What is an Employment Contract and What Are Your Rights?

An employment contract is a fundamental document that establishes the employment relationship and defines the rights and obligations between the employee and the employer. It is considered concluded when both parties sign the document, thereby formalizing the start of the employment relationship. In this text, we will explain in detail the key conditions for establishing an employment relationship, the main characteristics of an employment contract, and the importance of starting work.

Learn everything you need to know about your rights and obligations, as well as how to ensure the legality and security of your employment relationship. Whether you are an employer or an employee, understanding the employment contract is crucial for a successful business relationship.

Conditions for Establishing an Employment Relationship

An employment contract can be concluded with a person who is at least 15 years old. If you are under 18, you can establish an employment relationship only with written consent from a parent or guardian, provided that the work does not endanger your health, morals, or education, and is not prohibited by law. A medical report from the competent health authority is required to confirm your ability to perform the tasks for which the employment relationship is being established.

When concluding an employment contract, you must provide the employer with all relevant documents and evidence that you meet the conditions for the job. The employer cannot request information that is not relevant to the job, such as marital status or family planning. Additionally, a pregnancy test can only be required if there is a health risk to the woman and child. The employment contract cannot be conditioned on a prior resignation declaration.

Mandatory Elements of an Employment Contract

Although the principle of autonomy of will allows contracting parties to freely arrange their mutual relations, the employment contract is an exception due to its social importance. The state prescribes the minimum mandatory elements of an employment contract to protect employees from possible employer arbitrariness.

The employment contract must be concluded before the employee starts work, in written form, and in at least three copies. Mandatory elements of every employment contract include:

  1. Employer’s name and registered office
  2. Employee’s full name and place of residence
  3. Type and level of the employee’s qualifications
  4. Job title and description
  5. Workplace location
  6. Type of employment (fixed-term or indefinite)
  7. Duration of the fixed-term contract
  8. Start date of employment
  9. Working hours (full-time, part-time, reduced)
  10. Basic salary amount

Employers who have a collective agreement or work regulations may omit some elements, provided these elements are regulated by the employer’s general act.

The Role of the Employment Contract Among Legal Acts

Rights, obligations, and responsibilities from the employment relationship are regulated by the Labor Law, collective agreement, and employment contract. A collective agreement and work regulations cannot contain provisions that reduce the rights established by law. If the employer’s general act and the employment contract provide less favorable conditions than the law, the more favorable legal provisions apply.

Importance of Starting Work

While signing the employment contract precedes starting work, all rights and obligations from the employment relationship are activated only upon starting work. If the employer does not conclude the employment contract before the employee starts work, it is considered that the employment relationship was established for an indefinite period from the day the employee starts work.

If the employee does not start work on the specified day without a justified reason, the employment contract remains invalid, and the employee cannot exercise rights from the employment relationship.


When establishing an employment relationship, pay attention to the following:

  • An employment contract can be concluded with a person older than 15 years, with special conditions for minors.
  • The employment contract must be in written form and contain all mandatory elements that protect your rights.
  • The employer must give you a copy of the contract before starting work.
  • If you start work without a signed contract, you have the same rights as if you had established an indefinite employment relationship.
  • The employment contract cannot reduce the rights guaranteed by law.

Adhering to these rules ensures the legality of the employment relationship and the protection of employee rights.

AK Stojković, characteristics of employment contract, employee rights, employer and employee rights, employment contract, employment contract conditions, employment contract terms, employment regulations, establishing employment relationship, lawful employment contracts, legal advice employment, rights and obligations, signing employment contract, work contract Serbia, work law Serbia

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