Serbian Employment Contracts
Foreign companies hiring employees in Serbia must operate within a framework of legislation, collective bargaining and workplace agreements that provide safeguards and entitlements for the workforce. The main pieces of legislation in Serbia are the Labor Law and Employment Act, which covers Serbian residents and non-residents and Serbian companies and foreign-owned legal entities.
The Labor Law also stipulates where contracts and collective and workplace agreements must comply with the law. Employment contracts in Serbia come under the Employment Rights Act. Any employee benefits or entitlements that are not dealt with by the specific contract or collective agreements are automatically covered by the requirements in the Labor Law or the Employment Rights Act.
Employment Contracts in Serbia
Apart from the specific terms, employees must be given their formal written contract no later than the first day of employment. The contract should be in a language fully understood by all involved parties, whatever their nationality, although it may be drawn up in the local language. English is frequently used in employment contracts.
Mandatory information required for all contracts includes identities and addresses of all parties, employment start date, place, and type of work, working hours, annual leave, notice periods, type of contract and any trial period contract.
The main types of employment contracts are:
- Open-ended, Permanent, Indefinite Employment Contracts: The typical contract form that can be terminated mutually, or by either party with or without notice by following the correct procedures prescribed by the Labor Law and the Employment Rights Act.
- Fixed-term Employment Contracts: The fixed-term agreement specifies an end date or a specific project or set of circumstances. Generally, they cannot exceed 24 months, although in certain circumstances can be extended to 36 months, for example if it is tied to the duration of a foreign employee’s work permit. If a contract does not specify fixed-term it is automatically indefinite; if an employee is asked to work more than five days after completing the fixed-term agreement, the contract becomes indefinite. If an employer fails to sign a fixed-term contract it is deemed to be indefinite.
- Other Employment Contracts: The Labor Law allows for contracts for temporary or occasional work and for service contracts. Temporary contracts cannot exceed 120 days in a calendar year and are aimed primarily at the unemployed, part-time workers or individuals drawing a pension. Service contracts are to provide services not covered by the employer’s usual activities.