The problem of labor law in Azerbaijan: what does the legislation say? - LEGAL COMMENT
The ancients worked little - from 5 to 15 hours a week, depending on what the tribe hunted. For many centuries, when the agrarian economy was dominant, labor was seasonal, and it was only after the industrial revolution that people began to work all year round. Capitalist industry has allowed working hours to be extended, sometimes even excessively (in some industrial cities, 12-16 hours a day, 6-7 days a week). Since the 19th century, legal restrictions on working hours have become one of the most pressing socio-economic problems in many countries around the world, especially in Europe. The French bourgeois revolution affected labor law as much as any other field of law. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this problem was already regularly politicized, as the labor movement that had developed in the developed capitalist countries of that time had made the restriction of working hours one of its main political and economic demands.
The social development of the twentieth century created an economic opportunity to reduce working hours and was realized through agreements between employers and trade unions. Many states have limited working hours by law. This was the beginning of a new stage - the stage of state intervention.
The International Labor Organization (ILO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, was established in 1919. Azerbaijan became a member of the ILO on May 12, 1992 and joined its 57 Conventions. Legislation on labor and children's rights has also been harmonized with the principles of these conventions.
In the years following World War II, a 40-42-hour workweek became the norm for industrialized nations. Towards the end of the century, working hours were further reduced. In 2000, France legalized a 35-hour workweek. In the mid-2000s, the Netherlands was able to reduce the average working week to less than 30 hours. The average working week in the United States is now 33 hours, in France 30 hours, and in the Netherlands 27 hours.
In 2011, the shortest average working week among OECD countries was in Germany - 25.6 hours. In some countries, time constraints have gone beyond what was considered normal until recently. In Germany, for example, non-food businesses are prohibited by law from working on weekends. Only a limited number of commercial facilities are allowed to operate, only in tourist centers, as well as under strict time restrictions. In this case, the impact of market mechanisms on the length and organization of working hours is minimized. It is no coincidence that Germany is one of the last countries in the world in terms of liberality in the regulation of working hours. However, the reduction of actual working hours is not only due to government intervention.
Today, we can observe that labor rights are violated in most countries of the world, and people work all day only to meet their basic food needs. Although labor rights are more violated in third world countries, we can say that this problem also exists in developed countries. We can observe violations such as child labor, and sometimes the use of migrants for about 18-20 hours. There are many people in our country who work overtime.
What are the provisions of our legislation on working hours?
According to the legislation of Azerbaijan, the time set for the performance of labor functions by employees during weekly and daily working hours is full working time.
In Azerbaijan, the normal daily working time can not exceed 8 hours, and weekly - more than 40 hours. A five-day working week with two days off has been established, but a six-day working week may also be established as part of the full working week. The period from 10 pm to 6 am is considered night time. In workplaces with difficult and harmful working conditions, when at least half of the daily working time falls at night, the part of the working time falling at night is reduced by one hour. It is illegal to employ pregnant women and women with children under the age of three, or workers under the age of 18. Employees with disabilities may be hired at night with their consent and the opinion of special agencies.
Overtime work is paid and is allowed with the consent of the employee. Overtime work, especially in heavy and hazardous areas, is not allowed. In areas where working conditions are difficult and harmful, the duration of overtime work during the entire working day (shift) may not exceed 2 hours. Each employee may not be employed for more than 4 hours during the next two consecutive working days, and for more than 2 hours in workplaces with difficult and harmful working conditions. However, there are still a large number of workers and jobs who work 60-70 hours a week, do not have the right to leave, and do not have a weekly day off. Even without receiving paid leave, the number of jobs that can be sent for a fixed or indefinite leave at any time in the name of "self-employment" is much higher.
Child labor and child exploitation are also common in many parts of the world. Legislation in Azerbaijan - Article 17 of the Constitution and Article 46 of the Labor Code - states that an employment contract may be concluded with individuals who have reached the age of 15. An employment contract concluded with a person under the age of fifteen shall be considered invalid and the conclusion of such a contract shall give rise to liability under Articles 192.8 and 192.9 of the Code of Administrative Offenses.
But how to deal with violations of labor rights?
There are benefits to employers in providing tax incentives to encourage citizens to work under an employment contract, and in removing artificial barriers to unionization. When an employee declares his or her rights under the employment law to the employer, he or she should be comfortable not being fired. Both government agencies and public oversight mechanisms need to be put in place to ensure that the right to leave is granted. NGOs working in this area should encourage staff to be educated and take more effective steps to protect them in court.
The majority of those whose labor rights have been violated are uneducated and unskilled. Therefore, increasing the role of vocational education, especially for low-income children and children deprived of parental care until they reach adulthood, should be among the government's priorities.
Lawyer Shamil Pashayev