Below are presented some of the key changes.
The temporary employment of foreign employees.
The amendments regulate the temporary employment of the foreign citizens who are transferred in Albania under
- a secondment contract from a mother company for its branch, or
- under a contract with a foreign company who has an arrangement with a local company for the transfer of the employee, or
- under an employment contract with a recruitment agency or temporary employment agency for the transfer to the local hosting company.
A temporary employment is considered the term of one calendar year starting from the day when the foreign citizen has been transferred to work for the first time in Albania. According to the reciprocity principal on foreign citizens the law of the country of residence may be applied if it is more advantageous than the domestic law. The foregoing provisions are not applicable in case of specialized expats that are being transferred in Albania, for a period not exceeding 8 calendar days, regarding the erection or initial instalment services of equipment, if such services form integral part of the supply agreement and this is necessary for putting the equipment into operation.
Employment rights definitions and principles
Extended definition of discrimination related to employment and profession. In case of controversy brought before court, subject to relevant discrimination-based claims, as per the facts presented by the plaintiff in this regard, the amendments sets out that the defendant shall bear the burden of proof.
With regard to the general obligation of the employer, the amendments, besides the employee’s personality, widen the range of protection also for employee’s rights, dignity, physical and/or mental health, professional future and sexual integrity against employer’s actions.
With regard to equal remuneration between female and male employee, the amendments improve the existing provisions of the Labor Code dealing therewith, by providing, inter alia, a clear definition of the salary and the measurement thereof, in order to avoid the eventual discriminatory situations.
Temporary agency employment
Introduces for the first time the concept of temporary work agency, as provided for under the EU Temporary Agency Work Directive (2008/104/EC).The Agency has the role of the employer hiring an employee, for a temporary period of up to two years, who works for the account of a hosting enterprise/company for the whole employment term and under the same job position. The amendments contain also the separate and/or mutual obligations of the Agency and of the host employer, the specific conditions regarding the mutual agreement to be entered into between them, as well as the basic working and employment conditions that should be guaranteed to the assigned employees.
Employment contract specifications
The employment contract must be entered into in writing and contain the mandatory elements. In specified cases, if the employee has not been employed through a written employment contract and/or it does not contain the mandatory elements thereof, the employer must comply therewith within 7 calendar days following the employment date.
The amendments state more clearly the imperative that the employment contract should be entered into with indefinite duration, except when its conclusion with definite duration is justified by objective reasons, related to the temporary nature of the task for which the employee is being employed. To this effect, if the employer fails to comply with such provision it runs the risk of being subject to a penalty amounting up to 30 times the applicable minimum salary.
International transfer of an employee
In case an employee will be assigned to work abroad, for a period longer than 1 (one) month, the employer should obtain the consent of the employee and provide a written document that contains at least the mandatory elements of the employment contract, including:
- the duration of the assignment abroad;
- the payment currency;
- if necessary, the benefits, in money or in kind, for the work carried out abroad; and
- if necessary, the conditions dealing with the employee’s repatriation.
Additional documentation required by the labor inspectorate and tax inspectors
The amendment adds to the current list of documents that the employer should present to the work inspector if requested, as indicated under article 42 of the Labor Code, the “Document on risk evaluation for any work place, accompanied with the precautionary measures”.
The registry held by the employer with the monthly records of salaries and the payment of social security and health contributions shall be subject to inspections, by both, labor inspectors and/or authorized inspectors of tax authorities.
Work breaking time requirements
In case the employee works more than 6 hours per day without interruption, he/she is entitled to an unpaid break of at least 20 minutes, to be granted after 3 hours, but not later than 6 hours of continuous work. An additional break of 20 minutes should be granted to the employee working continuously 9 hours per day. For pregnant employees the break of at least 30 minutes should be granted every 3 hours.
Concerning the work during the night, the Amending Law states that night working employees are those who work at least 3 hours of their daily work, as normal workflow, during the night, or that might carry out a certain part of their annual work duration during the night. The definition of the work shifts represents another novelty in this regard.
Maximum working hours/work during weekends/official holidays and overtime
The maximum weekly working hours including overtime will be 48 hours from 50 hours as per the old law.
- The work carried out during the national holiday shall be compensated with an addition to the salary not less than 25% thereof and with a paid time-off equal to the duration of the work effectuated. While the compensation of the work carried out during the weekend shall not change.
- If the required by the situation, the employer might order the employee to carry out overtime, to the extent it is possible and necessary, as well as by taking into consideration the personal and familiar conditions of the employee.
- The number of overtime hours that the employer might, unilaterally, order must not exceed 200 hours per year. Additionally, the employee cannot be required to effectuate overtime work, if the latter has worked 48 hours within a week. In particular cases, but for not longer than up to 4 months, the employee might effectuate overtime work beyond the said threshold (48 hours per week), provided that the average weekly working time, during the entire period, should not be more than 48 hours.
Pregnant women are forbidden to take overtime work until the child reaches the age of one.
The duration of the work will include also the time of, inter alia, on-job-training/retraining ordered by the Employer.
The amendments set our clearly that in case the national holiday falls in the period of the paid annual leave, the latter will be postponed. Moreover, the annual leave will be postponed also in case of illness or accident of the employee occurred during the annual leave period, as certified by a medical report. Additionally, the right of the employee for paid annual leave, not granted by the employer, shall be prescribed within 3 years following the date of entitlement thereto. The annual leave cannot be compensated in money, except if paid as severance payment in case of termination of the employment relationship.
The amendments add the life-partners of the employee to the list of current persons for whose death the latter is entitled to 5 days paid leave; while the family members and life-partners are added to the list of persons for whose illness the employee is entitled to 30 days unpaid leave. Additionally, in case of childbirth the male employee is entitled to 3 days paid leave. Another significant change is the entitlement of the male employees to benefit parental leave in case of child adoption.
Pursuant to the amendments, any employee, who has worked more than 1 year without interruption for the same employer, is entitled to benefit an unpaid parental leave of at least 4 months, until the 6th year of age of the child under custody. In case of child adoption, this parental leave shall be granted within 6 years from the adoption date, but not later than the 12th year of age of the adopted child. It might be granted in separate periods that, in any case, they must be not shorter than 1 week per year. The duration of the parental leave shall be determined in mutual written agreement between the employer and the employee.
Children labor protection extension
The amendments prohibit the hiring of children younger than 16 years of age, children from between 15 and 16 years of age might be employed, during school holidays, to perform slight work, which, inter alia, does not harm their health or formation.
Extended protection for pregnant women
The work for pregnant women is prohibited 35 days before and 63 days after child birth. In case the pregnant woman decides to start work after the period of 63 days after child birth, until the child reaches the age of one, she may chose between the two options:
- a paid leave of two hours during the normal work duration or
- reduced work duration with two hours, for the same salary as she had worked full time.
Additionally, several other provisions deal with the protection of this category of employees.
The salary of the employee should be granted only through the bank system; while the amount of the salary to be granted in kind should not exceed 20% of the monthly salary.
Additionally, in case of insolvency of the employer, its obligations toward the employee prevail those due to creditors, even when the latter are guaranteed through movable and/or immovable property. The obligations toward the employee cover
- all salary claims of, at least, the last 3 months prior to the termination of the employment;
- the payment of the accrued annual leave; and
- the other severance payments pertaining to the employee due to the termination of the employment.
Information and consultation
The employee has the right to require information and consultation through the employee’s representative, from his employer, with regard to the future activities of the company, its financial situation and his personal employment relationships with the employer; at least once per year.
The employer may refuse to give any requested information if it is considered confidential or to participate in any consultation if the nature of the matters to be discussed may seriously damage the company’s activity.
Termination of the employment contract
The termination notice, following the probationary period shall be:
- 2 weeks, for the period up to 6 months of employment;
- 1 month, for the period over 6 months up to 2 years of employment;
- 2 months, for the period over 2 years up to 5 years of employment;
- 3 months, for the period over 5 years of employment.
Moreover, during the notice period, the employee shall benefit at least 20 hours paid leave per week, in order to seek another job.
The Amending Law obliges the employer to define the reasons on termination of the employment contract in the termination notice addressed to the dismissed employee.
Termination contract from the employee in case of enterprise transfer
The amendments attempt to provide a better definition to the transfer of the enterprise. In case the individual contract is terminated by the employee due to the essential unfavorable changes in his working conditions caused by the transfer of the enterprise, such termination is considered as unjustified termination of the contract from the employer. The employee notifies the employer in writing within 30 days from the date of the enterprise transfer, stating also the reasons for the termination.
Collective employment termination
According to the Amending Law, the maximum threshold regarding the collective dismissals shall be 20 employees for companies having more than 200 employees.
Article 13, Article 22.3, Article 49, Article 50