Amendments to Georgian Labor Law on Equal Pay & Parental Leave for Men

This spring, Georgian Parliament is to start work on draft amendments to the Labor Law, which will allow both men and women to take parental leave.

The changes were initiated last year by an independent Member of Parliament, Dimitry Tskitishvili, as a result of which, several meetings were held with the participation of the business sector and international and non-governmental organizations.

The current law does not give fathers the right to enjoy parental leave, however, the draft bill reads that an employee who becomes a father has the right to claim paid leave within 30 calendar days of the birth for the duration of 14 calendar days. Also, that an employed man can enjoy a 604-day leave for childcare, of which 30 days will be reimbursed (plus a 14-day paternity leave remuneration).

Employed women are granted, on request, a leave for pregnancy and childbirth, and a childcare leave of a total 730 calendar days, of which 156 calendar days will be paid.

To note, a father and mother will not be able to enjoy paid parental leave at the same time. During the paid parental leave, 80% of the average monthly salary of an employee will be reimbursed from the state budget. In the current legislation, it is written that parental leave cannot be reimbursed by more than GEL 1000 ($350).

Equal pay for men and women is not written into the current law; however, the amendments define equal remuneration for both.

“The employer has to provide an equal salary to men and women for their doing the same amount of work,” the draft reads.

In addition to parental leave and equal pay, the draft also reads that working time should not exceed 40 hours per week and 8 hours per day. Moreover, during a seven-day period, working time, including overtime, should not exceed 48 hours, except for special enterprises.

In the current law, the amount and remuneration for overtime is not defined; yet, the amendments read that overtime in one day cannot be more than 3 hours and during the week – 8 hours. The draft reads that remuneration for working such hours should be 25% more than the payment for normal working hours.

Furthermore, the amendments read that the employer must notify the employee one week in advance regarding overtime, except in extreme circumstances.

Under the current Labor Law, the amount of minimal salary is not defined; however, the proposed amendments read that the mechanism for determining the minimum wage and its scope should be defined by the Law on Minimum Wage.

Where at this stage the concepts of direct and indirect discrimination are not defined by law, the draft law provides a clear explanation of both.

“Discrimination is direct when there is inappropriate treatment against a particular person. Discrimination is indirect when a neutral provision, criterion, or practice places a person into unequal conditions as compared to others,” the bill reads.

Within the amended version, an employee shall, on request, be granted additional time for medical examination if such medical examination needs to be carried out during working hours. Missed working hours due to medical examinations will be remunerated if an employee presents the proper documentation. The number of missed working hours during the month should not exceed 1/8 of the working hours. This restriction does not apply to medical examinations performed during pregnancy. The same rule applies to a person with any kind of disability, or their representatives.

To summarize, the amended version is said to focus more on the protection of the rights of the employee, a fact which has been positively assessed by the non-governmental sector.

The NGOs say that the planned changes to the labor law are a step forward in protecting the rights of employees, but it is important that the interests of all parties involved in the labor law reform process are taken into account.

“Legislation should not create unreasonable barriers to business that may lead to their having a negative impact on the labor market and the country's economic development,” the sector noted.

By Tea Mariamidze

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13 February 2020 17:03