Are you an employer or a private entrepreneur with hired labor in Ukraine? Do you own an establishment in Ukraine where guests and visitors are welcome? If so, you should be aware that you are responsible for their safety. 

Specifically, you should have instructions in place whenever air raid sirens resound over your area during martial law to get your employees, visitors and guests to safety. Here is an overview of the current legislation.

First, all business owners, according to the Civil Protection Code of Ukraine, must have a plan or instructions on how personnel should deal with emergency situations, depending on the number of employees involved.

If the employer is responsible for 50 or fewer employees, then the employer and/or business owner should have in place written instructions on how to act in case of emergency situations (air raids, missile strikes) and a reasonable and clearly visible “plan of action” for employees and visitors to follow in case of emergencies.


Martial law calls for additional security measures for all individuals working in or visiting a business’s premises. In other words, even having 50 or fewer employees requires a business owner to count the number of possible visitors that may make the total number of individuals exceed 50. If the number could reach or exceed 100 individuals, the business owner is subject to increased responsibility. 

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For example, in the event of an intensive strike or fire due to aggressor actions that lead to the death or injury of individuals, the director of a business may be faced with criminal liability under Articles 367 and 270 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. 

Therefore, a business owner or employer must have the proper documentation and safety measures implemented to avoid the risk of liability. Importantly, the managing personnel may apply different rules adapted to the situation, depending on the locality of the premises, their layout and proximity to shelters.


Second, although the state is ultimately responsible for civil protection, business owners are also responsible for ensuring the materials and resources to protect the safety of their employees, visitors and customers on a basic level. They should be prepared to organize and take all available actions to evacuate people and, if appropriate and possible, property from their premises during emergencies. 

Of course, enhanced warning sirens, even if generated online, and evacuation plans specific to each premise are a vital part of performing this responsibility.

So, what does the Kyiv city military administration currently recommend during martial law?

Here are the general recommendations:

1. Ensure the availability, effectiveness and readiness of a notification system in case of a military emergency;

2. Visibly make known the nearest shelters for visitors and staff;

3. Post a clearly visible evacuation map to the nearest shelters;

4. Appoint persons responsible for assisting with evacuation orders and preserving property. Develop clear instructions and training for employees on how to act on an emergency signal;

5. Use best efforts to inform employees and visitors of current warning signals, check whether there are people on the premises during warning signals, and try to limit the number of visitors during such situations.


In the event of an emergency, the business owner’s management risks liability for any injuries and/or deaths on the premises. Consequently, the local authorities may launch investigations as to how the premises are equipped for handling emergency situations. 

The biggest question that will arise is: why an employee was at his/her workplace and not in a shelter when an incident occurred? Therefore, clear crisis and internal safety instructions for these situations should be visible and available for all, including employees and visitors. 

Without a doubt, while all required notices, signs and documentation should be reviewed for compliance with Ukrainian legislation, in many cases similar documents issued in other countries can be easily adapted to meet the safety requirements in Ukraine. Implementation should not be an issue, and additional expenses should be “worth the weight in gold” to ensure that your co-workers have a safe environment to work in.

In conclusion, with drone and missile attacks taking place weekly for more than two years, Ukrainians have learned the hard way that safety is paramount, and that sheltering in place saves countless lives. Preparation for an attack has become a necessity of everyday life, and safety instructions are an integral tool for any business with customers.


Stay safe.

Elena Avramenko is a partner in the Labor and Employment group at Frishberg and Partners.

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