Answer ... Employees of either gender who have completed six months or more of continuous employment with the same employer can claim unpaid parental leave for up to 18 weeks in total on the grounds of childbirth or adoption. In the case of natural parents, parental leave is taken after the end of the maternity leave and before the child’s eighth birthday. In the case of adoption, it is taken within eight years of the date of adoption of the child, provided that the child is still under the age of 12.
A minimum of one week’s parental leave and a maximum of five weeks’ parental leave may be taken per calendar year for one or two children; the maximum for three children or more is seven weeks. With the employer’s consent, the maximum leave may exceed these limits. Provisions that are more favourable to the employee than the provisions of the law may be applied through collective agreement or by agreement between employer and employee.
Answer ... Please see question 2.1.
Answer ... Cyprus has a relatively high level of trade union organisation.
The main national, multi-sectoral workers’ organisations are:
- the Pancyprian Federation of Labour;
- the Cyprus Workers Confederation;
- the Democratic Labour Federation of Cyprus; and
- the Pancyprian Federation of Independent Trade Unions.
Other independent sectoral workers’ organisations include:
- the Pancyprian Union of Public Servants;
- the Pancyprian Organisation of Greek Teachers;
- the Organisation of Greek Secondary Education Teachers; and
- the Union of Banking Employees of Cyprus.
According to Law 71/65, as amended, providing for trade unions, trade unions have the right:
- to possess property under their legally registered name;
- to contract;
- to appear before courts as either plaintiff or defendant; and
- to proceed with all necessary actions to accomplish their purposes.
However, to enjoy these rights, a trade union must be legally registered as such.
For purposes of harmonisation with Directive 2009/38/EC, the Parliament of Cyprus enacted Law 106(I)/2011 providing for the establishment of a European works council for the purpose of safeguarding employees’ rights to information and consultation in EU-scale undertakings and EU-scale groups of undertakings. The law aims to guarantee and improve the right to information and consultation of employees in such undertakings and groups of undertakings.
Answer ... The protection of data and privacy of employees is safeguarded by the following statutes and directives:
- Article 15 of the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus – every person has the right to respect for his or her private and family life;
- Article 17 of the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus – every person has the right to respect for and to the secrecy of his or her correspondence and other communication, if such other communication is made through means not prohibited by law;
- Processing of Personal Data (Protection of the Individual) Law of 2001 (138(I)/2001), as amended, which transposes Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data into Cyprus law;
- Directive of the Cyprus Commissioner for Personal Data Protection on the Processing of Personal Data in the Sector of Employment Relationships; and
- all international instruments to which Cyprus is a party that guarantee the right to privacy, such as the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and pertinent International Labour Organization Conventions, as well as European Court of Justice and European Court of Human Rights jurisprudence.
Under Section 5(1) of the Processing of Personal Data (Protection of the Individual) Law, the processing of personal data is allowed if the data subject has given explicit consent. However, Section 5(2)(b) allows for the processing of personal data without the consent of the data subject where the processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is a party or for the taking of measures upon request of the data subject before conclusion of the contract.
Further, pursuant to Section 6(2)(b) of the law, the general prohibition on the collection and processing of sensitive data under Section 6(1) may be waived, among other things, where:
- the employee has given his or her explicit consent; and
- the processing is necessary for the purposes of carrying out the obligations or duties of the data controller in the field of employment law, insofar as the commissioner for personal data protection has given his authorisation.
Regardless of the requirement for consent, Section 7(1) obliges the data controller to notify the commissioner in writing of the establishment and operation of a filing system or of the commencement of data processing.
The most common methods of employee monitoring which give rise to obligations upon the employer under pertinent data protection legislation include:
- monitoring employee faxes, emails and web browser history;
- recording inbound and outbound calls (frequency, duration, time);
- closed circuit video monitoring systems; and
- monitoring/recording the position/movement of employees and/or work vehicles via the Global Positioning System.
In all cases employers must ensure that:
- data is processed fairly, in accordance with the law and for specific and legitimate purposes; and
- the data is relevant, appropriate and not excessive in relation to the purpose of the data processing.
Moreover, the Cyprus commissioner for personal data protection has issued a Directive on the Processing of Personal Data in the Sector of Employment Relationships. Under Section 14 of the directive, the following principles must be followed in instances of employee surveillance and monitoring:
- The employer may install electronic surveillance systems at the workplace for legitimate purposes which the employer pursues, provided that these purposes supersede the rights, interests and fundamental freedoms of the employees.
- The means/monitoring systems that the employer chooses to install and the data collected must be proportionate to the objective pursued.
- The employer must choose the least interventionist means of monitoring in order to satisfy the pursued aims.
- The personal data of employees collected during the monitoring stage shall be used only for the purpose for which the monitoring is carried out.
- The personal data of employees collected during the monitoring stage shall be destroyed or deleted once the purpose for which the monitoring is carried out has been fulfilled.
- The employer must in all instances inform employees before the monitoring begins of the purpose, method, duration and technical specifications of the surveillance.
- Continual monitoring in the workplace must be avoided.
- Secret surveillance is prohibited.
- The employer may choose to prohibit employees from using company equipment for personal purposes, such as sending emails or making outbound telephone calls.
- The employer must inform employees of how they can use company equipment, the electronic surveillance methods which will be used and the consequences for employees resulting from the use of such equipment for personal purposes.
- The access of the employer to the content of personal emails and personal telephone calls of employees is prohibited.
- Employees maintain the right to protection of their private life, even in the workplace.
- The employer must maintain a balance between this right and the degree to which the surveillance systems interfere with the private life of employees.
Answer ... Employment contracts in Cyprus may be for a fixed term or indefinite. If an employee is continuously employed for more than 30 months in total, then his or her contract will be considered indefinite, unless the employer can show that such fixed-term employment can be justified on objective grounds.