Recruiting Top Talent in Serbia

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Serbian Top Talent

Finding and recruiting top talent in any overseas territory poses many potential pitfalls for foreign companies that are expanding their global reach.

This is certainly the case for the Republic of Serbia which, despite its developing economy and growing attraction for international expansion, is still not a mainstream destination for foreign companies.

Serbia’s potential – and the challenges it brings – underlines why Bradford Jacobs’ global experience is indispensable for taking the smartest recruitment route into the country.

The Recruitment Process in Serbia

  • Serbia offers a variety of cultures, languages, heritage, and religions. It is an intriguing but complicated mix, and one which needs expert guidance when it comes to recruitment, either by sourcing staff locally or moving them into the country.
  • Serbia’s employment market has a well-educated workforce with generally good English skills that can help circumvent the mix of languages in the region. Local recruitment sites and job portals include Poslovi and Balkan Job Finder, while Facebook and LinkedIn are of course part of the process for researching potential staff. 
  • The National Employment Service of Serbia is another source for advice on employment, while international agencies also operate there. The more qualified the applicant, the more choice there will be, and language also plays an important part; so, a good working knowledge of Serbian may be a pre-requisite.
  • Serbia provides a comprehensive framework of regulations and statutes that safeguard employment rights, both for local staff and recruits from overseas.
  • Recruitment is the first stage of making your company operational and competitive in Serbia. It is vital to know where to locate the finest talent to be a perfect fit for your company’s expansion plans. Do not waste time – contact Bradford Jacobs.
  • Once recruited, companies must then consider the implications of handling payroll for their staff and dealing with the tax and social insurance authorities. It is a legal requirement in Serbia to establish a legal entity to undertake these responsibilities, then strict registration procedures must be followed to onboard staff. These include:
  • Obtaining employees’ Tax Identification Number (TIN) from the Tax Administration (Poreska Uprava) and registering with the Social Insurance Institute (Zavod za Socijalno Osiguranje, ZSO)
  • Mandatory registration with the ZSO for health insurance with the Fund for Disability and Pension Insurance via the Central Registry of Compulsory Social Insurance
  • Calculating, deducting, and remitting tax and social insurance contributions to the authorities, before the net amount is paid to the employee
  • All transactions must be lodged electronically with the Tax Administration
  • Prepare employment contracts, which are generally open-ended or fixed-term and can include a probation period. They must be concluded and signed before the employee commences work, with two copies for the employer and one for the employee

Legal Checks on Employees in Serbia

  • Scope: Although not common practice, there are no specific restrictions other than those regarding discrimination and protecting personal information. Under the Labor Law, employers can only request information related to the position being applied for.
  • Personal Status: Employers are prohibited from inquiring about family or marital status or family planning.
  • Discrimination: The Law on Protection against Discrimination protects candidates and employees alike from direct or indirect discrimination regarding the following: Race or ethnic origin; health, pregnancy, or disability; age or any personal characteristics; religious or political beliefs or affiliations; trade union membership.
  • Criminal Record: The Criminal Code states citizens cannot be asked to prove either a conviction or non-conviction and that relevant data can be given only to state bodies such as the courts or prosecutors.
  • Data Protection: Personal information on such as health or criminal convictions is protected under the Law on Personal Data Protection, which could be contravened if employment is denied on such grounds.
  • Required: The employer must check the applicant has the required visas and work permits.

Basic Facts on Hiring in Serbia

  • Companies hiring staff for expansion into Serbia must comply with a framework of employment and taxation regulations. Some are subject to mandatory state regulations, while collective and trade union agreements can improve on the statutory basic minimums. Basic requirements on hiring cover the following:
  • The Labor Law (2005) stipulates that an agreed contract must be concluded in writing before the employee starts work
  • The contract must detail the following: Full names and addresses of both parties; place of work, job title and description of role; start date of employment; salary and payment schedule; working hours; whether the contract is indefinite or fixed term, with end date in case of the latter; any benefits
  • The Labor Law decrees that any company employing more than 10 persons must have a workplace rulebook
  • Any aspects of employment not covered by the contract will be subject to the Labor Law or any collective agreements
  • If the contract does not specify either indefinite / open-ended or fixed term it is automatically deemed open-ended. Where an employee is asked to work for more than five days after the end of a fixed-term contract, it automatically becomes indefinite
  • Unless covered by contract, notice periods range between eight and 30 days, depending on the employee’s contributions to the pension insurance fund