Work and Employment in Serbia

What to pay attention to

Whether you are a new employer or already doing business on the market, regardless of the legal form in which you perform your activity, there are a number of imperative legal norms in the field of work and employment in order to meet the minimum legally guaranteed rights of employees.

Respecting the number of legal regulation of labor relations and the large number of relations that are subject to regulation, this text aims to provide the reader with overview of labor relations in Serbia, in order to achieve a substantial understanding from the point of the employer and its rights and obligations to employees, all with the aim of successful business, unencumbered by incorrect or wrong labor law policy.

Labor Law (“Official Gazette of RS”, No. 24/2005, 61/2005, 54/2009, 32/2013, 75/2014, 13/2017 – decision US, 113/2017 and 95/2018 – authentic interpretation), as the basic law in the sphere of labor and employment, Article 9 confirms the minimum legally guaranteed rights by prescribing:

“The collective agreement and the rulebook (hereinafter: general act) and the employment contract may not contain provisions that give the employee less rights or determine less favorable working conditions than the rights and conditions established by law.

The general act and the employment contract may determine greater rights and more favorable working conditions than the rights and conditions established by law, as well as other rights not determined by law, unless otherwise provided by law.”

Therefore, by defining the scope of employees’ rights either by a general act or by an employment contract, the employer can only determine the greater rights of employees outside the law.

General acts

Contrary to the Labor Law, closer and more thorough regulation of the employer-employee relationship, prescribing internal procedures and general principles, provisions in case of non-compliance, and having in mind the specific activity of the employer, is achieved by adopting general acts, which the Labor Law recognizes as a collective agreement in a situation when the employer has an organized trade union, and a rulebook, when that is not the case.

The general act defines in detail all aspects of work with the employer, without special restrictions, except those in compliance with the minimum legally guaranteed rights of employees. Such an act, in addition to the Labor Law and other regulations governing the sphere of work and employment, is the basis of mutual rights and obligations between employer and employee, which after its adoption is concretized in the labor speech, and therefore it is crucial that the general act be comprehensive. and detailed, so that certain relations would not remain unregulated, and as such were fertile ground for all kinds of misunderstandings and disagreements.


There are a number of regulations that employers are obliged to adopt in accordance with the Labor Law, as well as in accordance with other laws that regulate work and employment. Apart from them, there are also regulations that are not mandatory and which regulate various aspects of work with an individual employer, procedures, techniques and penal provisions for non-compliance. Precisely such regulations are of key importance for a good business relationship. Defining the relationship with the regulations directly affects the narrowing of arbitrariness and arbitrary interpretation of the relationship between the employer and the employee, as well as the relationship between the employees themselves. Although employers often do not even have mandatory regulations, such regulations are essential for business security because of everything that has just been explained.

Adoption of individual acts

A frequent phenomenon that is encountered among employers in Serbia is a situation when legal norms are met in practice, but without the appropriate individual acts stating this. Individual acts are considered to be contracts, annexes to contracts and decisions by which the employer decides on certain rights of employees. This practice is problematic in many ways, in the first place, from the point of view of inspection supervision, and in the second place from the point of view of potential court proceedings between employers and employees. In both cases, the negative implications are reflected in the material losses, whether it is a misdemeanor penalty or compensation for material damage.

The same applies to keeping appropriate records, and from that point of view it is necessary to take a responsible approach to one’s own business, as well as to the guaranteed rights of employees.

Accuracy and precision

In many years of labor law practice, accuracy and precision have proven to be two characteristic virtues that are of key importance for fulfilling all elements of the labor law relationship, having in mind the character of labor law legal requirements.

Therefore, it is necessary to perform work on fulfilling labor law requirements with accuracy, dedication and attention, because otherwise there is a risk of various negative implications which, once again, can only bring material losses for the employer, and even jeopardize the business itself.

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