Work on a definite period is not probationary work!

Insufficiently precise provisions of the law, unharmonized court practice, as well as the average duration of the employment disputes, were affected creating the “fear of litigation” amongst many employers.

In this article (in Serbian and English language) written by JPM Partner Jelena Nikolić provides a short overview of common dilemmas both from employer and employee standpoint.

The key points of the article are:

  • Many employers in Serbia establish initial employment contracts as temporary work agreements rather than indefinite contracts, in order to extend the probationary period beyond the 6-month legal limit. Employers should not use temporary contracts simply to extend probation, but must ensure there is an objective, temporary need for the role.
  • However, according to the Labor Law, temporary contracts should only be used when there is an objective, temporary need for the work to be done. If it is found that there was no true temporary need, the contract can be considered an indefinite one.
  • Employers face similar risks in improperly terminating temporary contracts as they do in terminating indefinite ones. If an employee can prove there was a constant need for their role, they may be able to claim their contract should have been indefinite.
  • Employers should carefully examine whether there is a true, temporary need before using temporary contracts, not just use them to prolong probation periods. Otherwise, they face litigation risks similar to terminating indefinite contracts.


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