WHICH STANDARDS OF THE LANGUAGE LAW CAME INTO EFFECT FROM JULY 16, 2022 AND WHAT DO THEY MEAN FOR BUSINESS? WHO WILL MONITOR IT AND WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS?
On July 16, 2022, only certain provisions of the Law of Ukraine "On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state" entered into force, which relate to the requirements for the availability of Ukrainian-language versions of the interfaces of computer programs and websites. The rest of the provisions of this law have been in effect for a long time. Therefore, in this article, we will focus on those provisions of the language law that directly apply to business.
We should immediately note that the law imposes more requirements on state and communal enterprises and institutions than on private ones. In this article, we will talk exclusively about the requirements of the law for enterprises of the private sector of the economy, with an emphasis on manufacturing and trading enterprises. Additional requirements are established for mass media, book publishers, medical and educational institutions.
WHERE IS IT MANDATORY TO USE UKRAINIAN?
For private enterprises, the Ukrainian language is mandatory when:
- conclusion of labor contracts with employees;
- sent appeals to state bodies, local self-government bodies, state and communal enterprises and institutions;
- drawing up the technical and project documentation, which must be approved by the state authorities or local self-government bodies in the future;
- drawing up statutory documents and decisions. This provision can be interpreted so that all orders of a private enterprise must also be written in Ukrainian.
The language of IT
Computer programs that are implemented in Ukraine separately from the equipment on which they are installed can have as a user interface language both Ukrainian and any other language from the official languages of the European Union.
However, if a computer program with a user interface is installed on goods sold in Ukraine, it must have a user interface in the Ukrainian language, which in terms of volume and content must contain no less information than foreign language versions of such an interface. However, there is an exception to this rule. The Ukrainian language is not mandatory for the interface of specialized scientific, technical, medical-diagnostic and other specialized, professional equipment that are not consumer goods (appliances, machines, equipment, machine tools, etc.), as well as for specialized software intended for use only in the field of information technology, but only on the condition that such equipment and software have a user interface in English.
Mobile applications of enterprises selling goods and services in Ukraine must have a Ukrainian-language version of the user interface.
Consumer information and product labeling
Websites and web pages in social networks of enterprises that sell goods and services in Ukraine and are registered in Ukraine must be written in Ukrainian. It is allowed to use another language, however, the Ukrainian-language version should not contain less information than the foreign-language version and should be downloaded by default for users in Ukraine.
Information for the general public, such as announcements, indexes, pointers, signs, which is used or can be used to inform consumers about goods, works, and services of enterprises, must be submitted in Ukrainian.
All enterprises must use the Ukrainian language when serving consumers, except when the consumer has directly requested the use of another language acceptable to both parties.
All information about the product, work or service that must be provided to the consumer in compliance with the requirements of the Law of Ukraine "On the Protection of Consumer Rights" is provided in the Ukrainian language. The use of words, abbreviations, abbreviations and designations in English and/or using letters of the Latin and/or Greek alphabets is allowed.
In addition to the Ukrainian language, information about goods, works or services can be provided in another language, but the amount of information in Ukrainian must not be less than that required by the Law of Ukraine "On the Protection of Consumer Rights".
We remind you that the Law of Ukraine "On the Protection of Consumer Rights" requires providing the consumer with the following information:
1) product name;
2) data on the main properties of the product, nominal quantity (weight, volume, etc.), conditions of use;
3) information on the content of substances harmful to health, which are established by regulations, and warnings on the use of certain products, if such warnings are established by regulations;
4) a mark on the presence of genetically modified organisms in the product;
5) data on the price (tariff), conditions and rules of purchase of products;
6) date of manufacture;
7) information on storage conditions;
8) warranty obligations of the manufacturer (performer);
9) rules and conditions of efficient and safe use of products;
10) shelf life (service life) of the goods (consequences of work), information on the necessary actions of the consumer after their expiration, as well as on the possible consequences in case of non-performance of these actions;
11) the name and location of the manufacturer (performer, seller) and the enterprise that performs its functions of accepting claims from the consumer, as well as repairs and maintenance.
12) other information, the provision of which is required by technical regulations.
Trademarks can be used in the form, that is, in the same language, in which they are given legal protection in accordance with the registration documents.
WHAT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR VIOLATORS?
The legislation contains several options for liability for violating the requirements of the language law.
Claims from the consumer
If the enterprise has not fulfilled the requirement regarding the mandatory Ukrainian interface of the computer program installed on the equipment, then such equipment will be considered a product of inadequate quality for the consumer - a natural person.
In this case, the consumer has the right to demand:
1) proportional price reduction;
2) free of charge elimination of product defects within a reasonable period of time;
3) reimbursement of expenses for elimination of product defects;
4) replacement of the product with the same product or a similar product from among those available at the seller (manufacturer);
5) termination of the contract and return of paid funds.
If an enterprise that manufactures or sells goods for consumers - individuals, does not provide information about the goods in Ukrainian, it may be fined in the amount of thirty percent of the value of the batch of goods received for sale, work performed, services provided, but not less than 85 hryvnias .
Such fines are applied by the State Production and Consumer Service after checking consumer complaints.
The main body that must check compliance with the requirements of language legislation is the Commissioner for the Protection of the State Language.
He has the right to conduct inspections both on his own initiative and upon complaints of individuals.
The results of the inspection are formalized in an act.
A warning is provided for the first violation. For repetition - a fine. The amount of the fine depends on the type of violation.
If this is a repeated violation related to failure to provide information about products in Ukrainian, the company may be fined from UAH 5,100 to UAH 6,800.
If the website of the company is not written in Ukrainian, or the Ukrainian version of the website is not the default version, then in case of repeated such violation within a year, the head of the company may be fined from UAH 3,400 to UAH 5,100.
As you can see, the language legislation does not contain overly complex requirements for manufacturing enterprises. Sanctions for violation of this legislation are also insignificant. Considering the volume of work for the Commissioner for the protection of the state language and the limited number of employees of his secretariat, it is not worth expecting mass inspections of businesses in terms of compliance with the requirements of language legislation in the coming years.
head of the BARGEN law firm