Employment relationship act
Employment contracts must be concluded in written form. Foreign citizens may conclude a contract if they fulfil the conditions of the Employment of Aliens Act.
The conclusion of an employment relationship is only possible on the basis of an application made by a worker for a publicly announced vacancy; the vacancy must be registered at the Employment Service of Slovenia.
Employers must announce vacancies publicly. Announcements of vacancies must contain the conditions that apply to the performance of the work and the deadline for application; this deadline may not be less than eight days, except for grant-holders, disabled persons, partners in a legal person, management staff, and employees employed part-time or temporarily.
An employment contract must contain those elements laid down by law. The employee and employer may agree on other additional rights and obligations. The obligations of the employee include conscientious performance of work, compliance with the employer's instructions, a ban on dangerous conduct, the protection of business secrets and a ban on working for competing companies during the employment relationship. The obligations of the employer include the obligation to provide work, remuneration and safe working conditions, and to safeguard the employee's integrity and personal data, etc.
Special forms of employment contract
Contracts of temporary employment
A contract of temporary employment introduces great flexibility into employment; however, its over-use could lead to abuse of the provisions regarding dismissal of employees, which is why it is limited in terms of both time and content. The conditions applying to the conclusion of contracts of temporary employment include:
- the performance of work that, by its nature, lasts for a specified period of time only,
- the replacement of a temporarily absent employee,
- a temporary increase in the volume of work,
- the employment of a foreign person in possession of a temporary work permit,
- the employment of management staff,
- the performance of work organised in project form.
An employer may not conclude one or more successive temporary contracts with the same employee for the same work if the duration of such a contract or several such contracts would thereby exceed two years. An interruption of three months or less does not constitute an interruption of this two-year period.
Part-time employment contracts
The new legal regulation allows the possibility of part-time employment without restriction (and with no lower limit as regards working hours) if this is of interest to both employee and employer. One should draw attention to pension and disability insurance in this regard, where the insurance period accumulated in the course of part-time employment is calculated as a proportion of full-time working hours, with the part-time employee then permitted by law to make up the difference between part-time and full-time working hours for insurance purposes by making voluntary contributions into the compulsory health insurance system.
Termination of contracts
In addition to the contractually determined reasons for termination of an employment relationship (expiry of contract period, termination by agreement, death, etc.), the law also distinguishes between:
- ordinary termination, i.e. termination with a specified notice period
- extraordinary termination, i.e. termination without a notice period, which takes effect when it is served on the other party in the matter.
For ordinary termination the employer must have serious and well-founded reasons why the employment relationship cannot continue. These reasons include:
- business reasons of an economic, organisational, technical or similar nature on account of which the work undertaken by the employee is no longer required (business reason)
- personal reasons on account of the employee's inability to do the work, his failure to achieve the expected results (failure to perform the work on time, professionally and to a high quality) or his failure to fulfil the prescribed conditions for the performance of the work (reason of incapacity)
- where the employee violates his contractual or other employment obligations and termination is the result of the conduct of the employee (fault reasons).
If the employer employs new employees, any former employees whose contracts were terminated by that employer for business reasons have precedence for a year after termination of their contracts.
Extraordinary termination may be given by any of the contracting parties, on condition that legally determined reasons for termination exist and that relations between the contracting parties are so strained that continuation of the employment relationship is no longer possible. Reasons for termination that lie with the employer and that allow an employee to terminate the employment contract include non-provision of work, non-payment of wage compensation, the payment of substantially reduced remuneration for work, the occurrence of late payment of wages on several occasions, failure to provide a healthy and safe working environment, and offensive, violent and discriminatory conduct. The employee must first contact the employer and the labour inspectorate in writing. In the event of well-founded extraordinary termination, the employee is entitled to compensation and damages to at least the amount of the wages lost during the notice period that would have been served. Reasons for termination that lie with the employee and that allow an employer to terminate the employment contract include: if the employee violates the contract and this act bears the hallmarks of a criminal offence; if he intentionally or for reasons of gross negligence violates the contract; if a final legal judgement prohibits him from performing certain work in the employment relationship; and if he fails to successfully pass the probation period.
The employer must give reasons for termination. The employee is under no such obligation.
The law provides employees with the right to severance pay when the employer terminates an employment contract for business reasons, for reasons of incapacity, because of the initiation of forced settlement proceedings or the cessation of the employer, and for extraordinary termination initiated by the employee on account of the violation of obligations by the employer.
The basis for the calculation of severance pay is the average (gross) monthly wage that the employee would have received if he had worked for the three months prior to termination. The amount is dependent on a whole year's work with the same employer.
Wages for work are made up of wages, which must always be in monetary form, and any other types of payment determined by the collective agreement.
Wages are made up of:
- basic pay
- part of pay for good work results achieved
- extra payments
- payment for good business results, if such is determined in the collective agreement or the employment contract.
Breaks during the working day are paid.
Basic pay is determined by taking into account the complexity and demands of the work for which the employee concluded the employment contract.
Good work results are determined by taking into account the efficiency, quality and volume of work for which the employee concluded the employment contract.
Extra payments are determined for special working conditions that ensue from the allocation of working hours (night work, overtime, work on Sundays, work on national holidays and work on legally prescribed work-free days). Extra payments for special working conditions that ensue from special burdens at work, unfavourable environmental influences and danger at work which are not in the difficulty of work may be determined in the collective agreement. The basis for the calculation of extra payments is the basic pay of the employee for full-time working hours or the appropriate labour hour rate. The extra payment for years of service is determined in the collective agreement applying to the activity.
Reimbursement of work-related costs (meals during working hours, travel to and from work, and costs incurred by the employee in the performance of specific work and tasks on business trips) is made by the employer.
Wage compensation is paid for a period of absence from work determined by law on account of use of annual leave and absence from work for personal reasons, education, holidays and legally prescribed work-free days, and when the employee does not work for reasons that lie with the employer. The employer pays wage compensation from his own funds when the employee is unable to work due to illness or injury unconnected with work - up to 30 working days for an individual absence from work but not more than 120 working days in a single calendar year. In cases where an employee is absent from work due to an occupational disease or injury at work, the employer pays the wage compensation from his own funds for up to 30 working days for each individual absence from work. In cases where an employee is absent from work for a longer period, the wage compensation is paid by the employer, who charges it to health insurance.
Holiday allowance is paid by an employer to an employee who is entitled to annual leave; if the employee is entitled to proportionate annual leave only, he is only entitled to a proportionate part of the holiday allowance (at least to the amount of the minimum wage) and he must be paid by 1 July of the current calendar year.
Retirement severance pay amounts to two average monthly wages in Slovenia for the preceding three months or, if this is more favourable for the employee concerned, two average monthly wages of the employee in the preceding three months.
Social security contributions
After the employee has been taken on, and at the latest within eight days, the company must register the employee for health and pension and disability insurance at the competent unit of the Health Insurance Institute. Registration is made on the M-4 form. Prior to registration, notice must also be given of the employee's commencement of employment, for tax purposes; this is done using the ER-20 form.
Compulsory social security contributions are paid by both employers and employees. Employers deduct these contributions from wages or salaries, and pay them together with their contribution every month as part of payroll accounting. Self-employed persons must make their own social security contributions.
Compulsory social security schemes apply to the whole population. There are four social security schemes:
- pension and disability insurance,
- health insurance,
- maternity leave.
Contributions for pensions are paid to the Pension Fund, for health insurance to the health fund, and for unemployment and maternity leave directly to the central government.
Contribution rates to the social security that apply to employers are 16.1 per cent and employees 22.1 per cent.
The taxable base both for employers and employees is the amount of the gross wage, which includes gross leave pay, fringe benefits and remuneration of expenses related to work above a certain threshold.
Full-time working hours
Full-time working hours may not exceed 40 hours a week. The law or collective agreement may determine less than 40 hours a week as full-time working hours, but not less than 36 hours. Less than 36 hours per week may exceptionally be allowed for jobs that involve increased risk of injury or damage to health.
An employee is obliged to work in excess of full-time working hours if so requested by the employer in the event of an exceptional increase in the volume of work, if continuation of the work or production process is required in order to prevent material damage or danger to human life and health, if it is necessary to prevent damage to work resources that could cause a disruption of work, if it is required in order to ensure the safety of people and property and traffic safety, and in other exceptional, urgent and unforeseen cases determined by law or by the collective agreement that applies to the activity in question.
Night work may last a maximum of eight hours a week, 20 hours a month and 180 a year (in a period that may not exceed six months).
The working day may last a maximum of ten hours. In accordance with the law, overtime work may not be imposed on employees for reasons of protection during pregnancy and parenthood, elderly employees, and employees under 18 years of age.
Breaks and rest periods
Breaks during working hours
Full-time employees are entitled to a break of 30 minutes during the working day. An employee that works part-time but at least four hours a day is entitled to a break during work in proportion to the time spent at work. In the event of a disproportionate allocation or a temporary reallocation of working hours, the length of the break is determined in proportion to the length of the daily working hours. Breaks may only be taken after at least one hour of work and one hour before the end of working hours at the latest. Breaks are counted as working hours.
Rest period between two successive working days
An employee is entitled to an uninterrupted rest period of at least 12 hours in a 24-hour period.
Weekly rest period
An employee is entitled to an uninterrupted rest period of at least 24 hours in a seven-day period; this is in addition to the right to a daily rest period. If for unavoidable, technical and organisational reasons an employee has to work on his weekly rest day, he must be provided with a rest day on another day during the week. The minimum duration of a weekly rest period shall be counted as the average in a period of 14 consecutive days.
An employee is entitled to annual leave of not less than four weeks in an individual calendar year; this is regardless of whether he works full- or part-time. The minimum number of days of annual leave is dependent on the disposition of working days during the week for the employee concerned. Elderly employees, disabled employees, employees with at least 60 per cent physical disability and employees that care for and look after a child with a physical or mental disability are entitled to at least an additional three days of annual leave. An employee uses his annual leave entitlement with the employer in relation to whom he obtained it, unless he agrees otherwise with the employer. Upon the termination of employment, the employer is obliged to issue the employee with a certificate attesting to the annual leave used. Annual leave is used by taking into account the needs of the work process, the employee's opportunities for rest and recreation, and the employee's family commitments. The employee is entitled to use one day of annual leave on a day of his choosing, but he must inform the employer at least three days beforehand. The employer may not turn down this request unless it constitutes a serious threat to the work process.
An employee has the right and obligation to undertake continuous education and training in line with the requirements of the work process, for the purpose of preserving or expanding his working abilities at the workplace, and for the purpose of preserving his employment. The employer is obliged to ensure education and training for employees if such is required by the work process or if the termination of an employment contract for reasons of incapacity or for business reasons could be avoided through education or training.
An employee is obliged to fulfil contractual and other employment obligations, and he is disciplinarily liable for the violation of these obligations. An employer may issue a disciplinarily liable employee with a warning or other disciplinary sanction (e.g. a fine or removal of privileges if so determined in the collective agreement applying to the activity in question). A disciplinary sanction may not permanently alter the legal status of the employee under labour law.
Liability for damages
An employee that intentionally or for reasons of gross negligence at work or in connection with work causes damage to the employer is obliged to compensate for the damage caused. If damage is caused to the employee at work or in connection with work, the employer must compensate him in accordance with the general rules of civil law. The employer's liability for damages also applies to damage caused by the employer to the employee as a result of the violation of rights ensuing from the employment relationship.
Protection of some categories of employees
The protection of employees for reasons of protection during pregnancy and parenthood enables the prohibition of performance of work during pregnancy and after childbirth that could endanger the health of the employee or child. Throughout pregnancy, for one year after giving birth and for the whole period during which she is breastfeeding, the employee may not perform night work if, according to a risk assessment, such work could harm her health or that of her child. An employee who is breastfeeding and working full-time is entitled to a break of at least one hour for breastfeeding purposes. An employee that cares for a child up to three years of age or lives alone with a child under seven years of age, with a seriously ill child or with a physically or mentally disabled child may perform overtime and night work only with their written consent. An employer must, in accordance with the law, ensure the right to absence from work or to part-time work in order to use parental leave. The employee must inform the employer of the commencement and method of use of parental leave at least 30 days prior to the commencement of use of these rights.
The following types of work may not be imposed on employees less than 18 years of age:
- work performed underground or underwater
- work that objectively exceeds his physical and psychological capacities
- work that involves exposure to harmful agents
- work that involves hazardous exposure to radiation
- work that involves a risk of accident (due to lack of experience or training)
- work that involves a health risk (cold, heat, noise, vibrations).
Protection of disabled employees
An employer ensures protection of the working disabled as well as those that do not have such status through education and training, in accordance with regulations governing the training and employment of disabled persons, and regulations on pension and disability insurance. An employer ensures that an employee with remaining capacity to work performs other work suitable with regard to his remaining capacity to work, part-time work with regard to his remaining capacity to work, occupational rehabilitation and wage compensation.
The protection of elderly employees (over 55 years of age) is such that these employees may conclude part-time employment contracts if they are semi-retired. They may only perform overtime and night work with their written consent.
Operations and protection of trade union representatives
Employers must provide trade unions with conditions that allow them to carry out their activities quickly and efficiently in accordance with the regulations safeguarding the rights and interests of employees, and allow them access to information required for the performance of trade union activities. A trade union that has members employed by a specific employer may appoint or elect a trade union representative to represent it at the employer. The trade union must inform the employer of the appointment or election of the trade union representative.
Work abroad and the position of workers posted to perform work in the territory of Republic of Slovenia
In accordance with the employment contract, an employer may temporarily post a worker to perform work abroad. A worker may refuse the posting abroad provided that there exist justified reasons, such as pregnancy, care of a child, disability, health reasons, other reasons provided by the employment contract and/or the collective agreement.
If a worker has been posted to perform work abroad, the employment contract shall, apart from the obligatory components according to this Act, include the provisions on duration of the posting, holidays and work-free days, minimum annual leave, the amount of wage and the currency, in which it shall be paid, other incomes in cash and kind, to which the worker is entitled during his working abroad, and the conditions of return to his native country.
A worker, who has been posted to perform work in the territory of the Republic of Slovenia by a foreign employer on the basis of an employment contract in accordance with the foreign law, shall carry out work for a limited period in the Republic of Slovenia under the conditions laid down in regulations governing the work and employment of foreign citizens.
An employer must ensure the worker referred to in the previous paragraph the rights according to the regulations of the Republic of Slovenia and according to the provisions of the general collective agreement, which regulate working time, breaks and rests, night work, minimum annual leave, wage, safety and health at work, special protection of workers and equal treatment, if these are more favourable to the worker.
Source: Official Gazette of Republic of Slovenia, no. 42/02