With vacations approaching, enable more flexible use of vacation days

Workers in Serbia should be given a more flexible way of using annual leave. This would be achieved by abolishing the obligation that they must use the first part of their vacation for at least two weeks without interruption. It is one of the 18 new recommendations of NALED's Grey Book 15.

The Labor Law allows workers to use annual leave in total or in several parts, with the fact that the first part would have to last continuously for 10 working days and be "spent" in the same calendar year for which the right to leave was acquired, while the rest can be transferred and used by June 30 of the following year.

- Past practice has shown that a large number of employees do not use the first part of the annual vacation lasting two weeks, but depending on their needs and the needs of the job, it is shorter than the mandatory 10 days, usually five days, but also less. Employees often want a different vacation schedule, and due to the existing legal framework, employers are unable to meet them. This is something that the inspection reproaches employers with during inspection supervision - says Ivan Radak, Head of Public Relations Unit at NALED.

According to him, the legislator's intention when introducing this provision was to enable the worker to have a longer holiday in continuity, but precisely because of the different needs of workers and different types of work, they should be provided with a greater choice.

- The recommendation of Grey Book 15 is to use the first part of the vacation for two weeks, but it does not have to be continuous. At the same time, there is an unjustified limitation by determining the deadline by which that first part must be used, which is the end of the calendar year. Namely, the entire vacation for the previous year can be used until June 30 of the following year. Quite often, that deadline is unofficially exceeded - adds Radak.

Apart from this one, Grey Book 15 brings a series of improved and new recommendations for improving the position of workers in Serbia. Among the 15 recommendations that were singled out as priority, there were suggestions that the labor related documents can be digitized so that, in addition to the decision on annual leave and pay slip, employees can also receive a decision on maternity leave, paid or unpaid absence, rulebook on systematization and other documents, in electronic form.

Also, among the priority recommendations is the long-standing initiative that, after the successful implementation of the electronic procedure for registering seasonal workers in agriculture, it should be extended to other sectors where there is a high level of illegal work in temporary, casual and seasonal jobs, such as construction, tourism and hospitality, domestic help jobs. In the agricultural sector, in four and a half years, this procedure made it possible for about 75,000 seasonal workers to acquire the right to pension insurance and health care in the event of an injury at work for the days they worked.

Among the initiatives to improve the position and standards of workers, as well as relieve the administrative burden, is a recommendation to reduce the fiscal burden on the lowest wages, which are highly taxed in Serbia compared to other countries, and that tax burden contributes to a higher level of illegal work. It was also proposed to abolish the obligation to prove transportation costs, a procedure that burdened both workers and employers equally, and the implementation of the recommendation for the introduction of the eSickLeave system would contribute to reducing the need for workers to collect and bring documentation. In the labor department, Grey Book 15 also recommends arranging work outside the employer's premises, arranging probationary work institutes, etc.

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