Georgia offers skilled and unskilled labor at attractive costs compared not only to Western European and American standards, but also to Eastern European standards.  Skilled labor availability in the engineering fields remains underdeveloped.  The official unemployment rate was 12.7 percent in 2018, according to State Department of Statistics, but actual unemployment is considerably higher given significant underemployment in the working population, especially in rural regions where subsistence farmers are considered employed for statistical purposes and job creation has remained a particular challenge.  Some investment agreements between the Georgian government and private parties have included mandates for the contracting of local labor for positions below the management or executive level.

Georgia’s Labor Code defines the minimum age for employment (16), standard work hours (40 per week), and annual leave (24 calendar days).  Other wage and hour issues are to be agreed between the employer and employee.  Amendments to the Labor Code in July 2013, defined grounds for termination; the code defines severance pay for an employee at the time of termination of a labor relation, including the payment term.  An employer is obliged to give compensation of not less than a month’s salary to an employee within thirty (30) days.  An employer is obliged to give the dismissed employee a written description of the grounds for termination within seven days after an employee’s request.  The labor code also prescribes rules for paying overtime labor (over 40 hours), which must be paid at an increased hourly rate.

The amended Labor Code specified essential terms for labor contracts, including:  the starting date and the duration of labor relations, working hours and holiday time, location of workplace, position and type of work, amount of salary and its payment, overtime work and its payment, the duration of paid and unpaid vacation and leave, and rules for granting leave.  The code states that the duration of a business day for an underage person (ages 16 to 18) should not exceed 36 hours per week.  Regulations prohibit interference in union activities and discrimination of an employee due to union membership.  The amendments also mandated that the government reestablish a labor inspectorate to ensure adherence to labor safety standards.  The labor inspection program under the Ministry of Labor, Health, and Social Affairs, employs 40 labor inspectors.  On March 7, 2018, Parliament passed the Occupational Safety, and Health (OSH) Law that gives the government power to make unannounced inspections in some circumstances in companies operating among “hard, harmful, hazardous, and increased danger” occupations. 

Employees are entitled to up to 183 days (six months) of paid maternity leave, which can be up to 24 months when combined with unpaid leave.  Leave taken for pregnancy, childbirth, childcare, and adoption of a newborn is subsidized by the state.  An employer and employee may agree on additional compensation.  Under the Labor Code, non-competition clauses are permitted and sometimes used in contracts.  This provision may remain in force even after the termination of labor relations.

The government adopted a new law in 2018, an accumulative pension scheme, which came into effect as of January 1, 2019.  The pension scheme is mandatory for legally employed people under 40; while for the self-employed and those above the age of 40 enrollment in the program is voluntary.  Each employee, employer, and the government must make a contribution of two percent of the employee’s gross income to an individual retirement account.  As for the self-employed, they will make a deposit of four percent of their income, and the state will match another two per cent.  Employees pay a flat 20 percent income tax.  The state social security system provides modest pension and maternity benefits.  The minimum monthly pension is GEL200 (USD75).  The average monthly salary across the economy in Georgia in 2018 was GEL1,468 (around USD 545).  The minimum wage requirement for state sector employees is GEL115 (USD43) per month.  Legislation on the official minimum wage in the private sector has not changed since the early 1990s and stands at GEL20 (USD8) per month, but is not applied in practice and is not being used for reference.

The law generally provides for the right of most workers, including government employees, to form and join independent unions, to legally strike, and to bargain collectively.  Employers are not obliged, however, to engage in collective bargaining, even if a trade union or a group of employees wishes to do so.  The law permits strikes only in cases of disputes where a collective agreement is already in place.  While strikes are not limited in length, the law limits lockouts to 90 days.  A court may determine the legality of a strike, and violators of strike rules can face up to two years in prison.  Although the law prohibits employers from discriminating against union members or union-organizing activities in general terms, it does not explicitly require reinstatement of workers dismissed for union activity.  Certain categories of workers related to “human life and health,” as defined by the government, were not allowed to strike.  The International Labor Organization noted the government’s list of such services included some it did not believe constituted essential services directed related to human life and health.  Workers generally exercised their right to strike in accordance with the law.

Georgia has ratified some ILO conventions, including the Forced Labor Convention of 1930; the Paid Holiday Convention of 1936; the Anti-Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention of 1951; the Human Resources Development Convention of 1975; the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention of 1949; the Equal Remuneration Convention of 1951; the Abolition of Forced Labor Convention of 1957; the Employment Policy Convention of 1964; and the Minimum Age Convention of 1973.

Information on labor related issues is also available in the State Department’s annual reports:

Human Right Report:

Child Labor Report:

Prepared by the International Trade Administration. With its network of more than 100 offices across the United States and in more than 75 markets, the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting