The Labour Code of Georgia has provoked, since its adoption in 2006, controversial discussions in the country and in the international community. On the one hand, this reform has been contested for the lack of tripartite social dialogue, and for the extent of deregulation which reduced the labour law to 56 articles in total. Critical comments expressed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the European Union (EU) were not taken into consideration. On the other hand, the Georgian government, with support from the World Bank, has presented this reform as a model for other countries in transition to the market economy.
The objective of this note is to review the Labour Code of Georgia with specific focus on employment protection legislation (EPL) from international and comparative perspectives. The main references used are ILO standards, EPL indicators of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the labour law of selected jurisdictions.
The assessment of the labour law of Georgia in this note does not pretend to be comprehensive. For instance, the regulation of freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining is not examined, as since 2006, the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) has provided extensive comments on the Labour Code of Georgia on these issues.
The legal review of the Labour Code of Georgia in this note is complemented with some economic data, such as rates of unemployment and self-employment, wages, the growth of gross domestic product (GDP) and foreign direct investments in the country. The conjunction of legal and economic indicators is used to attempt an assessment of the impact of the reform of 2006 on the labour market of Georgia.