The state of emergency does not protect employees from layoffs

The introduction of the state of emergency and the cessation of work in some service sectors, as well as the reduced volume of work in other sectors, have already caused the first redundancies in Serbia.

“Nothing changes with the introduction of a state of emergency; redundancies and wage reductions can take place under the same conditions as before, in line with the stipulations of the Labour Law,” says Mario Reljanovic of the Institute of Comparative Law.

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“The private sector depends on what employers decide. The state’s appeals that employers should not lay off workers do not mean much, and in this situation, a compromise between government, employers and trade unions is needed,” says Milos Vuckovic, the editor of the website, adding that “the most vulnerable workers, in this case, are those who have temporary job contracts or work illegally, and now have to choose between their financial survival and their health”.

Under the law, employees are entitled to 60 per cent of the average salary when their company stops working or reduces its operations for up to 45 days in a calendar year. Employers can place staff on leave for up to 45 days but only with the approval of the Labor Ministry in the same circumstances.  

It has been reported that certain hotels closed down and fired staff before the state of emergency was imposed and warned that the rest of the services sector could follow suit as well as other industries that can’t organize their staff to work from home. Nova Ekonomija said the shadow economy, which accounts for 20 pe rcent of business operations according to NALED’s data, is a huge problem.  

Reljanovic also said that the situation can’t be resolved without solidarity between the authorities, employers and employees which, he added, is not happening yet. He said employers could pay all their staff minimum wage to reduce expenses and keep their employees or share workloads to keep more staff working.  

Experts also say that employers can survive for up to three months in this situation without state aid and added that the damages inflicted on Serbia by the coronavirus pandemic will amount to hundreds of millions of euro.

(N1, 19.03.2020)



This post is also available in: Italiano

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