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Employee Rights and Protections

Explore workers' rights and legal protections in Belarus


In Belarus, the termination of employment is governed by the Labour Code of the Republic of Belarus. It is important for both employers and employees to understand the legal framework surrounding this issue.

Lawful Grounds for Dismissal

Employers cannot terminate an employee's contract at will. Dismissal must be based on specific, legally valid grounds. These include:

  • Mutual Agreement: Both the employer and employee agree to terminate the employment relationship.
  • Expiration of a Fixed-Term Contract: The contract reaches its agreed-upon end date.
  • Initiative of the Employee or Employer: Either party can terminate the contract, provided they have a valid reason and follow the stipulated notice procedures.
  • Employee Transfer: The employee agrees to a transfer to another employer or an elective position.
  • Circumstances Beyond the Control of Parties: This includes events like liquidation of the company or force majeure (unforeseen circumstances).

The Labour Code also specifies other grounds for dismissal, such as the employee's refusal to relocate or accept changes to working conditions, repeated failure to fulfill job duties, absenteeism without valid reason, appearance at work intoxicated, theft or disclosure of trade secrets, and violation of occupational safety rules.

Notice Requirements

The employer must provide a written notice of termination in advance in most cases. The length of the notice period varies based on the circumstances:

  • Mutual Agreement: The notice period can be determined by the parties involved.
  • Employer-Initiated Termination: Typically a minimum of one month's notice.
  • Employee-Initiated Termination: At least two weeks' notice is usually required.

Severance Pay

Employees dismissed under certain circumstances are entitled to severance pay. The amount of severance pay generally depends on the reason for termination and the length of the employee's service. If the dismissal is due to reasons such as company liquidation, staff reduction, or the employee's inability to perform their duties, a severance payment of at least three average monthly salaries is mandated. Employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements may provide for more favorable terms for employees, including longer notice periods or more generous severance packages.


Belarusian law offers limited protections against discrimination. The primary protected characteristics include sex, nationality, race, language, religion, social origin, and property status. However, characteristics like sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and age are notably absent from these protected categories.

Limited Redress Mechanisms

Belarus lacks a comprehensive anti-discrimination law that would provide clear redress mechanisms for victims of discrimination. Individuals who experience discrimination may have to rely on general provisions within the Labor Code of the Republic of Belarus or the Civil Code of the Republic of Belarus, which offer less robust protections. Moreover, there is no independent government body or ombudsman specifically dedicated to handling discrimination complaints.

Minimal Employer Responsibilities

Employers in Belarus have very few legally mandated responsibilities to prevent or address discrimination in the workplace. The Labor Code contains some general provisions on equal treatment, but these are not well-defined or enforced.

Significant Gaps and Challenges

The lack of comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation and the limited redress mechanisms create a challenging environment for individuals who experience discrimination in Belarus. LGBTQ+ individuals are particularly vulnerable to discrimination and hate crimes, with no legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Persons with disabilities also face significant discrimination and a lack of access to opportunities and services.

Working conditions

In Belarus, regulations have been established concerning working hours, rest periods, and ergonomic requirements to ensure a basic level of worker well-being. These standards are outlined in the Labour Code of the Republic of Belarus.

Work Hours

The typical workweek in Belarus is 40 hours, with a maximum of 8 hours per day. Overtime work is regulated and requires an employee's consent, except in specific circumstances. Overtime hours are capped at a maximum of 40 hours per month. Part-time employment arrangements with shorter workweeks are also legal.

Rest Periods

Employees are entitled to a minimum uninterrupted rest period of 11 hours between work days. The law mandates a lunch break of at least 30 minutes within the workday. Some employers may offer longer breaks depending on company policy. All employees are entitled to at least one rest day per week, typically on Sunday.

Ergonomic Requirements

The Labour Code and related regulations establish some general principles for ergonomic safety in the workplace. However, specific details and enforcement mechanisms may vary by industry. Employers are responsible for providing a safe work environment that minimizes the risk of accidents and injuries. Ergonomic considerations for workstations, such as proper seating and lighting, are encouraged but not explicitly mandated in all cases.

It's important to note that some sectors may have stricter working condition standards outlined in separate industry regulations.

Health and safety

Belarus has a comprehensive set of health and safety regulations designed to protect employees in the workplace.

Employer Obligations

Belarusian law places significant responsibility on employers to ensure a safe and healthy work environment. The Law on Occupational Safety of 2008 serves as the foundation for these obligations. Here are some key employer duties:

  • Risk Assessment and Management: Employers must identify and assess workplace hazards, implementing control measures to minimize risks.
  • Provision of Safe Equipment and Work Practices: Employers are obligated to furnish personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensure safe work practices are established and followed.
  • Training and Instruction: Employees must receive proper training on health and safety procedures specific to their job roles.
  • Medical Checkups: Employers are responsible for organizing mandatory medical check-ups for employees, especially those in hazardous professions.
  • Accident Investigation and Reporting: Any workplace accidents or work-related illnesses must be investigated by the employer and reported to the relevant authorities.

Employee Rights

Employees in Belarus have a number of rights regarding health and safety in the workplace:

  • Right to a Safe Work Environment: Employees have the right to work in a safe environment free from unnecessary risks to their health and well-being.
  • Right to Training and Information: Employees have the right to receive training on health and safety procedures and to be informed of any potential hazards associated with their work.
  • Right to Refuse Unsafe Work: Employees have the right to refuse work that they believe poses a serious threat to their health and safety.
  • Right to Report Violations: Employees can report any violations of health and safety regulations to their employer or the relevant authorities.

Enforcement Agencies

The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Republic of Belarus is the primary government body responsible for enforcing health and safety regulations in the workplace. They carry out inspections, investigate accidents, and hold employers accountable for violations.

The Trade Unions of the Republic of Belarus also play a role in advocating for employee health and safety rights. Belarus maintains a national system for the standardization of workplace health and safety requirements.

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