EMPLOYMENT LAW IN GIBRALTAR
Law & Procedure
Employment law and procedure in Gibraltar is based on current English legislation with necessary modifications to suit local requirements. English cases are binding in Gibraltar so long as they deal with matters which are incorporated into our laws.
Services our firm can offer
We can advise on contracts of employment and on all matters of Employment Law including unfair dismissals and redundancies and disputes arising at work. We also can provide independent legal advice to employees offered without prejudice offers to terminate their contracts under the guise of compromise agreements.
Our senior partner sits as Chairman of the Employment Tribunal and has considerable experience on all aspects of Employment Law and procedures at the Employment Tribunal.
Conditions of Employment
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.
On average, workers in Gibraltar earn high wages (at the European mean) and enjoy a very good 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 Employment Tribunal established under our Employment Act which deals with disputes arising between employers and employees such as unfair dismissals and discrimination cases under the Equal Opportunities Act. 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 meriting reinstatement or make two different types of award where an employee is deemed to have been unfairly dismissed. The first award, which has remained unchanged since 1992 and was confirmed as recently as August 2020, is a basic award which at present is set as a minimum payment of £2,200.
In 2016 amending legislation was introduced enabling the Tribunal to award larger amounts intended to reflect the seriousness and unfairness of the circumstances surrounding the dismissal. The Tribunal can therefore award amounts in excess of the basic minimum and for such purposes, an award is made based on such criteria as years of service.
The second award, known as the compensatory 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.
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 Employment Tribunal and the Courts ensure that such rights are protected and respected and enforced.