A new General Collective Agreement applicable to all employers and employees in Montenegro came into force on 31 December 2022 and will be valid for an initial period of three years. The GCA introduces certain additional rights for the employees. The most important ones are set out below.
Overtime – Maximum allowed number of annual overtime hours is limited to 250 hours. According to the Labour Act, maximum number of weekly working hours is set to 50 hours, provided, however that no employee can work more than 48 hours per week, including overtime, on average within the period of four months.
Standby – An employee cannot be held on standby (on-call duty) for more than ten days per month in total, unless branch collective agreement, governmental decision or individual bargaining agreement provides otherwise.
Base salary multipliers – Base salary is calculated as a product of a specific multiplier assigned to a particular job on the basis of the educational level required for the job and the value of the multiplier which the employer sets freely subject to the statutory minimum which is currently EUR 90. The new Collective Agreement increases the multipliers. For example, the multiplier for jobs requiring high school degree (IV 1 level of education) is increased from 2.27 to 3.70 and for jobs requiring university degree (VII 1 level of education) from 3.40 to 5.00. This will result in the increase of base salary.
Extra pay – New rules on extra pay for work on Sundays and for non-consecutive work hours are as follows:
- work on Sundays is paid 80% on top of base hourly wage, with the following exceptions:
- the rule does not apply to jobs the nature of which requires continuous work, such as jobs or aircraft crew or workers in hospitality and public transport sectors);
- with respect to jobs in the media industry, the rule will apply only from 1 July 2023.
- work with non-consecutive hours (i.e. from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.) is paid 10% more than the same work with consecutive hours work (with some exceptions); and
- time spent on stand-by is paid at the rate of 10% of the base hourly wage.
Salary payment deadline – Salary and salary in lieu must be paid to the employee no later than on the fifteenth of the month for the previous month, unless an industry collective agreement or individual bargaining agreement provides otherwise.
Paid leave – The new GCA entitles employees to additional days of paid leave compared to what they are entitled to under the Labour Act. Specifically, employees are entitled to two consecutive workdays of paid leave within a year when taking a professional exam unrelated to their job. In the case of childbirth, the employee is entitled to three workdays of paid leave even if he has already consumed the total number of annual paid leave workdays in the given year (30 days). Finally, a union representative is entitled to a paid absence from work while present at union related events within the country or abroad, subject to a written notice of absence to be submitted at least three days before the absence and a proof of invitation for the event.
New GCA rules apply directly to employers and employees and supersede the provisions of labour rulebooks or employment agreements that are less beneficial for the employees. There is no mandate on employers to align individual documentation with the new GCA. However, employers whose documentation contains narrowly drafted provisions that are now contrary to the GCA will find it healthy to amend the documentation to make it compliant with the GCA and thus remove legal uncertainty.