United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - State Party Reports
Substantive session of 2008
[6 August 2007]
I. INTRODUCTION 1 - 9 3
II. PROVISIONS OF THE COVENANT 10 - 590 4
A. Part of the report relating to general provisions of the
Covenant 10 - 26 4
B. Part of the report relating to specific rights 27 - 590 8
III. RESPONSES TO THE CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS 591 - 658 117
A. “D. Principal subjects of concern” 592 - 644 117
B. “E. Suggestions and Recommendations” 645 - 658 127
1. The Republic of Cyprus ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on 2 April, 1969 (hereinafter referred to as “the Covenant”).
2. Pursuant to articles 16 and 17 of the Covenant, Cyprus submitted its Third Periodic report on the Implementation of the Covenant in May 1996 (E/1994/104/Add.12), in the present report referred to as “the previous report”. The Concluding Observations of the CESCR Committee thereon were adopted on 3 December 1998 (E/C.12/1/Add.28 - 4 December 1998), in the present report referred to as “the Concluding Observations”. Hence, the present report, which covers the developments up to the 16 July 2007, should be regarded as the combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of Cyprus.
3. The present report has been drafted in accordance with the Guidelines for the Preparation of Reports by State Parties of 17.6.1991 (E/C.12/1991/1) and focuses, in particular, on responding to the Concluding Observations. The present report is accompanied by an updated CORE Document - Attachment 1.
4. The present report has been prepared by the Law Commissioner of the Republic who, pursuant to a Decision of the Council of Ministers, is entrusted with ensuring compliance of Cyprus’ reporting obligations under international human rights instruments. The information and data, on the basis of which the present report was compiled, was provided by the Ministries/Departments competent for the specific matter (i.e. the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice and Public Order, the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance, the Department of Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver, the Planning Bureau and the Statistical Service), as well as the Law Office of the Republic. The present report was communicated to the National Institution for the Protection of Human Rights, which is chaired by the Law Commissioner and comprises representatives from all Government and Public Sector institutions, as well as NGOs dealing with human rights issues, professional associations including the Press Council and the University of Cyprus. Furthermore, the present report will be translated into the national official languages and will be disseminated.
5. It is deeply regretted that there has been a considerable delay in the submission of the fourth and fifth periodic reports. It is indeed an anomaly and a paradox that, despite the Government’s firm commitment in pursuing policies that all persons, enjoy fully the fundamental rights and freedoms safeguarded by the Constitution and the human rights instruments to which Cyprus is a party and benefit from the rule of law and democratic institutions, obligations in submitting reports (such as the present report) may experience occasional delays due exclusively to bureaucratic deficiencies encountered in small administrations with limited resources which may hamper their reporting capacity.
6. Since the examination of the previous report, a significant development affecting human rights and their protection took place in Europe. On 1 May 2004 ten new states joined the European Union, amongst them the Republic of Cyprus. This development had a beneficial effect on the enhancement of human rights. The accession process of Cyprus to the EU, since 1998 moving at a very intensive pace, necessitated the harmonization with the acquis communautaire and resulted in the enactment, within specified time limits, of very important legislation relating to economic, social and cultural rights and, parallel to this, the creation of the necessary administrative infrastructure for the implementation of the relevant legislation and policies.
7. Furthermore, the profile of the flourishing economy Cyprus enjoys - in the year 2000, Cyprus was included among the 16 countries with the highest per capita income and among the 22 countries with the highest human development in the world - has increased the standard of living of people in Cyprus.
8. The Government of the Republic of Cyprus regrets that due to the continuing illegal occupation and effective control of 37% of its territory by Turkish military forces, the Government is unable to ensure the enjoyment of the rights provided for in the Covenant in the whole of its territory and that, therefore, it is also deprived of its ability to apply the provisions of the Covenant to those living in the part of the country under foreign occupation. Due to the above described situation, no reliable information and data are available regarding the enjoyment of the relevant rights by the Cypriot population living in the area that is not controlled by the Government. Therefore, all information and data presented in the present report concern the Government-controlled areas.
9. It is earnestly hoped that a just and viable solution will be soon achieved and that the next periodic report of Cyprus will give information and data for the whole of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus.
10. Refer to previous report, paras. 11-14.
11. In addition, Local authorities in Cyprus are the municipalities and the communities. The municipal and community elections are conducted every five years, for the election of the Mayor and the members of the Council as regards municipal elections, and for electing the President of the Community and members of the Council in the case of community elections. The members of the Council in both cases vary in number according to the population of the municipality/community area. The right to vote is accorded to every resident of the municipality/community area who has reached the age of 18 and its exercise is compulsory. The law in force regulating municipalities is the Municipalities Law (L. 111/1985, as amended) whereas the law in force regulating communities is the Communities Law (L. 86(I)/1999, as amended). The elections are conducted freely and in an orderly manner. The last elections for local authorities were conducted in December 2006 and there were no objections or complaints about the manner in which they were conducted.
12. Non-Cypriot EU citizens are afforded the right to participate in municipal and other local elections by virtue of the Municipal and Community Elections (Citizens of Other MemberStates) Law (L. 98(I)/2004, as amended) which transposes EU Directives 94/80 and 96/30 of the European Council. The Law affords the right to EU citizens who live in the Republic and have a 6-month ordinary residence in the municipality/community concerned, to vote and be candidates in the said elections. The six-month residence requirement can be satisfied by ordinary residence in a member state.
13. The Exercise of the Right to Vote and Be Elected by Members of the Turkish Community with Ordinary Residence in the Free Areas of the Republic (Temporary Provisions) Law, 2006 (L. 2(I)/2006) entered into force on 10.2.06. The Law gives to all Turkish-Cypriot citizens who have their ordinary residence in the Government-controlled area of Cyprus the right to be registered in the Electoral Roll and participate in all elections, including presidential, parliamentary, municipal and other local elections. The Law covers the right to vote and also the right to stand as candidate.
14. Not applicable.
15. The Fundamental Rights and Liberties of Part II of the Constitution are expressly guaranteed to “everyone”, to “all persons”, to “every person”, without any distinction whatsoever. Article 28.2 of the Constitution affords the right to every person to enjoy the said rights and liberties, without any direct or indirect discrimination on the ground of his “community, race, religion, language, sex political or other conviction, national or social descent, birth, colour, wealth, social class or any ground whatsoever, unless there is express provision to the contrary in the Constitution”. Article 28.1 of the Constitution affords to all persons the right of equality before the Law, the administration and justice, and of equal protection and treatment thereby. The right of access to court, which is guaranteed by article 30 of the Constitution as one of the fundamental rights and liberties, is also afforded to everyone. No law exists which deprives, or limits the right of access to court on any of the above grounds, and even if such a Law had existed, its constitutionality would have been challenged as amounting to a breach of the said articles 28 and 30, and also as a breach of article 6, by virtue of which no law shall discriminate against any of the two Communities or any person as a person, or by virtue of being a member of a Community.
16. Cyprus has enacted important primary anti-discrimination legislation in the context of its harmonization with European Union Council Directives, which covers the rights enunciated in the Covenant.
17. Legislation enacted for harmonizing with EU Council Directive 2000/43/EC on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment irrespective of racial or ethnic origin, [The Equal Treatment (Racial or Ethnic Origin) Law (L. 59(I)/2004, as amended)] prohibits discrimination on any of the above grounds, in both public and private sectors, in matters of social protection, health services, social services, education and training and access to goods and services available to the public including housing. The Law allows for “positive action”, that is, the taking of special measures aiming at preventing or counterbalancing disadvantages due to racial or ethnic origin. The Law grants the right to judicial and extra judicial protection (to complain to the Ombudsman) and further shifts the burden of proof, that is, the person accused of discrimination has to prove that there has not been a contravention of the Law. Furthermore, upon the coming into force of Law 59(I)/2004 any provision in any other legislation (primary or subordinate) which is contrary to its provisions is repealed. Organizations and NGOs having as their mandate the elimination of racial or ethnic discrimination can take judicial or extra judicial action on behalf of the person aggrieved. There are severe penalties (fines and imprisonment) for violation of the Law.
18. Legislation enacted for harmonizing with EU Council Directive 2000/78/EC, [The Equal Treatment in Employment and Occupation Law (L. 58(I)/2004, as amended)] prohibits discrimination specifically in the spheres of employment and occupation on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion, belief, sexual orientation and age, Law 58(I)/2004 has corresponding provisions to those of Law 59(I)/2004, prescribed above.
19. Another very important law in combating discrimination is the Combating of Racism and Other Discrimination (Commissioner) Law, 2004 (L. 42(I)/2004), which vests the Ombudsman - with special wide competences, duties and powers for combating and eliminating racial and other forms of discrimination in both public and private sectors. Its purpose is:
(i) To harmonise with EU Council Directive 2000/43/EC on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment irrespective of ethnic or racial origin and to deal with complaints pursuant to Law 58(I)/2004 and 59(I)/2004; and
(ii) The fulfilment of Cyprus’s obligation to safeguard without racial and other discrimination the enjoyment of the rights and liberties provided by European and United Nations treaties (such as the Covenant) and Part II of the Constitution.
20. Under its provisions, any person or group may lodge a complaint to the Ombudsman for having been subjected to discrimination prohibited by any law (such as by the primary antidiscrimination laws referred to above). The complaint may be one of discrimination, (based on community, race, language, colour, religion, political or other beliefs and national or ethnic origin) in the enjoyment of rights and freedoms safeguarded by the Constitution, or any of the human rights treaties ratified by Cyprus.
21. Τhe Rights of Persons Arrested and taken into Custody Law, 2005 (L.163(I)/2005) affords additional rights where the person arrested/detained is a foreign national, that is, in addition to the right to communicate with a lawyer and a relative, or other person of his/her choice, he/she is also afforded the right to communicate with his/her embassy or diplomatic mission in the Republic, and inform them of his/her arrest/detention, and his/her place of detention/intended detention. He/she is also afforded the right during detention, to meet in addition to his/her relatives, representatives of his/her consular/diplomatic mission, the Office of the Ombudsman and the National Institution for the Protection of Human Rights. The Law imposes strict detailed obligations on the police to ensure that detainees are informed of their rights in a language they can understand and that such rights are exercised, and also provides for strict criminal sanctions for members of the Police violating its provisions.
22. In addition to the enactment of primary anti-discrimination legislation as above, there are case-law developments. It was established by case-law in 2001, (by Judgment of the Supreme Court of Cyprus in the Case of Yiallourou v. Evgenios Nicolaou) that violation of human rights is an actionable right which can be pursued in civil courts against those perpetrating the violation, for recovering from them, inter alia, just and reasonable compensation for pecuniary and nonpecuniary damage suffered as a result. The result is, that a person who, on grounds of inter alia race, community, colour, religion, language, political or other belief, or national origin, is discriminated against, whether directly or indirectly, in the enjoyment of human rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, (in Part II of its provisions largely reproducing those of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (CETS No. 5) Rome, 4 November 1950 (ratified by L. 39/1962), can sue the state or private persons for damages and or other appropriate civil law remedies, for violating his constitutional right (under article 28) to enjoy the above rights and freedoms without such discrimination. The resulting remedy is additional, and of wider ambit than the statutory one referred above concerning violation of the provisions of the Equal Treatment (Racial or Ethnic Origin) Law (L. 59(I)/2004, as amended) and the Equal Treatment in Employment and Occupation Law (L. 58(I)/2004, as amended).
23. Copies of articles 6, 28 and 30 of the Constitution and an unofficial translation of Law 42(I)/2004 are submitted herewith - Attachment 2.
24. Refer to previous report, para. 17.
25. In addition, following its accession to the European Union, Cyprus redefined its development cooperation policy so that it would fall in line with EU’s priorities in the sector. The underlying philosophy, as well as the operation of Cyprus’s Development Cooperation, focuses on attaining the Millennium Development Goals and the gradual increase of the aid budget. The Government firmly supports the efforts of the European Union in enhancing the development of partner countries in a way that safeguards a more equitable and just distribution of the world’s wealth, while at the same time preserving the environment and the rights of future generations to a habitable, environmentally sound planet. Furthermore, Cyprus subscribes to the mandate of the European Parliament for the allocation of a minimum percentage of 35% of all aid to basic social services.
26. The choice of priority areas of the EU in the field of development assistance is fostering macro-economic development regional integration and cooperation, social sector support, food security and sustainable rural development, development of transport and improving governance. Furthermore, the horizontal priorities of human rights, gender equality and environment are being mainstreamed into European Community and Member State actions.
27. Refer to previous report, para. 18.
28. Refer to the latest reports on Conventions No. 122 and No. 111 for the period ending 30/6/2006 and 31/9/2005 respectively.
29. During the five year period (2002-2006) Cyprus achieved a satisfactory rate of economic growth (3.1%), accompanied by near full employment conditions. In 2006, the rate of economic growth decelerated marginally to 3.8% as compared to 3.9% in 2005 and 4.2% in 2004.
30. In 2006 employment according to the Labour Force Survey increased by 2.7% from 2005, and reached the level of 357,281 persons. The tertiary sector accounts for the bulk of employment, around 73% of the total gainfully employed population, compared to 71.6% in 2002 and 67.4% in 1998. Particularly significant are the sectors of trade and hotels and restaurants with a share of 17.7% and 6.7% respectively. The share of the primary sector decreased from 9.3% in 1998, to 8.0% in 2002 and 4.5% in 2006 while that of the secondary sector decreased from 23.3% in 1998, to 21.3% in 2002 and increased to 22.5% in 2006.
31. In 2006, the total employment rate according to the Labour Force Survey conducted by the Cyprus Statistical Service, stood at 69.6% as compared to 68.6% in 2002 and 63.7% in 1999. The employment rates for older workers (55-64) stood at 53.6% in 2006 (49.4% in 2002 and 47.3% in 1999), well above the Lisbon target set for all EU countries of 50% by 2010. In contrast the youth employment rate (15-24) fluctuates at low levels 37.4% in 2006. In 2006, the female employment rate reached 60.3% compared to 59.1% in 2002 and 50.4% in 1999, and already exceeds the relevant Lisbon target of 60% for 2010. However, the female employment rate is well below the male employment rate which stood at 79.4% compared to 78.9% in 2002 and 78% in 1999.
32. Employed women still remain concentrated in a few economic sectors, such as trade, hotels and restaurants, and education. Their representation in higher skilled occupations, such as managers, professionals and technicians, fluctuated at approximately the same levels during the period 2002-2006. More specifically, in 2002 the proportion of women in high skill occupations was 44.3% whereas in 2006, 42.5%.
33. Part-time employment appears to be more popular amongst the female employed population where, in 2006, 12.1% of employed women were working on a part-time basis compared to 4.3% of the male employed population. In 2002 this proportion was 11.3%.
34. Unemployment stood at 4.5% in 2006 (3.6% in 2002), according to the Labour Force Survey while the registered unemployment was lower at 3.5%. The female unemployment rate (5.4%) was higher than the corresponding male rate (3.9%).The unemployment rate of young people (10%) was the highest amongst the broad age groups.
35. The most vulnerable or disadvantaged groups with regard to employment are considered to be the disabled, the elderly and women with low level of education and skills. Particularly vulnerable are women who, after remaining out of the labour market for a period of time raising their children, find difficulties in taking up employment again because of the changing needs in skills and occupations.
36. In all Strategic Programming Documents of the Cyprus Government, such as the National Lisbon Programme of the Republic of Cyprus, the Strategic Development Plan 2004-2006 and the Single Programming Document for Objective 3 of the Structural Funds for 2004-2006, the overarching objective of employment policies in Cyprus, in line with the European Employment Strategy (EES), is to enhance conditions of full employment, improve quality and productivity at work and strengthen social cohesion.
37. The measures underway/planned are:
(a) Increasing Female Participation;
(b) Gender Equality;
(c) Active Ageing;
(d) Build Employment Pathways for Young People;
(e) Build Employment Pathways for the Unemployed;
(f) Enhancement and Modernisation of the Public Employment Services (PES);
(g) The enhancement and modernisation of the Public Employment Services is expected to contribute positively towards increasing labour market flexibility by a better matching of the demand and supply of labour and the better utilisation of the labour force;
(h) Promotion of Flexible Forms of Employment;
(i) Ongoing Assessment of the Economy’s Labour Market Needs;
(j) Employment schemes for persons with disabilities.
38. Following a decision of the Council of Ministers on 23/5/05, the Pancyprian Productivity Council (established in 1992) was reorganised in order to formulate a national Strategy and a national Productivity Programme. The Programme will define strategic priorities, categories of action and measures through which projects of strategic importance will be developed aiming at increasing productivity.
39. A draft proposal for the national Strategy and a national Productivity Programme has been prepared and is currently under examination by the Technical Productivity Committee (this Committee was set up by the Pancyprian Productivity Council).
40. Refer to previous report under article 6 of the Covenant.
41. A variety of public and private institutions provide miscellaneous secondary technical and vocational courses of various levels. Public formal vocational and technical education is mainly
provided through the “Apprenticeship Training Scheme” of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance, the “Scheme of Evening Technical Classes” of the Secondary Vocational Education Directorate of the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Cyprus Productivity Centre, the Human Resources Development Authority which finances vocational training and retraining programmes, organized on a subcontract basis by public and private training institutions and inhouse courses implemented by enterprises.
42. The Human Resources Development Authority (HRDA) is the national agency for human resources training and development. Its mission is to create the necessary prerequisites for the planned and systematic training and development of human resources in Cyprus, at all levels and in all sectors, for meeting the economy’s needs, within the overall national socio-economic policies. Training activities are designed to meet current needs for training in the labour market, which are assessed through research studies and surveys.
43. Training activities subsidized by the HRDA include: initial training, retraining, upgrading/continuing training of employees, management and supervisory training and development, training of trainers and consultants, training in new technology and know-how, training of school leavers, training of the unemployed, training of the inactive female labour force.
44. The Cyprus labour market is facing qualitative and quantitative imbalances observed both at the level of sectors of economic activity and at the level of occupations. Imbalances are observed in labour supply and demand in the sectors of restaurants and hotels, construction, manufacturing and agriculture. These sectors also exhibit low labour productivity. The imbalances observed at the occupational level concern the shortages in technical and low skilled occupations. The latter is partly ameliorated with the employment of foreign workers which in 2005 represented 15.6% of employed persons. These imbalances are the result of numerous factors, such as the small size of the workforce, the new challenges faced by the Cypriot labour market by reason of its entry into the European market, the rapid technological progress throughout the world and the gradual changeover from traditional to new, knowledge based economies.
45. In order to anticipate and meet these challenges efficiently, Cyprus is promoting a series of measures through the National Reform Programme aiming at the promotion of employment and the development of the Human Capital.
46. As referred in the previous report (para. 31) in legislation and policies applied in Cyprus there is no discrimination regarding vocational guidance, training, employment and occupation on the ground of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion and national or social origin.
47. Furthermore, the Equal Treatment in Employment and Occupation Law (L. 58(I)/2004, as amended) enacted for harmonizing with EU Directive 2000/78, prohibits to all employers discrimination on the basis of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, age or sexual orientation specifically in the spheres of employment and occupation. Refer also to answer to article 2, question 2 above.
48. A further development in combating discrimination in the area of employment of pregnant women is the enactment of the Maternity Protection (Amendment) Law, 2002 (L. 64(I)/2002) and a set of new Regulations, under the Safety and Health at Work Law (L. 89(I)/1996, as amended). The above Law and Regulations bring the existing legislation fully in line with the relevant EU Directive 92/85/EEC, which provides for the safety and health of pregnant women, women who have recently given birth and women who are breastfeeding. For details regarding maternity protection in general, see relevant information under question 5 and article 10 below.
49. Employed persons have the right to attend training programmes. According to the current legislation and the policy of the Human Resources Development Authority (HRDA), the term “employed persons” covers any person who works for another person under such circumstances from which the existence of an employer - employee relation can be inferred, it also refers to persons who are not working but are undergoing training in order to become qualified for employment after the end of their training.
50. Based on the HRDA legislation no restriction exists regarding the training of persons according to race, colour, sex, religion and national origin. The participation rate in HRDA subsidized training for men and women was 59% and 41%, respectively.
51. The Cyprus Productivity Centre offers various vocational training programmes and two Post-graduate Programmes in Management and Public Administration. The Post-graduate Programmes are run by the Mediterranean Institute of Management (MIM), the international division of the Cyprus Productivity Centre. All programmes offered by the Cyprus Productivity Centre are open and accessible equally to men and women, regardless of their national origin, race or religion. Every year foreign students attend the morning program of the MIM, which is taught in English. They come mostly from African countries such as Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda and, in recent years, from Lithuania, Romania, and Malta.
52. From 1999 onward the number of women attending the MIM Programmes (both morning and evening) has been increasing and today the Institute has more female than male students. As far as technical vocational training is concerned, the participants are almost exclusively male because of the nature of the programmes offered which are in traditionally male dominated professions.
53. Pursuant to the Equal Treatment of Men and Women in Employment and Vocational Training Law (L. 205(I)/2002, as amended), enacted to harmonise with EU Directive 76/207/EC and 97/80/EC, gender discrimination is prohibited for all employers with regard to all activities related to employment including promotion and vocational training, with the exception of access to employment and vocational training in certain occupational activities where by reason of the context in which they are carried out, gender constitutes a genuine and a determining factor. These occupational activities are:
(i) Artistic activities where the filling of a post with a person of the other sex would cause a significant difference in the nature of the post;
(ii) Employment in a particular post when the duties of the post include the provisions of services outside Cyprus, in a state where legislation and culture are such that the particular services may not be logically rendered by a person of the other sex;
(iii) Posts where the duties include personal services and it is imperative that persons from both sexes are employed;
(iv) Personal Services, such as homecare for old or invalid people;
(v) Employment in the post of warden in women’s or men’s prisons;
(vi) Employment in the Security Forces or private security bodies;
(vii) Employment of women in underground mining works.
54. According to the Equal Treatment in Employment and Occupation Law (L. 58(I)/2004, as amended), referred to under answer to question 3 (a) above, discrimination on the basis of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, age or sexual orientation is prohibited for all employers with regard to all activities related to employment and occupation, with the exception of certain occupational activities where by reason of their nature or of the context in which they are carried out, one of the abovementioned characteristics constitutes a genuine and determining factor.
55. The double job holders, according to the Labour Force Survey 2006, represented 4.6% of the working population. It is noted that the main reason for which Cypriots keep a second job is to improve their standard of living rather than to secure an adequate one. (In 2006, the per capita GDP of Cyprus was USS $ 23596 and the per capita GNP 22923.)
56. The Maternity Protection Law (L. 100(I)/1997, as amended), improved maternity protection by extending the minimum period of maternity leave from 14 to 16 weeks and now to 18 weeks (by a new amendment enacted on 12/7/2007.
57. The Parental Leave and Leave on Grounds of Force Majeure Law (L. 69(I)/2002, as amended) enacted for harmonizing with EU Directive 96/34/EC, relating to the framework agreement for parental leave concluded by UNICE, CEEP and CES, provides for:
(a) Entitlement to unpaid parental leave of a duration of up to thirteen weeks, by reason of birth or adoption of a child in order for the parents to care and participate in the raising of a child (for employees, men and women, who have completed a continuous period of at least six months employment with the same employer);
(b) Entitlement to unpaid leave of up to seven days per year, on grounds of force majeure by reason of a family emergency and related to an illness of, or an accident to, any dependant of the employee which makes the immediate presence of the employee indispensable.
58. The Law specifically provides for the right of men and women to enjoy equal treatment in relation to the rights emanated from it.
59. During the reporting period many changes have taken place in the legislation, policy and administrative practices, concerning aliens in general and their economic and social rights in particular, within the framework of harmonization of Cyprus laws and policies with the EU aquis in the field of migration and asylum. A list of the relevant acquis in the fields of migration, asylum and free movement of EU citizens, is submitted herewith - Attachment 3.
60. The Constitution, legislation, international treaties ratified by Cyprus and legal practices provide and safeguard the equal treatment of every person in respect to employment. Migrant workers who are in possession of a valid residence/work permit and their families enjoy treatment no less favorable than that offered to nationals in matters of employment. All Labour laws and regulations apply in the case of migrant workers, who are on an equal footing with nationals. Cyprus is a party to the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention (ILO No. 111), 25 June 1958 (ratified by L. 3/1968), to the Migration for Employment Convention (Revised) (ILO No. 97), 1 July 1949 (Cyprus: 23 September 1960 ratification (excluding provisions of Annexes I to III), and to the Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention (ILO No. 143), 24 June 1975 (ratified by L. 36/1977), and to articles 1 and 19 of the European Social Charter (revised) (CETS No. 163), Strasbourg, 3 May 1996 (ratified by L. 27(III)/2000), of the Council of Europe, relating to the right of work and the right of migrant workers and their families to protection and assistance.
61. Cyprus has also ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 7 March 1966 (ratified by Laws 12/1967, 11/1992, and 28(III)/1999) and other Conventions, Covenants and Chapters by virtue of which the aliens are accorded protection.
62. As stated in answer to question 3 (a) and (c) above , according to the Equal Treatment in Employment and Occupation Law (L. 58(I)2004, as amended), discrimination on the basis of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, age or sexual orientation is prohibited for all employers with regard to all activities related to employment.
63. Moreover, a Decision of the Council of Ministers (No. 33.210, dated 15/3/1990), setting out the policy as well as the criteria and procedures for the employment of foreign workers on a temporary basis, with a view to alleviating the problem of labour shortages, imposes, inter alia, an obligation on employers to provide alien workers equal treatment with nationals regarding terms and conditions of employment.
64. In case of violation of their obligations, the employers are subject to penalties and no work permits are granted to them in the future, for the employment of foreign workers. With a view to reinforcing the practical application of equality of opportunity and treatment of temporary employed foreign workers, in respect of their terms and conditions of employment, additional control procedures were adopted which include:
(a) Making it mandatory for local employers applying for a work permit, on behalf of a foreign worker, prior to his/her entry, to submit a contract of employment specifying all terms and conditions of employment. The contract of employment is checked and stamped by the Department of Labour and then is submitted by the employer to the Ministry of Interior (Civil Registry and Migration Department) which then decides whether to issue the work permit;
(b) Periodic site visits by immigration officers as well as by officers of the District Employment Offices for examination of the conditions of employment of foreign workers;
(c) The Immigration Authorities provide the aliens entering Cyprus for legal employment with a leaflet in five languages (Greek, English, Russian, Romanian, Bulgarian), which are spoken/understood by the majority of the foreign workers in Cyprus, defining their rights and obligations. Moreover, the foreigners (except in the case of domestic workers) sign their contracts of employment, which have already been approved by the Labour Office, before an Immigration Officer and a true copy is handed to them. The contract contains in detail all the rights and obligations of both, the employers’ and employees’;
(d) In 2006 the Department of Labour published and distributed an informative leaflet, in Greek and English, on the rights and obligations of foreign workers. In 2007, the leaflet was published in another three languages (Russian-Arabic-Sri Lankan).
65. Furthermore a Committee established by a Council of Ministers Decision (No. 51.243 dated 16/2/2000), examines disputes raised by temporary employed foreign workers or their employers. In cases where the committee decides or concludes that the employer has breached the terms of the contract of employment, the alien in question is allowed to apply for a new employment, within a specified period.
66. In addition, the Aliens and Immigration Unit of the Police, in collaboration with the Civil Registry and Migration Department, Ministry of Interior and with other branches of the Police, carries out frequent checks and other systematic operations, aiming at safeguarding legal employment, as well as securing acceptable living conditions for the workers. In case of a breach of contract by the employer or any other breach of law, the employer is subject to legal and administrative sanctions.
67. The Aliens and Immigration (Amendment) Law, 2007 (L. 8(I)/2007), harmonizing national legislation with EU Council Directive 2003/86/EC, concerning the right of family reunification, and EU Council Directive 2003/109/EC, concerning the status of third country nationals who are long term residents, entered into force on 14/2/2007.
68. A further amendment to the Aliens and Immigration Law (Cap. 105, as amended) in compliance with EU Council Directive 2004/114/EC of 13/12/2004, concerning the conditions of entry and residence of third country nationals for study purposes, exchange of students, remunerated practiced training, or voluntary service, is currently under way.
69. In addition to the long term residence status, granted to eligible third country nationals, Cyprus legislation provides for the status of immigration permit which is equivalent to permanent residence status. The Immigration permit is issued for third country nationals who are employed, self employed or who wish to stay in Cyprus and have sufficient funds.
70. The entry and employment permit of aliens in cabarets and nightclubs is governed by the Aliens and Immigration Legislation, (which has been amended, in order to incorporate all the relevant European acquis on trafficking in human beings) as well as by administrative orders and decisions. This policy aims to accord legal or any other kind of protection to these aliens against any form of trafficking or exploitation exercised by their employers or by any other person and specifically to prevent the promotion of prostitution as well as to safeguard the remission of their emoluments. The Civil Registry and Migration Department, in collaboration with the Police, informs the employees of their rights. The Immigration Authorities provide the aliens with a leaflet in five languages (Greek, English, Russian, Romanian, Bulgarian), which are spoken/understood by the majority of the foreign workers working in cabarets in Cyprus, defining their rights and obligations. Furthermore, before arriving in Cyprus, the third country national desiring to work as artist in cabarets has to apply for an entry permit which is sent directly to her and, in order to be valid, she has to have it stamped at the embassy/consulate of the Republic in her country of origin. There she is given to read the information leaflet (for the time being the version given at the consulate authorities is only available in English and Russian) which she has to sign that she read before she gets her entry permit stamped.
71. In addition to the above, consistent control of the cabarets and nightclubs is carried out by the Police. In cases where the Police detects that the employer has breached the terms of the contract, the employer is subject to legal as well as administrative sanctions as provided for by the existing legislation or the administrative orders and the Authorities may consider the possibility of withdrawing the operation license of the cabaret or nightclub, rejecting any new application for issuing such a license or rejecting any application for employment of other aliens. The promotion of prostitution constitutes a violation of the Penal Code and is punishable with imprisonment.
72. The Combating of Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Exploitation of Minors Law, 2000 (L. 3(I)/2000) provided for the protection of human beings, with special reference to children, from sexual exploitation. Under this Law, sexual exploitation of human beings and children as well as the production, possession and circulation of pornographic material constitute offences entailing severe punishment. An important provision of this Law is the appointment of the Director of the Social Welfare Services (Ministry of Employment and Social Security) as the guardian for the protection of the victim.
73. In order to fully harmonise national legislation with the European acquis and for better implementation of the Cyprus’s international obligations and commitments, a new law (repealing and replacing law 3(I)/2000) was enacted on 28/6/2007, entitled the Combating of Trafficking and Exploitation of Human Beings and the Protection of Victims Law, 2007
(L. 87(I)/2007). In the new law, the term “trafficking”, in addition to sexual exploitation of women and children, covers all forms of trafficking such as sexual exploitation, forced labour, and removal of human organs.
74. The law contains specific provisions for the prevention of trafficking, for the identification and protection of the victims and for the prosecution of those involved in trafficking, such as:
(a) Establishment of a victims’ referral mechanism;
(b) Provision of information to any person that may fall into the scope of the law of the possibilities offered by this law. Such information will be provided by Governmental as well as non-Governmental organizations;
(c) Grant of a 1-month reflection period to victims allowing them to recover and escape the influence of perpetrators of the offences so that they can take an informative decision as to whether to cooperate with the competent authorities;
(d) Issue of a temporary residence permit to the victims wishing to cooperate with the authorities for the prosecution of the traffickers;
(e) Clear definition/statement of the rights of the victims (provision of allowance to the victims who do not have sufficient resources, access to emergency medical treatment, psychological support, protection, free translation and interpretation services when needed, free legal aid, access to labour market, to vocational training and education according to the relevant legislation);
(f) Signing of Protocols for cooperation with non-Governmental organizations.
75. The Refugee Law, (L. 6(I)/2000, as amended), provides inter alia, for the protection of refugees and displaced persons regardless of ethnic origin. It sets basic principles for the treatment of refugees and beneficiaries to subsidiary protection, deals with their rights and obligations, provides for the entry and issuing of temporary residence permits to asylum seekers, specifies the procedure for recognition of the status of refugee and subsidiary protection as well the alternative temporary residence on Humanitarian Grounds and establishes the Asylum Service in relation thereto. The Asylum Service is empowered to examine asylum applications and make decisions thereon as well as to implement the Dublin Convention (Dublin 15 June, 1990) (ratified by L.1/1990). Cyprus has acceded to the Dublin Convention and therefore applies its provisions and procedures as from 1st of May, 2004 (date of Cyprus accession to the European Union). A Dublin office has been established under the responsibility of the Asylum Service and is staffed with three officers who have been duly trained and participate in numerous meetings of Committees at a European level. As from 1.1.2002, the responsibility for examining asylum applications has been transferred from UNHCR to the Asylum Service which replaced in 2004 the previously existing Refugee Authority. By virtue of the Refugee Law, (L. 6(I)/2000, as amended), upon the submission of application, the asylum seeker has the right to apply for a work permit or a public allowance.
76. By virtue of a Decision of the Council of Ministers No 58.408, dated 28.8.2003, both the administrative bodies which deal and decide upon asylum applications at first and second instance (i.e. the Asylum Service and the Independent Reviewing Authority) were restructured with a view to strengthen their administrative capacity with additional staff and to improve their efficiency and effectiveness.
77. A law amending the Refugee Law, in order to harmonise it with the Council Directive 2004/83/EC on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection granted was enacted on 12/7/2007. The new amendments conform with the EU objective of progressively establishing an area of freedom, security and justice of persons who seek international protection on the basis of a common policy on asylum, including a Common European Asylum System. The main objective is to ensure that EU member states apply common criteria for the identification of persons genuinely in need of international protection, and also, to ensure that a minimum level of benefits is available for these persons in all member states. With regard to minimum standards, Cyprus ensures that more favorable provisions of third country nationals or stateless persons are met on the grounds that the person concerned is either a refugee within the meaning of article 1(A) of the Geneva Convention, or a person who otherwise needs international protection, namely subsidiary protection. The new amendments respect the fundamental rights and principles recognized in particular by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. They ensure full respect of dignity and the right to asylum for applicants for asylum and their accompanying family members. Moreover the same law transposes the parts of the European Council Directive 2003/86/EC (article 7, para. 1 and article 12, para. 1), concerning:
(i) The family reunification of refugees;
(ii) The entry and residence of family members.
without discrimination on the basis of sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, language, religion, or beliefs, political or other opinions, membership of a national minority, age or sexual orientation.
78. The Reception Centre for the asylum seekers was completed in September 2002 and has a capacity of 120 persons. It consists of ten accommodation units with hygiene facilities, two units of cooking and laundry facilities, two units of dining and recreation facilities, including a playground, one store-room and one office. There is also transport of children to schools.
79. The Internal Administrative Regulations of the Centre providing for the procedural matters concerning the administration of the centre, recruitment of staff, admission and departing of asylum seekers etc. were approved by the House of Representatives in December 2006. According to the Refugee Regulations, accommodation at the Reception Centre shall be on a temporary basis, in order to cover the immediate accommodation and sustenance needs of the asylum seekers (preferably vulnerable groups) as soon as they arrive in Cyprus and until the procedure enabling them to reside outside the Centre is completed.
80. Cyprus has ratified the European Social Charter (revised) (CETS No. 163), Strasbourg, 3 May 1996 (ratified by L. 27(III)/2000) and applies fully article 15 concerning the rights of physically and mentally disabled persons to vocational training and rehabilitation and social resettlement, as well as, paragraph 4 of article 1 of the Charter which requires Contracting Parties to promote appropriate vocational guidance, training and rehabilitation to disabled persons. Cyprus is also a party to the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons) Convention (ILO No. 159), 20 June 1983 (ratified by L. 42/1987).
81. Cyprus has signed the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, on 30/3/2007, and internal procedure for ratification has begun.
82. Within the framework of its general employment policy for the best utilization of all human resources of the country and for social cohesion, the Government of Cyprus has always paid particular attention and has taken seriously into account the special needs of workers with disabilities. In pursuance and as a result of this policy:
(a) Vocational guidance, training and placement services are offered to all categories of persons with disabilities;
(b) Special education and training is offered to persons with disabilities in specialised institutions e.g. school for the Blind, school for Deaf Children, Centre for the Vocational Rehabilitation of the Disabled and special Schools for Trainable Children;
(c) Employment in sheltered workshops is offered to certain categories of physically disabled, mentally retarded and mentally disabled persons;
(d) Enhancement of facilities and services for social integration and vocational rehabilitation of adults with severe disabilities;
(e) The following schemes are currently run by the Department of Labour (Service for the Care and Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons) of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance.
• Self-Employment Scheme
83. Under this Scheme unemployed or underemployed persons with disabilities are offered a grant with a view to being enabled to start their own business.
• Supported Employment Scheme
84. Under this Scheme persons with severe disabilities are assisted in finding and retaining a job in the open labour market by receiving personal support from a job coach until they adapt to their working environment.
• Training outside the Traditional Rehabilitation Institutions
85. Under this Scheme persons with disabilities are offered a subsidy for participation in courses of vocational training of their own choice in a suitable training institution establishment.
• Incentive Scheme to Employers for the Employment of Persons with Disabilities
86. The Scheme provides incentives for the employment in the private sector of persons with serious disabilities, either by covering part of the cost for the adjustment of the workplace or by subsidizing part of the labour cost.
87. Furthermore, during the period under review, several legislative measures have been promoted aiming at increasing the opportunities of disabled persons for employment. These include among others the following:
(a) The Persons with Disabilities Law (L. 127(I)/2000, as amended), which covers comprehensively the protection of persons with disabilities and in particular it provides for the safeguarding of equal rights and opportunities and the promotion of their social, cultural and economic integration. The said Law harmonises the national legislation with the provisions of the Directive 2000/78/EC for non-discrimination in the employment and occupation of persons with disabilities;
(b) The Education of Children with Special Needs Law (L. 113(I)/1999, as amended), which provides, inter alia, for machinery and procedures for the evaluation of the needs of children, coordination and supervision of the provision of special education, development, supervision and evaluation of programmes, appointment of liaison officers for the monitoring of the provision of special education, and provision of facilities and services by general and special schools, for children with special needs;
(c) The Engagement of Trained Blind Telephone Operators Law, 1988 (L. 17/1988), which provides that in filling vacant telephone operator posts in public law bodies, priority should be given to blind candidates who fulfil the schemes of service and who are trained operators and, in cases where blind candidates are not available, priority should be given to “disabled” persons, as this term is defined in the Law;
(d) The Public Service Law (L. 1/1990, as amended) provides that, in filling vacant posts in the Public Service, priority, should be given to “disabled” candidates, as this term is defined in the Law, who fulfil the schemes of service, provided that the Commission responsible for the selection is satisfied that:
• They are able to perform the duties of the posts; and
• They are not inferior to the rest of the candidates as regards merit and qualifications.
88. Refer to previous report, para. 35.
89. Refer to previous report, paras. 36-37.
90. Refer to the latest reports on Conventions No. 100 (for the periods ending 31/5/02 and 31/8/05), No. 106 (for the period ending 31/5/03), No. 81 (for the periods ending 31/5/01, 31/5/04 and 30/6/06) and No. 155 (for the period ending 31/8/05).
91. Refer to previous report, para. 38.
92. The workers remaining outside the protection of the law, are covered by collective agreements (over 70%). Collective agreements provide higher minimum wages than those provided by Law.
93. Refer to previous report, paras. 39-41.
94. Legislative regulation of minimum wages exist only for a few specified sectors and aims at complementing the system of collective bargaining in sectors where collective bargaining is weak. Collective agreements are usually revised every two or three years. The number of persons covered by each group in 2002, was as follows: office clerks (general) (code 4190) 1495, cashiers and ticket clerks (code 4211) 3477 and shop salespersons and demonstrators (code 5220) 23712. These numbers, show the persons employed in these specific sectors. This does not signify, that all these persons earn the minimum wage. The Minister of Labour and Social Insurance is the competent authority for determining these groups.
95. Refer to previous report, paras. 42-43.
96. Refer to previous report, paras. 44-46, except that the percentage of workers covered by collective agreements is over 70% and not 80% as stated in para. 46 of the previous report.
97. Refer to previous report, paras. 47, 49-50. Paragraph 48 is no longer valid.
98. Refer to previous report, paras. 50-53.
99. See Appendix A, Table 3 which shows the development of median and minimum wages, 1981-2005.
100. See Appendix A, Table 4 which shows the national mean and median monthly rates of pay, 1984-2005.
101. See Appendix A, Table 6 which shows the percentage changes of the consumer price index and the rates of pay, 1990-2005.
102. Refer to previous report, paras. 50-53.
103. The right of equal pay for work of equal value between men and women is specifically protected by the Law on Equal Pay between Men and Women for the Same Work or for Work of Equal Value (L. 177(I)/2002, as amended), which transposes EU Directives 75/117/EEC relating to the application of the principle of equal pay for men and women and 97/80/EC on the burden of proof in cases of discrimination based on sex. An unofficial translation of Law 177(I)/2002 is submitted herewith - Attachment 4.
104. See Appendix A, Table 5 which shows the average monthly rates for males and females 1997-2005.
105. See Appendix A, Table 9 which shows the mean monthly rate of pay per person by occupational group 2004-2005 (wage and salary earners combined).
106. The gender wage gap in Cyprus (25% in 2005) is at high level compared to the average in the EU (15% in 2005). Nevertheless, during the last decade this gap has been reduced substantially (33% in 1994).
107. The Department of Labour Relations has assigned the preparation of a comprehensive study on the gender pay gap, with the purpose of evaluating and analysing the extent of the problem, identifying and categorising its causes, presenting good practices in other member states and formulating suggestions for significantly reducing the gap. The study is expected to be completed by the end of July 2007.
108. A most important development in the field of equality is the enactment of the Equal Treatment of Men and Women in Employment and Vocational Training Law (L. 205(I)/2003, as amended) transposing EU Directives 76/207/EEC “on equal treatment for men and women in employment, vocational training and promotion and working conditions” and 97/80/EC “on the burden of proof” which provides for the application of the principle of equal treatment of men and women as regards access to vocational guidance, vocational education and training as well as the terms and conditions of their provision, the access to employment, the terms and working conditions, including promotion and the terms and conditions of dismissal. Moreover the amending Laws No. 191(I)/2004 and 40(I)/2006 transposing Directive 2002/73/EC, cover, inter alia, the issues of “positive action”, gender based advertising and sexual harassment and provide for relevant effective remedies for breaches of the principle of equal treatment. Refer also to answer to article 6, question 3(c) above.
109. For more details see report of Cyprus on the Revised European Social Charter re article 20, for the period ending 31/12/04.
110. It should also be noted that the Human Resource Development Authority has developed programmes for the vocational training and employability of the inactive female labour force. Further, the Cyprus Productivity Centre has developed a programme promoting flexible forms of employment. Both programmes are co-financed by the European Social Fund (EU Structural Fund).
111. See Appendix A, Table 7 which shows the percentage of distribution of employees by monthly salary group and sex (wage and salary earners combined), 2001-2005.
112. See Appendix A, Table 8 which shows the percentage distribution of employees by sex, occupational group and monthly salary group, 2005 (wage and salary earners combined).
113. The Safety and Health at Work Law (L. 89(I)/1996, as amended), encompasses the provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Convention (ILO No. 155), 22 June 1981 (ratified by L. 242/1988) and transposes the EU framework Directive 89/391/EEC. Regulations issued under the said Law, transposing the relevant EU daughter Directives of Directive 89/391/EEC fully harmonise the national legislation with the corresponding European acquis. The said legislation covers all workplaces in all sectors of economic activity and applies to all employers, self-employed persons as well as third persons. Public servants, including the Police and the Fire Service as well as the civilian personnel of the armed forces, are also covered. It does not apply to persons employed as domestic servants. However, the said Law is under revision in order to remedy this.
114. At the level of the undertaking, Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) is promoted through the Safety Committees at Work Regulations of 1997. The establishment and operation of Safety Committees is a practical manifestation of the workers’ active participation and involvement in OSH. The enforcement of the OSH legislation is effected through inspections by duly qualified Inspectors of the Department of Labour Inspection (DLI) who carry out regular inspections to workplaces to ensure compliance with the relevant legislation. The Labour Inspection System is based on the Labour Inspection Convention (ILO No. 81), 11 July 1947
(ratified by L. 31(III)/1999) and Protocol, 22 June 1995 (ratified by L. 30(III)/1999). The organisational chart of the DLI appears in Appendix A, Figure 1. The programme of inspections is drawn according to a hazard rating system, which among others takes into account the nature of the activities carried out in the undertakings and the severity of OSH risks identified in the particular undertaking during inspection.
115. In addition, the DLI promotes OSH issues with activities such as:
(i) Provision of guidance and advice to employers as to how to fulfil their duties and obligations;
(ii) Encouragement of close collaboration and consultation between employers and workers safety representatives;
(iii) Provision of training OSH programmes and annual OSH campaign;
(iv) Dissemination of OSH information and technical knowledge through guidance notes, brochures and other awareness material;
(v) Promotion of mainstreaming OSH into the public education system so that students, as future employees and employers, will develop a safety and accidents prevention culture;
(vi) Promotion of a scheme of cash grants to construction companies which wish to replace their work equipment with new that complies with standards superior to OSH legislation in order to improve work conditions in the construction industry;
(vii) Promotion of a project on training of 2000 stakeholders in the construction, mining and dockworks sectors;
(viii) Operation of a scheme for the training of those workers who enter for the first time the labour market in an effort to inculcate an accidents prevention culture.
116. See Appendix A, Figure 2 which shows the total and fatal industrial accidents, 1985-2006.
117. See Appendix A, Table 1 which shows the reported industrial accidents, 1985-2006.
118. See Appendix A, Table 2 which shows the analysis of work accidents by economic activity sector, gender, age, degree of injury and causation for 2006.
119. Very few cases of occupational diseases were reported during the period under review and statistical data is not available.
(i) The Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance recognizes that some groups are vulnerable to discrimination in the workplace: women, persons with disabilities, older people, young people, people of a different national or ethnic origin or of a different religion and people of a different sexual orientation. For some of these groups, this is evident in the statistics reported under article 6, question 2 (a) above concerning employment and unemployment by gender and age group. Furthermore, according to data from the Cyprus Statistical Service for 2005, 38.7% of women employees are paid with monthly salaries below 600 pounds, while only 13.1% of their male colleagues belong in these salary categories. In general the gender pay gap is around 25%;
Significant progress has been made in this field, however, as regards particularly women. See relevant information given under article 6 above.
(ii) In addition besides the ongoing improvement of the legal framework, the National Machinery for Women’s Rights (NMWR) is giving particular importance to the implementation and enforcement of relevant legislation protecting women’s rights.
120. This goal is pursued through educational programmes carried out by NMWR in close collaboration with NGOs and through the wide dissemination of relevant Laws as well as other useful material.
121. The Government, through the NMWR, recognising the important role of NGOs in this field, has increased considerably the subsidies to these organisations in order to assist them in the implementation of their own programmes and activities.
122. Moreover, a Committee for the Equal Treatment of Men and Women in Employment and Vocational Training, envisaged under the new legislation mentioned above, has been established. This Committee deals with various issues relating to access to employment, vocational training, promotion, and conditions of employment.
123. Public awarenessraising on gender equality issues is another national priority in the field of gender equality. Research identifies and reality proves that social prejudices and stereotypes as well as lack of knowledge and sensitization on the part of men and women on gender equality are the major obstacles hindering the achievement of real equality.
124. The Organization of Working Time Law (L. 63(I)/2002, as amended), transposing EU Directives 93/104/EC and 2000/34/EC, provides for the setting of minimum general standards in the area of working time (e.g. working hours, hours of rest, rest periods, night work, annual paid leave). In particular, it provides for a minimum daily rest period of eleven consecutive hours per 24-hour period, a fifteen minute break after six hours of work and a minimum of uninterrupted rest period of 24 hours per each seven-day period. It, also guarantees that every worker is entitled to paid annual leave of at least four weeks. The Law, inter alia, provides, that the average working time for each seven day period, including overtime, does not exceed 48 hours. Normal hours of work of night workers do not exceed an average of eight hours in any 24-hour period. An unofficial translation of Law 63(I)/2002, is submitted herewith - Attachment 5.
125. Domestic workers have a written contract of employment, regulating, inter alia, their hours of work and setting upper limits in their working hours (44 hours per week), thus they may resort to the courts of law if their rights are violated.
126. Other changes regarding:
(a) Retail shops:
The Operation of Shops and the Terms of Employment of their Employees Law, 2006 (L.155(I)/2006) regulates all retail shops as well as some other establishments, like barbershops, cinemas etc. The Law mainly provides that:
(i) The normal daily working time for an employee shall be no more than 8 hours, whereas the normal weekly working time shall not be more than 38;
(ii) Overtime work is allowed but the extra hours shall be no more than 2 daily and 8 weekly. Overtime work shall be compensated on the basis of 1:1.5 or 1:2;
(iii) Employees are entitled to certain half days-off and holidays with pay (at least four weeks every year);
(iv) Generally shops shall be closed on Sundays and Wednesday afternoons and on certain specified hours during the other days of the week;
(v) Certain categories of shops can be open on a 24 hour basis.
(b) Commerce and offices:
127. Refer to previous report, para. 68.
(c) Hotels and restaurants:
128. Refer to previous report, para. 68(c)) except that, the relevant collective agreements apply in the large majority of establishments in the hotel and catering industry; which employ an estimated 75% of the workers in this industry.
(d) Driving of motor vehicles:
129. The Drivers’ Driving Time and Rest Periods Law (L. 137(I)/2004, as amended), harmonizing the relevant national legislation with EU Directive 88/599/EEC and implementing EU Regulation (EEC) No. 3820/85, has been enacted and provides for a daily rest of at least 11 hours and a weekly rest of at least 43 hours, normally and requires a 45 minute break after a 4.5 hours continuous driving period. The Law does not allow:
(i) Continuous driving for more than 9 hours;
(ii) Driving for more than 10 hours per day twice a week or 90 hours per two weeks.
130. The same Law also provides for the installment of tachographs in the vehicles covered by the provisions of the Law. The Law came into force on 30/04/2004.
131. The Organisation of Working Time of Persons Performing Road Transport Activities Law (L. 47(I)/2005 as amended), supplemented Law 137(I)/2004, transposing EU Directive 2002/15/EC setting minimum health and safety requirements. The Law applies to workers employed by undertakings in the Republic who perform mobile road transport activities, covered by EU Regulation (EEC) No. 3820/85 and/or by the A.E.T.R. Agreement. In relation to self-employed drivers, the Law will apply from 23/03/2009, in accordance with the abovementioned Directive. In particular the Law regulates the following:
(i) Average and maximum weekly working time;
(iii) Rest periods;
(iv) Night work;
(v) Information and records on behalf of the employers;
(vi) Appointment of inspectors;
(e) Annual leave:
132. Refer to previous report, para. 68(e).
133. The minimum annual holiday with pay, has been increased to four weeks. (The Annual Holidays with Pay Law (L. 8/1967, as amended).
134. Refer to previous report, para. 69.
135. Refer to previous report, para. 70.
136. Refer also to answer to question 4 above.
137. In order to safeguard the right to safe and healthy working conditions, the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance takes into account the International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions, the European Strategy on Safety and Health at Work, the work developed by both the Senior Labour Inspectors Committee and the Advisory Committee on Safety and Health of the European Union.
138. The policy of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance on raising awareness and disseminating information on safety and health at work is in line with the policy of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Cyprus, through the Department of Labour Inspection, is a member of the Agency’s Administrative Board and partakes at the meetings of the Focal Points and the Experts Groups. These groups set the Agency’s action programmes and submit comments and observations on draft Agency documents before these are forwarded to the EU member states for implementation. The Department of Labour Inspection, being the focal point of the Agency for Cyprus, collects and disseminates information related to safety and health at work through the National Information Network.
139. Furthermore, the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance with the financial support of the European Union is in the process of implementing a Transition Facility project under the title: “Technical Assistance for the improvement of the capacity of the Cyprus Competent Authority, the Social Partners and the workers of the Construction Industry, Extractive Industry and Dockworks on safety and health at work issues”.
140. The major objectives of the said project are:
(i) To enhance the capacity of the Department of Labour Inspection for the enforcement of the legislation on Safety and Health at Work, in the Construction Industry, Extractive Industry and Dockworks; and
(ii) To increase the capacity of the public services and the private enterprises of the above industry sectors to effectively comply with the legislation on Safety and Health at Work.
141. Refer to previous report, para. 71.
142. Refer to the latest reports on Conventions No. 87 (for the periods ending 31/5/02 and 30/6/05) and No. 151 (for the period ending 31/8/04).
143. Refer to previous report, paras. 72-75.
144. Refer to previous report, paras. 76-80.
145. Refer to previous report, paras. 81-82.
146. Refer to previous report, paras. 83-86.
147. The Constitution and the laws of Cyprus guarantee the right of workers (and employers) to bargain collectively. Free and voluntary collective bargaining is, in Cyprus, the basic way for the determination of terms and conditions of employment. It takes place mainly at two levels: the enterprise level and the industry level. Occasionally, there is also bargaining at the national level, mainly in the form of framework agreements, concerning, for example, wage increases.
148. As regards principles and procedures for labour relations and the settlement of labour disputes, the most important relevant institution is the Industrial Relations Code, of 1977, which was signed by the Minister of Labour and Social Insurance, the General Secretaries of the main trade union confederations (PEO and SEK), and the Director General of the Employers’ and Industrialists’ Federation (OEB). The Code is not legally binding but it is highly respected and may be regarded as the foundation of public policy in the field of labour relations.
149. Among the key principles set out in the Industrial Relations Code is the recognition, by the signing parties, of the fact that collective bargaining is the basic way for the determination of terms and conditions of employment; and the support, by the signing parties, of collective bargaining and joint consultations.
150. Collective bargaining, however, may be inadequate in certain cases to safeguard basic protection of the workers. It is, therefore, supplemented by legislation, such as minimum wage orders and maximum hour regulations, mostly covering non- unionized workers. Furthermore, legislation of general coverage exists for, inter alia, minimum annual leave, termination of employment, health and safety, social security, and equal treatment between women and men.
151. Social dialogue at the national level is also well developed. It usually takes place in permanent or ad hoc tripartite bodies, of which the most important is the Labour Advisory Board, chaired by the Minister of Labour and Social Insurance. Another important tripartite body is the Economic Consultative Committee, chaired by the Minister of Finance.
152. Refer to previous report, paras. 87-96.
153. Refer to previous report, paras. 97-98, 100-103. Paragraph 99 is no longer valid.
154. In line with the Government’s new policy to promote the regulation of strikes in essential services, through consensus achieved by means of a voluntary agreement, an Agreement on the Procedure for the Settlement of Labour Disputes in Essential Services, was signed on 16/4/2004. The Agreement is an extension of the Industrial Relations Code and also applies to the public sector via the amendment of the Joint Staff Committee Regulations. Consequently, the Agreement has universal application to all sectors of economic activity, in which essential services exist, as defined by article 1.2 of the Agreement. The procedure referred to in the Agreement is activated after a deadlock is declared in essential services, in accordance with the existing provisions of the Industrial Relations Code. According to article 3 of the Agreement, in the case of negotiations either for the conclusion of a collective agreement for the first time, or for the renewal of a collective agreement, and as long as it is ascertained that all margins for negotiation have been exhausted under the existing procedures for each sector, and a deadlock has been declared, then the two sides must refer the dispute to an Arbitration Committee, notifying their decision to the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance. The referral to arbitration may be made jointly or separately. Within 15 days from the day of the notification that the dispute has reached a deadlock, the Minister of Labour and Social Insurance appoints suitable persons from a prescribed list, as members of the Arbitration Committee. The Arbitration Committee, which consists of three persons, undertakes to fully examine the issues comprising the dispute, and communicates its decision to the interested parties within six weeks from the date of referral of the dispute. The decision of the Arbitration Committee is not binding on the parties concerned and in the case of non-acceptance of the decision by either side, industrial action, including a lock-out may be taken after a written notice of twenty five days is given. The Agreement does not prohibit in any way the right of workers or employers, to take industrial action, but it ensures that the services provided by these organisations are still provided to the public. This is achieved by the adoption and operation of a negotiated minimum service. Within a period of one year from the signing of the Procedure for the Settlement of Labour Disputes in Essential Services, the parties, through direct negotiations, must determine for all prescribed essential services a minimum service which shall be offered during a strike or lockout. In the case that no agreement is achieved within the above-mentioned time limit, then the dispute is referred to the Arbitration Committee (article 4 of the Agreement).
155. The Defence Regulations 79 A and 79 B, of 1943 (refer to para. 99 of the previous report) allowed the mobilization of employees and the prohibition of strikes respectively in “essential” services within the meaning of the Constitution, i.e. articles 10 and 27 concerning forced labour and the right to strike respectively. With the signing of the Agreement on the Procedure for the Settlement of Labour Disputes in Essential Services, the aforementioned Regulations were abolished by an Order of the Council of Ministers dated 22/06/2006.
156. Refer to previous report, paras. 104-105.
157. Refer to answer to question 3 above.
158. Refer to previous report, paras. 107-108.
159. The Cyprus legislation which is relevant to this article is the following:
(i) The Granting of Social Pension Law (L. 25(I)/1995, as amended);
(ii) The Social Insurance Law (L. 41/1980, as amended);
(iii) The Granting of Child Benefit Law (L. 167(I)/2002, as amended);
(iv) The Granting of Mother’s Allowance Law (L. 21(I)/ 2003, as amended).
(i) The Social Insurance (Contributions) Regulations - further amendments;
(ii) The Social Insurance (Benefits) Regulations - further amendments;
(iii) The Social Insurance (Medical Boards - Review Medical Board and Specialist Medical Practitioners) Regulations - further amendments.
160. In Cyprus the following branches of social security exist:
161. Medical care, cash sickness benefit, maternity benefits (maternity allowance and maternity grant), old age pension, social pension, invalidity pension, survivor’s benefits, employment injury benefits, unemployment benefit, family benefits.
162. Refer to answer to article 12, question 2 below.
163. Refer to previous report paras. 118-130 except that the age at which persons who do not satisfy the contribution conditions for old age pension at 63 are allowed to draw benefit up to the date of which they satisfy the relevant contribution conditions has been increased from 65 to 68.
164. As concerns increases for dependants, the Social Insurance Law (L. 41/1980, as amended), provides that the basic benefit is increased by 1/3 for a dependent spouse provided he/she is not working or receiving any benefit and by 1/6 for other dependants (maximum two dependants). The weekly rate of the basic benefit is equal to 60% of the insurable earnings of the beneficiary up to the weekly basic insurable earnings (CY£ 79.90 for 2006). The weekly rate of the supplementary benefit is equal to 50% of the insurable earnings of the beneficiary in excess of the basic insurable earnings.
165. The amount of the basic insurable earning for 2006 was increased to CY£ 79.90 a week or CY£ 4,155 a year. According to the said Law, the waiting period for self employed persons has decreased from 18 to 9 days.
166. Refer to previous report, para. 131.
(a) Maternity grant.
167. Refer to previous report, para. 132.
168. The amount of the grant was increased in 2006 to CY£ 242.
(b) Maternity allowance.
169. Refer to previous report, paras. 133-134. In addition, according to the Social Insurance Law (L. 41/1980, as amended), maternity allowance is also payable to mothers of adopted children if the adoption takes place during the first 5 years following the child’s birth. By the Social Insurance (Amendment) Law, 2001 (L. 2(I)/2001), maternity allowance is now payable if the adoption takes place during the first 12 years from the child’s birth.
170. Refer to previous report, paras. 135-149 except that, by the Social Insurance Law (L. 41/1980, as amended), the pensionable age of miners who have at least five years employment in a mine is reduced by one month for every five months of work in a mine, but no lower than the age of 58 instead of 60 as was the case before the amendment, provided they have retired from mine work.
171. As regards increases for dependants, the Social Insurance Law (L. 41/1980, as amended), provides that the weekly amount of the basic pension is increased by 1/3, 1/2 and 2/3rds for one, two or three dependants of the beneficiary, respectively. In the case of a married female beneficiary, there is no entitlement to an increase for her husband except if he is incapable of self-support. The increase for her dependant children and other dependants is 1/6 of the basic pension for each dependant (maximum two dependants).
172. A person who satisfies the contribution conditions for old age pension is guaranteed a minimum pension which is equal to 85% of the pension instead of 70%, for an insured person with 40 years of insurance and a wage equal to the amount of the basic insurable earnings.
173. Refer to previous report, paras. 150-161.
174. The amount of the basic insurable earnings for 2006 was increased to CY£ 79.90 a week.
175. As regards dependants, please refer to the information given for dependants of recipients of old age pension above.
176. Refer to previous report, paras. 162-171.
177. According to the Social Insurance Law (L. 41/1980, as amended), the insured beneficiary of a widow’s pension is also entitled to old age pension, invalidity pension or disablement pension, maternity allowance, sickness benefit, unemployment benefit or injury benefit.
178. If the beneficiary of a widow’s pension is also entitled to old-age pension, invalidity or disablement pension she is entitled to the basic parts of the two pensions and to the supplementary parts of the two pensions provided that the amount of the supplementary pensions cannot exceed the supplementary pensions payable for earnings up to the maximum amount of insurable earnings.
179. The amount of funeral grant for 2006 was CY£ 329 for cases (a) to (d) above and CY£ 164.50 for the dependants in case (e) above.
180. Refer to previous report, paras. 172-174.
(a) Temporary incapacity (injury benefit).
181. See previous report, para. 175. In addition, the injury benefit is suspended if the beneficiary is entitled to another benefit at higher rate but in the case of widow’s pension the pension is payable in addition to sickness benefit, injury benefit, unemployment benefit, maternity allowance, old age pension, invalidity pension or disablement pension. If the beneficiary of widow’s pension is also entitled to old-age pension or invalidity pension she will get the two basic parts of the pension and the two supplementary parts of the pension subject to a maximum equal to the amount of supplementary pension payable for earnings up to the maximum amount of insurable earnings for the period beginning on the date she or her husband was firstly insured, whichever is the previous, until the date of her pensionable age.
182. As regards increases for dependants, please refer to sickness benefit, above.
(b) Disablement benefit.
183. Refer to previous report, paras. 176-178.
184. The disablement grant for 2006 was CY£ 1,745 for 10% disablement and rises accordingly for every degree above 10% reaching CY£ 3,316 for 19% disablement.
185. The weekly amount of the constant attendance allowance for 2006 was CY£ 26.07 per week.
186. As regards increases for dependants, please refer to old age pension, above.
(c) Death benefit.
187. Refer to previous report, paras. 179-192.
188. Refer to previous report, paras. 193-206.
189. As regards increases for dependants please refer to sickness benefit above.
190. According to the Granting of Child Benefit Law (L. 167(I)/2002, as amended) (came into force on 1.1.2003), which is administered by the Grants and Benefits Service of the Ministry of Finance, every family having its habitual residence in Cyprus is entitled to a basic benefit, provided that the child/children live under the same roof with the parents. A supplementary benefit is also granted to families based on the gross family income. Families are entitled to the child benefit for their unmarried children, as follows:
• Legitimate, illegitimate, adopted the stepchildren up to 18 years old
• Between 18-25 years old, serving in the National Guard
• Between 18-23 years old, provided they attend full time education
• Males between 23-25 years old, for as long as they serve in the National Guard and provided they attend full time education
• Irrespective of age, if they are permanently unable for self supporting, due to physical or mental disability
191. The child benefit is paid monthly to families with three or more children and annually at the end of the year to families with one or two children.
• The family income which is taken into consideration for granting the supplementary child benefit is the gross family income, which was acquired three years before. For example for the year 2007 the family income considered is the income for the year 2004.
• Child benefit is adjusted every year on the 1st of January according to the cost of living index (comparison of the last year with the previous year) and it is not subject to taxation.
192. See Appendix A, Table 10, which shows child benefit rates for the year 2007.
193. According to the Granting of Mother’s Allowance Law (L. 21(I)/2003, as amended) (date of entry into force 1.1.2003), which is administered by the Grants and Benefits Service of the Ministry of Finance every mother is entitled to mother’s allowance provided that:
(i) She has her habitual residence in Cyprus;
(ii) She has at least four children;
(iii) Her last child has reached the age of 18 years old;
(iv) She has ceased to be eligible to child benefit.
194. The allowance is not payable to mothers who are receiving pension from any source, the rate of which is equal or higher that the maximum monthly rate of the basic old age pension which is payable under the Social Insurance Law (L. 41/1980, as amended) to beneficiary without increase for dependants.
195. The monthly rate for 2007 is £36.08 and the maximum monthly rate of the basic old age pension for 2007 is £198.42.
196. The percentage of GNP spent on Social Security in 2005 was 12.9 (Category 10 Social Protection, COFOG Classification) per cent and includes, inter alia, expenditure for social insurance (cash benefits), social pension, child benefit, mother’s allowance, social assistance and medical care.
197. Refer to previous report, paras. 210-214.
198. The Social Insurance legislation covers compulsorily every person gainfully occupied either as an employed or as a self-employed person with minor exceptions.
199. These exceptions are:
(i) Employment as a member of any naval, military and air forces of the Government of a Country other than the Republic of Cyprus;
(ii) Employment in the civil or diplomatic service of the Government of a country other than the Republic of Cyprus, where the person employed was engaged outside Cyprus;
(iii) Employment of a person who is not ordinarily resident in Cyprus, if the employer of that person is not ordinarily resident in Cyprus and has no place of business there;
(iv) Employment as President of a Local Authority;
(v) Self-Employment in agriculture where the person employed is under the age of sixteen living with his parents. For minimum age of employment see answer to question 39.
200. The social pension is payable to all persons who complete the age of 65 (68 as from 1.5.1995, 66 as from 1.1.1999 and 65 as from 1.1.2000) and are not entitled to a pension or other benefit from any source and satisfy certain residence conditions (i.e. legally residing in Cyprus for a total period of at least 20 years from the date that the applicant has completed 40 years of age or legally residing in Cyprus for a total period of at least 35 years from the date that the applicant has completed 18 years of age). The rate of social pension is equal to 81% of the full basic social insurance pension.
201. Not applicable. Refer to answer to (a) above.
202. Not applicable.
203. The main improvements effected to the Social Insurance Scheme since the previous report are:
204. In 1996: Maternity allowance was payable to mothers of adopted children if the adoption took place during the first four years from the child’s birth instead of the first fourteen weeks from the child’s birth as it was before. In such cases the period of payment of maternity allowance was extended from 12 to 14 weeks from the week of adoption.
205. In 1998:
(i) A person who meets the qualification conditions for sickness or unemployment benefit is entitled to 156 days of benefit in any period of interruption of employment;
(ii) Maternity allowance was payable to mothers of adopted children if the adoption took place during the first five years from the child’s birth instead of the first four years from the child’s birth as it was the case before the amendment.
206. In 1999:
(i) The rate of minimum pension for persons with deficient insurance was raised from 70% to 77% of the full basic pension;
(ii) The pensionable age from which a person is entitled to social pension is reduced from 68 to 66 from 1.1.1999 and to 65 as from 1.1.2000.
207. In 2000:
(i) The rate of minimum old-age pension, invalidity and survivor’s pension for persons with deficient insurance was raised from 77% to 85% of the full basic pension. The rate of social pension was raised from 77% to 81% of the full basic pension.
208. In 2001:
(i) Maternity allowance is payable to mothers of adopted children if the adoption took place during the first twelve years from the child’s birth instead of the first five years from the child’s birth as was the case before the amendment;
(ii) Marriage grant is payable to persons who get married provided that at least the one spouse satisfies the relevant contribution conditions. Marriage grant is shared equally between the two spouses;
(iii) In the case of sickness benefit, unemployment benefit and injury benefit, increases for dependent spouse, children and other dependants are paid to both men and women beneficiaries. In the case of old-age, invalidity and disablement pensions, increases for dependent children and other dependants are paid also to the woman beneficiary. A woman beneficiary is entitled to increase for her husband only in the case he is incapable of self-support;
(iv) Excepted self-employment is considered only the self-employment in agriculture of a person under the age of sixteen who is living with his parents;
(v) Miners who have at least five years employment in a mine are entitled to old age pension one month earlier than the normal pensionable age for every five months of work in a mine, on condition that they have retired from mine work. However, miners cannot draw pension before the age of 58 instead of 60 as was the case before the amendment;
(vi) A beneficiary of a widow’s pension or missing person’s allowance is also entitled to old age pension, invalidity pension or disablement pension, maternity allowance, sickness benefit, unemployment benefit or injury benefit. If the beneficiary of a widow’s pension is also entitled to old-age pension, invalidity or disablement pension, she is entitled in addition to the two supplementary parts of the pension which are subject to a maximum equal to the amount of supplementary pension payable for earnings up to the maximum amount of insurable earnings to the two basic parts of the pension. Before the amendment she was entitled to the two basic parts of the pension subject to a maximum equal to the full basic pension.
209. In 2002:
(i) As from 1.1.2003 contributions are credited to an insured person for any period of parental leave;
(ii) Upon accession to the European Union, persons residing either in Cyprus or abroad have the right to be voluntarily insured if they have paid contributions to the basic part of the Scheme not less than 52 times the basic insurable earnings. Before the amendment, persons not residing in Cyprus had to pay contributions to the basic part of the Scheme on earnings which were not less than 156 times the basic insurable earnings;
(iii) Upon accession to the European Union, sickness benefit, injury benefit, maternity allowance and unemployment benefit is paid to beneficiaries residing in any Member State of the European Union.
210. In 2006:
(i) As of 27.04.2006 in addition to the primary Medical Boards a Medical Review Board was established. As of this date, in addition to a specialist medical practitioner or a Medical Board, the Director of the Social Insurance Services may also refer a claimant to the Medical Review Board for re-examination before approval or rejection of the claim. Furthermore, in case where an opinion or decision of a Medical Board is disputed by a claimant the Minister of Labour and Social Insurance refers the case to the Medical Review Board;
(ii) As of 1.7.2006 members of the clergy are classified as employed persons (Only for purposes related to the Social Insurance Legislation. Prior to 1.7.2006 members of the clergy were classified as self-employed persons);
(iii) As of 22.12.2006 the waiting period for the payment of sickness benefit for self employed-persons has decreased from 18 to 9 days.
211. In addition, it may be pointed out that the rates of basic benefits were increased since 1995 (the last year covered by the previous report) by 63.59% and the supplementary benefits by 35.72%. The amounts of marriage grant, maternity grant and funeral grant were increased from CY£ 200, CY£ 149, and CY£ 200 in 1995 to CY£ 329, CY£ 242 and CY£ 329 respectively in 2006.
212. Cyprus is not a recipient of technical assistance in the field of social security. However, there is close cooperation with international organizations with competence in social security matters such as the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Social Security Association and the Council of Europe.
213. A list of international instruments directly or indirectly related to family, mothers and children rights to which Cyprus is a party, compiled by the Office of the Law Commissioner, is attached as Appendix B.
214. In Cyprus, family is considered to be the most important unit in society and families play a vital role on ensuring the development and wellbeing of the individuals and of society as a whole.
215. The Cypriot family today is facing new challenges, such as the change of the traditional family model, transformation of hierarchical relations of gender and generations towards equal and democratic relations, and the increase in the numbers of mothers working outside the home. Family forms and structure are changing as there is an increasing number of single parents but nevertheless the predominant family structure in Cyprus is still that of the nucleus family (two parents and children).
216. See Appendix A, Table 11, which shows households by type as at 1992 and 2001 censuses.
217. For the purposes of the Violence in the Family (Prevention and Protections of Victims) Law (L. 119(I)/2000, as amended), the term “family” means the father, mother, children and grandparents. Although no formal definition of the family is used for the formulation of social welfare policies and services, it is taken to mean parents or a parent with children, or persons (or a person) who are responsible for a child’s protection and care blood relatives or to whom they are tied emotionally and/or for reasons of responsibility or duty of care.
218. For the purposes of the Granting of Child Benefit Law (L. 167(I)/2002, as amended) a family consists of:
(a) The parents when living together and their common children, or the children of one parent or another, provided that the children live with the parents under the same roof;
(b) The single father, widower, divorced or separated from his spouse and his children that live under the same roof;
(c) The single mother, widow, divorced, separated with her children living under the same roof;
(d) The children of the above-mentioned under (a) family when both parents are deceased or missing, or the children of the above-mentioned under (b) and (c) family when the father or mother, depending on the case, is deceased or missing, that live under the same roof with the guardian and his/her spouse and their children, if any, provided that they live under the same roof.
219. Refer to previous report, para. 227 with the following change: The age at which children in Cyprus are deemed to legally attain majority for criminal responsibility is 14 [Criminal Code (Amendment) Law, 2006 (L. 18(I)/2006)].
220. According to section 14 of the Marriage Law (L. 104(I)/2003, as amended) the free consent of the persons to get married is necessary.
221. A free consent does not exist if:
(a) Any of the two persons is under the age of 18;
(b) Any of the two persons has a mental or any other disease that affects its understanding/judgment;
(c) Any of the two persons was deceived regarding the identification card of the other person;
(d) Any of the two persons was forced to get married by threat.
222. Families in Cyprus are child centred. Child rearing practices are rather democratic while parents’ aspirations for their children are high with respect to educational and professional achievement.
223. Although intergeneration solidarity is still strong in Cyprus, rapid social changes have challenged traditional family roles. Increasing complexity of family problems, family violence, urbanization, break-up and reconstitution of families, the repercussions of the mass media and modern technology are among the issues of increasing concern for Cyprus as in the rest of Europe.
224. Families have changed in size and structure. One-to two-person households have increased while the total divorce rate has also increased sharply in the last decade.
225. See Appendix A, Table 12 which shows households by size and percentage of single parent families, census years.
226. See Appendix A, Table 13 which shows divorces and divorce rates, 1990-2005.
227. As a response to a weakening informal care and an increasing participation of women in the labour market, new forms of formal care and other family support services have been developed in recent years (i.e. the development of day care centres, operated by the state or by voluntary organizations funded by the state).
228. Refer to previous report, paras. 231-234.
229. Refer to previous report, para. 235.
230. Provisions concerning maternity protection exist in both the Labour legislation and the Social Insurance legislation. The Maternity Protection Law (L. 100 (1)/1997, as amended) (referred to under article 6, question 5 above) covers all female employed persons within the meaning assigned to the term “employed person” by the Social Insurance Law (L. 41/1980, as amended). This means persons working for an employer under an employer-employee relationship or under circumstances from which such relationship can be inferred, including apprentices. Part-time employees, working at home, domestic employees, agriculture employees and public sector employees are covered.
231. In addition, the Maternity Protection (Safety and Health at Work) Regulations of 2002 (P.I. 255/2002) issued in harmonization with EU Directive 92/85/EEC in relation to implementation of measures aiming at the improvement of the health and safety at work of pregnant, recently given birth, and breastfeeding workers, impose on the employer specific obligations for the protection of the said categories of female employees, following an assessment of risks at the workplace, to take the necessary measures to safeguard their safety and health and, in the case of a pregnant woman, the foetus.
232. Relevant informative leaflets have been published and disseminated to the public.
233. As from 1.1.1997 the length of maternity leave is 16 weeks (L. 100(I)/1997, as amended) of which 9 are taken compulsorily in the period commencing the second week before the week of the expected confinement.
234. Refer to previous report, paras. 239-240.
235. In addition, according to the Social Insurance Law (L. 41/1980, as amended) the maternity allowance is payable to mothers of adopted children if the adoption takes place during the first 12 years from the birth of the child.
236. The amount of the weekly basic earnings on which basic benefits are assessed was increased from CY£ 48.70 in 2005 to CY£ 79.90 in 2006.
237. Refer to previous report, para. 241.
238. For women in employment see all benefits described above. Women not fulfilling the criteria of the legislation may be in a more vulnerable position but yet there is no survey or data indicating this.
239. The Protection of Young Persons at Work Law, 2001 (L. 48(I)/2001) enacted in harmonization with EU Directive 94/33/EC, makes, inter alia, the following provisions:
(a) Prohibits the employment of children who have not completed the age of 15 in any occupation;
(b) Prohibits the employment of young persons (over 15 and under the age of 18) in certain dangerous occupations;
(c) Prohibits the employment of persons who have completed the age of 15 and are under 18 between the hours of 23.00 and 07.00;
(d) Allows the maximum working time to be:
• 7 hours and 15 minutes daily or 36 hours weekly for persons who have completed the age of 15 and are under 16
• 7 hours and 45 minutes daily or 38 hours weekly for persons who have completed the age of 16 and are under 18
(e) For persons who have completed the age of 16 and are under 18, a minimum period of continuous rest of 12 hours during each 24 hour period and of 48 hours during each week;
(f) Obligations of employers in order to protect the health and safety at work of persons under 18 years of age.
240. Anticipated shortcomings of the Law are now being addressed through a proposal for the amendment of the Law and Regulations issued thereunder which is under way.
241. The employment of children in Cyprus is in effect non-existent. Refer to answer to question (a) above.
242. In view of the provisions of the Protection of Young Persons at Work Law, 2001 (L. 48(I)/2001) that generally prohibits the employment of children under the age of 15 in any occupation and the provisions of the Primary and Secondary Education (Compulsory Attendance and Free Education) Law (L. 24(I)/1993, as amended) according to which education is compulsory until the age of 15, the employment of children in family households, farms or businesses is practically non-existent, as already mentioned in question 6(b) above.
243. Refer to previous report, paras. 246-247.
244. Refer to previous report, paras. 248-250.
245. Refer to comment at the end of the answer to question 6(a) above.
246. The Central Committee for the Monitoring of the Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (headed by the Director Social Welfare Services) has prepared a National Action Plan for the years 2007-2013, which is in the process of approval.
247. The rates for public assistance are reviewed annually so that they comply with the cost of living. National minima for basic needs as of 1st July 2006 are:
• Recipient CY£ 213.14
• Dependant person 14 years of age or above CY£ 106.57
• Dependant person under the age of 14 years CY£ 63.94
248. Violence in the family has been another priority area for the Government. Emphasis has been placed on the development of the appropriate legal framework as well as measures for implementation. Cyprus was one of the few countries to have enacted in 1994 a special law dealing specifically with family violence, Law 47(I)/1994. (Refer to previous report, para. 256). Improvements to this Law were made in the year 2000 with the enactment of the Violence in the Family (Prevention and Protection of Victims) Law (L. 119(I)/2000, as amended) which introduced new provisions for the protection of victims, such as, the use of audiovisual means to take testimony, the use of screens, the use of close circuit television links during court procedures, the establishment of a fund for assistance to victims of violence and the establishment and operation of shelters for victims. The Protection of Witnesses Law, 2001 (L. 95(I)/2001) complemented Law 119(I)/2000, as amended.
249. For more information on measures to prevent and combat violence in the family refer to Part III, in response to paragraph 15 of the Concluding Observations.
250. See Appendix C, which gives more information on the legislative framework.
251. An official translation of Law 119(I)/2000 as amended, is submitted herewith - Attachment 6.
252. A very recent development is the enactment of the Commissioner for the Protection of the Rights of the Child Law, 2007 (L. 74(I)/2007) which came into force on 22.6.2007. The Commissioner’s mission is the promotion of the rights of the child and his competences include:
(i) Representing the children and their rights at all levels;
(ii) Raising awareness in the society so as to mobilize it and to ensure in practice the rights of the child within the family, the community and the society in general;
(iii) Assessing and promoting the views of the children;
(iv) Monitoring of the implementation of the provisions of the UN and European Conventions on the rights of the children;
(v) Monitoring the relevant legislation and practices and submitting proposals for harmonizing the legislation with international treaties and for promoting the ratification of relevant treaties;
(vi) Submitting applications, on behalf of any child, for the appointment of a representative in judicial procedures concerning the child (in cases where the law or the Court exclude persons that have parental responsibility from the representation of the child due to conflict of interests);
(vii) Taking of any action he may deem necessary to fulfil his mission.
253. The acquisition of the Cypriot Citizenship is now regulated by the Civil Registry Law (L. 141(I)/2002, as amended) which replaced the Citizenship Laws of 1967-2002.
[*] In accordance with the information transmitted to States parties regarding the processing of their reports, the present document was not edited before being sent to the United Nations translation services.
[**] Annexes are available for consultation from the Secretariat.
 Full time equivalent.
 Measured here as employment of people aged 15-64 as a proportion of the population aged 1564, according to the Labour Force Survey.
 (a) EU Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA of 19 July 2002 on combating trafficking
in human beings.
(b) EU Council Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA of 22 December 2003 on combating the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography.
(c) EU Council Directive 2004/81/EC of 29 April 2004 on the residence permit issued to third-country nationals who are victims of trafficking in human beings or who have been the subject of an action to facilitate illegal immigration, who cooperate with the competent authorities.
 (a) UN Convention against Transnational Crime and especially the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
(b) Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
(c) Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others.
(d) Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.