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On September 19, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the draft law No. 1066 “On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine on the State Authorities System reboot”.

Labor Initiatives lawyers are highly concerned about the amendments to the current Law of Ukraine “On Civil Service.” This law may further politicize the civil service, disincentivizes whistleblowing, and make civil servants even more vulnerable to corruption pressures.

The law significantly narrows the labor rights of civil servants, who are more than 240 thousand in Ukraine. Labor Initiative lawyers believe the law is unconstitutional because in narrows the existing scope of rights, it violates a number of ILO conventions, and contravenes human rights protections in Ukraine`s EU Association agreement.

The law draft contains a number of problematic terms, including:

● Fixed-term contracts for all public servants would likely violate ILO convention №158). Such contract may be concluded for the term up to three years (in the edition for the first reading there was the provision that contract may be concluded for not less than one year and more than five years) – thus there no any minimum term on which the contract may be signed. The contracts for civil servants is contrary to a number of international instruments, in particular EU Directive 1999/70 / EC (Priority for stable relations) and International Labor Organization Convention No. 158 (impossibility of termination of employment without justification). Also, short-term contracts may have a very negative impact on a person’s motivation to expose corruption, if a civil servant is “on the hook” of a short-term contract and is aware that next year he or she may not be renewed. It will undermine any attempt to create a culture of whistleblowers in the public sector in Ukraine. It also may tend to facilitate politicization and patronage within the civil service, as the maximum contract will leave all civil servants vulnerable to frequent replacement.

● The contract may be renewed only one time for the term that was indicated in the previous contract (this norm appears in the text for second reading). This has the obvious potential to de-professionalize the civil service, as well as create additional patronage issues.

● The law provides for an extended probation period for public servants – changing it from three months to an arbitrary period between one and six months

● The law diminishes the term of notice in case of change of essential working conditions up to 30 days (currently 60 days)

● The range of bonuses for public servants will be also canceled

The Chief Scientific Department of Parliament and Chief Legal Department of Parliament also emphasized that the law draft may violate a number of basic rights.

Labor Initiatives attorneys are concerned that the law draft is contrary to the constitutional principle which states that in adopting new laws or amending existing laws, the content and scope of existing rights and freedoms shall not be narrowed. Moreover, in the case of the adoption of this draft law, creates a negative precedent, – in the future, similar draft laws may be adopted for employees of other industries.