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Serbia Leave Laws & Holidays for 2024

Paid Time Off (PTO), Vacation Leave, Sick Leave, Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Bereavement Leave, Jury Duty Leave, Military Leave, Voting Leave, and Marriage Leave

Table Of Contents

Last updated on January 19, 2024.

Paid Time Off (PTO) in Serbia

Vacation Leave Quota 

20 paid days per year

All full-time regular employees are entitled to at least 20 working days (4 weeks) of paid vacation leave in each calendar year. The General Employment Act (which establishes a legal minimum) and the employment contract determine vacation entitlement. Public holidays (12 days) are in addition to vacation leave. Part-time employees receive vacation entitlements in proportion to the time they spend at work.

The Serbian vacation policy of at least 20 days is the same as in the countries in the region, like Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Bulgaria. Only some other countries’ leave laws in Europe, France and the United Kingdom, for example—offer their workers more vacation days.

The exact number of vacation days is determined based on factors such as work experience, working conditions, the employee’s qualifications, contributions at work, and other criteria established by the employment contract.

Accrual 

Employees begin to acquire the right to use vacation leave after 1 month of uninterrupted work.  

In the first year, they accrue 1/12 of the annual leave, for every month worked. For example, if their annual leave is 24 days, they accrue 2 days per month (24/12). If an employee has worked for 3 months, they will be entitled to 6 days (3×2). 

However, this accrual calculation happens only in the first year of work. After a full year of work, an employee is entitled to a minimum of 20 days of paid leave, which is mostly front-loaded at the beginning of the calendar year. 

Taking annual leave 

Generally, the employer may decide when employees are taking annual leave, with prior consultation with them. The law doesn’t require employees to announce their holiday dates within a specific time frame before they start using them, so employees must be aware of the internal rules of the company. 

The law requires that an employee must use annual leave in 1 or 2 parts, but in reality, employers let their employees split it into several parts, and use even 1 day off. 

Carry-over 

Employees are allowed to carry-over unused annual leave from one year to the next (at the end of the calendar year). Then, they have a period until June 30th to use it, or it expires it. However, some employers allow employees to continue to use it even after that date. 

Payment of Unused Annual Leave on Termination 

An employer must compensate employees for their unused vacation leave when they leave their job. 

Payout

Annual leave in Serbia is fully paid by the employer, during which employees are paid at the same rate as their regular salary. 

Sick Leave in Serbia

Up to 30 days of sick leave are paid by the employer. 

In Serbia, there are no limits on the maximum duration of sick days or the compensation that an employee can receive, as long as they provide their employer with a valid medical certificate covering the duration of their absence.

There is no waiting period for sick leave, employees may use it immediately upon hire. 

If the temporary work disability lasts longer than 6 months, the competent medical commission refers the insured person for a work capacity assessment.

An employee is required to provide a medical certificate from a physician within 3 days of becoming sick. 

Payout 

Any employee who takes sick leave is entitled to receive sick pay automatically, but the duration of the leave determines who pays for it.

The first 30 days of sick leave are paid by the employer. During that period, employees are entitled to: 

  • 65% of the average salary an employee earned in the previous 3 months, due to a non-work-related illness or injury.
  • 100% of the average salary an employee earned in the previous 3 months, if a sickness or injury is work-related.

Starting from the 31st day of sick leave, employees receive 100% compensation, but it is entirely paid by the government health insurance (Republic Fund of Health Insurance).

Maternity, Paternity, and Adoption Leave in Serbia

Maternity Leave 

365 days of leave – 100% paid (only the first month is paid by the employer). 

All female employees are entitled to maternity leave, whether they have an indefinite term or a fixed-term contract, regardless of how long they have been employed. 

Mothers are entitled to 365 days of fully paid maternity leave (100%) for having their first or second child.  

With a full year of maternity leave, Serbia has one of the best maternity leave in the world.

Mothers expecting twins are also entitled to 1 year of leave. Mothers expecting triplets or more are entitled to 2 years of leave. Maternity leave is two years for employees having their third, fourth, or any subsequent child. 

Maternity leave consists of: 

  • 3 months of pregnancy leave, which begins with the start of maternity leave 
  • 9 months of leave to care for the newborn child, which begins after the end of pregnancy leave. 

A pregnant employee in Serbia can begin maternity leave at the earliest 45 days, and the latest 28 days before the anticipated delivery date. 

A mother whose child is stillborn or dies is entitled to 3 months of leave. 

A female employee cannot be terminated during maternity leave. 

The latest update for the year 2024: It is expected that this year maternity leave for the first child will be extended to 15 months, and 18 months for the second child. 

Payout 

Maternity leave is paid by the employer for the first 30 days of absence. After that, leave is fully paid by the government (Republic Fund of Health Insurance). 

During maternity leave, mothers receive 100% of their regular earnings, equal to the average salary over the past 18 months. 

Paternity Leave 

5 paid days

An employee who becomes a father is entitled to 5 days of paid paternity leave, funded by the employer. 

In exceptional circumstances, the father may take over maternity leave if the mother: 

  • is unemployed 
  • abandons the child or dies 
  • is prevented due to serious illness 
  • is prevented because of serving a prison term 

Adoption Leave 

8 months

An employee who adopts a child is entitled to 8 months of paid leave, as long as the child is less than 5 years old. In cases of adoption before the child turns 3 months old, leave lasts until the child turns 11 months old.  

The same applies to foster parents. 

During adoptive or foster leave, parents are entitled to full compensation of their salary. 

Bereavement Leave in Serbia

5 days of paid leave. 

An employee is entitled to at least 5 days of paid leave due to the death of a close family member. A member of a close family includes: a spouse, a child, a sister, a brother, a parent, an adoptive parent, an adoptee, and a legal guardian. 

Payout 

Bereavement leave in Serbia is paid by the employer. An employee continues to receive their regular salary. 

Jury Duty Leave in Serbia

Not specified by law. 

Employees are rarely summoned to jury duty. Jurors in Serbia are mostly unemployed and senior citizens. 

Military Leave in Serbia

Unpaid leave

Employees are entitled to unpaid leave for military service. The employees are entitled to their previous position, insurance, and all the other working benefits, during leave and for 15 days after the end of military leave.  

Voting Leave in Serbia

Not specified by law. 

Elections in Serbia are always on Sundays, so most employees are able to vote. For those who work on Sunday, there is sufficient time, as the polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Other Types of Paid Leave in Serbia

Employees are entitled by law to paid leave of: 

  • 1 day a year for a celebration of family saint patron’s day (slava in Serbian). This tradition is unique to Serbia and entitles all Orthodox Serbs, who are the majority of the population. 
  • 5 days in case of their wedding. 
  • 5 days for the serious illness of a member of a close family. 
  • 2 days for donating blood (counting also the day of donating blood). 

Public Holidays in Serbia for 2024

12 paid days of public holidays.  

Serbia provides 12 days of paid leave for public holidays. 

Employees are entitled to 6 public holidays, but they last 12 days in total. This is because the following holidays last more than one day:  

  • New Year’s Day – 2 days 
  • Serbian Statehood Day – 2 days 
  • Orthodox Easter – 4 days 
  • Labor Day – 2 days 

A complete list of official holidays recognized and celebrated by Serbia in 2024

Date Holiday
1 January, Monday New Year’s Day
2 January, Tuesday Second Day of New Year’s Day
7 January, Sunday (*) Orthodox Christmas Day
15 February, Thursday Serbian Statehood Day
16 February, Friday Second Day of Serbian Statehood Day
1 May, Wednesday Labor Day
2 May, Thursday Second Day of Labor Day
3 May, Friday Orthodox Good Friday
4 May, Saturday Orthodox Holy Saturday
5 May, Sunday (#) Orthodox Easter Day
6 May, Monday Orthodox Easter Monday
11 November, Monday Armistice Day

(*) If a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the next working day will be treated as a non-working day. However, this does not apply when it comes to religious holidays.

If a public holiday falls on a Saturday, then that Saturday is considered a non-working day for all employees. 

(#) Four non-working days around Orthodox Easter are movable, and the dates vary every year. 

Employees are entitled to additional paid days off during the following religious holidays: 

  • Orthodox Christians: 1st day of Slava – the celebration of family saint patron’s day (see more above in Other Types of Paid Leave in Serbia) 

  • Members of the Catholic Church or any other Christian communities: 1st day for Christmas (25 December) and 4 days for Catholic Easter

  • Muslims: The 1st day of Eid al-Fitr (Ramazanski bajram) and the 1st day of Eid al-Adha (Kurban-bajram) 

  • Jewish community: The 1st day of Yom Kippur 

Employees belonging to these religious groups are entitled to all standard holidays, as well as additional days that are unique to their respective communities.

Sources

  1. Official LABOR LAW of the Republic of Serbia, https://www.ilo.org/dyn/travail/docs/2403/Labour%20Law%20Republic%20of%20Serbia.pdf
  2. Annual leave according to the Labor law, https://pavleski-law.rs/en/labour-and-employment/annual-leave-according-to-the-labor-law/
  3. Payroll and Benefits Guide Serbia, https://www.papayaglobal.com/countrypedia/country/serbia/
  4. Local Laws & Regulations: Serbia, https://www.atlashxm.com/en/countries/serbia
  5. The right to salary compensation during temporary disablement (during sick leave): Official website of Republic Fund of Health Insurance, https://www.zso.gov.rs/english/pravo-na-naknadu-zarade.htm
  6. Is your employer allowed to order you to work on the day of your Saint Patron/ Krsna Slava?, https://gsm.legal/en/blog/is-your-employer-allowed-to-order-you-to-work-on-the-day-of-your-saint-patron-krsna-slava/
  7. Employment and Employee Benefits in Serbia: Overview, https://uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/8-633-9487
  8. Pravo zaposlenih na odsustvo u dane praznika (Employees’ rights of leave for public holidays), https://www.paragraf.rs/100pitanja/posao/pravo-zaposlenih-na-odsustvo-u-dane-praznika.html

All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about this region's leave laws. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, and may not be current. Please contact your local legal counsel to learn more about the leave laws in your country.