Topic 1 Terminology and legal framework of the national labour market

According to the official constitution of Cyprus and the laws that govern it, the country secures equal treatment of all people working in the state, Cypriots as well as foreigners, and has the responsibility to protect their human rights equally.

Labour relations are governed by specific terms and conditions and specific agreements/contracts between the two parties – employer and employee. This is to ensure a fair and just employment agreement on the basis of human rights, to also avoid any labour exploitation.

The legislation surrounding employment applies to all people working in the Republic of Cyprus without at exception. The employment contracts, depending on the status of each employee and the previous agreement with each employer, aims to set out the specific working conditions, the health and safety conditions at work, the obligation to participate in social security plans, the working time and the minimum duration of annual leave for workers.

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A trade union is an organisation made up of members (a membership-based organisation) and its membership must be made up mainly of workers. One of the central aims of a trade union is to protect and advance the interests of its members in the workplace.

Most trade unions are independent of any employer. However, trade unions try to develop close working relationships with employers. This can sometimes take the form of a partnership agreement between the employer and the trade union which identifies their common interests and objectives.

Cyprus has a relatively high level of trade union organization. There are two major trade union confederations, the PEO and the SEK, a smaller one, DEOK and a very much smaller one, POAS, as well as important autonomous unions representing public sector workers, bank employees and teachers.

The two main confederations are organised broadly along industry lines, with federations for construction workers, hotel workers and government employees, for example. There are nine federations in the PEO and seven in the SEK. Of the two, the PEO has a stronger base among manual workers.

TCNs in Cyprus have the legal right to take part in trade unions, given the fact that they have a legal employment and permit to stay in the country. As such, it is very important for TCNs to fully enjoy this right, which minimizes the risk of labour exploitation.

Based on the constitution of Cyprus, all workers have the right to participate in Trade Unions. TCNs who are members of Trade Unions and fulfill their financial obligations have the right to participate in their elections. In order to become a member of a trade union, there is a membership fee that needs to be covered.

Additionally, the major trade unions in Cyprus provide health insurance schemes to its members. In order to participate in the health insurance scheme, the worker is obliged to cover the cost of healthcare (usually a specific amount per month) and can be reimbursed either partially or fully, depending on the plan. Trade unions cover only primary healthcare treatment by doctors that have an agreement with each union. They do not provide reimbursement for surgical operations.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio:

Trade UnionWebsite Telephone Email Address
PEO – Pancyprian Federation of Archermou Str 1045 Nicosia 21885 – 1045 Nicosia
SEK – Cyprus Workers’ Strovolou Avenue 2018, Nicosia
DEOK – Democratic Labour Federation of Vyronos street, 1096, Nicosia

When moving to Cyprus for employment, third country nationals should apply in advance to the migration authorities in Cyprus for a work and residence permit. Upon registration with the authorities, an entry permit will be issued to the individual. This permit has a usual validity period. It is possible to renew a temporary work and residence permit by submitting the required documents two months before the permit’s expiration date.

Third Country Nationals may

  • Apply visa on the grounds of employment contract.
  • Apply for social insurance number
  • The visa is renewable under specific grounds

Employers who wish to employ a third country national as a domestic worker, must search through EURES (European Employment Service), meaning they must advertise the post in the local press at a conspicuous place in at least two newspapers of mass circulation, as well as at the EURES for 3 weeks.

Photo by Alexander Suhorucov:

Third country nationals must proceed for registration at the appropriate District Office of the Aliens and Immigration Unit of the Police, or the Central Offices of the Civil Registry and Migration Department in Nicosia, within 7 days from the date of the arrival. Biometric data such as fingerprints and photo are collected.

To submit an application for an entry / residence permit for a TCN, the submission of an original bank guarantee (hereinafter “guarantee”) may be required.  The guarantee is submitted in order to cover the deportation expenses, if such a deportation is necessary due to the TCN being an illegal immigrant.

The bank guarantee is not returned in the following cases:

  • The employee has become illegal after their permit was canceled
  • The employee submitted an application for asylum
  • The employee was sentenced for a criminal offense and subsequently, he/she is considered a prohibited immigrant
  • The employee abandoned his/her place of residence and work and he/she is missing and wanted for deportation purposes.

Social insurance contributions are made by any individual employed or self-employed in Cyprus. An employer also makes contributions in respect of its employees equally. Employees are allowed to receive income from the social insurance fund during the following periods:

  • Absence of leave (sick leave)
  • Maternity Leave
  • Physical Injury
  • Pension

Important to note the employee has to fill in the Required Form and submit it to the responsible authority which is the ministry and all the related departments.


Were you aware of the legal framework surrounding the Cypriot labour market? Do you have any experience in finding a job / signing relevant contracts in Cyprus? If yes, what did you find the most challenging?

Photo by Sam Lion: