Cyprus Work Culture

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Work Culture

To succeed in business in Cyprus, it is vital to have a strong understanding of the country’s business culture. Cypriot business culture is modernizing and adapting to ongoing changes in Western society, placing importance on both the work of management and the employees.

Punctuality, directness, trust, and personal relationships are significant to the development of business relationships in Cyprus. Local businessmen place great importance on their relationships; thus, it is important for both you and your local business partners to treat business dealings with respect and great care.

There has been increasing awareness around the world of the importance of work-life balance and flexible working times – but Cyprus, like many, still regards office etiquette to be of great importance to the management of business and business relations. Here are some tips and tricks to use during your first few months:

  • Punctuality: In Cyprus, punctuality is very important, and expected – although your Cypriot business partner will most likely arrive late. Appointments must be arranged in advance through formal request, agreeing on a time and date and confirming your attendance in writing.
  • Languages: Most Cypriots speak Greek, but English is also widely spoken and is considered the primary business language in the country.
  • Business Relationships: Most Cypriots prefer face-to-face contacts such as meetings, rather than telephone conversations or email. The building of personal relationships with business partners is an important aspect of their business culture, and Cypriot business partners value respect, personal trust, and hospitality.
  • First Contact: First contact with a Cypriot business partner should be done directly by email or by telephone to arrange a place and time for a meeting.
  • Introductions/Greetings:  In an introduction, business cards should be produced in both Greek and English, and exchanged with your business partner, in order to show an appreciation of their culture. During the first meeting, a brochure or other promotional material from your company should also be given.
  • Gift-giving: small gifts are generally well-accepted by Cypriot business partners. Gifts that are useful for the office such as small corporate gifts that are branded with your company logo are great ideas. Gifts are generally not opened when they are received. If your Cypriot business partner invites you to their home for a meal, you should also take a small gift such as pastries or flowers. However, avoid white lilies, as they are associated with funerals.
  • Dress code: The dress code in Cyprus is the same as in most European countries – conservative clothing and formal business attire, such as a dark-coloured suit and tie for men and a skirt or pantsuit for women.
  • Formality: Business partners should be addressed formally – using their professional titles, Mr. or Ms., and their surname. Once the relationship has become more personal, your business partner will invite you to use their first name.
  • Meetings: The agenda of business meetings is not closely adhered to and serves more as guidelines. Cypriots also conduct very animated business meetings. Multiple conversations may occur at once. Expect many interruptions and tangents of conversation. Be patient and feel free to interrupt to be heard – interruption is not considered rude in the local business culture. It is also common for meetings to progress slowly and run several hours overtime.
  • Negotiations: Bargaining and bartering is common practice in Cyprus, so it is best to expect negotiations during agreements.
  • Communication: Cypriots have a direct communication style – speaking honestly, clearly, and explicitly to make their point. However, communication is not concise – conversation tends to be very drawn out. Criticism is delivered vaguely to avoid offence and remain polite with business associates, but their intention and meaning are usually clear.

Cyprus’ Minimum Wage

There is no statutory minimum wage in Cyprus. However, there is a minimum wage rate that is required, depending on the vocation or the residency of the worker:

  • EUR 870 per month that is required for shop assistants, nurses’ assistants, clerks, and hairdressers, which rises to EUR 924 per month after probation.
  • EUR 425 per month, as well as food and board, are provided for asylum seekers that work as unskilled workers in the agricultural sector.
  • EUR 767 per month is required for skilled workers in the agricultural sector, with accommodation and food not provided.

Pay rates are agreed to in direct negotiation with the employer or through collective bargaining

Probation Periods in Cyprus

In Cyprus, the statutory probation period is 6 months. During this period, an employer may dismiss an employee without cause. After the probationary period expires, an employee must be dismissed with cause and notice, and employees are entitled to request their annual leave.

The probationary period may be extended to up to 2 years, as long as there is a written agreement that is signed by both the employer and employee stating this at the beginning of the employment

Working Hours in Cyprus

The number of working hours in Cyprus during a five-day working week should not exceed a maximum of 48 hours a week, including overtime. However, this also depends on the sector. Normal working hours are 8 daily and 38 hours a week.
In, Cyprus, the standard working hours are 8:30-5:30. This, however, will depend on the type of work establishment and sector.

Overtime in Cyprus

Overtime work in Cyprus cannot exceed 2 hours daily or 8 hours a week. Overtime work must be paid with a 150% wage rate and a 200% wage rate for weekends and holidays.