"Let's back to the legal track." Contract system in Belarus

Marina Nikandrina, a lawyer with the "A Country to Live in" foundation, continues the project “Let's back to the legal track.” This time we will talk about the contractual recruitment system in Belarus.

With a long-term employment relationship with an employee, it’s possible to conclude an open-ended or fixed-term employment contract.

An open-ended employment contract has many obvious benefits for employees. The most important thing is protection against dismissal. By signing the open-ended contract, the employer loses the right to fire an employee without good reason. At the same time, the employee has the right to dismiss and write a voluntary resignation letter (by notifying the employer a month in advance). There is no difficulty quitting a job with an open-ended employment contract, but it would be problematic to dismiss someone objectionable to the system.

The contract recruitment system was introduced in 1999 by order, or rather by decree of Lukashenko. In 2014, decree No. 5 was issued, which tightened labor discipline. It also expanded the list of misconduct for which the employer can terminate the contract ahead of schedule.

Practice shows that employers often use annual contracts for hidden reduction. After all, with the reduction, payments or retraining are provided. Otherwise, it’s easy not to renew the contract with an unwanted employee.

But let's call it what it is, highly qualified specialists aren’t fired for poorly performed work but their civil position. As it happened with the best doctors Martov and Mrochek. And with many other Belarusians.

International Labour Organization (ILO) and many other international organizations working in this area recognize that Decree No. 29, which legalized the contractual system of recruitment, enshrines forced labor. In 1999, the need to introduce this system was explained by one thing: an unwanted person could be fired at any time, which could not be appealed in any way. This is how it works to this day.

It is believed that the advantage of working under a contract is additional payments and vacation days. Calling it a positive side is completely absurd. How can the salary and vacation for the same work be different, only if the contract is fixed-term or indefinite?

Article 22 of The Constitution of the Republic of Belarus states that everyone is entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of rights and legitimate interests. It is difficult for the employee himself to quit his job before the expiration of the contract. If the employer is against it, he has the right to refuse and detain the person until the end of the term.

How does it possible to quit if You already sign a contract? - To write a statement by agreement of the parties and get the employer's consent. If the employer does not consent, the employee can quit for one of the valid reasons. For example: ​
  • health condition
  • retirement
  • the need to care for sick family members
  • change of place of residence

Evidence of valid reasons for the early termination of the contract is attached to the application.

The contract can be terminated ahead of schedule at the employee's request in case of violation by the employer of labor legislation, collective or labor agreement. The violation should be documented by the conclusion of the labor protection inspectorate, the prosecutor's office, and law enforcement agencies. The employee should apply there with an application. The basis for the application is:
  • failure to ensure healthy and safe working conditions
  • non-payment or late payment of wages
  • failure to provide guarantees and compensations

Also, it’s possible to go to court, but the fact of violation of the law by the employer should be proved.

Defend your rights because the contract system is only a tiny part of how Lukashenko turned our country into a gulag for 26 years. It is now up to us to decide whether to be slaves in our country or fight for our freedom!

Long live Belarus!

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