Employment Law Changes – Albania

Employment Law Changes – Albania

The Albanian Parliament has continuously adopted amendments to the Albanian Labour Code, aiming to improve the legislation framework on employment and aligning the employment legislation with the EU acquis (“The Code”).

Recent amendments of the Code by the Parliament have been approved with the law no.136/2015, setting out provisions on applicable rules governing the temporary employment of foreigners in Albania, work-from-home and teleworking, definition of reasons for the termination of employment contract, etc.  

Below is a summary of the Code provisions, as amended, need to know by employees and employers.

Applicable law

The employment contract is governed by the law of the country where the employee carries out his duties, including the case when the employee has to temporarily work in a foreign country, as required by the employer.

The temporary employment of foreigners in Albania is governed by the Albanian Labour Code, which has provided specific rules on this regard.

When the employee does not carry out his duties in the same country, the employment contract is governed by the law of the country where his/her work center is located.

In case the work center may not be determined, the employment contract will be governed by the law of the country where the legal seat of the employer is located.

When, from all circumstances, result that the employment contract is more closely connected with the law of another country, then this law will govern the employment relationship.

Upon the agreement, parties may choose to apply another law to govern their employment contract. However, in this case, the employee will not be deprived from the protection provided by the mandatory law provisions governing the employment relationship.

Work-from-home and teleworking

Recent amendments of the Code made some changes on the provisions governing the work-from-home contract and teleworking.

Working conditions for employees who work from home or teleworking should not be less favorable than those of other employees who perform the same or comparable job.

On this regard, the Code provides for several measures for employers, in order to facilitate teleworking by making available, installing and maintaining the necessary equipment, etc.

The internship contract 

The Code provisions govern also the internship contract.

The Council of Ministers may provide special rules applicable to the internship contract as well as work from-home and telework contracts.

General requirements of the employment contract 

The employment contract has to be in writing and it may be changed only with the consent of both parties.

The employment contract must include the following terms and conditions:

  • the identity of the parties;
  • the workplace;
  • the general description of duties;
  • the commencement’s date of employment;
  • the duration, when the parties enter into a defined term contract;
  • leave entitlements;
  • clauses referring the notification terms and announcement procedures for the termination of the contract;
  • remuneration clause – setting out the integral elements of the salary and the date when it is given by the employer;
  • average work week time;
  • the reference in the collective agreement (if the case);
  • clauses referring to the probation period;
  • clauses regarding types and procedures of disciplinary measures, if there is no a collective agreement;

Usually, the disciplinary measures are provided in the collective agreement. In any case, the individual employment contract shall refer to relevant acts related to disciplinary measures.

The limitation period for the disciplinary measure is one-year starting from the date that disciplinary measure is being notified in writing to the employee.

Moreover, the Code imposes mandatory provisions for the employers to make available the legislation to the employees.

The employer should make available to employees, this Code and any other law governing their employment relationship. 

The employers are also obliged to keep the register of the salaries and contributions payment for their employees and present these registers when required to the Labour inspector office.

Duration of employment contract

As a rule, the parties should enter into an indefinite term contract.

Entering into a fixed-term contract by the parties, is only possible for the performance of a specific and temporary task.

Failing to apply this provision does not violate the validity of the employment contract but causes the liability of the employer, to pay a penalty up to 30 times of the minimum monthly salary.

Probation period

The first 3 months of employment are considered as a probation period, except when the parties have entered into an agreement to perform the same duties.
During the probation period, each of the parties may end the contract by notifying the other party 5 days in advance.

Notice periods

After the probation period, to end an indefinite term contract, parties shall respect a notice period of:

  • two weeks, when the employment has lasted up to six months;
  • a month, when the employment has lasted over six months up to two years;
  • two months, when the employment has lasted over two years up to five years;
  • three months when the employment has lasted over five years.

Announcement procedures for the termination of employment contract  

The Code provides for a specific procedure for the termination of the indefinite term employment contract to be respected by the employer.

The Code has limited the list of reasons the employer may end the employment, referring to the capability, the conduct of the employee and/or the business’s operational requirements. Termination of employment contract by the employer in contradiction with the abovementioned reasons, will be considered without reasonable grounds. In such case, the Code provides for the obligation of the employer to compensate the employee up to 1-year salary.

The Code also provides for the obligation of the employer to define the reasons for the contract’s termination in a written notification addressed to the employee.

Failing to follow the announcement procedures for the termination of employment contract, the employer is oblige to pay to the employee a compensation of two months salary.
The employer has the burden of prove that the announcement procedure has been respected.
This provision does not apply to the cases of collective dismissals, but the reasons on the termination of the contract shall be notified to the employee in written, within the terms provided by the Code.

Termination of employment contract without reasonable grounds

The termination of employment contract by the employer is considered for unreasonable grounds, in the following cases:

  • the employee presents claims deriving from the employment contract;
  • the employee fulfilled a legal obligation;
  • the employer violates the prohibition of discrimination provided by the law;
  • it is done for motives that are related with the employee’s exercise of a constitutional right, or motives related to employee’s participation in a trade union;
  • it is done in contradiction with provisions of the article 144/3 of the Code referring to the reasons for the termination of the employment contract.

The termination of employment contract for unreasonable grounds shall be invalid. In such case, the employer has the obligation to pay the employee a compensation amounting up to 1-year salary.

Termination of the fixed-term employment contract

The fixed-term contract terminates at the end of the stipulated time limit, without a preliminary termination procedure.
In case the employer decides to end the fixed-term contract before its expiry, the latter must follow the announcement procedures provided by the Code.

Immediate termination without reasonable grounds of the employment contract by the employer

If the employer decides to end immediately without reasonable grounds the indefinite term contract, the employee is entitled to file an action before the court against the employer, claiming a compensation up to 1-year salary.  

In case of the immediate termination without reasonable grounds of the fixed-term contract by the employer, the employee is entitled to a compensation of the salary that would have profit until the expiry of the employment contract. 

Termination of employment contract by the employer due to the absence of the employee at the work-place, without reasonable grounds, and without notifying the employer in writing within seven (7) days, it is considered as an unjustified termination of the employment contract by the employee.
In such case, the employee shall be liable towards the employer to a damage relief not more than the one-week salary as well as any additional damage. The employer should claim from the employee the damage relief within six months, running from the day the employer has become aware of the caused damage.

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