COVID-19 Employment Regulations: Content overview
- Use of vacation in the state of emergency
- Decree on Organizing the Activity of Employers during the State of Emergency
Use of Vacation in the State of Emergency due to COVID-19
The Government of the Republic of Serbia has issued a conclusion regarding the use of annual leave in the state of emergency. The Labor Law stipulates that if an employee uses annual leave in parts – the first part shall be used for a minimum of two working weeks continuously during the calendar year, and the rest by June 30 of the following year at the latest.
Depending on the possibility and type of employment of employees in the state of emergency, the Conclusion of the Government of the Republic of Serbia provides two recommendations and one obligation regarding the use of annual leave for employees:
1) It is recommended that employers allow employees who have a duty to perform their duties on a regular basis to use part of their annual leave for 2019, ending December 31, 2020.
2) Employees who are allowed to work remotely and work from home shall be obliged by the employer to use part of their annual leave for 2019, ending June 30, 2020.
3) It is recommended for employers who, in the state of emergency, are unable to organize the work process, when sending employees for absence from work, in accordance with the law, give priority to the use of annual leave of employees.
Decree on Organizing the Activity of Employers during the State of Emergency
The Government of the Republic of Serbia has adopted and published a Decree on Organizing the Activity of Employers during the State of Emergency on 16 March 2020 (“Decree”) which regulates basis questions of private sector employers pertaining to the manner and organization of work during the state of emergency.
In this respect the Decree stipulates the following basic novelties:
- Each employer is obliged to enable employees to work from home to all workplaces where such way of working can be arranged in line with the general act or employment contract.
- If the general act and the employment contract do not stipulate work from home, the employer may through their own decision, allow employees to perform work from home, provided that organizational conditions allow such possibility.
- Decision to work from home must contain working hours and the manner of supervision of employees.
Based on the provisions of the Decree, it is stipulated that the employers must keep the evidence of employees working from home, as well as to secure other measures related to the safety of objects stipulated by the Law on Protection of Population from Contagious Diseases. This means that for employees who are in direct contact with clients or who share workspace with multiple persons it is required to provide sufficient protective equipment in line with special regulations.
Decree provides that employers who cannot organize home office due to nature of their business activities are obliged to adjust their activities with the declared state of emergency:
- If it is possible and does not require additional funds to organize work in shifts for the purpose of lowering the number of employees to work at the same time with the same work premises;
- To enable all work-related meetings to be held electronically (video link, video call, etc.)
- To suspend all business trips within the country and abroad in line with the applicable decision on prohibition, i.e. temporary limitation of movement.
We are emphasizing that a number of questions are still unclear, such as:
- The manner of salary compensation for employees which are sent to a leave based on the employer’s decision for the purpose of prevention of spreading of disease; as well as
- The manner of salary compensation for employees who are in isolation and self-isolation, as well as diseased.