Hire in Serbia

Here’s where you get started with human resources best practices and hiring in Serbia.

night view of capital city Belgrade, Serbia

Currency of Serbia

Serbian Dinar (RSD)

The Capital of Serbia


Time Zone in Serbia


Important Facts About the Country of Serbia

Introduction to Serbia

Serbia, officially named the Republic of Serbia, is a landlocked country in Southeastern and Central Europe. The country is home to 6.7 million people (excluding Kosovo; 8.4 million including Kosovo). While Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Serbia has rejected this move and continues to claim Kosovo as an autonomous province. Belgrade is its capital and largest city. Serbia has an upper-middle-class economy, with citizens enjoying free primary and secondary education as well as health care.

What to Know about Serbia's Geography

Serbia is located on the Balkan peninsula and within the Pannonian Plain. The country has an area of 88,499 square kilometers (including Kosovo) and shares land borders with Hungary to the north, Romania to the northeast, Bulgaria to the southeast, North Macedonia to the south, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the west, and Montenegro to the southwest. It also shares a disputed border with Albania through Kosovo. The middle of the country is mostly hills that rivers cut through. The southern third of Serbia is mostly made up of mountains.

Climate in Serbia

In the north, Serbia hosts a continental climate, marked by cold, dry winters and warm, humid summers with rain that falls in even amounts. In the south, the weather is more Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and autumns and mild, rainy winters.

The Culture of Serbia

Serbia’s land was split for centuries, first between the eastern and western parts of the Roman Empire and later between the Byzantine Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary.In the early modern period, the land was divided between the Ottoman Empire and the Habsburg Empire. The result is that different parts of Serbia have different cultures. The north is more akin to Central Europe, while the south resembles the Balkans and the Mediterranean.

Religions Observed in Serbia

Serbia is a secular state with religious freedom guaranteed by its constitution. Orthodox Christians account for 84.5% of the country’s population. The Serbian Orthodox Church is the country’s largest and most traditional church, with most adherents being Serbs.

Languages Spoken in Serbia

The official language is Serbian, native to 88% of the population. English is by far the most popular foreign language spoken and studied in Serbia. Serbian people, especially the younger generations, are excellent English speakers.

Serbian Human Resources at a Glance

Employment Law Protections in Serbia

The Labor Law (2005) is the critical legal source regulating the rights, duties, and responsibilities resulting from the labor relationship. A collective agreement, labor rulebook, or labor contract cannot give employees less rights or worse working conditions than what the law outlines.

Other sources of employment law include the Health and Safety at Work Act, the Act on Prevention of Harassment at Work, the Employment and Unemployment Insurance Act, the Health Protection Act, the Pension and Disability Insurance Act, the Strike Act, the Anti-Discrimination Act, the Labor Records Act, the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities Act, the Employment of Foreign Nationals Act, etc.

Employment Contracts in Serbia

A contract between the employee and the employer must be signed in order to commence employment. Employment contracts are required to be written in Serbian, but they can also be in two languages (e.g., in a Serbian version and another language version).

Before an employee starts work, they must sign a written contract that includes the following information:

  • Name and registered office of the employer;
  • Employee’s first name and family name, place of residence;
  • Type and level of qualification or education of the employee necessary for carrying out the job for which the employment contract is concluded;
  • Job title and job description;
  • Place of work;
  • Type of employment (indefinite or definite period);
  • Duration of the employment contract for a defined period and the reasons why such an employment arrangement was concluded;
  • Date of commencement of work;
  • Working hours (full-time, part-time, or reduced);
  • Compensation information, including:
    • The monetary amount of basic salary on the date which the employment contract was concluded
    • Elements for determining basic salary (e.g., work performance),
    • Other income of the employee;
  • Deadlines for the payment of the employee’s salary and other income to which he or she is entitled;
  • Referral to the collective agreement or labor rulebook currently in force;
  • Duration of daily and weekly working hours.

The employment contract may also outline other rights and duties.

If the employee does not show up to work on the day specified in the contract, there is no employment relationship unless the employee was unable to take the job for a good reason, or if the employer and employee mutually accepted this arrangement.

Serbia's Contract Terms

The term of an employment contract can be definite or indefinite. When the period is not specified, the contract is deemed indefinite.

If a fixed-term contract ends and the worker continues working for five or more working days, it automatically becomes an indefinite contract.

Pre-Employment Checks

An applicant must show the employer documents and other proof they meet the requirements for the job role. The law states an employer cannot ask a job applicant about their family, marital status, plans for starting a family, or any other information not directly related to the job.

The current Serbian data protection law went into effect August 2019 and is almost completely harmonized with the EU General Data Protection Regulation. Under the law, employers are not allowed to ask candidates to provide a certificate of criminal history. Generally, the employer can check publicly available information on candidates, including public social media profiles. However, the employer is required to inform the candidate prior to collecting and processing any information, including public information.

Serbia's Guidelines Regarding Probation Period

The employer can set a probationary period with an employee when they enter into an employment relationship for the first time. The probationary period can last up to six months.

During the trial period, either the employer or the employee can end the contract by giving at least five days’ notice.

Regulations and Rules Regarding Working Hours in Serbia

  • A full-time worker can work a maximum of 40 hours in a week. Usually, there are five working days in a week, and it is up to the employer to decide how the time is split up. In general, a workday is eight hours long.

    Full-time workers have the right to a daily break of at least 30 minutes, which counts as regular work time.

Serbian Laws Regarding Overtime

According to the law, employees may work overtime at the employer’s request in the following cases:

  • In the event of a force majeure;
  • If there is a sudden increase in the scope of work; and
  • If it is necessary to finish work by a set deadline.

Overtime cannot be more than four hours a day or eight hours a week. When the employee works extra hours, they are paid at least 126% of the base salary.

Health and Safety in the Workplace

  • Employers are required to provide employees with adequate training in health and safety regulations. This training should be conducted before an employee is permitted to start working. By doing so, employers can ensure that their workers have the necessary qualifications and skills to work safely and avoid any workplace accidents or injuries. This includes providing employees with sufficient knowledge of the regulations and rules of health and safety at work.

Rules Regarding Bonus and 13th Month Pay in Serbia

There is no requirement to pay out bonuses so employers can decide at their discretion. Taxes on bonuses are similar to taxes on salary.

Serbia's Requirements Regarding Notice Periods

For voluntary resignation, an employee must provide a written notice at least 15 days (but no more than 30 days) prior to the effective date.

When an employer terminates an employee without reason, the notice period depends on the reason for the termination.

  • If the employee was terminated due to performance issues or lack of the appropriate knowledge and skills, the legally required notice period is between one and three months (depending on the number of years the employee has contributed to social insurance).
  • In other cases of unilateral termination, such as for breaking work duties or rules or for being made redundant, there is no required notice period unless the employment contract states otherwise.

Both the employer and the employee must provide at least five working days’ notice if either party wishes to end the employment relationship during the probationary period.


When an employer terminates an employee without just cause, the appropriate procedure will depend on the reason for termination.

The employer may terminate the employment contract for reasons stipulated in the Labor Law as listed below:

  • Reasons relating to the employee’s work ability and conduct (e.g., if he or she does not achieve the work results or does not have the necessary knowledge and skills to perform his duties)
  • If the employee commits a breach of their work duty (e.g., he or she is negligent or reckless in performing work duties)
  • If the employee does not comply with work discipline requirements (e.g., he or she refuses to perform work and execute the orders of the employer) ;
  • If the employer’s needs change (e.g., as a result of technological, economic, or organizational changes, the need to perform a specific job ceases) or if there is a decrease in workload (redundancy);

Notice period: If the employer terminates the employment on the grounds that the employee failed to achieve specific work results, the employer must observe notice period requirements which vary from eight days to 30 days, determined by the work rules or the individual employment agreement (depending on the length of social insurance coverage). There are no mandatory notice periods for other legal grounds for termination.

Payments: When the employment relationship ends, the employer must pay the employee within 30 days all unpaid salary and other earnings, including compensation for unused annual vacation. A severance payment is required only when someone is terminated or retires.

Employee protection – Employees cannot be terminated when they are:

  • Pregnant
  • On maternity leave
  • On childcare leave
  • On special childcare leave

Restrictive Covenants

The employer can contractually restrict the use of confidential information by the employee after termination of employment. Serbian law on business secrets ensures a business’s secrets remain protected for as long as the relevant information is kept confidential.

Redundancy/Severance Pay in Serbia

Employers are required to give a severance payment to every employee who is made redundant, whether it is a mass or individual decision.

The amount of the redundancy severance payment is usually set by the employer or stated in the employment contract. There is a legal minimum of one-third of the employee’s monthly salary for each full year of service with the current employer (including its affiliates and predecessors). The salary base is the average monthly salary the employee was paid in the three months before they were made redundant.

The Labor Law ensures the minimum amount of severance pay is not taxed.

Fixed Term Contacts for Serbian Employees

Fixed-term employment may last up to 24 months, with or without interruptions. Fixed-term contracts are allowed in the following cases: seasonal jobs, project-based work, and increased volume of work
that will last for a definite term.

The fixed term extended under the following circumstances:

  • For the replacement of a temporarily absent employee until their return;
  • For work on a project with a predetermined duration until the completion of the project;
  • If the worker is a foreign national who has obtained a work permit until the expiration of the permit;
  • If the employer is a newly established business (e.g., registered with the business registry within the last 12 months) for up to 36 months;
  • If the worker is an unemployed individual with less than five years remaining before the fulfillment of the conditions for retirement.

Employees employed for a fixed term have the same rights and duties as indefinite-term employees.

Data Protection

There are no specific rules about workplace monitoring in Serbian law. The Law on Personal Data Protection (LPDP)’s data protection rules apply to these activities and set the limits of what can be done legally.

In order for employee monitoring to be legal, the employees must be informed ahead of time on how their personal information will be used. There must be a good legal reason for this use.

Tax and Social Security Information for Employers in Serbia

Personal Income Tax in Serbia

Personal Income tax is charged at a flat rate of 10% against an employee’s gross employment income. However, an employee’s basis for income tax on employment income is reduced by a monthly, non-taxable personal allowance of RSD21,712 if the employee works full-time hours (applicable from 1 January 2023).

Employers must calculate employees’ income taxes, withhold those amounts from salary payments, and make the payments to the tax authorities on the employees’ behalf.

Social Security in Serbia

Social security contributions are calculated based on the employee’s gross salary. The minimum income threshold is 35% of the average monthly salary in Serbia for the 12 months before September of the current year. The maximum is RSD 500,360.

Social security contributions are paid by both the employer and the employee, except for unemployment insurance, which is paid only by the employee. The rates are as follows:

EE (%) ER (%) Total (%) Monthly Cap (RSD)
Pension and disability insurance 14 10 24 500,360
Health insurance 5.15 5.15 10.3
Unemployment insurance 0.75 0 0.75

As with income tax, the aggregate social security contribution amounts (both the employer’s and employee’s contributions) are calculated, withheld from salary and paid by the employer.

*The above rates serve as a broad guideline. Actual rates charged will differ.

Important Information for Serbian Employees

Salary Payment

Remuneration is paid in arrears by the 15th day of the following month.


The employer should give out payslips with the salary calculation for the month before the end of the month. The employer must also keep a record of monthly salary and compensation.

Timesheets & Record Keeping

  • Employers are required to keep daily records of their employees’ overtime work. Such records should be available for review during labor inspection visits.

    Employers must also keep mandatory salary records that record the employee’s potential working hours, along with the working hours actually performed and non-performed (both compensated and non-compensated). Data from these records must be kept permanently.

Annual Leave

Employees in Serbia are entitled to annual leave of at least 20 working days per calendar year. The number of days of annual leave can be increased due to work performance, work conditions, work experience, educational level, and other factors set in the employment contract.

Employees are entitled to one-twelfth of their annual leave for each month of work in that calendar year.

Annual leave can be used in one continuous period or over two shorter periods. If an employee uses their annual leave in parts, the first part should last no less than three working weeks during a calendar year and the second part no later than June 30th of the following year.

Employees who are unable to use their annual leave in the calendar year (e.g., due to maternity or childcare leave) are allowed to use it in the following year before June 30.

During annual leave, employees are entitled to compensation equivalent to their average salary in the previous 12 months.

Employers must notify their employees 15 days before the beginning of the annual leave.

In case of termination, the employer must issue a certificate showing the number of annual leave days the employee has used.

Public Holidays

There are 10 public holidays observed nationally. In addition, employees are entitled not to work on certain religious holidays, depending on the employee’s religion and applicable religious calendar.

If a public holiday occurs on Sunday, the next working day is a non-working day. Employees are entitled to paid leave during public holidays based on their average salary in the preceding 12 months.

Sick Leave

Employees are generally entitled to sick pay any time they are sick or injured, without limitation. An employee is required, no later than within three days from the day the employee became temporarily unable to work, to provide a medical certificate issued by a physician certifying their inability to work. It should also outline the expected duration of the period of sick leave. During the first 30 days of sick leave, the employee receives sick pay amounting to either:

  • 65% of their average salary in the preceding 12 months in the case of non-work- related sickness or injury
  • 100% of their average salary in the preceding 12 months in the case of work-related sickness or injury

The employer pays sick pay during the first 30 days of sick leave. After that period, the employer still pays sick pay, but this is recoverable from the state.

There are no limits on the total duration of sick leave or the total amount of sick pay an employee can claim, provided the employer has been provided with a medical certificate covering the period.

Maternity, Paternity, Parental, and Childcare Leave

A female employee is entitled to maternity and childcare leave for a total duration of 365 days. She has the right to begin her maternity leave up to 45 days before and not later than 28 days before the projected due date. Maternity leave lasts up to three months from the date of childbirth.

After the maternity leave expires, a female employee is further entitled to childcare leave. This lasts until the expiration of 365 days from the day she begins her maternity leave.

For the third and every next child, a female employee is entitled to maternity and childcare leave for a total duration of two years.

If an employee experiences a miscarriage or a stillbirth, they can take three months of paid leave.

If the employee returns to work before the end of maternity leave, an employer must provide her with a 90 minutes’ paid lactation break during the workday.

Employees with three or more children are entitled to up to two years of paid maternity leave.

Paternity leave
A male employee is entitled to five days of paternity leave after the child’s birth.

Parental Leave
Employees who have a child with a disability or a serious medical condition are allowed to take paid leave to care for the child after their maternity or paternity leave is over. This applies until the child turns five. They can choose to work part-time instead of taking time off to care for their children.

Adoption Leave
Foster and adoptive parents can take up to eight months of paid leave, which begins when the child is officially placed with the family. If the baby is under three months old, the parents can take paid leave until the baby is 11 months old.

Compassionate/Bereavement Leave

Employees are entitled to five days of paid leave in the event of the death of a close family member.

Other Leaves

Marriage Leave: Employees are entitled to five days of paid marriage leave.

Blood Donation Leave: Employees can take up to two days of paid leave for any voluntary blood donation, including the donation day.

Unpaid Leave

An employer may grant leave without salary compensation to the employee (unpaid leave). During unpaid leave, all rights and duties resulting from the labor relationship shall remain.

Benefits to the Employee in Serbia

Serbian Statutory Benefits

Employees are entitled to receive state pension benefits when certain legal conditions are met (e.g., age, years of service, disability status, or other requirements depending on the type of pension). In addition, employers must pay mandatory social security contributions to the state Pension and Disability Insurance Fund for each employee. The employee’s fundamental rights arising from pension and disability insurance are:

  • Old-age pension and early retirement pension
  • Disability pension
  • Family pension
  • Compensation for physical impairment caused by a work injury or occupational disease;
  • Compensation for the assistance and care of another person.

In addition to these rights, the Pension and Disability Insurance Fund will reimburse the pension beneficiary’s funeral costs.

The employer must also provide compulsory health insurance for employees.

Other Benefits

The meal allowance is paid in arrears by taking into consideration the employees’ presence at work, as the benefit is provided only for days worked.

Employers in Serbia may grant employees various benefits through general enactments or individual employment contracts. Some of the most common are:

  • Bonuses and awards for the contribution of the employee to the employer’s business success;
  • Use of a company car for private purposes
  • Use of an apartment owned or rented by the employer (in the case of international assignments)
  • Insurance premiums for additional (private) health or pension insurance
  • Group insurance premiums against accidents, severe illness, and surgical interventions
  • Jubilee awards
  • Solidarity payments
  • Christmas and New Year’s presents for children

Rules Regarding Visas and Foreign Workers in Serbia

General Information

Serbia has numerous bilateral treaties with other countries. Citizens from 96 countries can enter without a visa. When Serbia joins the European Union (planned for 2025), EU citizens will have the right to visit, live and work in Serbia using only their national ID or passport. Until then, expatriates who want to work in Serbia must obtain a work permit and a temporary residence permit.


Two types of visas are issued in Serbia:

  • Short-Term C-Visa: For stays of 90 days in 180 days. This can be single or multiple entries for tourist or business purposes but not for paid employment.
  • Long-Term (Work) D-Visa permits a temporary stay for foreigners who intend to apply for a temporary residence permit in Serbia.

In most cases, a visa procedure takes 15 days from the date of application. However, in exceptional cases and for justified reasons, the process may take up to 30 days.

The following categories of foreign nationals may enter, transit, and stay in Serbia without prior visa application for up to 90 days during six months:

  • Holders of foreign national passports having a valid Schengen, UK, and other Member States’ visa;
  • Visa holders of the United States of America;
  • Holders of foreign national passports having residence permits in the countries of the Schengen area, EU, or the United States of America

Work Permit:

A temporary/permanent residence permit is the precondition for a work permit. Foreigners can apply for a residence permit online from outside of Serbia or when they arrive in the country. To do this, they must register on the government’s web portal and fill out the necessary form. If the conditions for the permit are met, the foreigner will get an eNotice with a date to visit the police office to get a stamp proving they are allowed to live in Serbia.

There are two types of work permits, and the processing time can take several weeks:

  • The Personal Work Permit is for: someone with permanent residence, refugee status or who have family connections in Serbia.
  • The Simple Work Permit is the more common permit for foreigners applying for work in Serbia from their home country with an employment contract or self-employment. This may also cover exceptional cases for employment (e.g., the individual works for an intra-company or is assigned to a company in Serbia).

Public Holidays Recognized by Serbia in 2024

Occasion Date
1 New Year’s Day January 1
2 New Year Holiday January 2
3 Orthodox Christmas Day January 7
4 National Day February 15
5 National Day Holiday February 16
6 May Day May 1
7 May Day Holiday May 2
8 Orthodox Good Friday May 3
9 Orthodox Easter Monday May 6
10 Armistice Day November 11

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