The New Serbian Legal Framework for Internships to Be Adopted

June 28, 2022

The New Serbian Legal Framework for Internships to Be Adopted

June 28, 2022

Kristina Pavlović

Kristina Pavlović

Senior Associate

Filip Stanković

Filip Stanković

Trainee

At the end of 2021, a public debate was held in the National Assembly on the Draft Law on Work Practice. The Draft itself is a reaction to relatively unfavourable basic labour market indicators, which predict that young people in Serbia lag behind their peers in the EU by 10%.

To a certain extent, the Draft Proposal contains similar provisions as the Labour Law, such as mandatory elements of the internship contract, reasons for termination of internship, provisions governing discrimination in the workplace, etc. However, it provides some essential novelties in the Serbian legal system, which have been completely untackled under the current applicable Labour Law.

Firstly, the Draft limits the length of the internship contract to a period of up to 6 months. This provision prevents the possibility of abusing the internship in terms of its duration, which so far has been common practice in Serbia.

In addition, the internship may be established only once with the person who was not previously employed or engaged with the same or another employer in the profession that such person would perform during the internship. Moreover, although the internship contract does not establish an employment relationship, the employer shall pay the intern compensation in the amount of at least 2/3 of the minimum wage.

Unlike the regular employee, the trainee is protected from overtime work since working hours are limited to a maximum of 40 hours per week. Also, the employer should hire a mentor who will manage the internship, provide guidelines and supervise the work of the intern. This is a useful provision and, as such, would be of tremendous benefit if it had been provided in the Labour Law – in particular, the part which governs the probation work.

Finally, the Draft provides that the trainee is entitled to court protection if the employer has violated a right under the internship contract. In such a situation, the trainee first may require the employer to perform that right within 15 days from the delivery of the decision of violating the right. If the employer fails to do so, the trainee may initiate a lawsuit before the competent court within the next 15 days. In comparison to the right of a regular employee who is entitled to file a claim against the employer within 60 days, this deadline for trainees is twice as much less, without any rational reason.

Despite this setback, the Draft generally protects young people from potential exploitation by employers and provides equal opportunities for first-time job seekers in the market. The effects of this in practice, however, remain to be seen.

 

This text is for informational purposes only  and should not be considered legal advice. Should you require any additional information, feel free to contact us.

Contact:

Kristina Pavlović, Senior Associate
kristina.pavlovic@sog.rs

Filip Stanković, Trainee
filip.stankovic@sog.rs

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