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Discover everything you need to know about Uzbekistan

Hire in Uzbekistan at a glance

Here ares some key facts regarding hiring in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan Som
GDP growth
GDP world share
Payroll frequency
Working hours
40 hours/week

Overview in Uzbekistan

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Uzbekistan, located in Central Asia, is a country rich in history, culture, and diverse landscapes, bordered by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan. It features a variety of terrains from fertile valleys to deserts and mountains, and has a history marked by various empires including the Achaemenid Persians, Alexander the Great, and the Timurid dynasty. Uzbekistan became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991.

The nation has a population of over 37 million, primarily Uzbek, with Russian and Uzbek as official languages. The economy is in transition, historically reliant on cotton and natural resources, but now diversifying into sectors like machinery manufacturing and tourism. Challenges include environmental issues like the shrinking Aral Sea and a workforce skills gap, with a significant portion of employment still in the informal sector.

Uzbekistan's government is working on economic diversification, focusing on sectors like tourism, ICT, and manufacturing, aiming to reduce reliance on traditional sectors like agriculture and resource extraction. The service and construction sectors are emerging as significant areas of employment, driven by government investments and urbanization.

Taxes in Uzbekistan

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  • Tax Responsibilities in Uzbekistan: Employers in Uzbekistan are responsible for several taxes including Social Tax (ST), Personal Income Tax (PIT), Pension Fund Contributions, and Property Tax. The standard ST rate is 12%, with budgetary organizations paying 25%. Employers must withhold PIT from salaries and contribute to the state pension fund.

  • Property and Compliance: Property tax is levied on fixed assets like buildings and equipment. Compliance with tax regulations is crucial to avoid penalties.

  • Employee Deductions and Contributions: Employees contribute 4% to the social security fund and may have deductions for unemployment insurance, housing loans, and employee training.

  • Tax Exemptions: Certain income types like disability payments and state awards are exempt from PIT.

  • VAT System: The standard VAT rate is 12%. Businesses with an annual turnover over UZS 1 billion and foreign companies providing e-services must register for VAT. Financial, medical, and educational services are VAT-exempt, while exports are zero-rated.

  • Tax Incentives: Specific industries such as agriculture may receive income and property tax reductions. Export-oriented businesses and companies in Free Economic Zones (FEZs) enjoy various tax holidays and exemptions, including from customs duties on imports for production. Eligibility for incentives depends on factors like investment size and industry type.

Leave in Uzbekistan

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Uzbekistan Labor and Holiday Laws Overview

Labor Laws:

  • Annual Vacation Leave: Employees with at least six months of continuous service are entitled to a minimum of 21 working days of paid vacation per year.
  • Leave for Minors and Disabled Employees: Both categories receive 30 working days of paid vacation annually.
  • Vacation Accrual and Scheduling: Typically, vacation leave is not accrued during the first six months of employment, and the scheduling of vacation leave is negotiated between employer and employee.
  • Carryover and Compensation for Unused Leave: The Labor Code does not address carryover of vacation days, but compensation for unused vacation leave may be provided upon termination, depending on company policy.

National Holidays:

  • Fixed Dates: Includes New Year's Day (January 1), Navruz (March 21), Day of Remembrance and Honor (May 9), Independence Day (September 1), Day of Teachers and Mentors (October 1), and Constitution Day (December 8).
  • Variable Dates: Religious holidays like Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, which are based on the Islamic lunar calendar.

Additional Leave Types:

  • Sick Leave: Up to 30 calendar days per year, with possible extension.
  • Maternity and Adoption Leave: 126 days for maternity; 56 days for adoption, extended to 70 days for multiple adoptions.
  • Other Leaves: Bereavement, jury duty, and military leave are also recognized, with specific conditions varying by employer.

Important Considerations:

  • Employees should refer to the Labor Code and their employment contracts to understand specific entitlements and obligations. Timely communication with employers is essential for managing leave requests effectively.

Benefits in Uzbekistan

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In Uzbekistan, employers provide a range of mandatory benefits to ensure employee security and well-being, including paid time off, sick leave, and maternity leave. Employees receive 15 days of paid vacation after six months, paid public holidays, and sick leave compensation ranging from 60% to 100% based on the illness context. Maternity leave is notably generous, offering 126 days with full salary compensation.

Additionally, social security contributions cover unemployment, disability, and other situational benefits. While health insurance is not compulsory, many employers offer it alongside other voluntary benefits like personal accident and critical illness insurance. Some companies extend beyond these basics, providing extra vacation days, financial perks like meal and transportation allowances, and family-friendly benefits such as childcare assistance.

The state-funded social health insurance system covers basic medical services, with optional private insurance available for broader coverage. Retirement planning includes a mandatory state social security pension and an optional accumulative pension system, enhancing retirement income opportunities for employees. These comprehensive benefits packages help employers attract and retain talent, contributing to overall employee satisfaction and well-being in Uzbekistan.

Workers Rights in Uzbekistan

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In Uzbekistan, terminating an employment contract is governed by specific regulations outlined in the Labor Code, which stipulates lawful grounds for dismissal including mutual agreement, employee resignation with a minimum two-week notice, and employer-initiated terminations due to misconduct, redundancy, or health issues. Employers must adhere to notice requirements, which vary based on the termination reason, and may need to provide severance pay in cases like redundancy. The legal framework also addresses anti-discrimination, ensuring equal rights without explicit mention of all protected characteristics, and provides mechanisms for redress against discrimination. Additionally, Uzbekistan mandates a 40-hour workweek with provisions for rest and emphasizes a safe work environment, requiring employers to undertake risk assessments and provide necessary training and equipment. Enforcement of these regulations is managed by the Ministry of Labor, which ensures compliance through inspections and penalties.

Agreements in Uzbekistan

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In Uzbekistan, employment agreements are categorized into two main types: indefinite duration contracts and temporary duration contracts.

  • Indefinite Duration Contracts: These are ongoing contracts without a specified end date, offering employees a range of benefits and requiring a strict procedure for termination by the employer.

  • Temporary Duration Contracts: These contracts are for a specific period, not exceeding five years, and are used for short-term projects, seasonal work, or temporary replacements. They require a legitimate reason for use and automatically convert to indefinite contracts if the employee continues working past the contract's expiry with the employer's consent.

All employment contracts in Uzbekistan must be in writing and include essential clauses such as identification of parties, job description, terms of employment, remuneration, working hours, leave entitlements, termination conditions, and dispute resolution mechanisms, adhering to the Labor Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The probation period is limited to three months, allowing both employer and employee to assess suitability. Certain employees, like pregnant women and recent graduates, are exempt from probation.

Confidentiality and, to a lesser extent, non-compete clauses are permissible under Uzbek law but must be reasonably drafted to protect legitimate business interests without imposing excessive restrictions on employees. Employers are advised to consult legal experts when drafting these clauses to ensure compliance and enforceability.

Remote Work in Uzbekistan

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Remote work, known as teleworking, is becoming more prevalent in Uzbekistan, particularly highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic through the "Regulation on the temporary procedure for transferring workers to remote work, on a flexible working schedule or at home during the period of quarantine measures". This regulation defines teleworking, and outlines temporary employer and employee responsibilities, including the provision and maintenance of equipment and adherence to safety regulations.

Key Aspects of Remote Work in Uzbekistan:

  • Technological Challenges: Reliable internet is essential, yet can be inconsistent outside major cities. Employers may need to subsidize internet costs or specify required internet speeds in contracts.
  • Employer Responsibilities: Without a comprehensive remote work law, employers should clearly define remote work policies in employment contracts, focusing on working hours, communication protocols, equipment provisions, performance management, health and safety, and data security.
  • Part-Time and Flexible Work Arrangements: The Labor Code provides for part-time work, ensuring proportional wages and benefits. Flexitime and job sharing are permitted, though not specifically regulated, and should be clearly detailed in employment contracts.
  • Equipment and Expense Reimbursements: There are no legal mandates for these reimbursements in flexible work arrangements, leaving employers to create their own policies.
  • Data Protection and Privacy: Employers must implement security measures to protect data, with obligations inferred from the Constitution which guarantees privacy rights. Employees have rights to access and correct their personal data, though these are not explicitly stated in law.

Overall, while Uzbekistan is adapting to remote work, specific long-term regulations are still under development, and both employers and employees must navigate these evolving standards.

Working Hours in Uzbekistan

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In Uzbekistan, the Labor Code sets a standard 40-hour workweek, distributed over five or six days, with daily hours capped at 8 and 7 hours respectively. The day before a non-working day sees a reduction in work hours by one hour. Overtime is strictly regulated, requiring employee consent and limited to 4 hours over two days and 120 hours annually, compensated at a minimum of double the regular hourly rate. Employers must keep precise records of overtime, and employees can refuse overtime under valid circumstances. The Labor Code also mandates a minimum 30-minute lunch break and allows for short breaks through company policies or collective bargaining agreements. These breaks are crucial for employee well-being and productivity, and are generally unpaid.

Salary in Uzbekistan

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Determining a competitive market salary in Uzbekistan requires considering various factors and navigating challenges due to limited public salary data. Employers often rely on subscription-based salary surveys from HR consultancies, online job boards, and salary websites, though these sources can vary in accuracy and sample size.

Key Factors Influencing Salaries:

  • Job Title and Responsibilities: Salaries depend significantly on the job's required skills and experience level.
  • Industry and Sector: Financial health and growth prospects of the industry affect salary levels, with sectors like mining and IT generally offering higher salaries.
  • Location: Cost of living variations across regions influence salary adjustments, especially in major cities like Tashkent.
  • Company Size and Reputation: Larger or multinational companies typically provide more competitive salaries.
  • Employee Qualifications and Experience: Higher qualifications and extensive experience can lead to higher salaries.

Additional Salary Components:

  • Benefits Package: Includes health insurance, paid leave, and professional development opportunities.
  • Supply and Demand: Shortages in qualified candidates can drive salaries up.
  • Minimum Wage: Set by presidential decree, ensuring a basic living standard, with the current minimum wage at 1,050,000 UZS as of March 26, 2024.

Bonuses and Allowances:

  • Performance-Based Bonuses: Such as yearly bonuses and sales incentives.
  • Social Benefits and Allowances: Including meal, transportation, and mobile phone allowances, along with optional health insurance contributions.
  • Other Perks: Professional development opportunities, additional paid time off, and company discounts.

Salary Payment Practices:

  • Payment Frequency: Typically monthly, though some sectors may offer different frequencies.
  • Payment Methods: Include bank transfers, cash payments, and payroll cards.
  • Legal Compliance: Employers must adhere to timely payment schedules as per the employment contract, with transparency in any changes to payroll schedules.

Overall, salary determination in Uzbekistan is multifaceted, influenced by job specifics, industry standards, and additional benefits, with legal compliance playing a crucial role in execution.

Termination in Uzbekistan

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In Uzbekistan, the Labor Code mandates specific notice periods for terminating employment contracts, which vary based on the reason for termination. Key notice periods include:

  • Two Months' Notice for redundancy due to technological or organizational changes, liquidation, or change in ownership.
  • Two Weeks' Notice for termination due to an employee's insufficient qualifications or health issues.
  • Three Days' Notice during a probationary period.

Exceptions apply for pregnant women and mothers with children under three, who generally cannot be terminated unilaterally. Fixed-term contracts require a one-week notice post-contract, with failure to notify resulting in an indefinite-term contract.

Severance pay is required in cases like redundancy, company liquidation, or termination due to employer breach. The amount is based on the employee's tenure and average monthly salary, ranging from 50% for up to three years of service to at least 200% for over 15 years of service.

Termination can be initiated by the employer for valid reasons such as redundancy, lack of qualifications, or disciplinary issues, often requiring trade union consultation. Employees can also terminate their contracts by providing written notice. All terminations must be documented in writing, and employees are entitled to all due payments, including unused vacation compensation.

Freelancing in Uzbekistan

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In Uzbekistan, the labor legislation clearly distinguishes between employees and independent contractors, impacting their control, dependence, integration into the business, and entitlement to benefits. Employees operate under employer control with set work hours and methods, and receive benefits like social security and paid leave. Independent contractors, however, manage their own schedules and methods, typically do not receive employee benefits, and may work for multiple clients.

The legal framework governing these distinctions includes the Uzbekistan Labor Code and the Civil Code, which also outline the contractual relationships and intellectual property rights relevant to independent contractors. Key elements of a service agreement for contractors should include scope of work, payment terms, and termination clauses.

Negotiation practices in Uzbekistan favor direct communication and relationship building, with transparency in rates and thorough contract reviews recommended. Common fields for independent contracting include IT, creative industries, and consulting, with a focus on understanding and negotiating intellectual property rights.

Freelancers must navigate tax registration, choosing between a micro-taxation regime for lower incomes or a progressive tax rate for higher earnings. They also have options for voluntary contributions to social security and health insurance, which are tax-deductible. The registration process involves submitting necessary documentation to the tax authorities, with taxes payable online or at authorized banks.

Health & Safety in Uzbekistan

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The Labour Code of Uzbekistan, established in 1995, and the Health and Safety Act of 1993 form the basis of workplace health and safety regulations in the country. These laws emphasize the protection of workers, requiring employers to implement comprehensive safety measures and allowing employees significant rights, including the right to a safe work environment and to refuse unsafe work.

Key principles of Uzbekistan's health and safety system include prioritizing worker safety, adhering to universal standards, taking a preventive approach to risks, and fostering cooperation among government, employers, and workers. Employers are responsible for creating safe work environments, conducting risk assessments, providing training, and ensuring medical examinations for employees in hazardous roles. They must also report and investigate serious accidents.

The Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations, through its State Labor Inspectorate, enforces these regulations, conducting inspections and imposing penalties for non-compliance. Workplace inspections assess compliance with safety standards and focus on areas like hazard control, equipment safety, and emergency preparedness.

In the event of workplace accidents, immediate notification to relevant authorities is required, followed by detailed reporting and investigations to determine causes and prevent future incidents. Workers affected by work-related injuries or illnesses are entitled to compensation, which may include medical costs, disability benefits, and survivor benefits in fatal cases.

Dispute Resolution in Uzbekistan

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Uzbekistan's judicial system includes specialized economic courts that handle labor disputes, covering issues like employment contracts, working conditions, and discrimination. These courts attempt conciliation before moving to formal hearings, with appeals possible up to the Supreme Court. The Labor Code and the Law on Courts provide the legal framework for these proceedings.

Arbitration serves as an alternative to court-based resolution, involving less formal procedures and a binding decision by a chosen arbitrator. It's governed by the Law "On Courts of Arbitration" and is typically stipulated in employment contracts or collective bargaining agreements.

Compliance audits and inspections in Uzbekistan are crucial for ensuring adherence to laws and regulations, conducted by government agencies, internal audits, or third-party auditors. These audits help mitigate risks, ensure fair market conditions, and protect public interests, with non-compliance leading to fines, operational disruptions, or reputational damage.

Whistleblowing is supported by the Agency for Combating Corruption, with protections under the Law 'On Combating Corruption' ensuring confidentiality and protection against retaliation. Whistleblowers are encouraged to gather evidence and consider anonymity or legal advice when reporting.

Uzbekistan has ratified several International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions, impacting its domestic legislation to align with international labor standards. This includes laws against forced labor, child labor, and supporting collective bargaining and trade union rights. Despite progress, challenges remain in fully implementing these standards, particularly in the informal economy and among general awareness of these rights.

Cultural Considerations in Uzbekistan

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Understanding communication styles in Uzbekistan is essential for business success, emphasizing indirect communication, formality, and the importance of non-verbal cues. In Uzbek workplaces, direct confrontation is avoided in favor of subtler, respectful interactions, especially towards superiors. Formality is maintained through the use of titles and polite inquiries about personal well-being. Non-verbal communication, such as eye contact and facial expressions, plays a crucial role in conveying respect and understanding underlying messages.

Negotiations in Uzbekistan rely heavily on building strong interpersonal relationships and respecting hierarchical structures. Indirect communication is preferred during bargaining, with an emphasis on long-term partnerships over immediate gains. Non-verbal cues are significant in negotiations, indicating approval or dissatisfaction subtly.

Uzbek business culture is characterized by a high power distance, with a top-down decision-making approach and a deep respect for authority. Leadership styles tend to be authoritative yet personable, valuing loyalty and deference from employees. While traditional hierarchical structures dominate, there is a shift towards more collaborative and team-oriented approaches among younger generations and modern companies.

Understanding national and regional holidays is also crucial for operating effectively in Uzbekistan, as these can significantly impact business operations. Major holidays like Navruz and public observances like Victory Day may lead to extended business closures, affecting scheduling and planning.

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