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New Special Collective Agreement for construction…

Sabina Dautović • june 8, 2023

New Special Collective Agreement for construction and construction material industry

**After almost 4 years, Serbia once again has a special collective agreement in the field of construction and construction material industry**

On April 20, 2023, new Special Collective Agreement for the construction and construction material industry of Serbia (“Official Gazette of RS” No. 38/2023) was concluded and it entered into force on May 18, 2023 (hereinafter: “Special Collective Agreement”). This Special Collective Agreement significantly improves the legal position of both employees (in the form of granting rights to a greater extent than prescribed by the provisions of the Labor Law) and employers (in the way that their rights and obligations have been additionally specified, in relation to the provisions of the Labor Law, which established the prerequisites for stable operations) in construction and construction material industry.

  1. What is a special collective agreement?

A special collective agreement is a type of collective agreement concluded at different levels (for branch, group, subgroup, activity, etc.) between a representative trade union and a representative association of employers.

  1. To whom does the Special Collective Agreement apply?

This Special Collective Agreement regulates, among other things, the rights, obligations and responsibilities from the employment relationship of employees and employers who perform their main activity in the field of construction and construction material industry in the Republic of Serbia. The activities in question are classified in Attachment 1 of the Special Collective Agreement.

In addition, extensions and exemptions from the application are also possible, namely:

*The Government can decide that the collective agreement or some of its provisions apply to employers who are not members of the employers’ association – participants in the collective agreement;

*The employer, that is, the association of employers, can submit a request for exemption from the application of the collective agreement with extended effect, if they are unable to apply the collective agreement due to financial and business results.

  1. Key novelties of the Special Collective Agreement

Bellow we highlight some of the provisions of the Special Collective Agreement, which were amended/amended in relation to the Labor Law, in the spirit of the possibility to establish a greater scope of rights and more favorable working conditions than the rights and conditions established by law.

  • Overtime work

At the request of the employer, in addition to the cases established by the Labor Law (force majeure, sudden increase in workload, etc.), the employee is obliged to work longer than full-time, and in the following cases:

  1. to complete the work process whose duration could not be predicted, and whose suspension and interruption would cause damage to the employer;
  2. due to the replacement of a suddenly absent employee;
  3. if there are contracted jobs with deadlines in which the job cannot be completed during regular working hours;
  4. to carry out certain jobs and tasks that could not be completed within a certain period of time due to a lack of materials;
  5. due to the reception, loading and unloading of materials, equipment and other goods;
  6. in other cases if, in the opinion of the employer or other authorized person, it is necessary for the smooth running of the work process.
  • Increased salary

The Special Collective Agreement increased the percentages for the calculation of increased salary in certain cases, namely:

  1. for work on a holiday that is a non-working day – at least 120% of the base (the Labor Law in this case regulates an increase of at least 110% of the base);
  2. for work at night (from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. the next day), if such work is not valued when determining the basic salary – at least 30% of the base (in this case, the Labor Law regulates an increase of at least 26% of the base);
  • Obligation of the employer to keep records and provide access to them

A Special Collective Agreement introduced the employer’s obligation to, at least quarterly, at the written request of a representative union or long-time authorized representative of employees, provide access to data related to overtime work, redistribution of working time, and night work.

  • Jobs with increased risk

The employer is obliged to provide the employee at the workplace with increased risk with a previous medical examination before starting work, as well as periodic medical examinations during work.

If, during the periodical medical examination, it is determined that the employee does not meet the special health conditions for performing work at a workplace with increased risk, the employer is obliged to transfer him to another workplace that corresponds to his health capabilities, if such a workplace exists at the employer, i.e., to act in another appropriate manner in accordance with the law.

The aforementioned obligations are not new, given that they already exist based on the regulations on occupational health and safety and the corresponding provisions of the Labor Law, but given that the jobs in the industry for which this Special Collective Agreement was concluded, as a rule, represent jobs with increased risk, it is useful to highlight them here as well.

  1. Deadline for harmonization

The Special Collective Agreement set a deadline for employers to which it applies to harmonize their general acts and employment agreements with its provisions, at the latest within a period of 90 days from the date of its entry into force, i.e., no later than August 16, 2023.

  1. Duration of the Special Collective Agreement

The Special Collective Agreement was concluded for a period of one year, with the obligation to harmonize it with the needs and interests of the participating parties, in case of changes in legal and other regulations, which have direct elements of application within the Special Collective Agreement.