The Fixed-Term Work (Prohibition of Unfavourable Treatment) Laws of 2003 and 2007, consist of the principal Law, which entered into force on 25 July 2003 and the Amendment Law, which lays down the powers and duties of the Inspectors and entered into force on 16 February 2007.

The purpose of this Law is to improve the quality of fixed-term work and prevent abuse arising out of the use of successive fixed-term employment contracts or relationships.

The Law applies to all fixed-term workers (under an employment contract or relationship), excluding:

  • Initial vocational training relationships and apprenticeship schemes.
  • Employment contracts or relationships, which have been concluded within the framework of a specific public (state) or publicly supported training, integration or vocational retraining programme.
 

‘Fixed-term worker’ means a person having a fixed-term employment contract or relationship, concluded directly between the employer and the worker, where the end of the employment contract or relationship is determined by objective conditions, such as reaching a specific date, completing a specific task or occurrence of a specific event.

‘Comparable permanent worker’ means a worker with an employment contract or relationship of indefinite duration in the same establishment or undertaking, engaged in the same or similar work/occupation, due regard being given to qualifications and skills.

Where there is no comparable permanent worker in the establishment or undertaking, the comparison is made by reference to the applicable collective agreement in each case or where there is no applicable collective agreement, in accordance with law or other collective agreement or practice.

In respect of the terms and conditions of employment, a fixed-term worker must not be treated in a less favourable manner than a comparable permanent worker, solely because he is a fixed-term worker, unless different treatment is justified on objective grounds.

Where appropriate, the principle of pro rata temporis should apply. This principle means that, where a comparable permanent worker is employed under particular terms and conditions of employment, the fixed-term contract worker must be employed under the same terms and conditions of employment, in proportion to his working time.

Where in relation to particular terms and conditions of employment a period of past service qualification is required, this period must be the same for fixed-term contract employees as for comparable permanent workers, except where different length of service qualification is justified on objective grounds.

Where an employer employs a fixed-term worker, whether following a renewal of the fixed-term contract or otherwise, and that worker had previously been employed for a total period of 30 or more months under a fixed-term contract of employment (regardless of the series of successive fixed-term contracts of employment), the contract is regarded for all intents and purposes as a contract of an indefinite duration.

It is pointed out that:

  • Any period of employment before 25 July 2003 (when the basic law entered into force) is not taken into account for calculating the 30 month period and
  • Any provision set out in the fixed-term contract of employment limiting its duration, does not apply, except where the employer shows that the fixed-term employment of the worker is justified on objective grounds.

(Note: In accordance with the Termination of Employment Law, the Labour Disputes Court may decide whether or not a fixed-term contract of employment, or a series of such contracts, of a duration of less than 30 months, has been converted into a contract of an indefinite duration).

Objective grounds exist in particular, when:

  • The needs of the business for carrying out a specific task are temporary;
  • The worker replaces another worker;
  • The particularity of the specific task justifies the fixed-term employment contract;
  • The worker is on probation;
  • The fixed-term work is performed in execution of a Court’s decision;
  • The fixed-term employment is in relation to contracts of five-year service volunteers and volunteer non-commissioned officers in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Cyprus.
 

The employer must provide information to the fixed-term workers about vacancies, which become available in the establishment or undertaking, with a view to ensuring that such workers have the same opportunities to secure permanent positions as other workers.

Moreover, the employer should, as far as possible, facilitate access of fixed-term contract workers to appropriate training opportunities to upgrade their skills, career development and/or occupational mobility.

Fixed-term workers must be taken into account in calculating the threshold above which workers’ representative bodies in the establishment or undertaking may be constituted, as provided for in the applicable law, collective agreements and practice, with due regard to the principle of non-discrimination as required by the law.

The competent court for the settlement of any dispute (of a civil nature), which arises from the application of the provisions of the Law, is the Labour Disputes Court. An employer who violates the provisions of the Law, is guilty of an offense and is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding €3.417.

The Minister of Labour and Social Insurance has appointed Inspectors for the better carrying into effect of the Law. The Amendment Law of 2007 lays down the powers and duties of Inspectors. The Council of Ministers may make Regulations for the better carrying into effect the provisions of the Law.

The provisions of the Law do not prejudice the application of more favourable provisions set out in collective agreements concluded between the employer and the workers or their representatives.