An employment contract is a contract that regulates the mutual rights and obligations of the employer and the employee and is regulated in detail by the provisions of the Labor Law. It is a contract that is concluded in writing (“written contract”) and is considered concluded when it is signed by the employee and the employer, i.e. the competent authority or person at the employer who is authorized to do so by law or by the employer’s general act. The moment of concluding the employment contract also represents the moment of establishing the employment relationship.
At the same time, one should pay attention and distinguish between the conclusion of the employment contract and the commencement of work. Namely, the establishment of an employment relationship is linked to the formal conclusion of an employment contract, while starting work actually represents the beginning of the effective performance of work tasks by the employee and the beginning of exercising the employee’s rights from the employment relationship. It is a legal rule that the employment contract is concluded, and thus the employment relationship is established, before the employee starts work, and that in the short period between the establishment of the employment relationship and the employee starting work, the employer should submit a single application for social security to the Central Registry and in that way he warned the so-called ” illegal work”.
The employment contract can be concluded for a fixed or indefinite period. According to the provisions of the Labor Law, it is assumed that the conclusion of the employment contract is based on an employment relationship for an indefinite period, if the time period for which the contract is concluded is not specified in the employment contract itself. Also, in another situation it will be considered that the employment relationship is based on an indefinite period of time – this is exactly the situation when the employee enters work and starts performing work tasks without having previously concluded an employment contract with the employer. In that case, the legal assumption applies that the employee established an employment relationship for an indefinite period of time on the day of starting work. However, in practice, the aforementioned assumption will be weakly applied, and only in those situations when irregularities in the behavior of the specific employer (failure to conclude an employment contract and failure to report the employee to mandatory social insurance) are determined by the Labor Inspection in the procedure of regular or extraordinary control.
If a fixed-term employment contract is concluded contrary to the provisions of this law or if the employee remains working for the employer for at least five working days after the end of the period for which the contract was concluded, the employment relationship is considered to be based on an indefinite period.
The employment contract determines the rights and obligations that the employee will exercise during the duration of the employment relationship, as well as the modality of exercise of those rights and obligations. Every concluded employment contract must be in accordance with the Labor Law, as well as with the general acts of the employer, more precisely, the employment contract cannot grant the employee less rights than those already granted to him by legal and by-laws, but the list and scope of those rights they can be wider than what the legislator intended. In the event that the employment contract for a specific employee is less favorable than what is prescribed by the law or the collective agreement with the employer, the employment contract will have no effect in that part, and the law or general act of the employer will be directly applied to the employee.
The Labor Law prescribes the minimum elements that every employment contract must contain. These are, first of all, basic personal data about the employee who establishes the employment relationship (name and surname, address of the registered place of residence, as well as information about the type and degree of education of the employee if the employment relationship is based on the performance of tasks that require a certain type and degree of education) as well as information about the employer with whom the employment relationship is based (name and headquarters of the employer). Furthermore, the employment contract must contain the name and description of the tasks that the employee is to perform, the place where they will be performed, the date of the employee’s commencement of work, working hours (full, part-time or reduced), as well as the amount of the basic salary that the employee will earn, while the criteria on the basis of which the amount of the basic salary is determined and the terms in which the salary will be paid do not have the character of mandatory elements and do not have to be stated in the employment contract, if they are contained in the law or general acts of the employer.
If the employment relationship is based on a fixed term, the employment contract must specify the time on which the employment relationship is based, as well as the basis for establishing the employment relationship for a fixed term. As already stated, if these elements of the employment contract are absent, it is assumed that the employment relationship is based on an indefinite period.