The Kazakhstan government has made a number of amendments to its employment laws during 2018, including easing work permit requirements, allowing the automatic renewal of collective bargaining agreements (CBA), and changing the notice requirements for employees reaching retirement age.

New Work Permit Exemptions

The list of individuals who do not require a work permit has been expanded to include chief executive officers (and their deputies) of Kazakhstan companies wholly owned by one or more foreign companies as well as certain employees of national management holding companies. Specifically, it applies to directors, officers with higher education positions, heads of structural subdivisions, and those with higher positions in national management holding companies. Currently, there are only three government-owned national management holding companies: Sovereign Welfare Fund Samruk-Kazyna JSC, KazAgro National Management Holding JSC, and Baiterek National Management Holding JSC.

Automatic Renewal of CBAs

The Labor Code has been amended with new provisions regarding CBA terms. Per the amendments, if, prior to the expiration of a CBA, any party sends an offer to the other party to enter into a new CBA, then, if the parties were unable to sign a new CBA prior to its expiration date, the term of the current CBA is extended beyond its expiration date. The terms and conditions of the CBA will continue to apply until a new CBA is signed. However, the extension is limited to a maximum term of one year, although the parties may choose to provide in a CBA that any such extension to it is not limited to a one-year term. In that case, the extension will continue until a new CBA is signed.

Notice of Retirement

Separately, the amended law has clarified that an employer may send an employee who has reached pension age a one-month notice of termination of employment only after the employee has reached his or her relevant pension age.

Written by Kuanysh Kanlybayev and Joel Benjamin of Kinstellar and Roger James of Ogletree Deakins