Employment Law in Gibraltar
Law & Procedure
Employment law in Gibraltar deals with the relationship between employer, employee, organisations and Government. Employment law and procedure in Gibraltar is based on current English legislation with necessary modifications to suit local requirements. The principal statute is The Employment Act. Employment law exists to avert the need to resort to Court, but a framework for dispute resolution exists when it becomes unavoidable.
We act for both employees and employers and can advise our clients on the practical application of employment law in Gibraltar. We can advise on contracts of employment and on all matters of Employment Law including wrongful dismissals, unfair dismissals, redundancies and disputes arising at work. Our Senior Partner, Eric C. Ellul, occasionally sits as Chairman of the Industrial Tribunal and has considerable experience on all aspects of Employment Law and procedures at the Industrial Tribunal.
There are well established conditions of employment to protect employees and an independent Board exists to make recommendations from time to time on general minimum standards of employment such as minimum wages, hours of work and safety rules at work and holidays. There is a strong union presence in Gibraltar with Unite being the main union representing the majority of workers. There are a number of smaller unions representing both public and private sector workers.
Wages are at an average European standard with £5 an hour being the current statutory minimum wage. On average, workers in Gibraltar earn high wages and enjoy a high standard of living. There is the advantage of earnings being used in next door Spain for basic needs, such as food and clothing and other essentials, which in general are cheaper than in Gibraltar.
There is an Industrial Tribunal established under our Employment Act which deals with disputes arising between employers and employees such as unfair dismissals and sex discrimination. Developing European legislation in the form of directives form on these matters are binding in Gibraltar. Our laws provide for the services of a conciliation officer to mediate between the parties in an effort to resolve issues of contention.
In determining matters of contention, the Tribunal can order reinstatement of the employee in proper cases or make two different types of award where an employee is deemed to have been unfairly dismissed. The first award is a basic award which at present is limited to a payment of £2,200 and the second award seeks to compensate the unfairly dismissed employee for any loss suffered as a direct result of his dismissal, such as loss of wages or expenses incurred in seeking alternative employment.
The basic award is under review as this was implemented as long ago as 1992 and does not take into account the increase in the general cost of living and the value of money. Consideration is also being given to implementing the general policy in the United Kingdom on these awards which is, in appropriate cases, to compensate the dismissed employee to the extent that he would have been compensated had he been declared redundant rather than having been dismissed.
There are well established rules and procedures for declaring an employee redundant and also for cases of collective redundancies where the relevant union has to be invited to take an active role in protecting the rights of the worker. There are tables setting out in very clear terms the level of compensation an employee is entitled to on being declared redundant and these are based on years of employment, wages and age.
The employee, both in the private and public sector, earns a good wage in Gibraltar which compares favourably with that of any European country. His rights are well established by existing legislation and the unions and ultimately both the Industrial Tribunal and the Courts ensure that such rights are protected and respected and enforced.