Formation of legal definition of employment contract: from L. Tal to Labor Law Project

Валерій Дмитрович Авескулов


The Constitution of Ukraine guarantees to everyone the right to labour, including the possibility to earn one's living by labour that he or she freely chooses or to which he or she freely agrees. The State creates conditions for citizens to fully realise their right to labour, guarantees equal opportunities in the choice of profession and of types of labour activity.

The main way to realize given right is to enter into an employment contract. The first scientist on the territory of Russian Empire who studied a nature of employment contract and its distinctions from civil contracts was Lev Tal (1866–1933). Beginning from 1922 Employment Contract has also passed a long historical way in the national legislation.

Recently Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine opened to the public a Project of new Labour Law. Its norms radically differs from the current legal regulation and offers a new reality for labor relations. Considering an importance of active discussion of new Project we decided to analyze a definition and main features of employment contract given in the Project and to compare it with previous legislative definitions. For this scientific achievements in this area were actively used.

The explanatory note to the Project gives us an idea about general aim of new document. The latter is directed to set equal rules for business, to make rights and interests of employers and employees balanced, to stimulate a development of new businesses, to simplify a procedure of starting and ending labour relations, lowering an unemployment level etc. Analysis of definition and main features of employment contract given in the Project shows that balance between legislative and contractual regulation is changing – the share of second is strongly increasing.

Concluding the research we state that the revolutionary changes offered by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine can lead to situation when employees will not be able to defend themselves properly. As a result a unpredictable reaction from society can occur. Our suggestion is to continue a discussion of Project text and to use actively the scientific achievements accumulated by leading national and foreign schools of Labor Law.


employment contract; labor relations; Labor Code 1918; Labor Code 1922; Labor Law Project; history of labor law; employer's duties; employee's duties


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