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How changes to Ukrainian holidays could cause laytime disputes

Published: 13 September 2023

With effect from 1 September 2023, Ukraine has adopted the Revised Julian calendar for religious purposes. This new calendar changes the dates of orthodox religious holidays, notably Christmas. This will have an impact on laytime.

BIMCO’s definition of a holiday requires the following criteria to be met: 

  • A day must be declared as a holiday, and 
  • It must be so declared by a competent authority. 

Holidays in Ukraine are regulated by Article 73 of its Labour Code. Following the adaptation of the revised Julian Calendar, Christmas will be observed on 25 December – similar to the Gregorian Christmas. 

However, recent polls have shown an almost equal split in support and opposition to the adoption of the Revised Julian Calendar. Consequently, holidays may be observed in accordance with both the Revised Julian Calendar – as supported by the Labour Code – and the traditional Julian Calendar – as supported by tradition. 

While support for the adoption of the Revised Julian Calendar is increasing, there may be clear regional differences in support and opposition. It’s important to note that even if an entire region is adhering to the traditional observation, what matters – and the only thing that matters – is the declaration of a holiday by a competent authority. Labour conditions and personal observation are irrelevant. 

For the time being, Article 73 of the Ukrainian Labour Code has been suspended due to martial law. Just as a competent authority can declare or change holidays, a competent authority can also cancel or suspend holidays. 

If you are a BIMCO member, please feel free to contact us for more information on matters related to holidays. 

Note: Credit to Avalon Shipping for providing the relevant sources. 

Johan Conrad


Johan Conrad

Manager, Maritime Information

Copenhagen, Denmark