Country Information

Bosnia and Herzegovina (abbreviated BiH and often referred to as simply “Bosnia”) is a southern European country that was formerly part of Yugoslavia and became independent in 1992. Internally, Bosnia and Herzegovina has a loose central government, under which are three largely self-governing entities. Mining and metal processing are major industries. The country is home to one of the largest steel plants in the region and a large facility that produces aluminum alloys. Coal, iron ore, lead and zinc are additional important mineral exports. Bosnia and Herzegovina also produces finished wood, textiles and machinery.

Employment Contracts

Employment contracts in Bosnia and Herzegovina must be in writing. They may be either be indefinite or for a fixed term. In all three regions, a contract for a fixed term must specify the length of the term in the contract. The maximum term is three years in the FBH (Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and two years in the RS (Republic of Serbia) and BD (Brčko District). Probationary periods are permitted, but must be explicitly established in the employment contract. The maximum length of a probationary period is six months in the FBH and BD, and three months in the RS. In the BD, the probationary period may be renewed once, for an additional six months, for a total probationary period of 12 months.

The employment contract must contain:

  • Names and addresses of the employer and employee
  • Whether the contract is indefinite or for a fixed term
  • Length of the term where applicable,
  • Date employment commences
  • Workplace salary details, including bonuses, benefits and the length of the pay period
  • Employee’s job title and a brief job description,
  • Working hours
  • Amount of annual leave
  • Notice periods for dismissal/termination for both the employer and the employee
  • Any other information regarding the terms of employment determined by a collective agreement.

An employer in Bosnia and Herzegovina must comply with the country’s data privacy law and in most cases, may not ask a candidate to undergo a background check, ask about a candidate’s criminal background.

Working Hours

The standard workweek is 40 hours over five days. Overtime is limited to 10 hours per week in most cases and must be justified by an emergency or a sudden operational need for the increased hours. A workweek can in some cases be extended, with the hours reduced in other weeks to ensure the average workweek for the relevant period of time is limited to 52 hours, or 60 hours for seasonal workers. Minors may not work more than 35 hours per week, and pregnant women, mothers of children under three years old, and single parents (including single adoptive and foster parents) may only be required to work overtime if they voluntarily consent in writing. Work between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. is prohibited for minors, pregnant women who have reached the sixth month of pregnancy, and to mothers, adoptive and foster parents with children under two years old. Payment for overtime and night work is not fixed, and these increases in payment should be written down in the employment contract.

Sick Leave

Employees receive seven days of paid leave for illness or the death of a family member in the FBH, and five days in the RS.

Maternity/Paternity Leave

Female employees are entitled to one year of maternity leave at full pay, or 18 months in the event of multiple births. The mother may begin her leave up to 28 days before the birth of the child on request and with a doctor’s note, and she is required to take a minimum of 42 days after the birth in FBH, or 60 days in the RS. If the parents agree, the father may take part or use the mother’s unused maternity leave after the mother has taken her compulsory time. In cases of adoption or foster parenting, one parent is entitled to exercise all of these rights. A nursing mother is entitled to two absences per day to feed her child until the child is one years old, and parents of a child between one and three years old are entitled to work half-time, at half pay, if a doctor determines the child requires more than usual care. Parents of disabled children have additional rights. An employee may not normally be terminated while pregnant on maternity leave.

Compensation

The FBH does not have an official minimum wage; the government sets a “lowest wage” through regulations based on what it determines to be the proper formula. The RS has a minimum wage. Bonuses are not required, but they are common and often paid at year-end.

Vacation Leave

Employees receive a minimum of 20 days of paid leave annually, and a maximum of 30 days. Employees who are going to work for the first time or who have not worked for more than 15 months, become entitled to leave after working for six months. Employees under 18 and employees who work in hazardous occupations are entitled to additional leave.

Public Holidays

The following public holidays are observed in Bosni-Herzegovina:

  • FBHNew Year’s Day
  • Independence Day
  • Roman Catholic Good Friday
  • Roman Catholic Easter Monday
  • Labor Day
  • Eid al-Fitr
  • Islamic New YearAll Saints’ Day
  • Statehood Day
  • Roman Catholic Christmas
  • RSNew Year’s Day
  • Orthodox Christmas
  • Republic Day
  • Orthodox Good Friday
  • Orthodox Easter Monday
  • Labor Day
  • Victory Day
  • Dayton Peace Accord Day
Health Insurance Benefits

Private health insurance is recommended.

Employment / Termination / Severance

Employees can be terminated with notice if either the termination is justified for business reasons or the employee cannot perform his/her assigned duties and, in addition to one of these conditions, the employer is unable to reassign or retrain the employee for a different job with a reasonable effort. Notice of the termination must be given in writing and provide a justification for the dismissal. In the FBH, the employer must provide the written notice a minimum of 14 days in advance, unless the employee is on probation, where only seven days of notice is required. An employee must give seven days of notice when quitting. The employer and employee may agree on a different notice period, but it may not be longer than one month if the employee is giving notice to the employer, or three months if the employer is terminating the employee. In the RS, the minimum notice period is 30 days if the employer is giving notice, and 15 days if the employee is giving notice. In the BD, the notice period is 14 days regardless of which party is giving notice. Either the employer or the employee may terminate an employment relationship without notice if the other party commits a serious offense or breach of contract. The party terminating the contract must act within 15 days of discovering the cause for termination.

Local Laws & Regulations

We understand that local laws and regulations change and sourcing an accurate reference guide is not easy. Our data is researched and verified by our team of local international Employment Attorneys, HR and Benefit Professionals and Tax Accountants through our Atlas team and consultants, to ensure information up-to-date and accurate.

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