The Labour law in Serbia is regulated mainly by the Employment Act (Official Herald of RS, No. 113/2017). The Act governs the terms and conditions of employment such as working hours, holidays, rest periods, wages, overtime, leaves, and termination of employment. The other regulations that govern labor relationships are the Law on State and Other Holidays in the Republic of Serbia (Official Gazette of RS, No. 92/2011).
Hours & Pay Regulations
A standard workweek consists of 5 working days. The normal working hours per week is 40 and normal working hours per day is 8 hours. A regulation made by the local authority or corporation may provide for full-time working hours less than 40 hours a week, but not shorter than 36 hours a week.
Where work is organized in shifts or where it is a requirement of organization of work – full time or part-time working hours of an employee do not have to be distributed equally in workweeks. In such cases, the working hours are determined as average weekly working hours worked per month. In this case, an employee can work for a maximum of 12 hours per day, i.e 48 hours per week inclusive of overtime work.
The working hours of an employee who works at a job that has a harmful impact on an employee’s health shall be reduced in proportion to the harmful impact of the conditions of work on the health and workability of the employee at a maximum of 10 hours a week. An employee working reduced hours has all the rights which are provided for full-time employment.
In case of the nature of work and the organization of work permit, the beginning and the end of the working hours may be contracted in a special time interval, meaning flexible working hours can be agreed upon between the employer and the employee.
The time which an employee spends conducting the activities at the call of the employer during standby time is considered as part of working hours. The time which the employee spends on standby outside the place where his work activities are conducted, waiting to respond to the call of the employer to perform activities if such a need arises is not considered as working hours.
Standby time and the amount of compensation for that activity are regulated by legislation or employment contract.
Shift work is considered as structuring of work in a manner in which employees take turns on the same job as per the fixed schedule in which shift changes can either be continuous or broken over a certain period of days or weeks. An employee is said to be a shift employee in case he works in a month for at least a third of his working hours in shifts.
Working hours schedule
The employer shall inform the employees about the schedule and changes to the working hours schedule at least 5 days in advance, except in cases of overtime work.
The employer may inform employees about the schedule and changes to the working hours schedule in a period shorter than 5 days, but no less than 48 hours in advance in cases of the requirements of the work due to the occurrence of unforeseen circumstances.
Rescheduling of Work
An employer may reschedule the working hours due to the nature of the activity, organization of work, better utilization of means of work, more rational use of working hours, and the execution of a specific job within the set deadlines.
The rescheduling of working hours shall be done in a manner that the total working hours of an employee in the period of 6 months in a calendar year does not exceed on average the contracted working hours of the employee. A collective agreement may provide that the rescheduling of working hours should not be determined with the calendar year, i.e. that it may last longer than 6 months, but no longer than 9 months.
An employee who has agreed to work in the rescheduled working hours on the average time longer than as specified above, the hours of work longer than the average working hours are calculated and paid as overtime. In case of the rescheduling of working hours, the working hours cannot be more than 60 hours per week (inclusive of overtime).
Rescheduling of working hours may not be done in jobs where reduced working hours have been used. An employee whose employment works in rescheduling of working hours regime and whose employment is terminated before the expiration of the reschedule of working hours and has worked for more than the contracted working hours shall be paid for the excess hours worked as overtime. Employment Act (Official Herald of RS, No. 113/2017), Art, 50 – 52, 55 – 61.
The employer shall keep daily records on overtime work performed by employees along with monthly records of salary and compensation of salary. The records shall contain data for every employee relating to salary, salary after deducting taxes and contributions from the salary, and salary deductions. Employment Act (Official Herald of RS, No. 113/2017), Art. 55 and 122.
An employee’s overtime work hours cannot exceed 8 hours per week. An employee cannot work more than 12 hours a day, including overtime (i.e. 4 hours of overtime per day).
Pay – Any employee working overtime shall be entitled to a premium of 26% of the basic salary. Employment Act (Official Herald of RS, No. 113/2017), Art. 53 and 108 (3).
Work performed in the period from 10 pm until 6 am of the following day shall be considered night work.
An employee who works at night for at least 3 hours every workday or 1/3rd of the full time working hours in one workweek, shall be provided with daytime jobs if according to a component health service authority, such work is causing deterioration in employee’s health condition.
If work is organized in shifts, an employer shall provide a change of shifts, so that no employee works the night shift continuously for more than one workweek. An employee can work during night time longer than one working week, but only with the employee’s written consent.
Pay – An employee working night shifts shall be entitled to a premium of 26% of the basic salary. Employment Act (Official Herald of RS, No. 113/2017), Art. 62 – 63 and 108(2).
An employee working at least 6 hours in a day is entitled to a rest period for at least 30 minutes in a day. An employee working more than 4 hours and less than 6 hours in a day is entitled to a minimum of 15 minutes of the rest period. An employee working more than 10 hours a day is entitled to a rest period of at least 45 minutes.
Breaks are considered as the working hours of an employee. The breaks may not be used at the beginning or at the end of working hours. Employment Act (Official Herald of RS, No. 113/2017), Art. 64.
Daily Rest Period
Employees are entitled to a rest period of a minimum of 12 consecutive hours within 24 hours period. Employees who work in the arrangement of rescheduling of working hours are entitled to a rest period of 11 continuous hours in a 24 hours period. Employment Act (Official Herald of RS, No. 113/2017), Art. 66.
Weekly Rest Period
Employees are entitled to a weekly rest for a minimum of 24 straight hours plus the daily rest period. The rest period is usually taken on Sundays. An employer may allow another day for using the weekly rest in case the nature of the work requires the same.
An employee who because of working in different shifts or in rescheduled working hours regime is unable to use the rest for a period of 24 hours along with the daily rest period shall be entitled to a weekly rest of at least 24 consecutive hours. Employment Act (Official Herald of RS, No. 113/2017), Art. 67
If an employee works on the day of his weekly rest, the employer is bound to provide such employee with rest of at least 24 straight hours in the course of the subsequent week. Employment Act (Official Herald of RS, No. 113/2017), Art. 67.
Employees are entitled to the following 8 public holidays and 5 working holidays:
- New Year – January 1 and 2
- Christmas – January 7
- National Holiday (Day of the Statehood of Serbia) – February 15 and 16
- Labor Day – May 1 and 2
- Armistice Day in the First World War- November 11
Following are the 5 working holidays in Serbia on which the work can be carried out:
- Saint Sava – January 27
- Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Holocaust, Genocide and other victims of fascism in the second world war
- Victory Day – May 9
- Vidovdan – June 28
- Day of remembrance of Serbian Victims in the second world war – October 21
Religious holidays are celebrated in the Republic of Serbia on the below days:
- The First Day of Christmas – January 7
- Easter holidays starting from Good Friday to the second day of Easter.
Employees have the right not to work on the following religious holidays:
- Orthodox – on the first day of baptism;
- Catholics and members of other Christian religious communities – on the first day of Christmas and on Easter holidays starting
- from Good Friday to the second day of Easter, according to their calendar;
- Members of the Islamic community – on the first day of Eid al-Fitr and the first day Eid al-Adha;
- Members of the Jewish community – on the first day of Yom Kippur.
If one of the dates, when the public holidays of the Republic of Serbia are celebrated, falls on a Sunday, then the first following working day is considered as non-working.
Organizations in which the performance of services are required to be carried on due to the continuous nature of such services, as well as organizations that require the performance of services to be carried on in order to avoid harmful consequences on citizens and the State can continue to perform their activities even on the State and Religious Holidays.
Pay – An employee shall be entitled to a premium of a minimum of 110% of the basic salary for work on non-working public holidays. Law on State and Other Holidays in the Republic of Serbia (Official Gazette of RS, No. 92/2011) Art. 1 Employment Act (Official Herald of RS, No. 113/2017), Art. 108 (1).
In each calendar year, the employee is entitled to annual leave as may be fixed by the legislation or an employment agreement but no less than 20 working days.
While deciding the length of annual leave, the working week shall be counted as 5 workdays. Public Holidays (non-working days), paid absence from work and the temporary inability for work shall not be counted as annual leave days.
An employee is entitled to the right to use the annual leave in a calendar year after 1 month of continuous employment from the day of conclusion formation of the employment relationship with the employer. The period of continuous work also includes a period of temporary inability for work and paid absence from work.
Proportional Part of Annual Leave
An employee is entitled to 1/12th of the annual leave (proportionate part) for each month of work in the calendar year in which the employment relationship is formed. Annual leave may be used in one or two parts unless agreed with the employer to use the annual leave in several parts. The first part shall be used for the duration of at least 2 weeks and the remaining leave shall be used latest until June 30 of the following year.
An employee who has not used annual leave either in whole or in part in the calendar year due to absence from work under the maternity leave, absence from work for child care and special child care – is entitled to use that leave until June 30 of the following year.
Sickness during Annual Leave
An employee who becomes temporarily unable to work during the period of annual leave shall be entitled to continue the annual leave at the expiry of such inability to work.
Termination of Employment
In case of termination of an employment relationship, the employer shall pay the employee for the unused annual leave, compensation in the amount of average salary in the previous 12 months, in proportion to the number of days of unused annual leave. Employment Act (Official Herald of RS, No. 113/2017), Art. 68 – 76.
Effective January 1, 2021, the minimum salary in Serbia has increased to 183.93 RSD/hour.
The minimum wage stated may not be up to date & is subject to change. Kindly access the link to get the current rates.
- 65% of the average salary in the 12 months preceding if illness or injury was not sustained at work;
- 100% if inability is caused by an occupational illness or injury sustained at work.
An employee shall submit to the employee no later than 3 days from the occurrence of temporary impediment from work, a certificate issued by a physician. Such a certificate has to be issued in accordance with the health insurance regulations. For sick leave longer than 30 days, the employer has the right to request a refund of paid salaries from the State agency. Employment Act (Official Herald of RS, No. 113/2017), Art. 115 and 119.
An employed woman is entitled to leave for pregnancy and leave for childcare (nursing a child) for a total duration of 365 days. An employed woman may start maternity leave 45 days before the date of delivery at the earliest and 28 days at the latest. Maternity leave shall last until 3 months after childbirth.
An employed woman after the expiry of maternity leave is entitled to a leave of absence to nurse a child until the expiry of 365 days from the day of commencement of maternity leave. This right to maternity leave (which lasts for about 3 months post-childbirth) shall also be granted to any employed woman in case the child is stillborn or dies before the expiry of the maternity leave.
The father also has the right to use the maternity leave in the case when the mother abandons the child, dies, or is prevented due to other justified reasons to exercise that right (serving a prison term, serious illness, and similar situations). The father of the child has that right even when the mother is not employed. Fathers are also entitled to use the childcare leave available to the mother in such circumstances.
An employed woman is entitled to maternity leave and leave for childcare for a third and any subsequent child for a total duration of 2 years.
The right to maternity leave and absence from work for childcare in the total duration of 2 years shall also be granted to any employed woman who gives birth to three or more children from her first pregnancy. The above right to leave is also applicable to any employed woman who has given birth to one, two, or three children, and who gives birth to two or more children in the subsequent delivery.
Pay – During the maternity leave employed women or fathers to the child are entitled to compensation of salary. Employment Act (Official Herald of RS, No. 113/2017), Art. 94, 94a, and 95.
Any employee is entitled to paid leave in the total duration of 5 working days in the period of one calendar year in case of marriage, wife giving birth to a child, serious illness of a member of immediate family, and other instances set by legislation or in the employment contract. Employment Act (Official Herald of RS, No. 113/2017), Art. 77 – 78.
One of the parents, adoptive parent, foster parent, or legal guardian to a child in need of special care because of severe psychological or physical disability, except in cases covered by health insurance regulations, is entitled to, after the expiry of maternity leave and leave for childcare absence from work or work half of the full working hours up to the age of five of the child.
Parent or guardian, or a caregiver of a person disabled by cerebral palsy, any kind of plegia or muscular dystrophy and other severe diseases, may, upon the advice of a competent medical authority, and upon own request to work shorter hours, but not shorter than half-time. An employee working part-time working hours as per the above paragraph is entitled to a salary in proportion to the time spent at work.
Pay – During the absence from work, employees are entitled to compensation of salary. Employment Act (Official Herald of RS, No. 113/2017), Art. 96 and 98.
The father of the child can take until the end of three months from the day of childbirth in case the mother deserts the child, dies, or is prevented from caring for the child due to other justified reasons (serving a prison sentence, being severely ill, etc.). The father is entitled to that right even in case the mother is not employed. The father is entitled to a leave of absence to nurse a child until the expiry of 365 days from the day of commencement of maternity leave.
Pay – During the absence from work, employees are entitled to compensation of salary.
A foster parent of a child below the age of 5 shall be granted absence from work in the duration of 8 successive months, from the day the child is placed into the foster, and at the most until the child turns 5 years of age. If the placement into foster took place before the child turns 3 months, the foster parent of that child shall be entitled to leave from work until the child turns 11 months, for the care of that child.
The rights of foster parents shall also be granted to a person to whom, pursuant to adoption regulations, the child is directed for adoption before the official adoption process has been completed, and when the adoption becomes official, one of the adoptive parents, as well. One of the parents, adoptive parents, foster parents shall be entitled to unpaid leave of absence from work until the child turns 3 years of age.
Pay – During the absence from work, employees are entitled to compensation of salary. Employment Act (Official Herald of RS, No. 113/2017), Art. 97.
The employer may also grant leave without compensation of salary to the employee for the following purposes:
- Leaving to serve in the military to complete the period of military service;
- Being assigned to work abroad by the employer or within the framework of international technical or educational and cultural cooperation, to diplomatic, consular, and other missions;
- Being temporarily assigned to work with another employer;
- Appointed to the office within a state agency, trade union, political organization, or to another public office the exercising of which requires temporary cessation of work for the employer;
- Serving a prison sentence i.e. imposed safety, correctional or protective measure, lasting up to 3 months.
Responding to the summons of a State Agency.
The employer can claim a refund from the State agency, the compensation paid for the purpose of military leave, and responding to summons of a state agency – from the agency whose summons was responded to by the employee. Employment Act (Official Herald of RS, No. 113/2017), Art. 78 – 79 and 114.
Employees are entitled to paid leave for 5 working days in case of the death of a member of the immediate family. Employment Act (Official Herald of RS, No. 113/2017), Art. 77.
An employee is entitled to 2 consecutive days of paid leave for every instance of voluntary blood donations, counting also the day of donating blood. Employment Act (Official Herald of RS, No. 113/2017), Art. 77.
Last updated on: August 18th, 2021