Country Information

North Macedonia is a landlocked country in southeastern Europe, bordering Greece, Bulgaria, Kosovo and Albania. It was part of Yugoslavia for most of the twentieth century and became an independent country in 1991. North Macedonia called itself simply “Macedonia” until 2018, when it changed its name to resolve a longstanding dispute with Greece, which insisted that a region in Greece deserved the name Macedonia. North Macedonia is in the process of negotiating its entry into the European Union, although there is no firm date for when it will become an EU member. Food, beverage, and tobacco processing are important industries in North Macedonia. It also produces iron, steel and other metallurgical products and textiles.

Employment Contracts

Employment contracts in North Macedonia must be in writing. A copy must be kept in the employer’s registered office, and another copy shall be given to the employee immediately after the contract is signed. The employment contract must be either indefinite or for a fixed term, which may not be longer than five years. The fixed-term contract will become an indefinite contract if the employee continues in the job when the contract expires.

While many terms of employment are set by collective agreement in North Macedonia, each employee’s contract should state:

  • The identities of both the employer and the employee
  • The date the employee will begin work
  • The employee’s job title, along with a brief job description
  • The employer’s obligation to inform the employee of any special risks associated with the job and special qualifications, knowledge, or medical supervision that may be necessary for it to be done safely
  • The workplace
  • The contract’s term if it is for a fixed term
  • Whether the employment is full-time or short-term
  • Working hours
  • Base salary and any other allowances the employee will receive
  • Annual leave allowance, or the formula for determining leave
  • The employee’s working conditions
  • Any other rights or obligations created by law or a collective agreement

The employment contract may establish a probation period of up to four months. Both the length of the probation period and the employee’s salary during the probation period should be specified.

Working Hours

The standard work week in North Macedonia is 40 hours over five days. An employer may only require an employee to work overtime when there is an urgent need, and the overtime is capped at eight hours per week, up to 190 hours a year. The rate for overtime hours is normally set by a collective agreement and is generally not less than 135% of the employee’s standard hourly rate. In addition, employers must pay a bonus if an employee works more than 150 hours of overtime in one year while not being absent on more than 21 days. The bonus amount is one month’s average salary, based on the average salary in North Macedonia (not the employee’s usual monthly salary). Employees are also entitled to a premium for work performed on weekends and holidays. This amount is also normally set by collective agreements and is generally 150% of the employee’s standard hourly rate.

Sick Leave

Employees receive unlimited sick leave, with the employer paying for the first 30 days of illness. The rate of sick pay is normally determined by collective agreement. Under the agreement applicable to the private sector, the employer pays 70% of the average North Macedonian salary for the first seven days, 80% for days eight-15, and 90% for days 16-30.If the employee’s illness lasts more than 30 days, they may receive a social security payment. The employee should provide a medical certificate, and further examinations may be required in the event of a long-term illness.

Maternity/Paternity Leave

Female employees receive nine months of paid maternity leave, or 15 months if they give birth to multiple children. The expectant mother must present a medical certificate of her pregnancy before beginning her leave and must notify her employer of when she plans to begin and end her maternity leave. This notice must be provided a minimum of 30 days before she begins the leave. The earliest she may return to work is 45 days after the birth of her child.

The father of a baby is entitled to up to seven days of paid leave for the birth. In addition, if the mother does not use part of the maternity leave to which she is entitled, the father may use that time.

A woman who adopts a baby is entitled to nine months of maternity leave until the child is nine months old, or 15 months if she adopts multiple children. More generally, a woman who adopts a child may take paid leave for the time it takes for the child to adapt to life with the adoptive family. A woman on maternity leave receives 100% of her salary through social security. After the maternity leave, the mother may take an additional three months of unpaid leave to care for her child until the child is three years old. A woman who takes maternity leave is entitled to return to her job after the leave or, if that is not possible, to another suitable position.


Employees in North Macedonia are entitled to a monthly minimum wage. Bonuses are common in North Macedonia. They are often paid once per year.

Vacation Leave

Employees receive a minimum of 20 days of paid annual leave, which is often extended to as much as 26 days by contract or collective agreement. As a rule, employees receive one additional day of annual leave for each five years of service with an employer, up to a maximum of 26 days for employees with 30 or more years of service.

Public Holidays
  • New Year’s Day
  • Orthodox Christmas
  • Orthodox Easter MondayLabor Day
  • Ramadan Bajram (Eid al-Fitr)
  • Saints Cyril and Methodius Day
  • Republic DayIndependence Day
  • Day of the Macedonian Uprising
  • Day of the North Macedonian Revolutionary StruggleSt. Clement of Ohrid Day
Health Insurance Benefits

North Macedonia has universal healthcare. Although employers are not required to contribute to the national healthcare, some companies do make contributions to provide health insurance coverage for their employees. North Macedonia also has private healthcare providers, and some residents carry private health insurance.

Employment / Termination / Severance

An employer may only terminate an employee because of misconduct or breach of workplace duties or rules, or because of the needs of the business. Before dismissing an employee because of the employee’s misconduct, the employer must first warn the employee and advise them of the possibility of dismissal if the misconduct continues. The employee must be given a minimum of 15 days to improve.

When terminating an employee on an indefinite contract, the employer must provide one month of written notice, and the notice must state the reason for the termination and advise the employee of legal recourse and right to unemployment insurance. Employees performing seasonal work may be terminated with seven days of written notice, and employees in a probation period may be terminated with three working days of notice.

The employer and employee may agree on a payment in lieu of a notice period. In addition, an employer may dismiss an employee without notice if the employee is absent from work for more than three days without permission, abuses the right to sick leave, violates a health or safety regulation regarding fire or dangerous substances, is intoxicated at work or possesses alcohol or narcotics at work, steals from the employer, damages the employer’s property, or wrongfully discloses secret information.

An employee who wishes to quit must provide one month of written notice to the employer. No reason or additional information is required. The employment contract or a collective agreement may establish a longer notice period, but not longer than three months. In certain situations where the employer fails to pay the employee on time or pays the employee less than she/he is entitled to, does not provide sufficient safety protections, does not treat employees equally because of gender, or commits certain other serious breaches of obligations to employees, the employee may advise the employer in writing of the breach and, after three days, may terminate the contract without further notice. In this situation, the employee is entitled to severance pay and any unpaid salary. Employees who are terminated in a collective dismissal are entitled to severance pay. The amount of severance pay is based on an employee’s length of service and ranges from one month of salary to six months of salary.

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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