Karanovic & Partners in cooperation with local lawyers

Forums For Adjudicating Employment Disputes

First instance courts have competence to settle all labour disputes subject to the rules of the civil procedure. Courts in some cities have civil law departments that handle labour disputes, or specialized labour dispute resolution departments. However, a specialized labour court is not established in North Macedonia.

Decisions of the first instance courts can be appealed before the competent Appellate Court of jurisdiction. As a third instance, there are extraordinary legal remedies before the Supreme Court of the Republic of North Macedonia which are always available in labour disputes due to termination of employment.


The Main Sources Of Employment Law

The Constitution of the Republic of North Macedonia (“Constitution”) in the section declaring economic, social and cultural rights guarantees that every person has the right to work, free choice of employment, protection at work, and financial assistance during temporary unemployment. The Constitution also regulates other labour law aspects, such as (i) the right of assistance to citizens who are infirm and who are unfit for work; as well as (ii) special protection of mothers, minors and children.

The main general source of employment law is the Law on Labour Relations (Official Gazette of the Republic of North Macedonia nos. 62/05, with all relevant amendments; “Labour Law”) and its bylaws. There are specialized laws concerning employees in the public sector, such as the Law on Public Sector Employees, the Law on Administrative Servants or the Law on Healthcare Protection, which regulate certain specific aspects of the employment relationship with employees in the relevant sector, while they refer to the Labour Law for all matters which are not regulated with the special laws.

Other relevant sources of employment law are collective bargaining agreements, which can be general or negotiated and applicable to employees in a specific sector, or at a specific employer. There are two general collective bargaining agreements (i) the General Collective Bargaining Agreement for the Public Sector, and (ii) the General Collective Bargaining Agreement for the Private Sector in the Field of the Economy.

Other relevant sources of employment law include (i) the Law on Health and Safety at Work (Official Gazette of the Republic of North Macedonia nos. 92/2007, with all relevant amendments); (ii) the Law on Protection Against Harassment at the Workplace (Official Gazette of the Republic of North Macedonia nos. 79/2013, with all relevant amendments); (iii) the Law on Minimal Salary (Official Gazette of the Republic of North Macedonia nos. 11/2012, with all relevant amendments); (iv) the Law on Amicable Settlement of Labour Disputes (Official Gazette of the Republic of North Macedonia nos. 87/2007, with all relevant amendments), (v) the Law on Employment of Disabled Persons (Official Gazette of the Republic of North Macedonia nos. 44/2000, with all relevant amendments);(vi) Law on Employment and Insurance in Event of Unemployment (Official Gazette of the Republic of North Macedonia nos. 37/1997, with all relevant amendments); (vii) the Law on Contributions for Mandatory Social Insurance (Official Gazette of the Republic of North Macedonia nos. 142/2008, with all relevant amendments); (viii) the Law on Private Employment Agencies (Official Gazette of the Republic of North Macedonia nos. 37/1997, with all relevant amendments); (ix) Law on Records in the Field of Labour (Official Gazette of the Republic of North Macedonia nos. 16/2004, with all relevant amendments); and (x) Law on Employment and Work of Foreigners (Official Gazette of the Republic of North Macedonia nos. 217/2015, with all relevant amendments).


National Law And Employees Working For Foreign Companies

Thе Labour Law is applicable to all labour relations established between employers with headquarters or temporary residence in the Republic of North Macedonia and their employees, when the work is continually performed on the territory of the Republic of North Macedonia, as well as in the cases when the employer temporarily posts the employee to work abroad.

In addition, the Labour Law is also applicable between an employer from the territory of a member state of the European Union and an employer from the territory of a non-member state of the European Union and their employees, established on the basis of an employment contract for carrying out work on the territory of the Republic of North Macedonia. Local law shall not apply in events when the parties have agreed that the employment relationship shall be governed by the legislation of another country.


However, the provisions of the Labour Law or any other law that regulate the working hours, daily breaks and annual leaves, night shifts, minimum annual leave, minimum salary, safety at work, and special protection of employees shall apply to employees that are posted to temporary work in the Republic of North Macedonia by an employer from the territory of a member state of the European Union and an employer from the territory of a non-member state of the European Union on the basis of an employment contract governed by foreign law.

Local law does not apply to nautical personnel of trade-nautical enterprises, aircrew members, and foreigners employed in companies for passenger and railway transportation with registered headquarters abroad.


National Law And Employees Of National Companies Working In Another Jurisdiction

Based on the Labour Law, national companies can post employees to temporary work abroad, as long as this option is envisaged within the employment contract. In general, the Labour Law also applies to employees on temporary post abroad.

If the employee concludes an employment contract for carrying out works abroad, which would be subject to foreign regulations under international private law, in addition to the general obligatory principles under the Labour Law, the employment contract must also include provisions on:

    —duration of the work abroad;
    —holidays and days off;
    —minimum annual leave;
    —salary amount and currency in which it is paid;
    —other earnings in cash the employee would be entitled to during his work abroad; and
    —conditions for return to his home country.

The employment contract may refer to another law, another regulation or collective agreement that regulates the issues on other earnings in cash and conditions for return of the employee to his home country.


Data privacy

Personal data of the employees may be collected, processed, used and delivered to third parties only if so determined by the Labour Law or another law, or if it is necessary for the purpose of fulfilling the rights and obligations arising from, or related to the employment.

The personal data of the employees may be collected, processed, used and delivered to third parties only by the employer or the employee who has special authorization by the employer thereof. Once there is no longer a legal basis for collection of personal data of employees, they must be immediately deleted and their use should be terminated. The protection of personal data applies to employees as well as applicants for a certain position.

Finally, please note that the collection and processing of personal data in general, including for purposes of employment is regulated by the special Law on Personal Data Protection (Official Gazette of the Republic of North Macedonia no. 42/2020), which is harmonized in great extent European regulation in the field of personal data protection, specifically: Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation - GDPR).

Legal Requirements As To The Form Of Agreement

The employment contract has to be concluded in written form, executed by the employer and the employee. One copy of the employment agreement is kept in the employer’s records, while another copy should be handed over to the employee.


Mandatory Requirements
  • Trial Period
  • A trial period is not compulsory, but the parties may agree upon one within the employment contract. The parties should agree upon the salary during the trial period, as well as the duration of the trial period, which may not exceed four months. In cases of hiring seasonal workers, the trial period may not last longer than three days.

  • Hours Of Work
  • As a general rule, the working week lasts five days and normal full working hours should not exceed 40 hours a week. Full working hours may be limited to 36 hours a week (or even less than that for positions prone to greater danger of injuries or health deterioration) by virtue of special laws or collective bargaining agreements.

    An employer can request an employee to perform work exceeding the full-time working hours (overtime work). Overtime work can last up to eight hours a week, with maximum 190 hours a year, except for works which cannot be terminated due to specific process of operation or for works that cannot be organized in shifts. However, the overtime work for a period of three months cannot be more than eight hours a week in average.

  • Special Rules For Part-time Work
  • There is a possibility to conclude an employment agreement for part-time work, i.e. for working hours that are shorter than the full-time working hours. The part-time employee would have the same contractual and other rights and obligations arising from employment as the full-time employee, and shall exercise such rights and obligations proportionally to the time for which he has concluded the employment contract, except for those that are otherwise determined by a law.

  • Earnings
  • The earnings of a full-time employee cannot be lower than the minimum salary determined by the Law on Minimal Salary and the applicable collective agreement. Each employer is obliged to pay equal salary to employees for equal work with equal job requirements, regardless of their gender. The minimum salary of a part-time employee shall be calculated proportionally to the time spent at work.

  • Holidays/Rest Periods
  • Full-time employees have the right to a 30 minute break during working hours, while part-time employees that work for at least 4 hours a day, have the right to a break in duration of 15 minutes. The duration of the break is considered as paid integral part of the determined daily working hours.

    Employees have the right to a weekly rest of at least 24 uninterrupted hours, plus 12 hours daily rest continuously between two consecutive working days in a period of 24 hours.

    Employees are entitled to paid annual leave of at least 20 working days, which can be extended to 26 working days by a collective bargaining agreement or by his employment contract. Older employees (i.e. female employees over the age of 57, and male employees over the age of 59), disabled employees, employees with at least 60% of physical impairment, and an employee who takes care of a physically or mentally handicapped child, are entitled to additional three working days of annual leave. Part-time employees are entitled to an annual leave of at least 10 working days.

    Holidays, Saturdays and Sundays and days off, absences from work due to illness, as well as other cases of justified absence from work, shall not be calculated in the days of the annual leave.

    Employee who is employed for the first time acquires the right to an annual leave after an uninterrupted employment of at least six months at the same employer, regardless whether the employee is engaged on full or part-time.

    Employees who have not acquired the right to an annual leave, have the right to a proportionate amount of annual leave in duration of two days for every month of work.

  • Minimum/Maximum Age
  • The minimum age for employees is 15, while special protection measures apply for minors. Employees have the right to retire after 15 years of pensionable service, and turn 62 for female employees or 64 for male employees. However, upon the submission of a request, employees can be allowed to continue working until 67 years of age.

  • Illness/Disability
  • The employer is obliged to pay salary compensation in cases of an employee’s incapacity to work due to illness or injury for a period of up to 30 days, and if the absence lasts more than 30 days, the salary compensation continues to be paid by health insurance.

    Employees with disabilities enjoy special protection based on the Labour Law. It is considered that a disabled person qualified to carry out certain works shall be deemed to have a good state of health to conclude an employment contract for those specific works. There is a ban on performing work beyond the full-time working hours for persons with disabilities. In addition, an employee who works less than full-time hours in accordance with the regulations on pension and disability insurance (disability), the regulations on healthcare insurance (medical rehabilitation), exercises rights arising from the compulsory social insurance as if he works full-time. Based on the Law on Employment of Disabled Persons, there are special measures designed for improving the conditions for employment and work of disabled persons.

  • Location Of Work/Mobility
  • The principal place of work has to be specified within the employment contract. If the exact place is not stated, it is considered that the employee carries out the work at the employer’s headquarters. Mobility may be agreed upon depending on the specifics of the work position. In exceptional cases (e.g. natural disasters, risk to human life, health or employer’s assets) the employee may be temporarily relocated even without its consent, but only within the duration of such state of affairs.

  • Pension Plans
  • Within the social security system there is a pension system which employers have to pay contributions into on behalf of their employees. The pension system is organized in three pillars, out of which the first two are mandatory, the state pension fund as the first and the mandatory private pension fund as the second mandatory pillar. Each employee chooses in which mandatory private pension fund it will participate. Finally, the third pillar is the voluntary pension system which is still in development and not used much in practice. Complementary pension plans, aside the mandatory pension obligations are still underdeveloped and not frequent on the market.

  • Parental Rights (Pregnancy/ Maternity/ Paternity/ Adoption)

    There is a set of rules to guarantee paid parental leave, including 9 months paid maternity leave. The mother is entitled to paid maternity leave up to 15 months in event she gives birth to more than one child at the same time. If the female employee does not take the parenthood leave referred to above, the child’s father or the adoptive parent shall be entitled to take parenthood leave. Upon the end of the leave from work due to pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood, the female employee shall have the right to an unpaid parenthood leave of up to three months in the period until the child turns three, in three parts at the most, for the purpose of taking care of the child.

    There is a special protection prescribed during pregnancy and parenthood of children up to three years in relation to night work and overtime work. Adopting parents in general are entitled to the same parental rights as birth parents.

  • Compulsory Terms
  • The Labour Law regulates the mandatory contents of the employment contract. The employment contract shall at least contain: (i) information on the parties, their residence or seat; (ii) date of entry into employment; (iii) job title or data on the type of work for which the employee concluded the employment contract, with a brief description of the work to be performed under the contract of employment; (iv) provisions on the obligation of the employer to inform the employee about risk positions and special professional qualifications or skills or special medical supervision, in accordance with the law, stating the specific risks under the legislation that may result from the work; (v) place of work performance; (vi) the duration of employment, when the contract was signed for a definite time; (vii) provision of whether the employee is employed part - or fulltime; (viii) provision for daily or weekly regular working hours and allocation of working hours; (ix) provision for the amount of the basic salary, which is expressed in the amount of money that goes to the employee to perform the work according to the law, collective agreement or employment contract; (x) provision for other benefits belonging to the employee to perform the work according to the law and the collective agreement; (xi) provision for annual leave or the manner of determining annual leave; and (xii) an indication of the general acts of the employer relevant for the employment.

  • Non-Compulsory Terms
  • The parties can agree to any other terms of their choice, provided those terms are no less favourable than statutory rules.


Types Of Agreement

Employment contracts may be concluded for an indefinite period of time, or for a definite period of time, with or without a probationary period. Furthermore, an employment contract may be concluded on a full-time or part-time basis. In addition, there are several special types of agreement envisaged by the Labour Law, such as as employment contracts for seasonal works (mostly used in agriculture), employment contracts for work from home, or employment contracts with housekeepers. There are special agreements for traineeship and voluntary periods of work, in cases when such voluntary period is a requirement for raking a professional examination or for independent performance of a work activity.

Based on the Labour Law, as well as the Company Law, there is also an option to conclude managerial agreements, whereas parties are free to negotiate different terms than the ones determined by law with respect to specific aspects of the employment (e.g. working hours, annual leave, termination of employment etc.).


Secrecy/Confidentiality

There is an obligation to keeping business secrets, based on which by law the employee is forbidden to use for personal purposes or disclose to third parties any data which are considered an employer’s business secret, defined as such by an employer’s special regulation, and which have been entrusted to the employee or which he has learnt about in any other way. In practice, employment contracts often include specific additional obligations or clarifications related to confidentiality matters.


Ownership of Inventions/Other Intellectual Property (IP) Rights

By virtue of law, in cases when copyright work is created by an employee during the performance of his work obligations or upon the instruction of the employees, it is considered that the material rights of the author of that work are exclusively transferred to the employer for a period of 5 years since completion of the work, unless it is otherwise determined by a collective bargaining agreement, or by the employment contract. In practice, usually such rights are permanently transferred based on the employment contract. It is considered that the material rights of a computer program and databases are transferred to the employer indefinitely, unless otherwise determined by a contract. Due to underdeveloped practice, it is advised to regulate IP rights within the employment contract


Pre-Employment Considerations

In general, there are no prescribed mandatory considerations. For each vacancy, the employer is obliged to file a public announcement describing the requirements for the specifics and requirements that candidates must meet for the position. The announcement is filed and published by the Employment Agency and is up for at least 3 days. Depending on the number of applicants, the law sets deadlines in which the employer should reach a decision. The employer should not require provision of data on the family or marital status and family planning, as well as submission of other documents and evidence that are not connected directly to the employment.


Hiring Non-Nationals

Foreigners require a visa, as well as a work and residence permit in order to establish an employment relationship in North Macedonia. The Government of the Republic of North Macedonia determines an annual quota for work permits for foreigners that may be engaged. The quota does not include special categories of foreigners, such as persons who have been granted equality with the citizens of the North Macedonia on the basis of a reciprocity agreement with the European Union, or persons who carry out activities based on international agreements with other countries based on the reciprocity principles, as well as professional sportsmen and sport workers etc.

 

Hiring Specified Categories Of Individuals

There are restrictions on who can be employed to carry out certain dangerous activities and restrictions on the types of work that vulnerable groups (e.g. children, pregnant women, older employees, employees with disability etc.) can be required to undertake.


Outsourcing And/Or Sub-Contracting/Temporary Agency Work

An employer may engage a private employment agency in order to hire temporary agency workers for a period of up to two years (with or without any interruptions), only for performance of temporary work in specific cases determined by law, including the replacement of a temporarily absent employee, temporarily increased workload, seasonal work, project work, specific intermittent activities that are not part of the main activity of the employer-beneficiary, or unforeseen short-term activities that occur during the performance of the main activity of the employer-beneficiary, by performing short-term employments. Temporary employments shall be performed on the basis of a previously concluded: (i) secondment agreement between the private employment agency with a license for temporary employments and an employer-beneficiary and(ii) employment contract between the private employment agency with a license for temporary employments and the temporary agency worker who is assigned to an employer-beneficiary.

Changes To The Contract

Amendment to the employment contract may be initiated by either party, however both parties must agree for the contract to be amended. The employment contract is amended by conclusion of an annex in the same form as the employment contract.


Change In Ownership Of The Business

The change of ownership of the business, per se, does not have any impact on the employment of employees. The Labour Law does however provide some rules in events of statutory changes in the company such as mergers, divisions and acquisitions.

All rights, obligations and responsibilities under the employment and the employment contract are transferred to the new employer in cases of statutory changes, and the new employer is obliged to provide the employees such, for at least one year, that is, until the expiry of the employment contract or collective bargaining agreement which bind the previous employer.

In event of transfer of activities of the company or parts of the company or in case of transfer of tasks or part of them from the employer – target to employer - acquirer, the rights and obligations deriving from employment are completely transferred to the employer – acquirer. Regardless of the legal grounds for transfer and regardless whether ownership rights are transferred, the acquirer is responsible to continue acting as employer for a period not shorter than one year. Prior to transferring the rights and obligations under employment to the employer - acquirer, the target and the acquirer are obliged to previously inform and consult with the trade unions, in order to reach an agreement regarding:

  • the determined or proposed date of transfer;
  • the reasons for transfer;
  • the legal, economic and social implications for the employees; and
  • the anticipated measures connected to the employees.

In event of termination of a company due to division, the body which decides on the division will determine which of the newly established companies will undertake rights and obligations related to employment from the previous employer.


Social Security Contributions

Mandatory social insurance consists of contributions for:

  • pension and disability insurance;
  • mandatory fully funded pension insurance;
  • years of service calculated with increased duration (for specific professions);
  • health insurance; and
  • insurance in the event of unemployment.

Mandatory social security contributions are paid by the employer on behalf of the employee when performing payment of monthly salary.

Contributions on salary for employees are calculated and paid on the following rates:

  • 18,8% mandatory pension and disability insurance;
  • 7,5% mandatory health insurance;
  • 0,5% mandatory additional health insurance in case of injury at work and professional disease; and
  • 1,2% contribution for insurance in the event of unemployment.

Social security contributions are calculated and paid on the net amount of salary paid to the employee in accordance with the employment contract. The minimum basis for calculation and payment of contributions cannot be less than 50% of the average salary paid per employee in the country, as announced in January of the current year by the State Statistics Office.

In addition to social security contribution, the employer calculates and pays personal income tax on the salary of the employee at the rate of 10%.


Accidents At Work

In event of accidents at work, the employer is obliged to inform the labour inspectorate, union representative and employee representative for health and safety at work, in writing and without delay, latest within 48 hours as of occurrence of the accident.


Discipline And Grievance

Breaches of work discipline and order may result in termination of employment with or without notice period depending on the degree of seriousness of the breach. General rules for termination are prescribed by the Labour Law and more detailed discipline procedures may be prescribed with the employer’s internal policies.

Grievance notice shall be provided by the employer to the employee in event of initiation of a procedure for termination of employment due to personal reasons of the employee. If the employee due to their behaviour, lack of knowledge or opportunities is not able to perform the contractual or other employment obligations the employment may be terminated. Prior to termination the employer will serve the employee a grievance notice stating which aspects should be improved by the employee in a provided period, to avoid termination of employment. The period of improvement cannot be shorter than 15 days as of receipt of the notice.


Harassment/Discrimination/Equal pay

The Labour Law prescribes a general ban on harassment and sexual harassment and provides that harassment and sexual harassment constitutes discrimination. According to the law, any unwanted behaviour that aims at or constitutes violation of the dignity of the job candidate or employee, and which causes fear or creates hostile, humiliating or offensive behaviour shall be considered harassment. Sexual harassment, on the other hand, is defined as any verbal, non-verbal or physical behaviour of sexual nature that aims at or constitutes violation of the dignity of the job candidate or employee, and which causes fear or creates hostile, humiliating or offensive behaviour. The law goes further to define mobbing (psychological harassment in the workplace) as any negative repetitive behaviour of an individual or a group (in a period of at least six months) which constitutes violation of the dignity, integrity, reputation and honour of the employee, and causes fear or creates hostile, humiliating or offensive behaviour, which may aim at termination of employment or resignation. The specific procedure to be conducted in event of mobbing is prescribed by a special law which prescribes internal procedures to be taken before the employers as well as the right to court protection against mobbing.

The Labour Law prescribes a general ban on discrimination applicable to direct and indirect discrimination, which provides that the employer must not treat the job candidate or employee unequally on the basis of their racial or ethnic origin, skin colour, gender, age, health condition, disability, religious, political or other beliefs, membership in trade unions, national or social origin, family status, property situation, sexual orientation, or other personal circumstances. The ban on discrimination refers especially to:

  • criteria and requirements for selection of candidates;
  • promotions;
  • access to all types and levels of professional training, retraining and upskilling;
  • working conditions and rights arising out of employment, including equal pay;
  • termination of the employment contract; and
  • rights of the members of associations of employees and employers or any other professional organization, including the privileges resulting from such membership.

Women and men must be ensured equal opportunities and equal treatment in connection with:

  • access to employment, including promotion and work-related vocational and professional training;
  • working conditions;
  • equal payment for equal work;
  • occupational social security schemes;
  • absence from work;
  • working hours; and
  • termination of the employment contract.

Compulsory Training Obligations

There are no compulsory training obligations.

If the work process demands so, the employer may organise training or further education of the employee. The employee and employer conclude a special agreement for the purposes of training and education.


Offsetting Earnings

Offsetting earnings may only be done if the employer has a claim due for payment towards the employee and the employee gives written consent. The employee cannot consent to offsetting earnings for claims prior to them becoming due.


Payments For Maternity And Disability Leave

Employees on maternity leave are entitled to remuneration in the amount of salary paid to the employee in the last twelve months prior to the start of the maternity leave. The remuneration is paid by the State Health Insurance Fund.

Employees on sick leave due to illness or injury are entitled to 70% of the amount of monthly salary for the first 15 days of absence and 90% for the days exceeding 15 days of absence, if remuneration is paid by the employer in accordance with law. The remuneration is paid by the employer for a period of up to 30 days, and if the absence lasts more than 30 days, the remuneration is paid by the State Health Insurance Fund for the time exceeding 30 days.

The employer may be obliged to pay remuneration for the days of absence exceeding 30 days, if determined by a labour inspector that the employee’s illness or injury was caused due to disregard of health and safety measures by the employer.


Compulsory Insurance

When establishing employment, the employer is obliged to register the employment with the Employment Agency and register the employee for compulsory social, pension and disability and insurance in event of unemployment. Insurance contributions are paid by the employer on behalf of the employee when performing payment of salary.


Absence For Military Or Public Service Duties

Employees are entitled to absence for military or public service duties. During the absence lasting less than six months, the employment rights and obligations are suspended, and the employer cannot terminate the employment. The employee is not entitled to salary during suspension of employment.


Works Councils or Trade Unions

Employees are free to become members of or incorporate trade unions. The trade unions on the level of an employer may become members of trade union associations at industry level or other associations.

The employee must not be put in less favourable position due to union membership, and in particular it is not allowed:

  • to conclude an employment contract with any employee under the condition that the employee does not join the union, that is, under the condition that the employee withdraws from the union; and
  • to terminate employment or put the employee in a less favourable position than the other employees in another manner, due to membership in the union or participation in union activities outside of working hours, or during working hours with employer’s consent.

The Labour Law offers special protection to elected union representatives in that they cannot be dismissed for performing union activities and their dismissal is conditioned by union consent and the amount of their salary must not be decreased without prior consent of the union. The protection against dismissal is applicable during time in office and two years after termination of their service as union representative.

The activity of a union may be banned by a court decision, if the union activity is determined to be in breach of the Constitution or applicable laws.


Employees’ Right To Strike

The trade unions and trade union associations are entitled to organise a strike to protect the rights of their members. The strike must be announced to the employer by written letter, which must contain the reasons for strike, place of holding the strike, and the date and time of starting the strike. The strike must be organized in such manner as to not disable or impede the organisation and performance of the working process for the employees which are not participating in the strike, nor to forbid entrance to employees and responsible persons into the employer’s premises. Prior to commencing the strike, the employer and union are obliged to attempt a reconciliation procedure, which on the other hand must not limit the right to strike.

On the employer’s proposal, the union and employer will consensually prepare and adopt rules on production maintenance and indispensable works which must not be stopped during a strike, which shall in particular contain provisions for works and number of employees who must cover those works during a strike, for the purpose of enabling continuation of the work process after termination of the strike termination and for the purpose of carrying out works which are necessary to prevent threat to life, personal safety or health of the citizens. The determination of indispensable works must not hinder or substantially restrict the right to strike.

The employer or employer’s association may demand the competent court to impose a ban on organising and conducting a strike, organised contrary to the provisions of the law. The employer will be entitled to claim compensation for damages suffered due to a strike organised and conducted contrary to the provisions of the Labour Law.


Employees On Strike

Consequences of the strike

Organising or participating in a strike, organised in accordance with law and collective agreement, does not constitute violation of the employment contract and the employee must not be put in less favourable position than other employees due to organisation or participation in a strike. The employee may be dismissed if they organised or participated in a strike contrary to provisions of the law and collective agreement, or if the employee committed another serious violation of the employment contract during the strike.

The employer may suspend from work not more than 2% of the entire number of employees participating in the strike, only as a response to an already initiated strike. Only employees who, by their conduct incite violent and undemocratic behaviour, as a consequence of which the negotiations between the employees and the employer are impeded, may be suspended from work. The trade union may demand the competent court to impose a ban on suspension from work during strike, if suspension is done contrary to the provisions of the law. The trade union may also claim damages suffered by the employees or the union due to the suspension from work during a strike.

Salary and Contributions

The organiser of the strike (union or association of unions) may pay net salary to the employees who participate in the strike, during the period of the strike, from its own funds.

During participation in a strike, the employer is obliged to pay contributions on the lowest basis for calculation and payment of contributions.

Freedom of choice

Employees must not in any way be forced to participate in a strike.


Employers’ Responsibility For Actions Of Their Employees

The employer is responsible for compensation of the damage caused by the employee to a third party, if damage was caused during the employment and in connection with the work, intentionally or by gross negligence.

Procedures For Terminating the Agreement

Employment contract may be terminated by the employer, by the employee or by mutual consent of both parties.

The employee may terminate the employment by way of written statement and is not obliged to provide grounds for termination.

The employer may terminate the employment by decision and due to the following grounds: i) personal reasons of the employee, ii) reasons of fault (breaches of work discipline); and iii) redundancy. The employer must provide grounds for termination and elaborate on the circumstances leading to termination. The decision for termination must be adopted in writing and a copy must be provided to the employee. The employee is entitled to appeal the decision for termination of employment.

    1. Personal reasons - the employee due to their conduct, lack of knowledge or capabilities or due to non-fulfilment of special requirements defined by law, is incapable to carry out the contractual or other obligations. Condition preceding to this type of termination is a prior procedure for written warning providing a period for improvement of the employee’s behaviour;
    2. Reasons of fault - the employee violates the contractual or other obligations under the employment and breaches work order and discipline. This type of termination may be with or without notice period depending on the severity of breach of the work order and discipline. The exact grounds for termination due to reasons of fault are prescribed by the Labour Law and may be further defined by other laws, collective bargaining agreements, internal employer policies and employment contract; and
    3. Redundancy - the need for carrying out certain work ceases due to economic, organizational, technological, structural, or similar reasons of the employer. The redundancy process includes notification obligations, pre-defined deadlines as well as obligation for severance payment.

Other options for termination of employment include expiration of a fixed term contract, death of the employee, termination of the employer, retirement, termination by force of court decision.

Both parties may mutually terminate employment by way of agreement at any chosen moment. The agreement must be concluded in writing on the day of termination of employment.


Instant Dismissal

Instant dismissal is only applicable in events prescribed by law, when employment is terminated due to serious breaches of work discipline or in event of termination due to initiation of a procedure for termination of the employer.

The employer may terminate employment instantly especially if the employee:

  • is unjustifiably absent from work for three consecutive work days or five work days during one year;
  • abuses the sick leave;
  • does not observe the regulations for protection of health, safety at work, fire safety, explosion, harmful effect of poisons and other dangerous materials, and violates the regulations on protection of the environment;
  • takes in, uses or is under the influence of alcohol and narcotics;
  • commits theft, or in connection with the work, intentionally or by gross negligence, causes damage to the employer; and
  • discloses a business, official or state secret.

Additional events for instant dismissal may be prescribed by a law or collective bargaining agreement. The General Collective Bargaining Agreement for the Private Sector, which applies to all employers and employees of the private sector, does not prescribe additional grounds for instant dismissal.


Employee's Resignation

The employee may resign by way of written statement. Notice period in duration prescribed with the employment contract applies to resignation.

Special circumstances when an employee may resign with three-day notice period, provided that the employee has warned the employer in writing, are the following:

  • employer fails to provide work and fails to pay salary for more than three months;
  • employee is unable to perform work, due to a decision by the labour inspector banning the activity of the employer for more than 30 days, and the employer fails to pay salary during the ban period (employee is entitled to at least 90% of salary in event of ban of activities based on a decision of the labour inspector);
  • employer pays salary in lower amount for at least three months;
  • employer fails to pay salary within the legally or contractually set period, for three successive times or within a period of six months;
  • employer fails to ensure safety at work, provided that the employee has previously requested the employer to eliminate the threatening, immediate and inevitable danger to their life and health;
  • employer offends or behaves violently toward employee or, despite the employee’s warnings, fails to prevent such treatment by other employees;
  • employer fails to assure the employee’s equal treatment in regard to their gender; and
  • employer fails to take appropriate action to protect the employee from becoming a victim of sexual harassment.

In these events the employee is entitled to severance pay and indemnification in amount at least equal to the amount of unpaid salary during the notice period. Noting that notice period in practise is usually one month, the indemnification would amount to one monthly net salary, unless a longer notice period is prescribed.


Termination On Notice

Termination on notice can be initiated by either of the parties. The employer may terminate the employment with notice period due to personal reasons of the employee or due to breaches of the work discipline and in event of redundancy.

Due to breaches of the work discipline, the employer may terminate employment with a notice period, in particular if the employee:

  • does not observe the working order and discipline under the rules prescribed by the employer;
  • fails to fulfil the work obligations or fulfils them irresponsibly and untimely;
  • fails to observe the regulations that apply to fulfilment of the duties at the job position;
  • fails to observe the working hours, schedule and use of working hours;
  • fails to request absence or notify the employer on time regarding the absence from work;
  • is absent from work due to illness or other justifiable reasons, but fails notify the employer in writing within 48 hours thereof;
  • does not treat the equipment with due care or in accordance with the technical instructions for operation;
  • a damage, mistake in operations or loss occurs, and the employee fails to notify the employer forthwith;
  • does not observe the regulations for safety at work or maintain the means and equipment for safety at work;
  • causes disorder and acts violently during the working hours; and
  • uses the means of the employer unlawfully or without authorization.

The employee may terminate the employment with notice period by way of written statement.

The duration of notice period is prescribed with the employment contract and cannot be shorter than one or longer than three months.


Termination By Reason Of The Employee's Age

Employment is terminated by force of law when the employee reaches 64 years of age and has acquired 15 years of service. The employment may be extended until the employee reaches 67 years of age, if the employee requests extension by written request. The written request is submitted by the employee annually, latest by 31 August of the previous year. The employee is entitled to severance payment when retiring. The amount of severance is determined with collective bargaining agreements or internal employer policies.


Automatic Termination In Cases Of Force Majeure

The Labour Law does not prescribe automatic termination in cases of force majeure.


Collective Dismissals

If the employer intends to terminate the employment of a larger number of employees due to redundancy, that is, of at least 20 employees in a period of 90 days, it shall be considered as collective dismissal. In event of collective dismissal, the employer is obliged to go through a consultation process with the employees’ representatives, at least one month prior to the commencement of dismissal procedure. During the consultation period, the employer will provide all relevant information to the employee representatives for the purpose of reaching an agreement.

The employer is obliged to notify the Employment agency, latest 30 days prior to adoption of the decision for collective dismissal.

Notice period in event of collective dismissal varies depending on the number of employees being dismissed. If the employer dismisses at least 20 employees or at least 5% of the total number of employees, the notice period will be two months. If a lower number of employees is dismissed, the notice period will be one month.


Termination By Parties’ Agreement

Both parties may terminate the employment at any chosen moment, by way of written agreement. The agreement is concluded on the day of termination of employment. Specific requirements of this type of termination are that both parties must write their full names, the date of conclusion and sign the document in their handwriting.

Termination by agreement is without notice period.


Directors Or Other Senior Officers

Directors and managers are employed by conclusion of a managerial employment contract, which may regulate certain matters of employment differently form the Labour Law. These aspects specifically refer to conditions of employment and restrictions referring to fixed term contracts, working hours, daily rest and annual vacation, salary and termination of employment.

For elected directors, employment is established by conclusion of a managerial agreement in accordance with the legislation of trade companies, which exclude the application of the Labour Law.


Special Rules For Categories Of Employee

Special protection against dismissal is prescribed for the following types of employees:

  • Trainees during the training period (employment can only be terminated due to termination of the employer or breach of work order and discipline);
  • Employee whose employment is suspended for less than six months due to imprisonment, an imposed educational or protective measure, or due to serving military or paid civilian service, during the period of suspension (employment can only be terminated due to termination of the employer);
  • Pregnant employee, employee on leave due to childbirth and parenthood, employee accommodating an adopted child, the father or an adoptive parent absent from work due to parenthood, and employee working shorter working hours due to care of a child with developmental impairments and special educational needs, and employee absent from work due to care of a child of up to three years of age (employment may be terminated due to expiration of fixed term contract or due to severe breach of work order and discipline for which the law prescribes instant dismissal);
  • Members of trade unions – termination due to their membership in the union or union activities is prohibited;
  • Trade union representative – during their time in office and two years after termination of their mandate (employment may be terminated only with prior consent of the trade union).

Whistleblower Laws

Whistle-blower rights are protected by the special Law for Protection of Whistle-blowers. The law provides rules for internal whistleblowing, protected external whistleblowing, or protected public whistleblowing.


Internal whistleblowing

Internal whistleblowing refers to the procedure conducted within the company where the whistle-blower suspects or has information that a punishable action or another unlawful or illegal act violating or jeopardizing the public interest has been committed, is being committed or is to be committed. The whistle-blower reports orally or in written form to the person authorized for receipt of reports from whistle-blowers if one is appointed, if not, directly to the manager/director of the company. After receipt of the whistle-blower’s report the authorised person or the manager/director of the company is obliged:

  • to act in accordance with the procedures set down in the act on internal whistleblowing;
  • to protect the whistle-blower’s personal data which may reveal the identity of the whistle-blower (if report is anonymous or in confidence);
  • inform the known whistle-blower on the measures taken in relation to the whistleblowing without delay and latest within a period of 15 days as of the day of receipt of the report.

The private sector employer who employs at least 10 employees, will adopt an internal policy on the procedure for protected internal whistleblowing, whereas for public sector employers, the rules are adopted by the minister of justice on proposal of the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption. These acts are made available to all employees.


External whistleblowing

External whistleblowing constitutes protected whistleblowing by filing a report to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the competent public prosecutor’s office, the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption, the Ombudsman, or other competent institutions, that is, legal entities if:

the whistleblowing concerns directly or indirectly the manager/director of the company/institution; or

the whistle-blower has not been informed on the measures taken in relation to the whistleblowing within the set deadline; or

measures have not been taken or the whistle-blower is not satisfied with the actions taken or suspects that measures are not to be taken or that the whistleblowing may cause harmful consequences to them or their close persons.

The institution/legal entity to which the whistle-blower has filed the report is obliged:

  • on request of the whistle-blower to provide them information about the course and the activities taken during the procedure, as well as to make possible for the whistle-blower to examine the documents;
  • upon completion of the procedure, to inform the known whistle-blower about the results of the procedure.

The protected external whistleblowing is regulated by an act adopted by the minister of justice.


Public whistleblowing

The whistle-blower may also make protected whistleblowing by making the information publicly available, if:

  • filing of a report is not possible because there is no procedure in place; or
  • the whistle-blower does not receive information about the actions taken within the set deadline; or
  • no measures are taken or there is easily recognizable threat of destroying evidence or covering liability.

The whistle-blower must not make publicly available:

  • personal data of the entity which are not of importance for the protected whistleblowing;
  • data/information that, in accordance with the law, are considered classified information, as well as data/information which may impact the conduct of a criminal, misdemeanour or civil procedure;
  • data/information which, by making publicly available, would violate or endanger national security, defence of the independence or the territorial integrity of the country.

The whistle-blower is obliged to respect the presumption of innocence of the reported person, the right to protection of personal data of the reported person, as well as not to jeopardize court proceedings.


Specific Rules For Companies in Financial Difficulties

There are no special rules for companies in financial difficulties save for the general rules for redundancy.


Special Rules For Garden Leave

Garden leave is not regulated by the Labour Law. However, in practice, parties can agree to a garden leave within a termination agreement or the employer may impose garden leave with the decision for termination of employment.


Restricting Future Activities

The Labour Law enables employers to restrict future activities of the employee by prescribing a non-compete clause within the employment contract. The non-compete clause must be agreed on in writing to be valid. The maximum non-compete period is two years after termination of employment. The non-compete is activated only if employment is terminated due to will or fault of the employee, meaning it will not apply in event of termination of employment due to redundancy, age of the employee, expiration of a fixed term contract or other events of termination not connected to the employee’s fault or will. The parties may agree on cancelation of the non-compete clause at any moment during the non-compete period. If the non-compete prevents the employee from acquiring proper earnings, the employer will be obliged to pay the employee an allowance for compliance with the non-compete clause. This allowance is paid monthly, during the duration of the non-compete period and in an amount of at least 50% of the average salary paid to the employee in the last three months prior to termination of employment.


Severance Payments

Severance payments are made to dismissed employees on the day of termination of the employment. The amount of the severance payment is determined in net salaries depending on the duration of employment relationship, as follows:

  • up to 5 years of employment – in the amount of one net salary;
  • from 5 to 10 years of employment – in the amount of two and a half net salaries;
  • from 10 to 15 years of employment - in the amount of three and a half net salaries;
  • from 15 to 20 years of employment - in the amount of four and a half net salaries;
  • from 20 to 25 years of employment - in the amount of six net salaries; and
  • over 25 years of employment – in the amount of seven net salaries.

The basis for calculation of the severance amount is the average net salary paid to the employee in the last 6 (six) months prior to dismissal. The severance amount must not be less than 50% of the average net salary paid per employee in the country in the last month prior to the dismissal.


Special Tax Provisions And Severance Payments

Severance payment determined by law is not subject to personal income tax.


Allowances Payable To Employees After Termination

Employers are not required to contribute to any allowances payable to employees after termination.


Time Limits For Claims Following Termination

Statute of limitation for monetary claims arising out of employment is three years as of the moment the obligation became due for payment.

Specific Matters Which Are Important Or Unique To This Jurisdiction
  • Employer is obliged to pay the employee a “years of service” remuneration. This remuneration is calculated based on past years of service as a 0.5% increase of net salary per year worked.
  • Employer is obliged to pay the employee who has worked with the employer for six months in a calendar year, a “vacation allowance”. This amount is paid annually, by the end of the calendar year. The allowance must not amount less than 40% of the average net salary paid per employee in the country in the last three months prior to performing payment. Collective bargaining agreements concluded at industry or employer level may prescribe higher amounts of this allowance. The deadline for payment is 31 December of the calendar year for which the allowance is paid. Companies which have faced financial difficulties during the calendar year may pay a lower amount of vacation allowance, with prior consultations with the trade union or employee representatives (if there is no trade union). The company and trade union/employee representatives will conclude an agreement to determine the amount of vacation allowance for the calendar year in which the company faced financial difficulties.


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Ljupka Noveska Andonova
Karanovic & Partners in cooperation with local lawyers
North Macedonia


Martina Angelkovic Apostoloska
Karanovic & Partners in cooperation with local lawyers
North Macedonia


Disclaimer:

© 2021, Karanovic & Partners in cooperation with local lawyers. All rights reserved by Karanovic & Partners in cooperation with local lawyers as author and the owner of the copyright in this chapter. Karanovic & Partners in cooperation with local lawyers has granted to Multilaw non-exclusive worldwide license to use and include this chapter in this guide and to sublicense Lexis Nexis, a division of RELX Inc. and its affiliates certain rights to use and distribute this Guide.

The information in the How to Hire and Fire Guide provides a general overview at the time of publication and is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all legal developments nor should it be taken as opinion or legal advice on the matters covered. It is for general information purposes only and readers should take legal advice from a Multilaw member firm.

Publication Date: June 2021