Poor Solutions of the New Draft Law on Seasonal Workers

Following the recommendations of the International Labor Organization as well as the statement of the group of special rapporteurs of the United Nations (Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association; Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants; Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, etc.), the Draft Law on Seasonal and Other Occasional Employment in Specific Business Activities has been amended.

The analysis indicates that some changes have been made, but most of the problematic and poor solutions remained in the text of the Draft Law. The Draft Law stipulates the right to form trade unions, regulates working hours for groups under special protection (pregnant women, minors, etc.) and prescribes that the employer is obliged to pay monetary compensation for work. All the other bad solutions that we had been pointing out remained unchanged.

We hereby emphasize that the Draft Law contains provisions that contribute to the liberalization of the employment of foreigners, potentially leading to abuses that have become a widespread phenomenon in Serbia in recent years. Even though there has been minor progress in terms of administrative steps, it is still prescribed that foreign citizens who do not need a visa in accordance with the visa regime to enter the Republic of Serbia may engage in work in accordance with this Law, without the obligation to obtain a work permit for foreigners, which opens up room for manipulation.

Therefore, once again we need to stress that the minor changes have not improved the Draft Law, and therefore will not contribute to a better position of seasonal and other workers covered by the Draft Law, but will lead, as we indicated earlier, to further precariousness of work, greater exploitation and reduction of labor standards.

The Draft Law does not contain provisions that would improve the position of workers and their rights significantly, but minor changes that do not affect the essence of this Draft Law which continues to favor employers and the legalization of violations of workers’ rights. We hereby call for the withdrawal of the Draft Law and its harmonization with international conventions ratified by the Republic of Serbia and other documents guaranteeing workers’ rights.


For the Initiative “I also live in the off-season”:

A 11 – Initiative for Economic and Social Rights
Centre of Modern Skills
“Zajedničko” Platform