The Republic of Serbia's Act on Conditions for Assignment of Employees to Temporary Work Abroad and their Protection ("Act") entered into force on 13 November 2015, and it will be applicable as of 13 January 2016.
The provisions of this Act will not be applicable to the assignment of employees to EU member states or countries in the European Economic Area as of the day the Republic of Serbia becomes a full member of the EU.
The key features of the Act include:
1 Application of the Act
The Act applies to employers who assign their employees to temporary work outside of Serbia in order to:
- work on investment projects, or other projects, or on providing services based on an agreement on business-cooperation or another appropriate grounds;
- either work for or attend vocational education, and training offerings at the employer's business units abroad; and
- either work or attend vocational education, and training offerings within intercompany assignments.
The Act does not apply to the assignment of employees to a business trip abroad provided that the period during which the employee is abroad does not exceed 30 consecutive days, or 90 days in total (with interruptions) within a calendar year.
2 Conditions of Assignment
- The maximum duration of assignment abroad is 12 months, with the possibility of extension (unless otherwise provided by the Act or international agreement);
- The employer can assign both employees with indefinite term employment agreements and those with definite term employment agreements;
- When employees with definite term employment agreements are assigned abroad, the time of their assignment shall not be counted in the maximum statutory term of the definite term employment agreement;
- Employee's consent for assignment abroad is mandatory – except if his/her employment agreement stipulated the possibility of assignment without a consent;
- The Act specifies the cases in which employees can turn down being assigned abroad (e.g. pregnancy, when an employee has a child under the age of 3 years, etc). The Employer may also choose to accept other justified reasons for which the employee may turn down such an assignment.
3 Employer's Obligation
The Employer is obliged to:
- Regulate the assignment abroad by concluding the annex to the employment agreement with the employee (with mandatory content as provided by the Act);
- Provide at its own expense meal and accommodation for employees by standards of the country where the work is performed (or, in accordance with the terms of the bargaining agreement/work rulebook if more favorable for employees);
- Provide transportation for commuting to and from work, or reimbursement of expenses for such purposes;
- Provide occupational health and safety;
- Provide mandatory social insurance (health insurance, pension and disability insurance, and insurance in case of unemployment);
- Provide salary in accordance with the regulations of the Republic of Serbia, and not lower than the guaranteed minimum salary according to the regulations of the country to which employee is assigned to;
- Preparation of employee prior to assignment abroad which includes: providing information about life conditions in the country and the city to which employee shall be assigned (before employee gives his/her consent on assignment), providing health checks and preventive measures, providing transportation to the place where employee shall work abroad and return home, procuring work and residence permits
The employer shall be obliged to register the appropriate changes of the employees' mandatory social insurance triggered by assignment with the Central Registry of Mandatory Social Insurance
4 Procedure of Assignment
No later than the day preceding the assignment the employer shall submit the notification of assignment to the Ministry of Labour. The notification shall be provided on a particular form which content shall be regulated by a separate by-law expected to be adopted within 45 days from 13 November 2015.
Once the notification is submitted the employer shall, within seven days following the assignment of employees, provide the Ministry of Labour with the certificate from the Central Registry of Mandatory Social Insurance containing the list of the assigned employees, and particular data in relation to changes of the social insurance incurred due to the assignment.
The Act envisages number of misdemeanour offences for which employers shall be fined in amount ranging between RSD 600,000 (EUR 5,000) to RSD 1,500,000 (EUR 12,500), and also some others which shall be fined with the fixed amounts equal to RSD 100,000 (EUR 800).
Finally, it is important to note, that all the assignments of employees initiated prior to entry into force of this Act shall be completed in accordance with the provisions of the previous act (Act on Protection of Citizens of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia at Work Abroad).
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.