Despite having a small population, Serbia has proved itself as a great hiring destination for companies looking for remote employees.
Serbia is a solid source of talent because:
- It has a highly educated working class with a literacy rate of over 99.48%
- It has a relatively low employment rate in comparison to other European countries, meaning that there are willing workers
- Many workers from Serbia choose to freelance for extra income
- It has a low cost of living and relatively lower minimum wage than the rest of Europe, making it a great country for outsourcing
To get employees in Serbia, you should understand Serbian labor law, from the employment contract law to the leave policy. Besides ensuring compliance, following Serbian employment law will make sure that your employees are happy working for you. Luckily, you can take the guesswork out of hiring in Serbia by getting started with Skuad today.
Working hours in Serbia
A Serbian workweek lasts 40 hours. Each day has eight working hours with at least a 30-minute break in between. Employees are required to work from Monday to Friday, with at least a 12-hour rest interval between any two workdays. Each week should have one day of rest.
While overtime is permitted in Serbia, it's not common. If you require employees to work overtime, it shouldn't exceed 4 hours per day or 8 hours per week. You're required to pay employees for every extra hour worked at 126% of their normal wages.
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Public holidays in Serbia
Employees are entitled to eight public holidays and five working holidays in Serbia. The eight public non-working holidays include:
- New Year's – 1st and 2nd January
- Christmas – 7th January
- Day of the Statehood of Serbia – 15th and 16th February
- Labor Day – 1st and 2nd May
- Armistice Day in the First World War – 11th November
The five working annual holidays in Serbia are:
- Saint Sava – 27th January
- National Holocaust, WWII Genocide, and other Fascist Crimes Victims' Remembrance Day – 22nd April
- Victory day – 9th May
- Vidovdan – 28th June
- Day of Remembrance of Serbian Victims in the Second World War – 21st October
Employees have a right not to work during these religious holidays:
- The first day of Eid al-Adha and the first day of Eid al-Fitr – Muslim employees
- The first day of Easter and the first day of Christmas – Christian employees
- First day of Yom Kippur – Jewish employees
- From Good Friday to the second day of Easter – Christian employees
If one of the public holiday dates falls on a Sunday, the following first working day will be treated as a non-working day. Employees are free to have the day off.
The public holiday rules are different for organizations that require continuous service delivery or those whose performance of services is essential to avoid harmful consequences to citizens or the state. Employees of such organizations are required to continue performing their duties throughout religious and state holidays.
Employees that work during non-working public holidays are entitled to at least 110% of their base salary for that day.
Types of leave in Serbia
Under Serbian labor law, employees are entitled to multiple types of leave, including:
Annual leave in Serbia
Employees' annual leave is set at a minimum of 20 working days annually, during which they're compensated at the same rate as their annual salary. When determining annual leave, a working week is considered to be worth five days. Non-working public holidays, sick leave, or paid absence from work aren't counted as part of the annual leave.
Employees activate their right to annual leave after one month of continuous employment. This period of continuous employment includes any days of paid absence or sick leave. An employee accrues their annual leave at a rate of 1/12th of the annual leave for each month of work.
Your employees can use their annual leave all at once or in two parts unless you mutually agree that they use their leave in several parts. This first part shall be at least two consecutive weeks. Employees have until 30th June of the next year to use a previous year's annual leave, or it expires.
Employees who fall sick within their annual leave are entitled to proceed with their annual leave once their temporary inability to work (illness or injury) expires.
In case of termination, you'll be required to pay your employee for their unused annual leave. The compensation is calculated at the employee's average salary in the last 12 months, proportional to the days of unused annual leave.
Sick leave in Serbia
Employees qualify for 30 days of paid sick leave. Compensation during sick leave should follow this formula:
- If an employee's sickness isn't work-related, they must be compensated at 65% of their average salary in the last 12 months.
- If an employee's sickness or injury is work-related, they're entitled to compensation at 100% of their average salary in the last 12 months.
Employees should submit a certificate from a physician within three days of getting injured or sick. The certificate should follow the directives of the health insurance regulations.
If an employee's sick leave lasts longer than 30 days, the state pays for the additional leave.
Maternity leave in Serbia
Expectant employees are entitled to both maternity and childcare leave for a maximum duration of 365 days. The monthly compensation during their maternity leave is equal to their average salary in the last 12 months preceding the leave.
The earliest your female employees can begin their maternity leave is 45 days before their delivery date. The latest an employee can begin their maternity leave is 28 days before the delivery date. Maternity leave lasts up to three months following childbirth.
After the three months of post-birth maternity leave expires, an employee can take a leave of absence to nurse their newborn. The leave of absence should expire 365 days after the commencement of the maternity leave.
A mother who loses her child is still entitled to the 3-month post-birth maternity leave.
The total maternity leave and leave for childcare increases to two years for an employee who has given birth to three or more children since her first pregnancy.
Paternity leave in Serbia
The father is also entitled to paternity leave, including if:
- The mother abandons the child or dies
- The mother is prevented from taking care of the child due to justified reasons like serious illness or prison sentence
- The mother is unemployed
The father will also be entitled to childcare leave (365 days) in such circumstances. Male employees who take up this leave are compensated at their average salary for the 12 months before the start of the paternity leave.
Leave for children with disabilities
If a legal guardian, adoptive parent, or birth parent is taking care of a child with special needs like psychological or physical disability, they're entitled to work half of the full working hours until the child reaches the age of five. This entitlement to a half day of work starts after the expiry of the maternity leave and childcare leave period.
The compensation for the employee should match the amount of time they spend at work.
Foster care and adoptive leave
Foster parents for kids that are below five years of age are entitled to a leave of absence of 8 consecutive months. or until the child turns five. If the placement of the child occurs before the child turns three months old, the foster parents are entitled to paid leave until the child turns 11 months old.
Foster parents are to be compensated at their normal salary during the period of the leave.
Unpaid leave in Serbia
Employees can also receive unpaid leave if the following situations occur:
- The employee leaves to serve in the military or complete an uncompleted period of military service
- The employee is temporarily assigned to work with another employer
- The employee is appointed into an office within a trade union, a state agency, a political organization, or public office, requiring them to temporarily stop working for you as the employer
- The employee is serving a prison sentence that'll last no more than three months
Bereavement leave in Serbia
Employees are entitled to a paid bereavement leave of 5 working days after an immediate family member dies. The employee must be compensated at their regular salary.
Paid leave in Serbia
An employee can take paid leave for up to 5 days per calendar year in case of marriage, serious illness of a family member, or childbirth.
Hire Serbian talent today
Serbia is a great source of talent for your business as long as you understand and follow its employment laws. Employees expect employers to adhere to all labor laws, such as the employee's paid annual leave entitlement and sick leave entitlement. In addition to keeping employees happy, adhering to these rules can help you successfully hire in Serbia without issues with the law.
If hiring in Serbia seems daunting, you can always use an EOR service provider like Skuad. We can help you navigate the legalities of hiring in Serbia. We'll also help you manage everyday tasks like payroll, talent sourcing, hiring, and employee benefits to keep your business running smoothly.