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Discover everything you need to know about Cyprus

Hire in Cyprus at a glance

Here ares some key facts regarding hiring in Cyprus

GDP growth
GDP world share
Payroll frequency
Working hours
37.5 hours/week

Overview in Cyprus

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Cyprus is an island nation in the eastern Mediterranean, known for its strategic location and rich history influenced by various civilizations. It has a Mediterranean climate, diverse landscape, and a history dating back to the Neolithic era. Cyprus became a Roman province, then part of the Byzantine Empire, fell under Ottoman control, and was later administered by the British until gaining independence in 1960. The island is divided, with only the southern part recognized internationally as the Republic of Cyprus, a member of the EU with a high-income economy driven by services like tourism and financial services.

The workforce in Cyprus is aging, with a rising median age and a gender pay gap that, while narrower than the EU average, still exists. The island has a highly educated workforce, though there's a mismatch between skills and market needs, highlighting the importance of vocational training and lifelong learning. The service sector dominates the economy, with significant contributions from tourism, financial services, and shipping. The cultural norms in Cyprus emphasize family, leading to flexible work arrangements and a relaxed workday pace.

Communication in Cyprus is direct and personal rapport is important in business. Organizational hierarchies respect seniority, and personal networks often influence career progression. The economy also benefits from sectors like real estate, construction, and emerging areas such as technology and energy, with recent natural gas discoveries promising to transform the energy sector. Overall, Cyprus is a blend of traditional values and modern dynamics, with its economy and social structures adapting to contemporary challenges and opportunities.

Taxes in Cyprus

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  • Employer Registration and Taxation in Cyprus:

    • Employers must register with the Tax Department within 60 days of starting business and with the Social Insurance Register within 7 days of hiring their first employee.
    • Employers use the PAYE system to withhold personal income tax based on employees' salaries and tax brackets, reporting and submitting these taxes using the TD61 form by the end of the following month.
  • Social Security and Other Contributions:

    • Both employers and employees contribute to social security, totaling 20.2% of gross salary, with specific portions from the employee, employer, and government. Contributions are capped annually.
    • Additional mandatory contributions by employers include payments to the Industrial Training Fund, Redundancy Fund, and Social Cohesion Fund.
  • Deductions and Tax Rates:

    • Employees face deductions for income tax (progressive rates from 0% to 35%), social security, and the General Health System (GHS), among others.
    • Special contributions include funds for redundancy, social cohesion, and training development.
  • VAT Registration and Rates:

    • Businesses must register for VAT if annual taxable turnover exceeds €15,600, with standard VAT at 19%, reduced rates at 9% and 5%, and a zero rate for specific services.
    • VAT exemptions apply to services like financial, insurance, educational, healthcare, and social services.
  • Corporate and Employment Tax Incentives:

    • Cyprus offers a competitive CIT rate of 12.5% and incentives such as an 80% exemption on qualifying IP income and tax credits for R&D investments.
    • Employment tax incentives include significant exemptions for high-earning new hires and certain foreign executives.
  • Sector-Specific Incentives:

    • The holding company regime in Cyprus provides exemptions on dividend and interest income from non-resident subsidiaries.
    • Other incentives include a favorable tonnage tax regime for shipping and benefits for film production companies.

Leave in Cyprus

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  • Vacation Leave: In Cyprus, employees working a 5-day week are entitled to 20 working days of paid annual leave, while those on a 6-day week get 24 working days. Full entitlement requires at least 48 weeks of continuous employment, with leave accruing proportionally to time worked.

  • Compensation During Leave: Employees receive their regular salary during vacation leave.

  • Additional Leave: The law allows for longer vacation periods under certain conditions and agreements, with provisions for carrying over or paying out unused leave.

  • National Holidays: Cyprus observes several fixed and variable date holidays, including New Year's Day, Epiphany, Green Monday, Greek Independence Day, Cyprus National Day, Labor Day, Dormition of the Virgin Mary, Cyprus Independence Day, Ochi Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Orthodox Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, and Kataklysmos.

  • Other Types of Leave: Cyprus labor laws also cover sick leave, maternity leave, paternity leave, parental leave, bereavement leave, and special circumstance leave, providing various entitlements based on the duration of employment and specific conditions.

Benefits in Cyprus

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In Cyprus, employers are mandated to provide a comprehensive benefits package to their employees, which includes social insurance contributions, paid annual leave, public holidays, sick leave, maternity and paternity leave, and severance pay. The social insurance system covers various benefits such as unemployment, old age pension, and maternity among others. Employees are entitled to a minimum of 20 working days of paid annual leave and additional leave for public holidays. Sick leave benefits kick in after three days of illness with a doctor's certificate, covering up to 312 days. Maternity leave is a minimum of 18 weeks, extendable based on the number of children, while fathers receive two weeks of paid paternity leave.

Additionally, employers often offer extra financial perks like holiday bonuses and transportation allowances, health and wellness benefits including gym memberships and free meals, and work-life balance benefits such as flexible work arrangements and extended vacation time. Health insurance is also a critical component, with mandatory registration in the General Healthcare System (GESY) and options for additional private health insurance.

For retirement planning, employees contribute to a statutory social security scheme that provides a basic pension, with the option to participate in employer-sponsored provident funds or occupational pension plans. Recent regulations have encouraged the adoption of pre-designed plans offered by life insurers or multi-employer IORPs, providing flexibility and various investment options.

Workers Rights in Cyprus

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In Cyprus, employment termination is permissible under specific conditions such as redundancy, force majeure, end of a fixed-term contract, retirement, employee incapability, and gross misconduct. Employers must adhere to minimum notice periods based on the employee's length of service, ranging from 1 week for those employed between 26 weeks and 2 years, up to a maximum of 8 weeks for those employed over 4 years. Severance pay is due to employees terminated without gross misconduct, provided they have been employed for at least 26 weeks, except for those reaching retirement or on expiring fixed-term contracts.

Employment laws in Cyprus also protect against discrimination based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and age. Employers are required to implement equal treatment policies, proactive prevention measures, complaint mechanisms, and conduct training to promote an inclusive workplace. Discrimination cases can be addressed through the Office of the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights, Labor Disputes Tribunal, or civil courts.

Workplace health and safety are governed by the Safety and Health at Work Law of 1996, mandating employers to ensure a safe working environment, conduct risk assessments, provide necessary training and personal protective equipment, and report accidents. Employees have rights to a safe work environment, refuse unsafe work, and participate in safety procedures. The Department of Labour Inspection enforces these regulations, conducting inspections and imposing penalties for non-compliance.

Agreements in Cyprus

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In Cyprus, employment agreements are categorized into Indefinite Employment Contracts and Fixed-Term Employment Contracts. Indefinite contracts do not have a set end date and continue until terminated by either party with valid justification, while fixed-term contracts are used for temporary needs and have a specific end date. These contracts should include details such as identification of parties, job position and duties, start date, working hours, remuneration, benefits, annual and sick leave policies, notice periods, termination grounds, confidentiality, intellectual property rights, and dispute resolution mechanisms. Additionally, employment contracts often feature probationary periods, now capped at six months by recent legislation, with exceptions for directorial roles. Confidentiality and non-compete clauses are also common, with legal restrictions particularly stringent on non-compete clauses to ensure they do not unfairly restrict legitimate trade or professional activities. Legal advice is recommended to navigate these complexities and ensure compliance with Cypriot law and EU directives.

Remote Work in Cyprus

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Cyprus has established a comprehensive legal framework for remote work through the Employment of Teleworkers Law (2018), which defines teleworkers and sets forth their rights and employer obligations. This law ensures teleworkers receive equal treatment in pay, benefits, and career opportunities, and mandates written employment contracts detailing work arrangements, communication, performance evaluation, and data security protocols.

Employers are responsible for providing a safe work environment, appropriate training, and managing tax and social security withholdings. They must also implement data protection measures in line with GDPR principles, though GDPR is not directly enforceable in Cyprus. Technological infrastructure in Cyprus supports remote work, with widespread fiber optic internet and good cellular coverage.

Additional employer responsibilities include clear communication, the use of collaboration tools, and consideration of remote workers' well-being through flexible hours and virtual team-building activities. While the law does not require employers to cover equipment or internet costs, such contributions can be negotiated within employment contracts.

Flexitime and job sharing are not explicitly recognized in the law but can be arranged through employment contracts or collective bargaining. The law focuses on individual telework arrangements rather than job sharing, which would require formal agreements to define shared responsibilities and work hours.

Working Hours in Cyprus

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In Cyprus, the standard workweek is limited to 48 hours, typically spread over five or six days. The Employment of Persons Law and the Industrial Relations Code govern working hours, allowing for collective bargaining agreements to set different hours within legal limits. Overtime is regulated, with no daily cap but a weekly average of 48 hours over four months. Overtime compensation includes options for time off in lieu or accrued payments, with employee choice.

Employers must keep detailed overtime records and notify employees in advance of overtime needs. Rest periods are mandated, with an 11-hour daily rest and a 30-minute break for workdays over six hours, flexible in timing. Night shift work is restricted to an average of eight hours per night, with health and safety measures required. Weekend work is generally discouraged, requiring prior authorization and offering premium pay, with employee consent needed except in emergencies.

Salary in Cyprus

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Understanding market competitive salaries in Cyprus is essential for ensuring fair employee compensation and for businesses to attract and retain talent. Factors influencing these salaries include industry, experience, qualifications, location, company size, and job responsibilities. Resources like salary surveys, job boards, government data, and recruitment agencies provide insights into current salary trends.

The minimum wage in Cyprus, effective from January 2024, starts at €900 per month upon recruitment and increases to €1,000 after six months of continuous service. Certain workers, like domestic and agricultural workers, are exempt from this minimum wage.

Additionally, many companies in Cyprus offer bonuses and allowances such as a 13th-month salary, transportation, meal, mobile phone allowances, gym memberships, and educational allowances to enhance compensation packages. Payroll management practices typically involve monthly payments with mandatory detailed payslips to ensure transparency and compliance.

Termination in Cyprus

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In Cyprus, the Termination of Employment Law (Chapter 126) outlines the rules for terminating employment, including minimum notice periods based on the length of service, ranging from no notice for less than 26 weeks to 8 weeks for 312 weeks or more. The law also allows for a probationary period up to 6 months, during which no notice may be required.

Employees are entitled to severance pay after at least 26 weeks of service if terminated for reasons other than misconduct. Severance pay is calculated based on the employee's years of service and last gross salary, with specific rates for different durations of service.

The law specifies several methods of termination, including termination with notice, by mutual consent, immediate termination for gross misconduct, due to redundancy, or by court dissolution. Each method has its own procedures and requirements, such as providing written notice and respecting the employee's right to be heard.

Employment contracts and collective agreements may offer more favorable terms, and there are special protections for certain groups like pregnant employees or those with disabilities.

Freelancing in Cyprus

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In Cyprus, distinguishing between employees and independent contractors is essential due to its implications on rights, benefits, and taxes. The Cypriot courts consider factors like the degree of control, integration into the business, provision of tools, payment structure, and potential for profit and loss to determine the nature of the working relationship. Written agreements are crucial for clarity and reducing disputes, and should detail work scope, payment terms, and intellectual property ownership.

Legal frameworks such as the Employment of Persons Law and the Income Tax Law provide guidelines on employment standards and tax treatments respectively. Independent contractors can choose from fixed-price or time-based contract structures, and should negotiate rates, payment terms, and expenses effectively.

Key industries for independent contractors in Cyprus include IT, creative industries, and marketing. Intellectual property rights are significant, with laws governing copyright, trademarks, and trade secrets ensuring protection of works and competitive advantage.

Freelancers face specific tax obligations and can benefit from insurance options like professional liability and health insurance. They are advised to maintain accurate financial records and consider private pension plans for retirement security. Consulting with legal and financial experts is recommended to navigate the complexities of freelancing in Cyprus.

Health & Safety in Cyprus

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The Republic of Cyprus enforces a comprehensive health and safety framework, primarily guided by the Safety and Health at Work Law of 1996 and its amendments, aligning with EU directives. Employers are responsible for ensuring workplace safety through risk assessments, providing safe equipment, and consulting with employees. Employees must also adhere to safety protocols and cooperate with their employers. Specific regulations cover areas such as PPE, manual handling, and construction site safety. The Department of Labour Inspection enforces these laws, with powers to inspect, issue notices, and prosecute non-compliance. Employers must also report serious incidents and are obligated to investigate them, with potential legal repercussions for negligence.

Dispute Resolution in Cyprus

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The Labor Court in Cyprus, a specialized court within the Cypriot judicial system, handles employment-related disputes, including individual and collective labor issues such as unfair dismissal and wage disputes. It operates with a President and two judges, offering mediation before formal hearings to resolve disputes, with judgments potentially including compensation or reinstatement.

Arbitration in Cyprus, either ad hoc or institutional, serves as an alternative dispute resolution method where parties select arbitrators to resolve labor disputes, with the process being binding and governed by the International Commercial Arbitration Law.

Key regulatory bodies like the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Labour Inspection ensure compliance with various laws through regular audits and inspections, which are crucial for maintaining legal and regulatory standards and avoiding penalties like fines or legal action.

The Whistleblowing Law in Cyprus protects individuals reporting breaches, ensuring confidentiality and protection against retaliation, with remedies available for those experiencing retaliation.

Cyprus adheres to international labor standards as a member of the EU and ILO, influencing its domestic labor laws to align with international directives and conventions, covering aspects from working conditions to anti-discrimination measures.

Despite robust frameworks, challenges remain, such as addressing the treatment of migrant workers and the gender pay gap, with ongoing efforts to enhance labor law enforcement and compliance.

Cultural Considerations in Cyprus

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  • Communication Styles: Cypriots generally prefer indirect communication to maintain harmony and respect for hierarchy, though they can be direct with close colleagues. Criticism is often softened or framed as suggestions.

  • Formality: The workplace in Cyprus is formal, especially in initial interactions and with superiors, where titles and last names are commonly used. Formality decreases as relationships develop but remains significant.

  • Non-verbal Cues: Non-verbal communication is important, including body language, physical proximity, and facial expressions. Eye contact should be maintained but not overly prolonged, and hand gestures are frequently used.

  • Negotiation: Cypriots focus on building relationships and trust before discussing business specifics, preferring a collaborative approach to find win-win solutions. Negotiations are often lengthy, with a focus on long-term relationships and mutual respect.

  • Hierarchical Structures: Cyprus exhibits high power distance, with centralized power and top-down decision-making. Respect for authority is emphasized, and team dynamics are influenced by well-defined roles and responsibilities.

  • Leadership Styles: Leadership in Cyprus is often directive and paternalistic, with a strong focus on building and maintaining relationships within the team hierarchy.

  • Holidays and Observances: Understanding statutory and religious holidays is crucial for smooth business operations. Most businesses close on major national and religious holidays, and being aware of these can aid in planning and demonstrate cultural sensitivity.

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