Employment in Armenia

Labor Market

While not all laws are always followed to the tee or enforced properly, employee rights in Armenia are very well established, despite the lack of unions. Labour laws are generally in favor of the worker, a remnant from the Soviet days. For the full law on how to organize a lawful strike, please check Articles 73-82 of the Labour Code of Armenia.


Furthermore, Armenia has signed intergovernmental agreements regulating labour migration with Russia, Ukraine, Turkmenistan, Georgia and Qatar. Armenian documents, education and certifications are recognized in all these places. 

Employee Rights

An individual may begin to work in Armenia from the age of 14, with parental consent, or when having reached the age of majority at 18. Those 14-16 years of age can only be involved in temporary work that cases no harm to the person whatsoever. They may also not be made to work on holidays or days off, unless it is a sports or cultural event. Those aged 14-16 may work a maximum of 24 hours a week, while 16-18 can work a maximum of 36 hours a week. 

Before acceptance, an employer may ask for a qualification examination, defined by the employer in accordance with the law. Individuals under the age of 18 cannot be placed on work probation, while the time limit for the probation period is a maximum of three months. Within this period, the employer may dismiss someone with a three day notice. Employment can be terminated if both sides consent, the contract has expired, if the employer fires you, if the employee quits, or in other emergency cases found in the labour code. In general, those in vulnerable situations are protected by the law, including cases of sickness, injury, maternity, and need for parental leave. 

The normal work week is 40 hours long, with a maximum of 8 hours a day. Overtime can come up to 48 hours a week, at no more than 12 hours a day. Night hours, from 10 pm to 6 am, cannot be worked by individuals under 18, while pregnant women or mothers with children under the age of 3 must give written consent for night work. Shifts of 24 hours may be taken only twice a week, for a maximum of 48 hours of work, and the rest period between the work days must not be shorter than 24 hours itself. Those working in a harmful environment or where their safety is at risk can only be made to work 36 hours a week. Overtime work may not exceed 4 hours over two days and may be for a maximum of 120 hours a year.

The precise time must be noted. On the eve of a holiday that is officially non-working, the workday is reduced by one hour, unless you work 6 days a week; at this point, the day cannot be longer than 5 hours. Work time includes all business trips, on duty times, added time needed to arrange and prepare the workplace, breaks, mandatory medical examination periods, time spent at study programs or qualification improvement, suspension period if at work, and inactive periods at work. Military service, public/civic duties, inter-shift rests, weekly rest days, days off, vacations and publics holidays are not considered work days. 

Should employee rights not be protected by the workplace, the courts will help regain justice. Strikes are also allowed and have multiples articles dedicated to their legal activities. 

Have a Contract

Work contracts must always be signed; they can be for a short-term or long, with pre-defined periods signed only in exceptional cases. A contract is binding and should include the exact date and location of the signing of the contract, all names associated with the employee, employer, and organization, date of start of work, position and duties, salary and how it has been determined, added bonuses if applicable, duration of probation, work times, legalities, and full information on the one signing the contract.

Once signed, the employer will introduce all new employees to the overall setting, their union, if one exists, and any and all rules that one needs to follow in the workplace. Employee must come in to work from the day mentioned on the contract, on pain of it being declared null and void. Work done without an active contract is considered illegal, unless it is under volunteer status. Furthermore, no additional work may be given to an employee, outside of that mentioned in the contract. 

Remember, it is legal for an employer to fill a position without giving notice that it is vacant, or he/she may choose to put out an announcement. The job would be considered illegal without proper contract.

Wages

All should be paid the same wage, irrespective of sex. Minimum wage is 55,000 AMD as of 2017. All wages should be paid in AMD, with any other currencies considered illegal. Any bonuses, supplementary pays and others should be on top of the minimum wage. Pay for work on rest days should be double the average wage. All wages should be paid at least once a month, by the 15th of the following month. 

Time Off

During the work day, you must be given time to rest and eat, as well as uninterrupted rest between shifts. Weekly rests are necessary (no 7 day work period allowed), as well as an annual vacation. During the work day, rest times between 30 minutes and 2 hours must be provided no later than 4 hours after starting your shift. If the working day does not exceed 6 hours, however, you might not be afforded rest or meal time. Rest between shifts (night or day) may not be less than 11 hours, with 14 hours for those under the age of 16. Sundays are rest days in all cases, and in 5 day weeks, both Saturday and Sunday in most cases. No work can be assigned on rest days, which must be for a minimum of 35 hours, or on holidays. Those 14-18 must receive two rest days. 

Holidays: 

1.) December 31. January 1 and January 2 – New Year 
2.) January 6 – Christmas
3.) January 28 – Day of the Army
4.) March 8‐ Women’s Day
5.) April 24 – Commemoration day of Genocide Victims
6.) May 1 –Day of Labour
7.) May 9 – Day of Victory and Peace 
8.) May 28 –Holiday of Republic
9.) July 5 ‐ Day of the Constitution
10.) September 21 – Day of Independence
 
Vacation time in Armenia is officially a minimum of 28 days, and can be taken in segments of no less than 14 days each, available for both part-time and full-time. Certain types of jobs may allow for an extended period of 35 days where there is greater strain or risk. Additional leave is provided to employees in dangerous occupations, with unregulated schedules, or other such vocations. It must also be taken during the given year. Transfer to the next year is only allowed with the written consent of the employer, along with any other form of compensation for days not taken. One can take a vacation leave after six months of uninterrupted work. You receive full compensation for the time on leave, which you receive at least three days before the start of it. 

Note: Men may take leave at any point during the pregnancy and maternity leave of their wives. 

Getting Fired or Laid Off

There are many ways to terminate a work contract, but it is important to note reasons you may be fired or laid off. The latter would occur in the case of bankruptcy or the liquidation of an organization, or in the event of employee reduction due to company needs. You can get fired if you are found unsuitable for a position, your results are not satisfactory in probation period, you are not performing your duties, or the employer has lost trust in you. You may be asked to leave once you reach retirement age, or have been absent from work for no less than 120 consecutive days due to temporary inability to work. 

An employer cannot lay you off during your leave, while you are sick or temporarily incapacitated, if you decide to join a strike, if you are pregnant, if you join a trade union, if you raise the issue of violations with your employer, or on the basis of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, citizenship, social status, age (unless retiring age), religion, marital status, family status, personal beliefs, or political affiliations. This does not apply in case of bankruptcy or liquidation. A two week notice should be provided in the event of terminating the contract. If the case is bankruptcy or liquidation, the employer should give time off to search for a new job, retaining the hourly wages though. Check Article 116 for mass dismissals. 

Note: Should the employee come to work drunk, on drugs, or in another toxic state, the employer will not allow him/her to work and will suspend wages. If during the suspension, the employer finds said employee to continue thus, termination is in order. 

Severance Pay

If the employee is laid off due to bankruptcy, liquidation or employee reduction, a severance pay of a single monthly wage must be paid. At retirement, it is a 2-week pay based on one’s daily wage. 

Required Documents for Work

Upon being employed, you will need to present the following documents, and no employer can ask for anything outside of it:
• Your ID card
• Employment record book
• Social Security card
• Proof of educational certification
• Proof of health condition if the workplace requires it
• Consent letter by one parent if the individual is below the age of 17
• Other legal documents



Tamar Najarian

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Legal
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