What sort of employment / work contract can I have?
You are usually employed by a company or organization (employer) and you yourself are a worker. The most current type of employment in Slovenia is to have an employment contract. All working contracts have to be done in writing before the beginning of the employment relationship. Be careful not to lose your employment contract and any other document you receive from the employer.
You can work full-time (40 hours per week) or part-time. Normally, you receive your salary monthly to your bank account. A part of your salary will be paid directly to the state as social security contribution.
There are two types of employment:
- Permanent employment, which means that it doesn’t have an end date and you are employed until further notice;
- Temporary employment, which means you are employed for a limited time. The end date must be stated in the employment contract.
Very often, the employer will first offer you a temporary employment contract. It is not unusual for the employer to renew your temporary employment contract several times. However, the maximum period for temporary employment by the same employer is three years. After that, the employer must offer you a permanent employment contract.
Often, a probationary period is agreed upon during which either party without prior notice and without giving reasons can terminate the employment relationship. Usually, the probationary period lasts one to three months.
There are also other types of contracts for specific types of work, but those contracts offer less protection and benefits:
- Author’s contract (copyright contract) is used exclusively for works of authorship, mainly in the sphere of culture and science. Such contract does not change a person’s status: a person who concludes a copyright contract may already be employed on a regular basis, unemployed, self-employed, etc.
- For all other, shorter and very specific time-based or content-specific works, you can work under a contractual agreement. Again, you can conclude this contract regardless of your working status (employed, unemployed, etc.).
- You can also work by yourself (become self-employed) or establish a company (more information below).
- If you go to school and you are between 15 and 26 years of age, you can work as a student. Employment agency for students (https://www.studentski-servis.com/studenti/foreigners) can help you find work.
- For certain types of work, such as cleaning, babysitting, sale of your own hand-made products you can register at the Administrative Unit in order to be allowed to sell the products or to do the work. Note that special conditions apply.
If you have any of the above-mentioned types of contract, you are not employed, and you do not have the same rights that come with a regular employment contract (for instance, you do not have social security, although you do have to pay some contributions for it).
For more information about the different forms of contracts and work in Slovenia, contact the Employment Service of Slovenia (link below). If you have been granted international protection, your Integration counsellor or a non-governmental organization that helps you with integration activities can also help you with searching for employment.
How can I start my own business?
In addition to being employed, you can also start your own business and be self-employed. Being self-employed means that you can do any kind of job in any kind of field that you register at AJPES – the Agency that regulates the registries of various legal entities.
As a self-employed person, you are liable for the obligations of your business with all your assets. Your decisions are your own responsibility and are made for your own benefit.
Establishing your own business includes various expenses. As a self-employed person, you also have to pay contributions, but not in the same amount as if a company employed you. You will have to pay taxes to the state and local government too. All this may be complicated and risky.
To start a business, you must first register it. You can do this at All-In-One Point (VEM – https://data.si/en/blog/one-point-many-solutions/). VEM offers free registration of companies and all the formalities necessary for the establishment of the company. They also offer advice to people who are interested in entrepreneurship.
As part of the promotion of entrepreneurship, the Employment Service of Slovenia, or the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, occasionally offer an irreversible subsidy for self-employment. Unemployed persons who choose one of the forms of self-employment (s.p., d.o.o., cultural workers, etc.) are entitled to it. The number of subsidies for self-employment is limited.
You can also establish your own company with limited liability. As a director of your own company, you will not be liable for the obligations of the company with your own assets. In order to open such a business, certain conditions apply.
If you have a business idea and entrepreneurial experience and skills, you may consider visiting one of the Entrepreneurial centres or Business incubators.
There are many bureaucratic aspects that you need to consider carefully when it comes to self-employment (including taxes, insurance, business licenses, corporate legal forms, etc.), so it is a good idea to gather all the information before you start your own business. There are several seminars and workshops on self-employment organised by different institutions.
What are other options for work?
Traineeship / work training
The purpose of traineeship is to gain practical experience, to expand and apply your knowledge or acquire skills for the practice in a certain field of work.
All persons living in Slovenia may do voluntary work. Voluntary work is the work for the benefit of others or for the general benefit, carried out by the individual by his/her free will and without the expectation of material benefits.
If you are a volunteer, you work for free (only a few hours per week or as much as you choose to), but you have the possibility to be (stay) active, to improve your skills, boost your confidence, meet new people and help people in need.
For more information about voluntary work in Slovenia, see webpage Prostovoljstvo.org (http://www.prostovoljstvo.org/).
Can I work without a contract?
Working without a contract, in the “black market” (delo na črno) is illegal in Slovenia. It may happen that some employers offer you this kind of work. You should be aware that this could be very risky for you.
If you have no contract, you have no protection and it is difficult and claim your rights as a worker. For example, if you are injured while working and you are not insured, you will have no right to sick leave with pay, no access to appropriate medical services and compensation.
Being employed on the “black market” means that no taxes and social security contributions are payed in your name. Paying taxes and social security contributions is important. This money is paid into funds that allow public health care, education, employment and other services that you and other residents use free of charge. In addition, both you and your employer can get a fine.
What are the working hours in Slovenia?
You can work full-time or part-time (less than full time). If you are employed full-time, you work 40 hours per week. You can work more than 40 hours a week, in cases of need or under special conditions. This is considered overtime work, which has to be paid more than the normal working hours. If you are not paid for the overtime, you can use the extra hours on some other day (as an additional day of vacation, for instance).
Your working hours in one week can be distributed evenly – for example 8 hours per day in 5 days per week, or unevenly. You can work in different shifts (morning, afternoon and night).
People mostly work from Monday to Friday, but in certain sectors, for instance in trade and health services, you can work 6 or 7 days a week (also weekends and holidays). There are many exceptions. In most cases you get additional payment if you work overtime, night shifts or on Sundays and holidays.
What are my rights & responsibilities as a worker?
All employees with the employment contract have the right to:
- regular payment of SALARY (plača), according to the employment contract. Normally, you get a salary every month into your bank account. If the employer wants to change your salary, he has to offer you a new contract. You can decline the changed contract if it does not suit you.
- daily REST (usually 12 hours between you finish one working day and the next working day; daily rest can be minimally 8 hours for seasonal work) and weekly rest (minimum 24 hours to which daily rest is added)
- ANNUAL HOLIDAY (dopust – vacations or days you can take off work). You can use the annual holiday after working for six consecutive months. During your holiday, you will receive your salary. The length of your holiday (the number of days) is calculated according to several elements (level of education, years of working, children under 15, special working conditions, etc.); the legal minimum is 20 days per year. Every employee who has the right to annual holiday also receives a holiday allowance (regres), the minimal amount of which is set by the state every year. Public holidays are also work free for most people.
- payed SICK LEAVE (bolniška odsotnost) in case of illness. If you get sick, you need to inform your employer as soon as possible. You can do that by phone. You need to go to the doctor who will start your sick leave and give you a certificate proving that you are ill. When you recover and can get back to work, you need to visit your doctor again to close the sick leave. You are also entitled to sick leave when your child gets sick. You will still receive salary during the sick leave, but it will be lower. You cannot be fired while you are on sick leave.
- a safe and healthy work environment, protection against discrimination and ill-treatment.
You have the responsibility to carry out your work conscientiously and in accordance to the instructions of your employer. You have to come to work on time and you are required to respect the working time agreed with the employer.
You have to inform the employer of all the circumstances that influence or could affect the fulfilment of your contractual obligations and any changes to the data affecting the fulfilment of the rights from the employment relationship.
You have to protect personal data that you deal with during your work, respect the safety regulations at work and should not cause intentional harm to others or to yourself. Read your contract carefully to understand what is expected of you.
Both you and the employer have the right to terminate the working contract. Both sides need to respect the notice period, which is a mandatory part of the contract. This means that if you decide to quit your job, you have to notify your current employer in advance.
In addition, the employer needs to give you notice before cancelling your work contract. Cancelation can be immediate in exceptional and severe circumstances. You have to be paid for the period you worked after you gave notice.
What do I need to know about the salary?
If you are employed, you will receive a salary (plača), which must always be paid out in money to your bank account monthly (for the previous month). You have to get the pay slip with all the information about your salary every month. How much you are paid depends on collective agreements and/or internal company agreements as well as on individual factors such as age, qualifications, work hours, distribution of tasks (position), etc.
The whole salary – gross salary (bruto plača) includes social security contributions that are compulsory: pension and disability insurance, health insurance, contribution for unemployment insurance and parental protection. This means that when you start working under an employment contract, you are automatically insured and have basic health insurance; you are also contributing to pension funds, from which pensions are payed.
You are also insured in cases of work related disabilities and entitled to unemployment benefits (if your work contract is cancelled through no fault of your own) and payed parental leave (certain conditions apply). The employer also pays a certain share of contributions.
Your employer will pay all the contributions directly to the state. You also pay taxes from your salary. For more information, see chapter Welfare benefits and social security (link).
The salary minus contributions represents your net salary (neto plača) – the amount you will receive on your bank account. In addition, you will also get money for lunch and transportation to and from work in addition to your salary.
The average salary in Slovenia is EUR 1,066.33 net (April 2018) and may be different every month. In Slovenia, the minimum wage is guaranteed, since January 1st 2018 the minimum gross salary is 842.79 Euro.
Do I have the right to work?
If you are an asylum seeker in Slovenia, you can start working nine months after having filed an application for international protection, if you have not yet received any kind of decision during this period, and you are not to blame for the delay. You need apply for the work permit with your case officer (the person in charge of your asylum application). Same employment regulations apply to you as to Slovene nationals.
If you have been granted international protection, you have the same employment rights as citizens and free access to the labour market. This means you do not need a work permit. You can register with Employment Service and use services and benefits it offers to the unemployed.
Family member of person granted protection
If you are a family member of a person granted protection, you have the same rights as persons who have been granted protection: free access to the labour market, meaning you do not need the work permit.
How to search for work? Who can help me find a job?
In Slovenia, there is a public employment service – the Employment Service of Slovenia (ZRSZ-Zavod Republike Slovenije za zaposlovanje – http://english.ess.gov.si/). It provides the list of job offers as well as job counselling, career guidance and information on the labour market. In Ljubljana and Maribor, there is a counsellor employed specifically to help refugees find a job.
You can register with the employment service if you are looking for a job. To remain registered, you need to look for work actively and comply with the requirement of the Employment Service. For example, you need to contact your employment counsellor regularly and apply for jobs recommended to you.
Other welfare benefits also depend on you being registered as an unemployed person. You can register at the offices of the Employment Service, where you will also get more information on how to find a job.
There are also private employment services (see list below) which can help you find a job. You can register as a jobseeker at one of their branches or on their websites.
- Kariera: https://www.kariera.si/en
- Naton: http://www.natonhrglobal.com/
- Manpower: https://www.manpower.si/ (they only accept people who speak Slovene)
- Addeco: http://www.adecco.si/
You can also search for work by yourself. There are many employment portals:
Many companies also publish job offers on their own websites or in newspapers.
If you apply for a job, you need to provide your CV and an application letter. Some employers demand certain form of letter, others are more liberal. If there are certain conditions for the job (for example education or license), you have to attach those documents too.
Usually, there is a deadline by which to apply via e-mail or regular mail. Read the add carefully. If you are a suitable candidate for the position, the employer will probably invite you for an interview. For some positions, it can also be requested that you pass some tests proving your skills or capabilities.
Job search can be difficult and stressful; sometimes you have to write many applications before you find a job. It is important not to give up.
It is much easier to find a job if you speak Slovene. Sometimes it is not possible to find the same or similar job you had in your home country, so you have to start with low-paid jobs.
Employment Service of Slovenia (http://english.ess.gov.si/) organizes various workshops on how to search for work, write CV, how to act at the interview etc.
What happens if I lose my job?
If you lose your job through no fault of your own (e.g. the company closes down), you can apply for UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS (denarno nadomestilo za brezposelnost). You can get the unemployment benefits if you are unemployed and you were insured for unemployment for a certain amount of time prior to becoming unemployed.
If you want to apply for unemployment benefits, you also have to meet some other conditions. The amount of money you can receive depends on how long you have been employed. You apply for unemployment benefit at Employment Service of Slovenia (http://english.ess.gov.si/).
If you are fired on grounds of fault or if you quit your job without a justified reason (such as health problems etc.), you are not entitled to unemployment benefits.
If you lose your job and you do not have any income or your income falls below a determined minimum income and you are not eligible for unemployment benefits, you can apply for FINANCIAL SOCIAL ASSISTANCE (denarna socialna pomoč) (http://www.mddsz.gov.si/en/areas_of_work/social_affairs/financial_social_assistance/).
For receiving financial social assistance, you have to fulfil some conditions. The amount of social assistance depends on your income, the number of family members, property, savings, care entitlement and possible existence of grounds of fault. You apply for financial social assistance at Social work centre (http://www.mddsz.gov.si/si/delovna_podrocja/sociala/izvajalci_na_podrocju_socialnega_varstva/centri_za_socialno_delo/) in the place of your permanent residence. For more information, see chapter Welfare benefits and social security (link).
What are workers’/trade unions?
Trade union is a voluntary mass employee organization with the aim of protecting employees, that fights for a decent remuneration, for safe and healthy working conditions and for other labour rights. The trade unions in Slovenia are specific to the fields of work of their members.
The trade union can be organized at the level of an individual employer, at the level of the whole field of activity and at the state level. The law determines whether they are representative of the workers.
Trade unions can also connect internationally in order to pursue their common interests. The trade union enforces the interests of workers, its individual members, through strikes and social dialogue with employers’ organizations and the government.
You can become member of a trade union representing workers’ rights for your sector. Here is the list of trade unions: http://www.mddsz.gov.si/en/delovna_podrocja/delovna_razmerja_in_pravice_iz_dela/socialno_partnerstvo/seznam_reprezentativnih_sindikatov/.
Membership in a trade union is within your rights. The employer must allow you to enter the union and should not violate your labour rights because you are a union member.
What can I do if I am a victim of discrimination at work or other forms of violation?
If you are member of the worker’s union, the union can offer you legal counselling and, in some cases, legal representation if you decide to press charges against the employer. You can also file a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsperson and get their legal opinion and recommendation. If your complaint is justified, the Ombudsperson’s Office will warn the employer and give them recommendations on how to mend the discriminatory practice.
Further information & links
- Employment Service of Slovenia: http://english.ess.gov.si/
- Employment agency for students: https://www.studentski-servis.com/studenti/foreigners
Can I work in other EU countries?
International protection status gives you free access to the labour market in Slovenia, but not in other EU countries. Each EU country has different rules and requirements regarding the employment of foreign nationals, so procedures vary from country to country. It is advisable to connect with the embassy of the country in which you want to work before sending applications, and embarking in the process of obtaining a work permit. You can also contact the EURES Advisor to provide you with information about local requirements in other countries (ask at the Employment agency).
What kind of work experience do I need?
Different fields of work and different types of employment require different work experience. For the jobs requiring lower skills, usually no specific previous experience is needed; however, for jobs that require specific skills, you will need to provide proof of your experience or training.
Your CV should present your training and experience to the potential employer. Some employers will give you a probation period to assess your experience and skills. You must be paid during the probation period.