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Uzbekistan: Innovations in the Interests of People

Uzbekistan: Innovations in the Interests of People

For the domestic labor sphere, 2023 was significant in that on April 30 last year, an updated code regulating labor relations based on the balance of interests of workers, employers and the state came into force in the Uzbekistan.

It should be noted that in recent years the country has achieved significant success in ensuring human rights, honor and dignity, liberalizing the economy and entering world markets. Forced and child labor has been completely eradicated, and certain results have been achieved in ensuring freedom of speech and conscience, and gender equality.

For the first time, the country’s authorities recognized the existence of poverty in Uzbekistan and created an effective system to reduce it. To date, it has fully covered families in need of social support from the state.

The new version of the Constitution is a new collective agreement between society and the state. The norms regarding social obligations have tripled, which is a major change. The Basic Law specifically states that Uzbekistan is a social state. This requires compliance with certain rules when implementing state policy in the field of social security.

The country creates the necessary conditions for the development of the social service system and establishes pensions, benefits and other types of social assistance, which cannot be less than the officially established minimum consumer spending. This increases the standard of living, the labor potential of citizens, maintains purchasing power, and improves health.

In 2022, for the first time, the amount of pensions and social benefits was brought to a level not lower than minimum consumer spending. For example, if in 2017 500 thousand low-income families received social assistance, today more than two million families received social assistance. The allocated funds increased sevenfold and reached 11 trillion soums per year.

A number of standards regulating the world of work have been adopted. It should be noted that the updated Labor Code came into force in April last year. Due to structural changes, a number of sections and chapters have been included. The number of articles increased to 581. One of the goals of the code was to ensure a balance of interests, so some of the introduced changes will appeal to employees, while others will provide more tools and opportunities for employers.

For example, if previously the right to work was reflected in one article, namely Article 37, now the norms have been expanded: Articles 42, 43 and 44 reflect issues of decent work, protection from unemployment and the prohibition of forced labor.

Providing decent remuneration for work is an important socio-economic issue for every employee, in which it is necessary to strictly adhere to the criterion of fairness. Avoiding discrimination in employee pay is an important part of ensuring fairness. In remuneration, discrimination against workers who have the same education, qualifications and skills and who perform work of the same type and quality is not allowed.

The rule that an employee’s salary should not be lower than the minimum wage is one of the important social guarantees. When determining the minimum wage (minimum wage), the minimum consumer expenditures of families are taken annually as a basis. The size of the minimum wage, benefits and pensions increases annually in proportion to rising prices.

The establishment of this norm in the Constitution allows citizens to receive decent wages for their work. It is important in ensuring a decent life, improving the standard of living of the population, and introducing the principles of social justice in the country.

Severe forms of child labor or forced labor are strictly prohibited in international labor instruments and national legislation.

Thanks to systemic and effective reforms in Uzbekistan, child and forced labor have been completely eradicated.

Currently, important steps are being taken aimed at strengthening state policy in this direction at the constitutional level.

The minimum duration of labor leave has been extended – it is now 21 calendar days. Employees must receive additional vacation days based on length of service in a particular organization or industry. For every five years, the employee is given two additional days of vacation, but not more than eight in total. Unused vacation does not expire; upon dismissal, an employee can receive compensation for all vacations that he has left.

Another rule is the postponement of a day off if the holiday coincides with a non-working day. For delays in payments – advance payment, salary, vacation pay, severance pay, payment upon dismissal and others, the employer bears direct financial responsibility to the employee. For each day of delay, the employee will be paid a penalty in the amount of 10 percent of the basic rate of the Central Bank.

The updated code defines the structure of an employee’s salary, which includes bonuses, allowances, and additional payments. The norm is relevant when disciplinary action is applied to an employee. Even if there is a “disciplinary officer,” the employee is still required to pay bonuses, additional payments and allowances that are related to the results of his work and established by the remuneration system, but he has the right to refuse incentive payments, for example, bonuses for anniversaries and holidays.

The code regulates such aspects as trainee labor, mentoring, remote work, and others.

Chapter 20 of the new Labor Code regulates labor protection issues. The articles reveal the concept and requirements of labor protection, funds and materials allocated by the employer for these activities, features of the legal regulation of relations in this area for certain categories of workers, the rights and responsibilities of the employee in the field of labor protection.

Some rules regarding the rights of the parties in terms of labor protection have not been established. Now it is prohibited to hire or transfer an employee to another job if there are contraindications for health reasons. It has been established that the working conditions provided for in the employment contract must comply with labor protection requirements. Downtime until the danger to the life and health of the employee is eliminated is also paid. If an employee is not provided with personal protective equipment, the employer does not have the right to require the employee to perform work duties and is obliged to pay for downtime that arises for this reason. An employee’s refusal does not entail disciplinary action.

Another norm has been introduced that was not previously regulated. In the event of an accident involving a seconded employee, the organization of the investigation of the work-related accident is entrusted to the employer to whom the employee was seconded. For damage caused to his health, financial liability is also assigned to the employer.

An additional measure to protect the labor of women is reflected in Article 393: the employer, in agreement with the trade union committee, has the right to establish a list of certain jobs with unfavorable working conditions in which the use of women’s labor is limited.

Trade unions take an active part in the adoption of regulatory documents; relevant acts are not drawn up without the consent of employee representatives.

Ensuring labor safety and health is one of the most important areas in the activities of trade unions. By exercising public control, trade unions help ensure that workers have the right to free, decent and safe work.

We strive to implement a comprehensive approach that brings together all efforts and actions aimed at improving the effectiveness of our safety and health measures, including rulemaking, statistical data analysis and information dissemination.