The Opinion of the Ministry of Finance no. 011-00-353 / 2019-04 from 3 July 2019, which was published on July 3, defined the treatment of income received based on the compensation earned by students who perform work-based learning starting from the school year 2019/2020, following the Law on Dual Education, as material and financial security for students.
Article 2 Paragraph 1 of The Law on Personal Income Tax prescribes that personal income tax must be paid on income from all sources, apart from specifically exempted incomes.
Namely, the legal framework prescribes exemption from personal income tax on the income earned by students based on learning through work, all following the Law on Dual Education.
The Law on Dual Education defines learning through work as an organized process under the supervision and coordination by an instructor and coordinator. Throughout the process, students become competent for certain jobs. Work-based learning is realized through modification of teaching in the system of secondary vocational education. This is accomplished by a combination of learning, technical practices, and professional work at companies. The scope of work-based learning should include at least 20%, and 80% at most, of the total number of vocational subjects in the period between 8 am to 8 pm. According to the plan and program of teaching and learning, a maximum of six hours a day (30 hours a week) is prescribed. Work-based learning can be fully done either in one company or in multiple companies with multiple employers.
The law defines an instructor as a person employed by an employer who is responsible for the implementation of work-based learning, while the coordinator is a person employed by a vocational secondary school that cooperates with the instructor to realize work-based learning.
The employer provides the conditions for practical knowledge and skills acquisition. Employers activity is such as to provide practical knowledge in specific fields to students, all under the curriculum provided for dual education.
The Employer in the System of Dual Education
The employer must fulfill the legal requirements for entering the system of Dual Education in the following order:
- The employer must meet the legal requirements for learning by working with the employer;
- His/her field of work must be in accordance with the realization of the learning content prescribed by the curriculum;
- Space and equipment must be provided to students throughout their acquisition of practical knowledge;
- The Employer must reach the required number of licensed instructors;
- The employer and instructor must not be convicted for any criminal offense;
- No bankruptcy/liquidation proceedings have been instituted against the employer nor he has been convicted of criminal offenses prescribed by the Law on Prevention of Abuse at Work;
- The employer must provide security for all students to prevent discrimination, physical, psychological, sexual and social abuse.
- The employer must have an employee who meets the legal requirements for the dual education instructor;
- The employer must receive a certificate from the Serbian Chamber of Commerce about the fulfillment of conditions required for participation in the dual education system;
- The employer must conclude a dual education contract with the school;
- The employer must conclude a work-based learning contract with the student or parent/legal representative;
- The employer should provide the student with material security and pay a tuition fee following the Law.
Conclusion of the Contract
The contracts concluded between the employer and the school and the student, or a parent/legal representative must be in written form.
- The contract between the employer and high school – The contract is concluded in written form for the period of at least three to four years. The contract must include employer’s obligation to provide the work-based learning at his own expense, specify the maximum number of students the school can direct to work-based learning, define the number of licensed instructors, define how disputes should be resolved;
- The contract between the employer and the student, or the parent/legal representative – the contract is in written form and must be concluded until 1st September of the year in which work-based learning takes place. The contract must include: a confirmation of health institution that the student fulfills the necessary health requirements for the educational profile, the employer’s obligation to organize and implement the work-based learning for the student, in case the curriculum and learning are being conducted in a language of a national minority, the employer is obliged to organize and implement work-based learning on a language of that national minority, and employer’s definition of the material and financial support of the student.
Material and Financial Support of the Student
The employer is obliged to provide the following for the students:
- Reimbursement of the actual transport cost between the school and the place on which work-based learning is being conducted, in the amount of public transport ticket at most and only in case the employer, didn’t organize own transport;
- Reimbursement of costs for food according to the general act of the employer;
- Insurance in case of injury throughout the whole work-based learning internship in the employer’s company.
Exceptionally, the Law also provides for the possibility of the employer to cover the costs of accommodation and meals in the dormitory if the student lives in the dormitory while learning through work.
According to the provisions of Article 34 Paragraph 1 of the Law on Dual Education, the employer pays compensation to a student who performs work-based learning per hour spent on work-based learning, in a minimum net amount of at least 70% of the minimum labor price in accordance with the law.
The employer pays contributions to the lowest monthly contribution base for the student. The employer pays pension and disability insurance contribution for the cases of disability, physical injury and occupational disease, as well as health insurance contribution for occupational injury and occupational disease in cases defined by law. The debtor for contribution payments is the employer where the student performs work-based learning.
In a situation where the student spends less than a month with the employer, the contribution calculation is made on a proportional basis for the minimum monthly basis.
Based on the above-mentioned facts, we emphasize that dual education is considered as a way of teaching in the secondary vocational education system through teaching and practical exercises at school and at the employer, with the supervision of instructors and coordinators.
For the employer to be in the system of dual education, he must be an entrepreneur or a legal entity that fulfills the requirements prescribed by the Law on Dual Education. Employer’s field of work must be such as to enable students to acquire practical knowledge from various areas. The employer is obliged to conclude the contracts with schools and with students/parents/legal representatives. Also, the employer is obliged to pay the student compensation that is considered to be the student’s material and financial security following the Law on Dual Education. The employer is also a debtor to contribution payments.