Serbia is no exception to this rule and has seen a significant change in the way by in which employees work, the current workplace and the types of job which are in demand.
Remote work/working from home has been a primary discussion point over the last few years. Remote work models have become widespread and even dominant in some industries, not only due to technical progress but also because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, the IT industry has seen the wide adoption of remote work, with employers making efforts to accommodate employees who prefer this model, allowing them to work from home or other locations.
At the same time, the rise of remote work has also raised legal concerns, such as how to regulate it in contracts, how to manage working hours and supervision, and how to address health and safety issues.
Additionally, there are concerns about the utilization of work-related tools and equipment, as well as reimbursement of associated costs. These concerns highlight the need for organizations to carefully consider and internally regulate the legal implications of remote work, especially as, although permitted, the law in Serbia lacks clear and precise regulations on remote work. For example, regarding health and safety, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure a safe workplace for employees, but specific provisions should be included to clarify that employees are also responsible for maintaining a safe and distraction-free home working environment.
Post-pandemic, some companies in Serbia have found the need for organizational changes, including restructuring and redundancy procedures. Lawyers have been frequently involved in creating redundancy programs for various companies over the past six months. In addition to assisting with redundancy programs, we have also seen an increase in the need to help companies to explore alternative options for certain employees before letting them go. This includes considering measures required by law, such as finding other types of employment within the company, or helping employees change their qualifications through seminars, and courses to transition to another company with different requirements.
Despite companies’ efforts to find work layoffs have still been necessary in some cases. The most significant layoffs have been observed in production companies working with non-essential commodities. The implementation of upgraded technologies has resulted in reduced demand for labour on new machines, leading to workforce reductions in these industries.
In spite of this, the construction sector has shown potential for employment opportunities. There has been an influx of workers from different continents coming to Serbia to seek employment in construction and transportation, such as construction site workers or drivers for the transport industry. A number of Serbian workers have left for Western countries, creating opportunities for foreign workers in these areas.
Finally, the IT industry in Serbia has been experiencing growth and expansion, providing additional employment opportunities for individuals with relevant skills and qualifications. It is common to come across Digital Nomads in Serbia who take advantage of the excellent internet infrastructure and appealing tax structure. Despite the challenges faced by certain industries, there are still areas where employment opportunities can be found and pursued in Serbia.