Special Collective Agreements Cease to Exist in Serbia

Serbian attorneys' strike - causes and consequences

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On January 29th, 2015 all special collective agreements in the Republic of Serbia ceased to exist. According to the latest amendments to the Labour Law that were enacted last year, the provisions of all collective agreements not contrary to the law remained in force for an additional 6 months, but as the 6 months expired on January 29th, 2015, all collective agreements were put out of force.

Special collective agreements used to provide more extensive rights for employees, while the Labour Law itself stipulates minimal rights. However, since special collective agreements are no longer in force, employers are now obliged to provide employees only with the minimal rights stipulated by the Labour Law. Thus the Labour Law is currently the only obligatory general act specifying the minimal rights of employees and is relevant for all employers, regardless of their business activity. 

As for enacting new special collective agreements, there are still no indications that negotiations between representatives of the Republic of Serbia and the representative trade unions will be initiated.  Still, the obligation of employers with trade unions to participate in negotiations for collective agreements remains. 

Given the above, the position of employers in the Republic of Serbia can be considered improved. Employment, one of the key issues for investors, has been regulated so that employers now have fewer limitations, and hence more freedom when determining the rights of their employees.

By Jelena Aleksic, Junior Lawyer, JPM Jankovic Popovic Mitic