Montenegro is a southeastern European country that lies on the Adriatic coast of the Balkan region. The official language is Montenegrin. Historically, the economy has centered around service-based industries, but is now exploring options for expansion and diversification.
Employment contracts in Montenegro are either indefinite or for a fixed-term. Fixed-term contracts, whether a single contract or multiple contracts, may not be longer than 36 months in most cases. Fixed-term contracts may also be written to terminate when certain work is completed or when a specified event happens, rather than after a set amount of time. The fixed-term contract may be made for a term longer than 36 months in situations where the employee will temporarily replace a permanent employee, perform seasonal work or work on a designated project until the project’s completion.
Employment contracts in Montenegro must be in writing. If there is to be a probation period, it must be specified in writing in the contract. The probation period may not exceed six months. Many terms of employment are established by a collective bargaining agreement, including the general collective bargaining agreement which covers all employees in Montenegro.
The workweek is 40 hours but is often shorter under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement. The workweek may be reduced to as few as 36 hours for employees who work in a hazardous environment where the hazards cannot be eliminated by occupational health and safety measures.
Overtime is only permitted when there is an urgent need. Whenever possible, the employer must issue a written notification explaining why the overtime is necessary, identifying the employees who will work overtime and stating when the overtime work will begin. The employer must inform the government labor inspectorate if it has employees who perform night work (work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.) Employees must receive a medical examination before being assigned to night work and must be examined periodically while they are working at night, with the employer paying all costs associated with the examinations. The rate of pay for overtime, night work and work on Sundays and holidays is set by contract or collective agreement.
There is no statutorily set number of sick days. Employees must produce a medical certificate no later than the third day of illness, and if there is a separate report documenting a temporary inability to work, the employee must provide the report to the employer within five days of its issuance. If the employer suspects the employee’s sick leave is not legitimate, the employer may request a review of the employee’s case by the appropriate authorities in accordance with the applicable health insurance regulations. A contract or collective agreement may establish a right to paid leave for an employee to care for a sick member of their immediate family.
An expectant mother receives 98 days of maternity leave, 28 days before the expected date of birth and 70 days after it. She must provide her employer one month of written notice before beginning maternity leave. Both parents are entitled to 70 days of paid leave after the birth if multiple children are born. Prior to her maternity leave, the expectant mother must be given one day off per month to receive pre-natal examinations. She must notify her employer at least three days before these appointments and, if requested, provide proof of having undergone the examination. She must be assigned different work if a doctor certifies that her usual work endangers her health or her baby. If she cannot be reassigned to any other work, she must be allowed to be absent from work while being paid at least her usual salary.
Following the maternity leave, the parents share parental leave until their child is one year old. The employer must be notified in writing 30 days before the parental leave begins. After one parent has begun using the parental leave, they may transfer the remainder of the parental leave time to the other parent after using 30 days of the leave. Once the first parent has transferred the remaining leave, they have no further right to parental leave time.
A nursing mother is entitled to a two-hour break for breastfeeding (or two breaks of one hour each) every day until her child is one year’s old. A parent is entitled to reduce their hours to half-time, at a reduced salary, until their child turns three years old if the child requires care beyond what is normal, or if they care for a child with a severe disability. Employees who wish to exercise this right must file a written request with the employer. One parent is entitled to a year of leave after the adoption of a child under the age of eight or receiving custody of a foster child under eight, at a reduced salary. The employee must give their employer one month of notice in writing before taking this leave. Pregnant women, parents on maternity, parental, adoptive or foster leave cannot be terminated under most circumstances.
Bonuses are paid at the discretion of the employer.
Employees receive a minimum of 20 days of paid annual leave.
Montenegro has universal health insurance.
Employers may only terminate employees for legally justified reasons, which generally are either business related or related to the employee’s poor performance or breaches of discipline. While an employee is in their probation period, either party may terminate the probationary employee with a minimum of five days of written notice, in accordance with the contract or collective agreement.
Employees who have completed the probation period must be given at least 30 days of notice of termination in writing. In most cases, if an employer wishes to dismiss an employee because of the employee’s performance or conduct, the employer must first provide the employee a written warning. The employee must be allowed a minimum of five working days to respond. If, after reviewing the employee’s response, the employer decides to proceed with termination, the employee must be given a written notice explaining why the employee is being terminated and the employee’s legal remedy. The notice should be delivered to the employee in person if at all possible.
In a few situations, the employer may terminate the employee immediately, without first issuing a warning. The employer may do this in situations in which the employee gave the employer inaccurate information when applying for their job, has abused the right to sick leave, has failed to return to work following an unpaid leave or has engaged in extreme misconduct after which the employer cannot reasonably be expected to continue the employment relationship (such as unexcused absences, insulting or being violent towards other employees or improperly disclosing confidential information). An employee who wishes to quit must provide 30 days of written notice. The written notice of termination must be notarized by a notary public, court or local government authority. A collective dismissal in Montenegro is the planned dismissal of at least 20 employees within 90 days. Before proceeding with a collective dismissal, an employer must first consult with the union (or the employees’ representatives if there is no union).
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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