We present the analytical document “Standards for the Regulation of Labor Relations: the Legal Norms of the EU and Ukraine“. The analytical review was initiated and jointly performed by experts Svitlana Vnuchko, representative of the All-Ukrainian Trade Union of Tourism, Sanatorium and Hotel Industry and Marfa Skoryk, representative of the Kyiv Institute for Gender Studies, in August-November 2021 as part of the UNP initiative.

We continue to share the results of initiatives supported by the UNP in 2021 under the project “Support to the Ukrainian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (UNP EaP CSF) in 2021-2023”, administered by the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting funded by the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum and the European Union.

Purpose of the initiative. Prepare an analytical paper presenting a comparative overview of the provisions of legislation currently being developed and discussed in Ukraine on labor standards in Ukraine and the EU, including equality and non-discrimination, and perform an impact assessment, including a gender impact assessment, in accordance with methodology of the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine; to involve organizations in the discussion of the effectiveness of the proposed government changes to legislation in the field of social and labor relations and possible recommendations for government agencies and civil society organizations.

The document provides a comparative review of draft legislative acts developed in Ukraine regarding the standards of regulation of labor relations in Ukraine and legislative acts of the EU countries, including issues of gender legal expertise of the provisions of these documents, in order to involve organizations civil society to discuss the effectiveness of changes proposed by the authorities in the field of social and labor relations, as well as possible recommendations for the authorities and the public.

“Back in 2014, by ratifying the Association Agreement with the European Union, Ukraine undertook to harmonize its national legislation with EU regulations (the so-called” EU acquis “),” the authors of the review explain.

“As of November 2021, more than 20 bills have been registered in the parliament. However, a comparative review of their provisions for compliance with International Labor Organization Conventions and EU directives revealed not only positive innovations,” said Svitlana Vnuchko and Marfa Skoryk, experts of the initiative” Standards of labor relations: EU and Ukraine “.

Some of the proposed changes are rather “cosmetic”, while others will bring threatening trends to the Ukrainian labor market if the Verkhovna Rada approves the current version of the documents. The experts also found in the bills a significant list of norms that generally cement discrimination against employees at the legislative level.

“No reform can be carried out with the leitmotif of a potential or real narrowing of fundamental human rights, such as labor, trade union and women’s rights,” the experts said. They remind that the modernization of labor legislation should be based on compliance with basic international standards of labor law. These are:

  • freedom of labor and employment, prohibition of forced labor;
  • the right to work, protection against unemployment, employment assistance and material support for the unemployed;
  • equality in work and employment, prohibition of discrimination at work. observance of the rights of pregnant workers, working mothers and fathers;
  • involvement of the parties in the social dialogue in the discussion and coordination of bills.

Draft laws No.5054, 5054-1, 5161, 5388 and 5371 contain the most provisions that contradict EU Directives and ILO Conventions. “They need thorough refinement and, in some cases, removal of entire items,” experts say. Adding that by adopting these contradictory provisions, Ukraine will violate the Association Agreement with the EU signed in 2014, in particular in Part 1 of Article 291 and Article 424.

The analytical document evaluates the draft laws of Ukraine in the field of labor relations in terms of ensuring women’s labor rights.

Information and advocacy campaigns

Presentation and full version of the research document are distributed among the target audience of the project, including representatives of governmental, parliamentary institutions, non-governmental think tanks, trade unions, employers’ organizations dealing with social and labor relations, non-governmental women’s organizations.

The results of the study were disseminated as part of an information campaign to these stakeholders (representatives of governmental, parliamentary institutions, non-governmental think tanks, trade unions, employers’ organizations working in social and labor relations, women’s NGOs) and presented at the meeting of WG 5 of UNP EaP CSF on October 25, 2021; voiced during the meeting of WG5 at the level of EaP CSF on November 30, 2021 and in the framework of the Annual Conference of the UNP on November 10, 2021.

As part of the advocacy campaign, the experts joined the working groups of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Social Policy and Protection of Veterans’ Rights to finalize the second reading of bills, which are analyzed in the analytical documents.

Experts of the initiative took part in an online meeting of members of the working group from the Trade Union on November 25, 2021 to discuss the draft Law on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Deregulation of Labor Relations (Reg. No. 5388).

Analytical document “Standards for the regulation of labor relations: the legal norms of the EU and Ukraine”, 2021
recording of presentations of initiatives at the Annual Conference of the UNP EaP CSC, November 9-10, 2021

The initiative was implemented within the framework of the project “Support to the activities of the UNP EaP CSF in 2021-2023”, funded by the European Union, the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum and implemented by the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting.