The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia on 28 June 2018 adopted the set of amendments to the laws regulating employment of foreigners, secondment of employees abroad and peaceful settlement of labor disputes. On the same day the new law regulating work on seasonal jobs was adopted.
1. Law on Employment of Foreigners
The Law on Amendments to the Law on Employment of Foreigners was adopted with the aim to further develop a favorable business environment and to attract foreign investments in the Republic of Serbia. The amendments introduce more precise provisions regarding the procedure of issuing work permits for employment. The introduced amendments prescribe a shorter deadline for conducting the labor market test, from 30 days to 10 days, which significantly speeds up the procedure for issuing work permits for employment. In addition, exceptions are also foreseen when such deadline may even be shorter if it is in the interest of the Republic of Serbia or required by international obligations.
The amendments for the first time introduce the institute of temporary work permit for employment, which can be issued to a foreigner who meets all the employer’s requirements in relation to the adequate knowledge and skills, qualifications, previous experience etc., but with the previously obtained consent of the Minister responsible for internal affairs, provided that the foreigner has applied for temporary residence.
2. Law on Terms of Secondement of Employees Abroad for Temporary Employment and Their Protection
The Law on Amendments to the Law on Terms of Sending Employees Abroad for Temporary Employment and Their Protection introduces certain novelties when it comes to the procedure of secondment of employees abroad. Namely, amendments proscribe that the employee needs to be employed at least three months by the employer in question before being seconded abroad. It also proscribes the abolition of an employer’s legal obligation to send notifications of seconding employees abroad for temporary work to the Ministry of Labor and certificate from Central Registry of Compulsory Social Insurance, which to a certain extent relieves the procedure itself. Namely, all relevant information regarding secondment aboard shall be now sent directly to the competent Ministry by Central Registry.
3. Law on Peaceful Labor Dispute Resolution
The amendments to the Law on Peaceful Labor Dispute Resolution significantly expand the scope of the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labor Disputes. Namely, the competence for individual labor disputes was also expanded to include the disputes arising from payment of salaries, allowance of salaries, payment of severance pays during retirement, working hours and exercising rights to annual leave. According to the amendments, a collective labor dispute, inter alia, is a dispute arising from exercising rights to the establishment of union representativeness at the employer, as well as a dispute arising from the minimum work process. The dispute resolution agreement may be concluded based on a recommendation or regardless of it. It was specified that, in case the parties concluded the agreement, such agreement should become the basis for the conclusion of amendments to the collective agreement, or it should have the effect of an executive deed. By means of the amendments the previous 3 day deadline is extended to 5 days to allow the other party to declare whether they wish to participate in the proceedings.
The expert witness testimony is a significant novelty of the respective law, so the dispute parties would be able to hire an expert witness if they wish to. Unlike the services of the arbitrator and conciliator, which are free of charge for the dispute parties, the expert witness hiring costs will be borne by each party.
4. Law on Simplified Employment of Seasonal Workers in Certain Activities
The Law on Simplified Employment of Seasonal Workers in Certain Activities is adopted with the aim to improve the position of seasonal workers and to simplify their registration through an electronic platform. The law defines the jobs on which seasonal workers can be employed in the sectors of agriculture, forestry and fisheries. The employers may hire a seasonal worker for up to 180 days within a calendar year, whereby the worker has the right to the pension and disability insurance, as well as health insurance in case of workplace injury and work-related diseases, for the duration of their engagement. Wages are calculated and paid per work hour in the amount not lower than the prescribed minimum wage. Additionally, the law proscribes that a worker is not removed from the register of the unemployed while being hired on a seasonal job, nor is the payment of the temporary unemployment compensation by the National Employment Service stopped.