The beginning of the summer brought amendments to several employment-related laws. The most notable changes are presented below:
The Law on the Employment of Foreigners
- The duration of the labour market test – The labour market test within the work-permit acquisition process (through which the National Employment Service examines whether there are any Serbian citizens suitable for the vacant position), is shortened to 10 days, having previously lasted one month. This amendment is expected to expedite the procedure of issuing work permits.
- A new type of work permit is introduced –the temporary work permit. This permit may be issued in cases of national interest or for the purpose of fulfilling Serbia's international obligations. In this case, the labour market test may even last less than 10 days, upon the Minister of Labour's decision. The temporary work permit may be issued with consent from the Minister of Interior to a foreigner who applied for a temporary residence permit, with a validity period of up to 45 days.
The Law on the Conditions for the Secondment of Employees on Temporary Work Abroad
- A new precondition for secondment abroad - From now on, employers may send abroad only those employees who have been employed for at least three months prior to secondment, except: (i) if the secondment is arranged within a scope of main activity registered at the Business Registers Agency, and (ii) the number of seconded employees does not exceed 20% of the total number of employees.
This novelty will not be applied to the cases of secondment that are arranged under the treaty between Serbia and Germany.
- A less formal procedure - Employers are no longer obliged to inform the Ministry of Labour in cases of secondment abroad.
The Law on Financial Support to Families with Children
The new law that regulates the financial support to families with children, and that was adopted in December of the last year, became applicable on 1 July 2018. The most significant novelties introduced by this law include:
- Change in the manner of payment – Until 1 July, employers were obliged to effect the payment of salary compensations for their employees on maternity leave and childcare leave, and, afterwards, to a refund for such a payment from the state. These compensations are now directly paid to the respective employees by the ministry competent for social affairs - thus, employers will not perform payments in this regard.
- Change of the base for compensation - The base for calculating salary compensation during maternity and childcare leave is now set as an average of the actual salary paid within the last 18-month period, and not as the average salary paid within the last 12 months, as was the case under the previous law.
- Change of the maximum amount for compensation – The maximum amount for salary compensation during maternity and childcare leave is now set to the sum of 3 average salaries in the Republic of Serbia according to statistical data, instead of the previous sum of 5 average salaries. This change is frequently criticized as being unfavorable for female employees on managerial positions, as it significantly limits their payments during a sensitive time period, however, the disputable maximum stands for the time being.
The Law on the Peaceful Resolution of Labour Disputes
The most notable change in this law relates to the fact that disputes over the payment of salaries are now included in the scope of disputes that can be resolved in the procedure of peaceful dispute resolution.