The COVID-19 Pandemic and Serbian Labour Rights
The global and local trend of ignoring and dismantling human rights which include social and labour rights, has greatly reduced the ability of Serbia’s authorities to successfully combat the current health crisis, and has greatly diminished their ability to handle crisis management successfully.
The number of employees in Serbia working from home increased significantly even before the crisis, by as much as 58.6% in 2019 compared to 2018 - from close to one hundred thousand to almost 160 thousand. However, such trends did not encourage the Government to start the process of reforming the Labor Law in the direction of further regulation of flexible forms of work and flexible working conditions.
The time will show how much the deterioration of labour rights due to the COVID-19 epidemic in Serbia will be a consequence of inertia and opposition of the authorities in the previous period to address the reform of labour legislation in the direction of greater coverage and higher levels of protection of all employees in Serbia.
The acts of the Government of the Republic of Serbia passed during the state of emergency have impaired labour rights further as they were not: passed in a timely manner; passed in line with the constitutional guarantee of non-discrimination; elaborated in more detail, legal provisions relating to remote work and work from home; passed in a form in which the government takes stands (declarations) when it comes to recommendations to employers that were adopted via conclusions; and because they were subsequently interpreted by line ministries in a manner that introduces legal uncertainty.
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