An introduction to salaries & wages
The employer is required to pay salary and wage earners (employees) for work performed. This payment is also known as remuneration.
Remuneration is defined as any payment, whether in cash or in-kind, received directly or indirectly, by an employee from the employer in exchange for the performance of work. (Paragraph 1 of Article 41 of the Labor Code of Georgia).
The amount of remuneration must be agreed upon by the parties before the commencement of the labor relationship and included in the written labor contract.
The employer must pay the employee in full, in the agreed form and amount. Failure to do so is considered wage theft by the employer.
To find out if your employer is practicing wage theft, you can use our Wage Theft Calculator.
Remember, Employees should always be paid for:
Time spent putting on protective equipment or a work uniform
Time spent preparing the workplace or work processes
Mandatory training and meetings
Work during breaks
At what intervals should I get paid?
Remuneration must be paid at least once a month. The employer and the employee may also agree on making payments more than once per month.
How to Catch Wage Theft
What should I do if I am not paid?
Failure to pay wages or partial payment by the employer is a gross violation of labour rights. In such cases, the employee has the right to:
- Initiate a labor dispute with the employer, and strike if their demands not being met;
- Apply to the Labor Inspectorate;
- Apply to the court;
Remember, the employer is required to pay the employee 0.07 percent for each day there is a delay in payment. This rule does not apply to compensation of compulsory damages provided for in paragraph 9 of Article 48 of the Labor Code.
My employer is deducdting money from my salary. Is that illegal?
It depends. The Labor Code regulates the deduction of wages. The employer has the right to deduct from the employee’s remuneration any overpayment or any other amount that, due to the employment relationship, the employee owes. The total amount of one-time deductions from the employee’s remuneration cannot exceed 50 percent of the remuneration of the employee.
Wage deductions are illegal if the employer deducts more than 50 percent of the employee’s one-time salary payment.
Salary deductions are also illegal if the employer unreasonably imposes fines within the company’s disciplinary policies without establishing the employee’s culpability.
Can employers make me pay for their "losses"?
Losses or damages that are not your fault should not be deducted from your salary. It is illegal for the employer to deduct money from your salary without establishing culpability.
Working more than the standard work week
Working excessive hours is a common problem in Georgia.
Under Georgian laws and regulations, the normal work week is set at 40 hours for standard jobs and 48 for special category jobs. An individual labor contract may specify more than this amount, but if it does, these hours should be considered overtime.
For overtime, the law requires additional remuneration at a rate higher than your normal rate of pay. If the employer does not pay you overtime pay, it is wage theft.
Am I entitled to tips?
Customers in restaurants, bars, cafes and elsewhere often leave additional payment in addition to the cost of the product consumed – also known as tips. Traditionally, tips are meant for the service staff and not the restaurant or cafe.
Tips are not recognized by the Labor Code of Georgia, but according to the Civil Code, tips belong to the service staff. However, employers in Georgia often specify in the labor contract how tips should be paid out. In many cases, income in this area is distributed between the employer and the employee according to a pre-set formula.
It is illegal for an employer to take tips from an employee.
Does my employer have to pay me when I'm sick?
Yes. Under Paragraph 1 of Order №48 / N of the Minister of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of February 15, 2007, all employers defined by the Labor Code of Georgia are obliged to pay employees for any period of temporary incapacity for work.
If you are temporarily unable to work, the employer is obliged to pay you in full for the missed period, as long as you provide medical documentation.
Temporary disability benefits will not apply:
- To people who have been traumatized during a criminal act or who intentionally cause harm to their health;
- If the employee has violated the orders prescribed by their attending physician;
- If temporary incapacity for work is caused by illness or injury which is the direct result of intoxication (alcohol, drugs, and other psychoactive substances);
- In case of legal dismissal or forced medical treatment and forensic examination by a court decision following the rules established by law.
Statute of limitations for claims
The Labor Code of Georgia sets different statutes of limitations (time limits) depending on the type of claim.
In the event of termination of an employment contract, the employee has the right to contest this by sending a written notice to the employer within 30 calendar days of receiving the notice of termination. The notice should request a written justification for the grounds for termination of the employment contract.
The employee then has 30 calendar days after receiving the written justification to appeal to the court against the decision. If the employer does not respond with a written justification within 7 calendar days, the employee must file their lawsuit in court within 30 days after the 7-day period expires. After this period expires, the employee can no longer sue the employer.
For the violation of other labor rights, a different procedure applies. In such cases, employees can file a lawsuit under the Labor Code within one year after he or she learned (or should have been informed) of the violation of their rights.
For example, if an employer does not pay an employee’s salary, the employee must petition the court for redress within 1 year after the failure to pay. After 1 year, the claim will be void.
How Big is the problem of wage theft in Georgia?
Initial data from our Wage Theft Calculator shows that the problem is quite prevalent. Over 2,700 people have used the Calculator since it was launched on 9 December 2020, reporting the following data as of July 2021:
Reported at least 1 form of wage theft
GEL in total annual wage theft reported
Average GEL stolen per user (anually)
Common types of wage theft in Georgia
* Based on Wage Theft Calculator data through July 2021.
Reported mandatory work not counted as part of normal working hours
Of tipped employees reported stolen tips
Reported being shorted on vacation time
Try Our Wage Theft Calculator
Our Wage Theft Calculator is designed to help you better understand how wage theft works in practice, and lets you calculate how much money you may be losing in your job. It only takes five minutes to get an estimate of your lost wages!