Guide to Serbian labor law

In this series of our #StartYourBusiness blogs, we strive to provide essential information on start of your business in the Republic of Serbia.  

In this text we have summarized frequently asked questions about employment law in the Republic of Serbia.

  1. What are the regulations on working hours and rest periods?

Working hours

Full-time working hours in Serbia is 40 hours weekly in general.  However, the employer can set working hours shorter than 40 hours but not shorter than 36 hours per week.

Daily break

The duration of the daily break depends on the duration of the working hours. For example, an employee who works at least 6 hours a day is entitled to a break of 30 minutes. An employee who works at least 10 hours per day is entitled to a break of at least 45 minutes.

In Serbian labor law, the break time is not counted as working time. This means that in a regular workday of 8 hours, 7.5 hours of this time is effective working time.

  1. Is there a statutory regulation on overtime? How is overtime compensated?


The employee is obliged to work longer than the full working hours in the following cases:

  1. force majeure;
  2. unexpected increase of the workload;
  3. in other cases when it is necessary to perform unplanned work within a certain deadline.

Overtime work may not exceed 8 hours per week or 12 hours per day including overtime.

Remuneration for overtime

The employer must pay the employee overtime at a rate of at least 126% of the hourly wage. According to Serbian law, overtime cannot be compensated with time off.

  1. Is there a statutory regulation on special payments (13th salary, Christmas bonus, bonus pay, etc.)?

Reimbursement of costs

The employee has the right to reimbursement for the following:

– travel expenses for commuting to/from work;

– daily allowance for a local business trip or trip abroad, as well travel expenses and accommodation and meals during business trip;

– meals during work;

– vacation pay for the use of annual leave.

There are no statutory entitlements to a 13th salary, Christmas bonus or other similar pay.


  1. What are the legal requirements on sick leave?

Sick leave and sick pay

Employer is obliged to bear the costs of employee’s salary during sick leave for a period of 30 (thirty) days, in the amount of:

  1. at least 65% of the employee’s average salary if the sick leave was not caused by work;
  2. in the amount of 100% of the employee’s average salary in the event of occupational disease or an injury at work.

Notification on sick leave

The employee is obliged to notify the employer on sick leave by medical certificate, which includes the expected period of absence, within 3 (three) days of the occurrence of incapacity for work at the latest.


  1. How is vacation regulated?

The statutory vacation entitlement is at 20 working days for each calendar year.

However, the employer is obliged to determine the criteria for an increase of vacation days based on working conditions, professional experience, level of education etc.


  1. Are there any special features regarding fixed-term employment contracts or a regulation on automatic termination of contract?

General regulation

The employer and the employee may conclude one or more fixed-term employment contracts for a period not exceeding 24 months in total.

Special regulation

Except for the general regulation, a fixed-term employment contract may be concluded in cases prescribed by the Labor Law (replacement of a temporarily absent employee, work on a certain project, for the duration of a work permit, etc.).

The special regulation also applies to newly established companies which registration is not older than one year at the time of concluding the contract. In this case, a fixed-term employment contract can be concluded for a period of up to 36 months.


  1. Is there a statutory regulation on probation work?

Probation work is not mandatory, and it must be agreed between the parties. The probationary period can last up to 6 (six) months.


  1. Are there legal regulations on severance pay upon termination of employment?

The statutory severance pay applies only to termination of the employment contract due to organizational changes within the company (layoffs). In this case, the employer is obliged to pay the employee a severance payment before the termination, in the amount determined by the Labor Law.


  1. What are the regulations regarding notice periods and termination modalities?

Termination modalities

The employer can terminate the employment contract unilaterally if there is a justified reason.  The justified grounds for termination are prescribed by the Labor Code itself, so there are following grounds for termination:

  1. dismissal due to personal reasons (lack of work skills or low performance);
  2. dismissal due to conduct-related reasons (breach of work discipline or work duty);
  3. dismissal due to organizational changes (layoff);
  4. if the employee has been convicted of a criminal offense at work or related with work;
  5. if the employee rejects the changes to the work conditions.

Notice periods

Termination by the employee

The employee must give notice of termination to the employer in writing. The notice period for the employee is a minimum of 15 days and a maximum of 30 days.

Termination by the employer

The notice period for the employer is mandatory only if the employee is dismissed due to personal reasons. In this case, the employee is entitled to a fixed notice period, which cannot be shorter than 8 days and no longer than 30 days, depending on the social insurance period.


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