Internship Will Soon Be Regulated In Serbia
LAW ON LABOR PRACTICE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM OF SERBIA
The Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans Affairs, and Social Affairs has published the Draft Law on Labor Practice as a novelty in the legal life of the Republic of Serbia. The document was sent for public discussion, which lasts until 23 December 2021.
REASONS FOR DRAFTING THE LAW
What characterizes young people in Serbia is the high unemployment rate, which was the case in 2020, when the youth unemployment rate was 26.6%, while the employment rate was at the level of 20.8%. Young people in Serbia are also characterized by a relatively low level of activity in the labor market, with only 28.3% active in 2020.
All these are indicators that forced the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans, and Social Affairs to react in order to ensure the acquisition of specific knowledge, certain skills, and practical experience through normative regulation of work practice, and thus improve employment opportunities in the labor market.
WHAT DOES THE LAW STIPULATE?
First of all, the law defines the term “practitioner” by including a natural person up to 30 years of age who performs an internship with an employer in order to gain practical experience, specific knowledge, and appropriate skills for work in a particular occupation.
In addition, the new law will regulate the limited duration of employment organized by the employer, which enables the trainee to gain practical experience, specific knowledge, and appropriate skills in a certain profession.
The manner of gaining practical experience, specific knowledge, and appropriate skills through work practice will also be regulated, as well as the rights, obligations, and responsibilities of both the employer and the trainee.
The law, among other things, prescribes the right to compensation for internships in the amount of at least two-thirds of the minimum wage, increased by the corresponding contributions and taxes.
Furthermore, a practitioner who performs part-time work will be entitled to compensation for work practice in proportion to the time spent on practice, and will also be entitled to mandatory pension and disability insurance, as well as mandatory health insurance.
The law also covers persons under the age of 18. Namely, it is proposed that a person under the age of 18 can be hired as a practitioner only on the basis of the findings of the competent health authority which determines that he is capable of performing work practice and that performing work practice is not harmful to his health.
The law also stipulates a lower age limit for performing work practice. Namely, work practice can be performed by an unemployed person who is at least 15 years old and who has acquired at least primary education but has not acquired work experience in the profession for which he or she is doing a work practice, regardless of whether he or she is registered as unemployed.
LEGAL BASIS BETWEEN EMPLOYER AND PRACTITIONER
An employment relationship will not be established between the employer and the practitioner, and the employer will, according to the draft proposal, hire a practitioner on the basis of a work practice contract.
As for working hours, they cannot be longer than 40 hours per week, and the employer must not require the practitioner to perform work tasks that are not provided for in the work practice plan and for which no work practice contract has been concluded.
WHAT IS NOT CONSIDERED WORKING PRACTICE?
Practical class and professional practice that are realized with the employer or combined, partly in high school, and partly with the employer, are not considered a work practice.
Work practice with the employer, which is part of secondary vocational education and upbringing, as well as student practice organized by a higher education institution within basic and master studies, will not be considered a work practice.
The work practice will not include internships, volunteering, or learning through work with the employer, which is part of the model of realization of teaching in study programs in higher education.