’s average daily earnings to employees who are required to self-isolate. This applies regardless of the length of employment insurance records. The provision is enhanced to 100% for medical workers.

Maternity & Parental Leave

Maternity Leave

Women are entitled to 70 days of maternity leave prior to the expected delivery date and 56 days starting from the delivery date. The latter is enhanced for 70 days for complications or multiple deliveries. The salary payment during maternity leave is based on the employee submitting a sick leave medical certificate to the employer. When calculating maternity pay, the employer will consider the employee’s average salary in the 12 months prior to the maternity leave.

Paternity Leave/Caregiver Leave

A father (or another adult family member of a single father or mother, such as a grandparent) is entitled to up to 14 calendar days of unpaid leave to take care of the child after birth.

Parental Leave

A woman (or the child’s father, adoptive parent or guardian) is also entitled to unpaid leave until the child reaches the age of 3 (or 6 if the child needs home care).

Adoption Leave

An employee who adopts a child is entitled to a one-time paid leave of 56 calendar days. This is enhanced to 70 calendar days in the case of the adoption of two or more children. The leave excludes holidays and non-working days.

Marriage Leave

Employees in Ukraine are entitled to an unpaid leave of 10 days for the purpose of marriage.

Compassionate Leave

Employees must be granted unpaid leave for a period of 30 days or less as mentioned in the medical support for the care of a sick relative by blood or marriage.

Bereavement Leave

Employees are entitled to unpaid leave for a duration of seven days in relation to the death of relatives by blood or marriage and three days for other relatives.

Training/Education Leave

Employees elected to the elected trade union bodies in the organization are entitled to six days of paid leave for the purposes of union training.

Employees who take external exams (primary or secondary school, postgraduate studies or who are enrolled in evening vocational schools) are granted an additional paid leave of up to 35 calendar days.

Other Leaves

The below are other unpaid leaves available for employees:

  • Up to 14 calendar days for a mother (or single father) of two or more children under the age of 15 or of a disabled child
  • Up to 14 calendar days for war veterans and other individuals rewarded for special services to the country
  • Up to 21 calendar days for individuals rewarded for special labor services to the country

Public Holidays

There are nine official holidays in Ukraine.

If the public holiday falls on a working day, they are to be considered an ordinary working day and calculation of payment is standard for such days until the war situation in Ukraine is over.

Benefits to the Employee in Ukraine

Statutory Benefits

Statutory employee benefits in Ukraine are provided through the state social security system. These include pension, unemployment, death, short-term and long-term disability benefits (from occupational illnesses or personal accidents) as well as survivor benefits.

Common supplementary employee benefits include retirement, life insurance, medical insurance and personal accident insurance.

Visas and Foreign Workers

General Information

The State Employment Service issues working permits to foreign employees and the State Migration Service is responsible for providing foreign employees with temporary residence certificates.

The majority of labor law provisions apply equally to Ukrainian and foreigners. Foreign employees enjoy the same benefits and protections available to Ukrainian employees.

A Ukrainian employer must obtain a working permit for each foreigner that it intends to hire. A foreigner may be employed by several Ukrainian employers simultaneously. Each employer must obtain a separate working permit for the employee.

A decision on the issuance of a working permit is granted by the respective employment center within seven business days of the date of receipt of the required documents from the employer. The employer must pay the fee for working permit issuance within 10 business days of obtaining the decision of the respective employment center.

A working permit may be issued for a term of up to three years for:

  • seconded employees
  • special categories of foreign employees (e.g. shareholders or beneficiaries of Ukrainian legal entities, professionals, graduates of the world’s top-ranked universities, creative professionals and IT professionals)
  • intra-company transferees

For all other foreign employees, a renewable working permit may be issued for up to one year.

The employer must enter into an employment agreement with the foreign employee within 90 calendar days of the issuance of the working permit and must also submit a certified copy of the employment agreement to the respective employment center within 10 days of its execution.

Public Holidays in 2022

S.No Occasion Date
1. New Year’s Day January 3rd
2. Orthodox Christmas Day January 7th
3. International Women’s Day March 8th
4. Orthodox Easter April 24th
5. Labour Day May 2nd
6. Victory Day May 9th
7. Trinity Day June 12th
8. Constitution Day June 28th
9. Independence Day August 24th

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