Azerbaijan is in the Caucasus Mountains, bordering Russia to the north, Georgia and Armenia to the west, and Iran to the south. It became an independent country in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed, and the post-Soviet era has included a difficult transition to democratic government, the challenge of corruption, and a difficult relationship with Azerbaijan’s neighbor Armenia. Azerbaijan’s largest industry is energy. It exports petroleum to many European countries and to China, Israel, and India. Natural gas is also becoming an important export, with new pipelines expected to increase gas exports to Europe in the 2020s. Efforts are underway to diversify the economy to be less dependent on hydrocarbons, with agriculture, tourism, logistics, and information technology being focuses of this effort.
Employment contracts must be written. It is strongly recommended that the contract be in the Azerbaijani language. Once it is signed, both the employer and the employee should receive a copy. An employment contract becomes valid after registration with the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population (MLSPP). An employment contract may be for a fixed term of up to five years, including renewals. The fixed term must be specified in the contract. Probation periods of up to three months are permitted.
The standard workweek is 40 hours with an eight-hour day over five days. In some circumstances, it is possible to establish a workweek with six working days. A six-day workweek may be structured as a 40-hour workweek, with no more than seven working hours per day, or as a 36-hour workweek, with no more than six working hours per day. Employees under the age of 16 have their workweek capped at 24 hours, while employees between 16 to 18 years are capped at 36 hours. The 36-hour cap also applies to workers with certain disabilities, pregnant women, women with a child younger than 18 months, and single parents with a child younger than three years old. Pregnant women, women with a child under three years old, and people younger than 18 also may not work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Overtime is allowed only in unusual circumstances and is normally limited to two hours for employees in hazardous jobs and a maximum of four hours over two working days for other employees. Overtime and work on holidays is paid a percentage of an employee’s basic rate, while work scheduled at night is paid a higher percentage of the basic rate. Additional time off may not be substituted for overtime hours.
Employees receive 14 days of sick leave paid by the employer. Beginning on the 15th day, the employee can receive a social insurance payment, if eligible. The sick employee must provide a medical certificate issued in accordance with the law.
Female employees receive paid maternity leave of 126 days (18 weeks), 70 days to be taken before the birth and 56 days after. In the event of a birth with complications or multiple births, the leave is extended to 70 days after birth. Women working in Agriculture receive 140 days of paid maternity leave, 70 days before the birth and 70 days after. The maternity leave increases to 156 days in the event of a birth with complications (70 days before the birth and 86 days after) and 180 days if there are multiple births (70 days before the birth and 110 days after). Single mothers of a child under three can take a partially paid leave, with the payment coming from social security. Female employees who have adopted a child under two months or who are raising a foster child younger than two months receive 56 days of paid leave. Male employees receive 14 days of leave while their wives are on maternity leave. A single father who is caring for a child up to three years old may receive partially paid leave, with the payment funded by social security. Employees of either sex may not be terminated while on any type of leave associated with a new child.
Azerbaijan has a minimum wage. Performance bonuses may be paid at the discretion of the employer.
In addition to public holidays, employees receive at least 21 days of paid annual leave. Many categories of workers receive additional leave, among them managers, doctors, teachers, and workers in several scientific, medical and public health jobs. Typically, employees in these positions are entitled to either 42 or 56 days of leave per year. Employees who work underground or who have especially dangerous or difficult jobs receive a minimum of six additional days of paid leave. Employees under 16 years old and employees with disabilities receive a minimum of 42 days of leave, while those 16 to 18 years old receive a minimum of 35 days. Employees also receive additional leave based on their length of service to an employer: two additional days for five to 20 years of service; four additional days for 10 to 15 years of service; and six additional days for more than 15 years of service. Employees can also receive unpaid leaves by agreement with their employer for urgent family or personal matters, academic work, treatment of a medical condition, or certain other special situations. Generally, these leaves are for a few weeks, and the leave may not exceed six months.
Azerbaijan has national health insurance. Employers sometimes provide private health insurance.
An employer that wishes to terminate an employee must justify the termination of the employment contract. Acceptable reasons for termination include: liquidation of the enterprise and personnel cutbacks. The employee is declared to be lacking the necessary professional skills by a competent body. The employee fails to perform his/her duties without a valid reason. The employer’s order to terminate the contract must be signed and authenticated by the employer and a copy should be given to the employee along with record book and final payment. An employee may terminate an employment contract by providing the employer with a minimum of one month of notice in writing. If an employee is dismissed due to changes in the terms of employment such as, the employee being called for military or national service or the employee not being able to perform his/her duties for six months due to disability, the employee receives a severance payment equivalent to two months of salary. Pregnant women, parents with children under three years old, temporarily incapacitated workers, and certain other categories of employees cannot be terminated under normal circumstances.
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