Country snapshot

Key considerations

Which issues would you most highlight to someone new to your country?

There are no issues to highlight.

What do you consider unique to those doing business in your country?

About a quarter of workers in Slovenia are employed in the public sector, which represents a large financial burden that the private sector has to pay for. As a result, Slovenia is rather uninteresting to investors, as labour costs are high. Employers also complain about the strict legislation protecting workers. 

Is there any general advice you would give in the employment area?

Whenever individuals or legal entities enter into legal relationships – especially when it comes to employment relationships – they should consult a legal expert, since a small irregularity can have serious consequences for an individual or legal entity.

Emerging issues/hot topics/proposals for reform

Are there any noteworthy proposals for reform in your jurisdiction?

There are no noteworthy proposals for reform in Slovenia.

What are the emerging trends in employment law in your jurisdiction?

There are currently no emerging trends in Slovenian employment law.

The employment relationship

Country specific laws

What laws and regulations govern the employment relationship?

The main source of employment law is the Employment Relationships Act (ERA-1). The ERA-1 is harmonised with EU legislation and incorporates all applicable and binding international conventions, EU directives and regulations. Trade union activity, collective agreements and many other aspects of employment law, as well as special categories of worker, are governed by special regulations.

A significant autonomous source of law is collective agreements. Collective agreements are usually concluded for a specific activity or occupation but may also be concluded by individual employers. While the ERA-1 defines certain rights, their scope is determined by collective agreements, which are particularly important when determining the starting salaries in individual tariff classes, since trade unions and employers are engaged in constant dialogue on this issue. Notably, the rights and obligations of parties to an employment relationship in collective agreements and internal regulations can be stipulated differently or more favourably than those presented herein.

Who do these cover, including categories of worker?

The ERA-1 applies to employment relationships between:

  • employers with a registered office or residence in Slovenia and their employees; and
  • foreign employers (without a registered office or residence in Slovenia) and their employees if the employment contract was concluded in Slovenia.

In order to be classified as a worker and therefore be entitled to statutory employment rights, an employment contract must have been concluded. Further, workers must:

  • be subordinate to their employer;
  • perform work according to their employer's instructions and supervision; and
  • perform work personally and continuously in return for payment.

The ERA-1 sets out a special category (so-called ‘economic dependants’) for self-employed persons who perform work personally under a civil law contract in return for payment for an extended period. An economic dependant cannot employ another person and must be economically dependent on one client. Economic dependants must earn at least 80% of their income from the same client. Economic dependants enjoy limited protection under the labour law.

In the case of employees posted to Slovenia by a foreign employer based on a foreign law contract, the ERA-1 applies in accordance with the provisions regulating the position of employees posted to work in Slovenia. This means that the posted employees perform work in Slovenia under the conditions laid down in the regulations on the work and employment of foreign citizens. Foreign employers must ensure that employees posted to Slovenia enjoy the rights set out under Slovenian law and the relevant collective agreement regarding working time, breaks and rest periods, night work, minimum annual leave, salary, health and safety at work, the special protection of employees and equal treatment, if these are more favourable for the employee.

Misclassification

Are there specific rules regarding employee/contractor classification?

An individual can perform work as:

  • an employee in an employment relationship;
  • a solo trader;
  • a self-employed person; or
  • an economic dependant.

Only an employee is fully entitled to statutory employment rights.

A solo trader (ie, a natural person who performs an activity in the market within the scope of an organised company) is liable to self-employment income tax and social security contributions.

A solo trader has no statutory employment rights. The same position is for self-employed persons.

An economic dependant enjoys limited protection under the labour law regarding:

  • discrimination;
  • minimum periods of notice;
  • termination of employment contracts for unjust reasons;
  • payment for work completed; and
  • liability for damages.

An economic dependant is liable to pay self-employment income tax and social security contributions.

Contracts

Must an employment contract be in writing?

Employment relationships must be stipulated in an employment contract, which must be concluded in writing. An employment contract will be deemed legal and valid when it is signed by the employee and employer. The employer must provide the worker with a draft written employment contract at least three days prior to the envisaged signing of the contract and with a written employment contract on its conclusion.

While employment contracts must be in writing pursuant to the ERA-1, according to the law and case law, a relationship between an employee and employer that has all of the elements of an employment relationship will also deemed an employment relationship and can be implemented as such even if the employment contract is not in writing. In such a case, the employee can request that their employer provide them with an employment contract at any time during the employment relationship. In the event of a dispute concerning the existence of an employment relationship, it is presumed that the employment relationship exists if all elements therein exist.

Are any terms implied into employment contracts?

The ERA-1 stipulates the elements that must be included in the employment contract. If the parties do not specifically stipulate the following in the contract, the law will automatically imply its own statutory provisions to the employment relationship:

  • the length and distribution of daily or weekly working hours;
  • provisions on other payments or salary components, the payment period and the date and method of salary payment;
  • provisions on annual leave; and
  • notice period.

Are mandatory arbitration/dispute resolution agreements enforceable?

In accordance with the ERA-1, the employer and employee may agree on dispute settlement through mediation. If the mediation is not completed successfully in the stipulated period, the employee may enforce judicial protection before the labour court.

Further, a collective agreement may stipulate arbitration as a means for settlement of individual labour disputes. If the arbitration tribunal does not reach a decision in the stipulated timeframe, the employee may request judicial protection before the labour court.

How can employers make changes to existing employment agreements?

If both parties are willing, they can always agree to amend the employment contract or a specific provision thereof. An amendment to the employment contract or the conclusion of a new employment contract can be proposed by either party.

Amendments can be made as an annex to the original employment contract. If the amendment concerns a change of position, place of work, the duration of the employment contract or weekly working hours, the employee and employer must conclude a new employment contract.

Amendments are prohibited if either party disagrees to the change.

Foreign workers

Is a distinction drawn between local and foreign workers?

Foreign workers are regulated by the Employment, Self-employment and Work of Foreigners Act. The act introduces a single permit for work and residence, which allows individuals from third countries to enter, reside and work in Slovenia. Permits are issued by the Administrative Unit Office, with the consent of the Employment Service of Slovenia.

EU member state citizens and citizens of Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and the Swiss Confederation can freely access the Slovenian labour market. This means that they can be employed, self-employed or perform work without the consent of the Employment Service of Slovenia.

Foreign nationals who are employed in Slovenia have the same working rights and obligations as Slovenian citizens. If a foreign national is employed based on a single permit, they have all of the rights and obligations in accordance with national law relating to wages, working time, breaks, rest periods and safety at work, among other rights.

Recruitment

Advertising

What are the requirements relating to advertising positions?

In accordance with the Employment Relationships Act (ERA-1), an employer that recruits new employees must publicly advertise vacancies or types of work. The public notice must contain the job requirements and the deadline for applications, which may not be shorter than three working days. The ERA-1 also stipulates exemptions from the obligation of public notice.

Wages and working time

Pay

Is there a national minimum wage and, if so, what is it?

All workers working on a full-time basis (no fewer than 36 hours and no more than 40 hours per week) are entitled to the national minimum wage, while those working on a part-time basis are entitled to a proportionate amount of the minimum wage. The national minimum wage is currently €886.63 per month. In 2020 the minimum wage will be €940.58 per month.

Are there restrictions on working hours?

Yes. Full-time work may not exceed 40 hours per week according to the Employment Relationships Act (ERA-1). The law or a collective agreement may stipulate a working time shorter than 40 hours per week, although full-time work may not be fewer than 36 hours per week.

Hours and overtime

What are the requirements for meal and rest breaks?

In accordance with the ERA-1, full-time employees have a right to a 30-minute break during the working day. Part-time employees (in accordance with the ERA-1) who work at least four hours per day are also entitled to a break during the day in proportion to their time spent at work.

Employees must also have a rest period of at least 12 uninterrupted hours within a 24-hour period. An employee whose working time is irregularly distributed or temporarily redistributed must receive a daily rest period of at least 11 hours within a 24-hour period. In addition to the right to a daily rest period, such an employee must receive a rest period of at least 24 uninterrupted hours within a seven successive day period.

How should overtime be calculated?

Overtime work is considered work under special conditions and employees are thus entitled by law to special overtime pay. The amount of overtime pay is determined in the branch collective agreement. Overtime pay is usually between 130% and 150% of an employee’s regular hourly rate of pay.

What exemptions are there from overtime?

The ERA-1 stipulates that overtime work is only permitted in special cases specified in the act. In general, overtime work may not exceed eight hours per week, 20 hours per month and 170 hours per year. However, if an employee consents, overtime work may exceed this limit, but must not exceed 230 hours per year.

Employers cannot require certain categories of worker to complete overtime work, including:

  • female and male workers protected by the ERA-1 during pregnancy and parenthood;
  • older workers (over the age of 55);
  • workers under the age of 18;
  • workers whose health may deteriorate based on the written opinion of an occupational medicine provider, whose opinion has been formulated with consideration of a family doctor’s opinion;
  • workers whose full-time working hours are shorter than 36 hours per week due to the nature of their job (ie, work that involves a greater risk of injury or health impairments in accordance with the ERA-1); and
  • part-time workers in accordance with the regulations on pension and disability insurance, health insurance and other regulations.  

Is there a minimum paid holiday entitlement?

Yes, in accordance with the ERA-1, workers have a right to at least four weeks’ annual leave per year, regardless of whether they work full or part-time. The minimum number of days of annual leave depends on the distribution of each worker’s working days within the week.

Longer amounts of annual leave may be set out in a collective agreement or employment contract.

What are the rules applicable to final pay and deductions from wages?

Employers must deduct income tax and contributions for compulsory insurance (ie, for pension and disability insurance, health insurance, unemployment, parental care and injuries at work) from the employee's gross salary.

Record keeping

What payroll and payment records must be maintained?

Employers must keep a record of labour costs with information on:

  • each employee;
  • pay and benefits paid by the employer;
  • other labour costs; and
  • statutory social security contributions.

Employers must keep documents regarding terminated employees and be able to provide them to the competent authority on request.

Discrimination, harassment & family leave

Family and medical leave

What is the position in relation to family and medical leave?

Workers are entitled to wage compensation for absences due to non-work-related illness or injury. In such cases, the employer must provide up to 30 working days’ compensation from its own resources for each individual absence from work. Compensation cannot exceed 120 days in a calendar year.

If a worker’s inability to work is caused by an occupational illness or injury, the employer must provide up to 30 working days’ compensation from its own resources for each individual absence from work. For longer absences, the employer must continue to provide compensation, but this will be covered by health insurance.

The right to maternity, paternity and parental leave is regulated in the Parental Protection and Family Benefits Act. Rights arising therein are covered by parental protection insurance.

Harassment

What is the position in relation to harassment?

Sexual and other forms of harassment are prohibited and employers must ensure that they maintain a harassment (including sexual harassment) and mobbing-free environment. Employers must ensure that the work environment is free from sexual or other forms of harassment and mobbing by the employer, co-workers and superiors. To this end, employers must take appropriate steps to protect workers.

Where harassment or mobbing occurs, the employer must provide compensation to the victim under the general rules of civil law.

Whistleblowing

What is the position in relation to whistleblowing?

Whistleblowers are protected in criminal proceedings by special rules under the criminal law. In cases involving the unlawful disclosure of a business secret, where the person disclosing the secret learns of that secret from performing their work and discloses the secret in the general interest, the public’s interest or the interest of someone else, they will not be punished if:

  • the reason for disclosing the secret overrides the interest in safeguarding the secret; or
  • the law provides that the person should be released from their obligation to safeguard the secret.

The Criminal Code also provides special protection to whistleblowers in cases of slander and defamation.

There are also special provisions protecting persons who report corruption and who are requested to perform illegal or unethical acts by their employer. These provisions include compensation for employees whose employers take retaliatory measures.

Privacy in the workplace

Privacy and monitoring

What are employees’ rights with regard to privacy and monitoring?

The protection of personal data is regulated by the Personal Data Protection Act and the Employment Relationships Act. Employers must manage employees’ personal data and safeguard it in accordance with the law.

The monitoring of employees’ emails, telephone calls and use of the employer’s computer system is limited, since Slovenian legislation and court practice, as well as the information commissioner’s decisions, strictly limit monitoring. If an employee uses a specific account or telephone number, their employer cannot look at any data linked with that account or being trafficked through it. The same prohibition applies to the traffic data itself (eg, phone numbers called and emailed persons). The argument for this prohibition is that those contacting the employee have not consented to their data being seen or used by another person.

To what extent can employers regulate off-duty conduct?

Employers can monitor whether employees are performing additional work on their own account or for the benefit of a third-party business that represents or may represent direct competition with the employer.

Further, employers may monitor whether an employee absent from work due to illness or injury is:

  • respecting the instructions provided by their doctor or a competent medical commission during their absence; or
  • pursuing gainful activities and leaving their residence without the approval of a competent doctor or medical commission.

Are there rules protecting social media passwords in the employment context and/or on employer monitoring of employee social media accounts?

Employers cannot monitor employees’ social media accounts, unless these are publicly available.

Trade secrets and restrictive covenants

Intellectual Property

Who owns IP rights created by employees during the course of their employment?

The material copyright and other author rights in any work created by an employee while fulfilling their employment obligations or in accordance with their employer’s instructions will transfer exclusively to the employer for a 10-year period, starting from the date on which the copyrightable work is completed, unless otherwise provided in the employment contract. On the expiry of the 10-year period, the employer can request another 10-year extension, provided that it compensates the employee for the transfer.

Restrictive covenants

What types of restrictive covenants are recognised and enforceable?

In compliance with the law, workers must refrain, during the employment relationship, from all conduct which, given the nature of the work performed for the employer, materially or morally harms or could harm the employer’s business interests. They must also protect the employer’s business secrets and cannot compete with their employer during the employment relationship without their employer’s written approval (non-compete covenants).

Employers may claim compensation for any damage caused by a worker in this regard within three months of learning of the performance of additional work or business and no later than three years of the work or business being completed.

Non-compete

Are there any special rules on non-competes for particular classes of employee?

Employers that believe that a worker has gained technical or business knowledge and established business contacts while performing their duties can include a non-compete clause in the employment contract, which will prohibit the worker from performing competitive activity after the termination of the employment contract.

Non-compete clauses will be valid only if:

  • the employer pays the worker a monthly fee for complying with the clause; and
  • any termination of the employment contract is a consequence of:
    • an extraordinary termination of the employment contract by the employer;
    • an agreement;
    • an ordinary termination of the employment contract by the employee; or
    • an ordinary termination of the employment contract based on fault.

The non-compete clause must:

  • be laid down with reasonable time limits and be no longer than two years;
  • not exclude the possibility of suitable employment for the worker; and
  • not be in contravention of the principle of equivalent mutual performance.

Discipline and grievance procedures

Procedures

Are there specific laws on the procedures employers must follow with regard to discipline and grievance procedures?

Discipline and grievance procedures are regulated by the Employment Relationships Act (ERA-1).

Prior to the ordinary termination of an employment contract based on fault, the employer must – within 60 days of identifying a violation and no later than six months from the occurrence of said violation – remind the worker in writing about the fulfilment of their obligations and the possibility of their employment contract being terminated should they repeat the violation within one year of receipt of the written warning (unless otherwise agreed in a branch collective agreement). In any event, this timeline cannot extend beyond two years.

Prior to the ordinary termination of an employment contract based on fault or incompetence, or the extraordinary termination of an employment contract, the employer must:

  • provide the worker a written list of the alleged violations or incompetence; and
  • give the worker an opportunity to defend themselves within a reasonable period (no shorter than three working days), unless circumstances exist which make it unreasonable to expect the employer to provide such an opportunity.

Ordinary termination of an employment contract based on fault must be given within 60 days of identifying the reason for termination and no later than six months from the offence occurring. If the worker’s misconduct constitutes a criminal offence, the employer may terminate their contract within 60 days of identifying the misconduct. This applies to the entire period in which the offender may be subject to criminal prosecution.

The extraordinary termination of an employment contract must be given within 30 days of identifying the reasons for said termination and no later than six months from the offence occurring. If the misconduct constitutes a criminal offence, the employer may terminate the worker’s contract within 30 days of identifying the misconduct. This applies to the entire period in which the offender may be subject to criminal prosecution.

The ERA-1 also contains special provisions regarding disciplinary responsibility. Specifically, employers may impose penalties (eg, fines or the denial of bonuses) on workers who have breached their contractual obligations if these penalties are set out in a branch collective agreement; however, disciplinary measures may not permanently change the labour law status of the worker.

Industrial relations

Unions and layoffs

Is your country (or a particular area) known to be heavily unionised?

Trade union activity is widespread in Slovenia for a wide range of activities and occupations. 

What are the rules on trade union recognition?

Trade union activity is considered a fundamental human right under the Constitution and is governed by the Employment Relationships Act (ERA-1) and the Representativeness of Trade Unions Act.

A legal entity will acquire the status of a trade union once a court decision has been issued regarding the deposit of entity’s articles of association. There are no prescribed terms and conditions to which trade unions must adhere. The Representativeness of Trade Unions Act expressly sets out the terms and conditions that a trade union must fulfil in order to become a representative trade union – specifically, it must:

  • be democratic and have freedom over membership, functioning and the implementation of membership rights and obligations;
  • operate uninterruptedly for at least six months;
  • be independent from the state and employers;
  • be largely financed from membership fees and other independent sources; and
  • have the requisite number of members, as defined by law.

What are the rules on collective bargaining?

Representative trade unions can:

  • conclude collective agreements with general validity and participate in decision-making bodies’ dealings in relation to economic and social security, as well as propose candidates from among workers who participate in management;
  • issue opinions on employers’ draft acts, in compliance with the ERA-1;
  • consult with employers about changes in employee transfers;
  • consult in the case of largescale terminations; and
  • consult about the possibility of introducing night work.

Trade unions without representative status do not enjoy the abovementioned rights.

Termination

Notice

Are employers required to give notice of termination?

Employment contracts can be terminated only as set out by the Employment Relationships Act (ERA-1). Terminations must be in writing. If an employment contract is terminated by the employer, the reasons therein must be explained and the employee must be advised of their legal protections and rights under unemployment insurance. The employer must also service notice on the employee in person. The notice period and period for claiming judicial protection will begin on the day on which notice is served.

Redundancies

What are the rules that govern redundancy procedures?

The rules for redundancy procedures are stipulated in the ERA-1 and applicable collective agreements, which will cover additional obligations and criteria for redundancies.

Are there particular rules for collective redundancies/mass layoffs?

The deadlines and procedures that employers must comply with in the case of redundancies depend on the total number of employees employed and the number of redundancies.

Employers with more than 20 but fewer than 100 employees that want to make at least 10 employees redundant; employers with more than 100 but fewer than 300 employees that want to make at least 10% of their workforce redundant; and employers with more than 300 employees that want to make 30 employees redundant must:

  • terminate the employment contracts following a special procedure;
  • prepare a dismissal programme for the redundant employees; and
  • notify the trade union and Employment Service of Slovenia of the reasons for the redundancies and the number and projected categories of the redundant employees.

The trade union will play an important role in the preparation of the dismissal programme, since the employer must first consult with the trade union about all of the material circumstances surrounding the termination and agree on:

  • the proposed criteria for determining which employees to make redundant;
  • potential ways to avoid or limit the number of redundancies; and
  • possible measures to prevent and mitigate harmful consequences.
Protections

What protections do employees have on dismissal?

A worker may request the competent labour court to review the legality of their termination or the means of termination set out in their employment contract.

If an employer terminates an employment contract for business reasons or due to incompetence, the worker is entitled to severance pay. In this case, the worker is also entitled to benefits under unemployment insurance. This is also true if a worker’s employment contract is terminated because they failed to pass their probation period.

Finally, workers are entitled to receive the minimum notice period set out in the ERA-1.

Courts/tribunals

Jurisdiction and procedure

Which tribunals or courts have jurisdiction to hear complaints?

Special courts set up to hear labour and social disputes have jurisdiction over complaints in this regard.

What is the procedure and typical timescale?

If a worker believes that their employer has failed to fulfil its obligations under the employment contract or has violated any of the worker’s rights therein, they can request, in writing, that their employer remove the violation and/or fulfil its obligations. If the employer fails to do so within eight working days, the worker has 30 days to request judicial protection before the competent labour court.

Within 30 days of a decision, workers may also request that the competent labour court review:

  • the legality of their termination or other modes of termination of the employment contract; and
  • disciplinary decisions taken against the worker.

Notwithstanding the 30-day limit, workers may enforce monetary claims arising from an employment relationship directly before the competent labour court.

When it comes to disputes concerning the existence or termination of an employment relationship (which are prioritised by the courts), the average timeframe from filing an action to a decision from the Higher Labour and Social Court is one-and-a-half years. Such decisions are final. In the case of other disputes, the timeframe is slightly more than three years.

Appeals

What is the route for appeals?

Appeals against first-instance judgments can be filed with the Higher Labour and Social Court. In certain cases stipulated by law, it is possible to file an extraordinary appeal against a settled labour dispute with the Supreme Court.

Law stated date

Correct on

Give the date on which the above content is accurate.

20 August 2019.