The new labor law of Montenegro went into effect on January 7, 2020 and has made a number of significant changes including:
- Employers with more than 10 employees are required to set policies on the organization and systematization of workplaces within 6 months of the day the new law went into effect.
- Fixed-term contracts cannot last more than 36 months (increased from 24 months). This restriction will also apply to agency workers who could previously be employed indefinitely if supplied via an agency.
- Overtime is limited to only as long as is necessary to complete the reason for the overtime work and must not exceed 50 hours in any 1 week or 48 hours on average calculated over 4 months.
- Annual leave cannot be replaced by monetary compensation, except in the case of the termination of employment.
- The new law prescribes an additional document for when an employee is absent from work for health-related reasons. The document is a medical doctor’s certificate that needs to be delivered within three days from the day of the temporary inability of an employee to work.
- One of the most important new provisions of the law protects certain employees against employment termination. Employers may not terminate a pregnant employee, employee on maternity leave, or an employee on parental leave. Previously protection was limited to employees on maternity leave.
- The new law includes an obligation to consult with a labor union (or employee representatives) and notify the employment bureau about the consultations in cases of a collective layoff (defined as a layoff of at least 20 employees within 90 days).
Under the new law, an employee who believes his or her employment rights have been violated is obliged to file a motion for an amicable settlement of the dispute before the Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labour Disputes or before the Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution prior to initiating court proceedings.
The law contains several changes aimed at substantially improving the position of employees. The main reason for the adoption of the law is closer harmonization of labor legislation with the European Union as well as the recommendations of the International Labour Organization.
Written by Luka Prelević in cooperation with Karanović & Partners and Roger James of Ogletree Deakins
© 2020 Karanović & Partners and Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.