Living and working in Montenegro

24 April 2023

  •   Population: 0.6 million (2022)
  •   Real GDP growth: 6.1% (2022)
  •   Unemployment rate: 17.9% (2020)

Data source: Eurostat

Eurofound provides research, data and analysis on a wide range of social and work-related topics. This information is largely comparative, but also offers country-specific information for potential candidate countries.

Eurofound seeks to strengthen the ongoing link between its own work and national policy debates and priorities related to the quality of life and work – in Member States and in potential candidate countries. The Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance programme 2014–2020 is an important tool that supports these countries in better preparing the implementation of public administration reforms, improving their economies and achieving the objectives set during the reform process. In this context, Eurofound country profiles offer a wealth of information on key components of working life in the enlargement countries.

    2015 Eurofound EWCS survey results in Montenegro: 87% of respondents have enough time to get the work done

    Living in Montenegro

    Quality of life

    Quality of life

    Findings from Eurofound’s European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) show that many of the indicators about quality of life in Montenegro are slightly below the EU28 averages. For instance, average life satisfaction in Montenegro was 6.3 in 2016, lower than the respective EU28 average of 7.1 (on a scale of 1–10). The share of respondents reporting difficulties in making ends meet reached 58% in Montenegro in 2016, also higher than the EU28 average of 39%.

    However, 66% of respondents in Montenegro felt optimistic about their children’s or grandchildren’s future in 2016, significantly higher than the EU28 average of 57%. Additionally, 32% of respondents in Montenegro rated their health as very good in 2016, which was also better than the EU28 average of 24%.

    Life satisfactionMean (1-10)--6.96.3
    Taking all things together on a scale of 1 to 10, how happy would you say you are?Mean (1-10)--7.67.3
    Optimism about own futureAgree & strongly agree---65%
    Optimism about children’s or grandchildren’s futureAgree & strongly agree---66%
    Take part in sports or physical exerciseAt least once a week--20%20%
    In general, how is your health?Very good--34%32%
    WHO-5 mental wellbeing indexMean (1-100)--6659
    Making ends meetWith some difficulty, difficulty, and great difficulty--47%58%
    I feel I am free to decide how to live my lifeStrongly agree--37%24%
    I find it difficult to deal with important problems that come up in my lifeAgree & strongly agree---26%
    When things go wrong in my life, it generally takes me a long time to get back to normalAgree & strongly agree---26%

    Work-life balance

    Work-life balance

    Work–life balance related problems are much more frequent in Montenegro than on average in the EU. In 2016, 76% of respondents in Montenegro were too tired from work to do household jobs at least several times a month, which was much higher than the corresponding EU28 average of 59%. Furthermore, in 2016, 62% of respondents in Montenegro experienced difficulties to fulfil family responsibilities because of work at least several times a month, again much higher than the EU average of 38%. The least common work–life balance problem was having difficulties to concentrate at work because of family responsibilities, reported by 41% of respondents in Montenegro in 2016 versus the much lower 19% for the EU28. 

    (At least several times a month)   
    I have come home from work too tired to do some of the household jobs which need to be doneTotal--72%76%
    It has been difficult for me to fulfil my family responsibilities because of the amount of time I spend on the jobTotal--52%62%
    I have found it difficult to concentrate at work because of my family responsibilitiesTotal--31%41%

    Quality of society

    Quality of society

    Trust in other people is relatively low in Montenegro, at 4.5 in 2016, compared with the EU28 average of 5.2 (on a scale of 1–10). Additionally, involvement in unpaid voluntary work is lowest in Montenegro among all the surveyed countries. Only 2% of respondents in Montenegro volunteered at least once a month in 2016, significantly lower than the EU28 average of 10%.

    However, the share of respondents reporting a lot of tension between different racial and ethnic groups is lower in Montenegro than on average in the EU. In Montenegro, 30% of respondents reported a lot of this type of tension in 2016, versus 41% in the EU28.

    Social exclusion indexMean (1-5)--2.32.4
    Trust in peopleMean (1-10)--4.84.5
    Involvement in unpaid voluntary work% "at least once a month"--3%2%
    Tension between poor and rich people% reporting 'a lot of tension'--43%32%
    Tension between different racial and ethnic groups% reporting 'a lot of tension'--30%30%
    I feel safe when I walk alone after darkStrongly agree---25%

    Quality of public services

    Quality of public services

    Quality ratings for seven public services

    Note: scale of 1-10, Source: EQLS 2016.

    Childcare services in Montenegro received the highest quality rating among the public services, at 6.5 in 2016, being also close to the EU28 average of 6.7 (on a scale of 1–10). Social housing in Montenegro received the lowest quality rating of 5.1 in 2016. The perceived quality of the state pension system of 5.2 in 2016 was also relatively low in comparison to the quality of other public services in Montenegro. However, this level is better than the EU28 average of 5.0 in 2016.

    The perceived quality of public transport has decreased in Montenegro from 6.3 in 2011 to 5.5 in 2016. On the contrary, the perceived quality of both long-term care services (5.8) and social housing (5.1) have increased by about 1 point from 2011.

    Health servicesMean (1-10)--6.16.1
    Education systemMean (1-10)--6.46.3
    Public transportMean (1-10)--6.35.5
    Childcare servicesMean (1-10)--6.26.5
    Long-term care servicesMean (1-10)--4.75.8
    Social housingMean (1-10)--4.15.1
    State pension systemMean (1-10)--5.05.2

    Working life in Montenegro


    • Author: Aleksandar Vanchoski
    • Institution: KMOP Skopje
    • Published on: Thursday, June 27, 2019

    This profile describes the key characteristics of working life in Montenegro. It aims to complement other EurWORK research by providing the relevant background information on the structures, institutions and relevant regulations regarding working life. This includes indicators, data and regulatory systems on the following aspects: actors and institutions, collective and individual employment relations, health and well-being, pay, working time, skills and training, and equality and non-discrimination at work. The profiles are updated regularly.

    Key figures

    Key figures

    Comparative figures on working life in Montenegro




    % (point) change 

    GDP per capita




    Unemployment rate – total




    Unemployment rate – women




    Unemployment rate – men




    Unemployment rate – youth (age 15–29)




    Employment rate – total




    Employment rate – women




    Employment rate – men




    Employment rate – youth (age 15–29)




    Note: Unmployment and employments rates as percentages

    Source: Eurostat [prc_ppp_ind]; Purchasing power parities (PPPs), price level indices and real expenditures for ESA 2010 aggregates (update 19 June 2018)

    Youth unemployment rate by sex, age and country of birth (2018) (update: 03-08-2018)

    MONSTAT - Statistical Office of Montenegro (2017) MONSTAT (Statistical Office of Montenegro) Crna Gora u brojkama 2017; MONSTAT Labour Force Survey 2012 and 2017 



    Economic and labour market context

    In April 2018 the European Commission adopted its annual Enlargement Package assessing the implementation of the European Union’s enlargement policy which is based on established criteria and fair and rigorous conditionality. The current enlargement agenda covers the partners of the Western Balkans and Turkey. Accession negotiations have been opened with candidate countries Montenegro (2012), Serbia (2014) and Turkey (2005). North Macedonia has been a candidate country since 2005 and Albania obtained candidate status in 2014. Bosnia and Herzegovina (application to join the EU submitted in February 2016) and Kosovo (Stabilisation and Association Agreement entered into force in April 2016) are potential candidates.

    Montenegro has a relatively fragile economy, supported mainly by investment and tourism. The Montenegrin economy is characterised by a large informal sector; the labour force participation rate remains low. Despite the slight decrease in the high unemployment rate in recent years, issues persist, such as low labour market activity (especially among women), long-term unemployment, and the mismatch between labour supply and labour demand.

    Legal context

    The main legislation covering labour relations in Montenegro are:

    • The Constitution of the Republic of Montenegro
    • Law on Labour
    • Law on Representativeness of Trade Unions
    • Regulation on the Registration of Representative Trade Unions
    • Law on the Social Council
    • Law on the Peaceful Resolution of Labour Disputes
    • Law on Strikes
    • Regulation on the Manner and Procedure for Registration of the General and Branch Collective Agreements
    • General Collective Agreement (2014)

    Additional regulations are in place covering the procedure for registering employers' organisations and detailed criteria on determining representatives of authorised employers' organisations.

    In February 2016, the Law on Salaries in the Public Sector was adopted. In the same year, amendments were made to the Law on the Representativeness of Trade Unions; the Law on Peaceful Settlement of Labour Disputes; the Law on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities; the Law on Pension and Disability Insurance; and the Law on Labour Fund. Furthermore, the Law on the Representativeness of Trade Unions came into force in 2018.

    Industrial relations context

    In Montenegro, the national social partners are the Union of Employers of Montenegro, the Confederation of Trade Unions of Montenegro, the Union of Free Trade Unions of Montenegro and the government. The Social Council is a legal entity, constituted by the social partners, founded on equal membership. Social dialogue at national level predominantly takes place in the Social Council and in its task-force groups.

    During the last few years, the Directorate of Labour has been working on amending regulations on work legislation to correspond with European Union legislation. To that purpose, at tripartite level there have been changes to several legislations including the Law on Labour, Law on Social Council, Law on Safety and Health at Work.

    Actors and institutions

    Actors and institutions

    Trade unions, employers’ organisations and public institutions play a key role in the governance of the employment relationship, working conditions and industrial relations structures. They are interlocking parts in a multilevel system of governance that includes the European, national, sectoral, regional (provincial or local) and company levels. This section looks into the main actors and institutions and their role in Montenegro.

    Public authorities involved in regulating working life

    In Montenegro, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is the public authority responsible for labour activities and enacting regulations on labour issues. All collective agreements must be registered to the Ministry.

    The Social Council is a tripartite body that establishes and develops social dialogue on the economic and social status of employees and employers, and on working and living conditions. The Act on the Social Council regulates the work carried out by the council. The council’s work focuses on implementing and improving economic and social policies. This work includes: developing and improving collective bargaining, influencing economic policy and its impact on social development, and ensuring stability of employment policy, wages and prices. The council’s work also extends to: competition and productivity; privatisation and other issues of structural adjustment; protection of work space and environment, education and professional training; health and social protection and security; and demographic trends.

    An employee has the right to seek protection of rights with the competent labour inspector, independently of the procedure of protection of rights initiated with the employer or in front of the competent court or arbitration.

    At national level, public authorities in Montenegro are relatively active in industrial relations mainly due to their involvement in the Social Council. The president of the Social Council (also Minister of Labour and Social Affairs), along with employers and trade unions sign collective agreements. Furthermore, with close to 15% of all employees working in various levels of public administration and an additional 27% in state-run enterprises and services, the government is the largest employer in the country. Since the new Labour Code came into force in 2008, about half of all branch collective agreements were in the public sector.

    Public authorities can often appear as the primary target of union demands as well as in private sector disputes. This is especially the case with the privatisation of companies, where the government is considered to have residual responsibilities to ensure that the process of privatisation is achieved. Workers regularly appeal to public authorities to uphold the terms of the privatisation agreement, enforce certain regulations or provide financial assistance to companies in difficulty.

    Trade unions

    About trade union representation

    The Constitution of the Republic of Montenegro guarantees the right to form a trade union. This right is upheld by the Law on Labour and the Law on Representatives of Trade Unions.

    Trade unions, with representation determined in accordance with the Law, are entitled to:

    • collective bargaining and the finalisation of collective agreements at the appropriate level
    • participation in the settlement of collective labour disputes
    • participation in the work by the Social Council, and other tripartite and multipartite bodies at the appropriate level
    • other rights, as defined by specific laws for authorised trade union organisations

    The Law on Representation of Trade Unions stipulates that two trade unions are representative at national level: the Confederation of Trade Unions of Montenegro (SSCG) and the Union of Free Trade Unions of Montenegro (USSCG). Whilst USSCG has established new branch unions and attracted new members, the union has lost over 2,000 members – mainly from the metal and telecommunication sectors – due to redundancies and company restructuring. USSCG has around 22,000 members and approximately 18,000 paying affiliation fees. However, no precise data on trade union density is available. SSCG also recorded a similar loss of members, but there are no precise figures.

    Since 2008, SSCG and USSCG have been the two national trade union confederations in Montenegro. The older confederation, SSCG, inherited its structure and membership from the socialist era and represents approximately 47,000 members. USSCG was established in 2008, following an internal disagreement within SSCG (over union policy and internal management) and, by 2012, had grown to 22,000 members.

    It is uncertain how much these figures accurately represent trade union density in the country. Following the Law on Trade Union Representativeness in 2010, USSCG and SSCG were asked to submit proof of membership of at least 16,300 employees – the equivalent of 10% of all employees in the Montenegrin economy. USSCG submitted approximately 17,000 signatures and SSCG around 27,000, resulting in a union density of 26% of all employees compared to union reported figures of 41%. As the figures on union density exclude independent trade unions, common in large enterprises, the former percentage of 26% is a conservative estimate.

    Due to the uncertainty surrounding membership figures, it is difficult to establish with certainty the trends in trade union density. USSCG has increased in popularity, following its role in the 2012 social protests, and has continued to attract new members. In December 2013, the union succeeded in forming a new employee federation in the media sector.

    However, SSCG has suffered internal turmoil in recent years with accusations against the former secretary general of corruption and mismanagement of the union. Throughout 2011 and 2012, SSCG’s administration organised a series of protests against senior management as well as filing criminal charges against them. In 2013, a number of member unions threatened to exit SSCG if there was no change in leadership following the elections, scheduled for November that year. Following this, the 15th congress of SSCG elected a new secretary general – formerly the head of the police union – who has promised extensive reforms to the structure of the union.

    Main trade union confederations and federations

    Long name




    Involved in collective bargaining

    Confederation of Trade Unions of Montenegro (Savez sindikata Crne Gore)





    Union of Free Trade Unions of Montenegro (Unija slobodnih sindikata Crne Gore)





    Employers’ organisations

    About employers’ representation

    The Montenegrin Employers Federation (UPCG) is the only organisation representing employers in Montenegro. Its members account for 65% of the workforce and for over 80% of GDP. In 2005, UPCG became the representative organisation for private sector employers, replacing the Chamber of Commerce as the key player in social dialogue for employers. Since then, the association has been an active participant in social dialogue at sectoral and national levels. UPCG is a member of the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) and Business Europe.

    Main employers’ organisations and confederations

    Long name




    Involved in collective bargaining

    The Montenegrin Employers Federation





    Tripartite and bipartite bodies and concertation

    At national level, social dialogue in Montenegro is regulated by legislation such as the Law on Social Council, the Labour Law and the Law on Trade Union Representation. Despite continuous work to improve bipartite social dialogue, it has still not been developed to a satisfactory level.

    The Social Council is the main tripartite body at national level, consisting of 33 members – 11 representing the government, 11 representing the UPCG and 11 from the two representative trade unions. The Council is chaired by the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs and meets every two to three months.

    Although the Social Council is an advisory body, in the past few years it has become increasingly active in helping to initiate and draft pieces of legislation related to work. The work of the Council is varied and can involve coordinating collective bargaining at national level; advising on appointments in labour-related institutions (such as the National Employment Service and the Agency for Peaceful Resolution of Labour Disputes); proposing changes to the minimum wage; and advising the government on a range of social and economic policies.

    The Social Council supports the bargaining process for any changes and amendments that are made to the General Collective Agreement. The president of the council convenes it. The council has a legal right to issue recommendations and provide these to the respective ministry. When required, the council advises the government, social partners and other institutions. By law, the government is obligated to respond on the outcome of the council’s recommendations within 30 days in writing. Currently the recommendations made by the council are unpublished, but there are plans to publish them in the future. Council members receive monthly compensation.

    The council can also solicit studies and opinions from external experts, but it lacks its own administrative base and is thus dependent on the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare for basic organisational resources.

    Main tripartite and bipartite bodies




    Issues covered

    Social Council



    • Development and promotion of collective bargaining

    · Impacts of economic policy and measure on social development and stability of employment policy, wages and prices, competition and productivity, privatization and other issues of structural adaptation

    • Environment protection
    • Education and professional training
    • Health, safety and social protection issues
    • Demographic issues

    · Other issues important to improving economic and social policy

    Employee representation at establishment level

    In the figure, we see a comparison between Montenegro and European Union for the people with 'Establishment size : All' when asked 'Establishment uses meetings of a temporary group or committee or ad-hoc group to involve employees in how work is organised'. For the 'Yes' answer, Montenegro's score is higher than the European Union score. For the 'No' answer, Montenegro's score is lower than the European Union score.

    Source: ECS 2013. Private sector establishments with more than 10 employees. Eurofound data visualisation

    Collective bargaining

    Collective bargaining

    The central concern of employment relations is the collective governance of work and employment. This section looks into collective bargaining in Montenegro.

    Bargaining system

    Collective agreements are regulated within the Law on Labour. In accordance with the law, a collective agreement ( kolektivni ugovor) shall define the rights, obligations and responsibilities arising from and based on employment; the procedure of amending the collective agreement; mutual relations between participants of the collective agreement; and other matters of importance for an employee and an employer.

    Agreements should not define lesser rights or less favourable working conditions than those set by the law. The collective agreement can add to existing rights or expand the scope of rights, or define more favourable working conditions than those defined by the Law on Labour.

    The National Collective Agreement elaborates on the provisions set out in the Labour Code. Following a two year delay, the agreement was adopted in 2014. It regulates elements for determining salaries, wage compensation, other compensation entitlements for employees, and determines the scope of labour rights and obligations in accordance with the Labour Code. On 27 June 2016, the General Collective Agreement was extended for a period of two years (until 30 June 2018).

    Bargaining levels

    In Montenegro, collective bargaining can take place at national level, sectoral level and at enterprise level. However, the most advanced is national, tripartite-based collective bargaining, which is conducted institutionally, by the National Social Council. In addition to the Council, there are municipality-level social councils – only limited information on their operation is available. Bipartite bargaining systems at local and enterprise level are relatively underdeveloped, and coverage on workers in the private business sector remains an issue.

    Levels of collective bargaining 2017


    National level (Intersectoral)

    Sectoral level

    Company level



    Working time


    Working time


    Working time

    Principal or dominant level




    Important but not dominant level





    Existing level





    No information is available.

    Timing of the bargaining rounds

    The parties can agree 60 days prior to the expiration of a collective agreement to initiate amendments or development of a new collective agreement.


    The Social Council conducts all coordination.

    Extension mechanisms

    There are no specific extension mechanisms.

    Derogation mechanisms

    There are no derogation mechanisms.

    Expiry of collective agreements

    Collective agreements are valid for a period of two years.

    Peace clauses

    According to the collective agreements, if, within two months of the beginning of the negotiations, the parties do not reach an agreement, the contracting parties agree to initiate proceedings before the agency for the peaceful resolution of labour disputes.

    Other aspects of working life addressed in collective agreements

    Since 2014, the collective agreement does not include other aspects such as stress, harassment, gender equality etc.

    Industrial action and disputes

    Industrial action and disputes

    Legal aspects

    The Constitution guarantees the right to strike in Montenegro and supplemented in legislation by the Law on Strikes. In legal terms, the law defines a strike as ‘a disruption of work organised by employees in order to protect their professional, economic and social interests arising on the basis of work’. The law dictates the legal provisions for the conditions and organisation of a strike, regulating the rights, obligations and responsibilities of employees and employers regarding strike action. There are four types of strike action that can be organised:

    • strike of warning – a temporary disruption of work, but last no longer than one hour
    • rotating strike – a selection of staff participate in strike action before rotating with another group of employees
    • selective strike – targets certain organisational units or business units of the employer
    • solidarity strike – supports employees or unions that have previously taken action concerning the same employer, branch, group, subgroup or activity, or at state level; the strike can last no longer than one day

    Industrial action developments

    In 2016, several notable strikes at tertiary level occurred including one across the Clinical Centre of Montenegro. The strike involved 8,400 medical workers, employed at 7 hospitals, 28 health centres and 3 specialised institutions, and concerned dissatisfaction over salaries and the abolition of certain powers defined by the branch collective agreement. Concerns over unpaid salaries resulted in strike action being taken by journalists and editors from Atlas TV, railway transport employees, and container, cargo and timber port terminals operator, JSC.

    The Institute for Execution of Criminal Sanctions announced a strike for the beginning of August 2016. Following the announcement mediators assisted the parties in negotiations to reach a solution before the set date of the strike. Since the strike was of public interest, the Agency for Labour Disputes Resolution was involved in the dispute resolution process. The agency has been involved in 8,721 disputes and has successfully resolved over 80 per cent of these. There is no official data on industrial action.

    Dispute resolution mechanisms

    Collective dispute resolution mechanisms

    The Agency for the Peaceful Resolution of Labour Disputes ( Agencija za mirno rješavanje radnih sporova), established in 2008, ensures the peaceful resolution of labour disputes. The government established the agency as a specialist organisation with legal authority – passing the Law on the Peaceful Resolution of Labour Disputes.

    Individual dispute resolution mechanisms

    Article 162 in the Law on Labour provides guidance on the resolution of disputes between employers' and workers' organisations, which states ‘The relevant court shall rule in case of a dispute regarding trade union, or employers’ federation, representativeness, as referred to in this Law and in accordance with the law’. The Agency for Peaceful Resolution of Labour Disputes has a mandate to provide professional services for collective, and individual, disputes resolution. New legal provisions stipulate that employees and employers are obliged to submit a proposal (for peaceful resolution) to the Agency, prior to the start of proceedings before the competent court.

    Use of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms

    Between 20 September 2010 to 31 December 2013, 6,944 collective and individual work dispute proposals for peaceful resolution were submitted to the agency (6,929 individual labour disputes and 15 collective labour disputes). Of the proposals submitted, 82% were solved successfully.

    In 2014, 7,804 work disputes proposals were submitted (7,792 individual labour disputes and 12 collective labour disputes), which 80% were solved successfully. The agency received 3,679 proposals in 2015, (3,676 individual labour disputes and 3 collective labour disputes), successfully resolving around 53% of these disputes; in 2016 9,175 proposals were submitted (9,168 individual labour disputes and 7 collective labour disputes) – of these 86.9% were resolved. In 2017, 86.1% of 2,055 work disputes proposals submitted to the agency (2,054 individual labour disputes and 1 collective labour dispute).

    Individual employment relations

    Individual employment relations

    Individual employment relations are the relationship between the individual worker and their employer. This relationship is shaped by legal regulation and by the outcomes of social partner negotiations over the terms and conditions governing the employment relationship . This section looks into the start and termination of the employment relationship and entitlements and obligations in Montenegro.

    Start and termination of the employment relationship

    Requirements regarding an employment contract

    Montenegro has ratified eight of the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions on labour rights, and has revised the European Social Charter. The country’s legislation on labour specifies a wide range of basic workers’ rights, including prohibition of forced and child labour, the right to freedom of association, organisation and collective bargaining, equal treatment, health and safety at work, and prohibition of direct and indirect discrimination at work.

    The minimum working age is 15 years, but any person under 18 can enter an employment contract providing a parent or guardian has provided written permission. In addition to this, minors must provide a document from a relevant medical authority, certifying that the work in question will not negatively affect the minor’s health.

    An employment contract commences from the moment it is signed by the employer, or individual authorised by the employer and the individual being employed (employee). The employment agreement must be made in writing and should contain all the information regulated within the Law on Labour.

    Dismissal and termination procedures

    The Labour Code outlines the reasons for individual dismissal:

    • failure to deliver satisfactory work results over a period of 30 days
    • failure to comply with the provisions of the law, collective agreement or work contract
    • displaying behaviour which undermines satisfactory work performance, as prescribed by the law, collective agreement or a valid employer regulation
    • abuse of sick leave
    • refusing to be transferred to another job or work site, with the same employer, providing the latter is less than 60 kilometres away from the employee’s place of residence, and the employer covers the costs of transport

    The standard notice period is 30 days, following 5 days for the warning procedure. However, an employee can be dismissed if he or she refuses to accept a change in salary, or because of external economic changes outside the employee’s control (business difficulties, technical changes in work organisation). In these circumstances, the employer is obliged to provide a severance payment of at least one third of the employee’s net salary, for every year of work (or one third of the net average salary in Montenegro, whichever is higher), and no less than three average net monthly wages.

    Entitlements and obligations

    Parental, maternity and paternity leave

    The right to parental leave is shared between both parents at their own discretion. The total duration of parental leave is 365 days, and excludes a period of 73 days that mothers’ are obliged to take before and after birth (minimum 28 days before and 45 days after birth). Parents are entitled to their full salary that they would be earning during leave. After the expiry of parental leave, the employer is obliged to return the employee to the same position, or another position with equivalent salary.

    Maternity protection


    Maximum duration

    365 days (1 year)


    Reimbursement depends on the period of time that the employee has been in employment:

    · for a minimum of 12 months continuous employment, employees’ are entitled to their full salary for the 12 months preceding;

    · between six to twelve months continuous employment, 70% of the average earnings of the employee from the last months;

    · between three to six months continuous employment, 50% of the average earnings of the employee;

    · up to three months, 30% of the average earnings of the employee.

    Who pays?

    The employer, later refunded by the government. Maternity pay is calculated and paid by the employer at the time of payroll.

    Legal basis

    Law on Labour and the Law on Social Protection and Child Welfare, which outlines the basic benefits of child welfare.


    Sick leave

    Amendments to the Law on Health Insurance in 2012, stipulate that an employee on sick leave is entitled to 70% of their salary. Full salary is paid in cases of blood, tissue or organ donation; on account of pregnancy; in order to contain an epidemic; or where the absence is caused by occupational illness or accident at work. However, the amount of compensation cannot exceed the average wage in Montenegro from the last 12 months. For the first 60 days of absence, costs are covered by the employer and thereafter by the National Health Fund. In addition to the necessary training on health and safety, employers are obliged to offer training to employees to account for any changes in the organisation of work, or following the introduction of new methods or technologies.

    Retirement age

    In Montenegro, the retirement age is 67 years with a minimum of 15 years of pension contributions, or 40 years of pension contribution, irrespective of age. In instances of 30 years of pension contribution, of which at least 20 years includes work in mines, then the pension contribution is calculated with increased benefits. From the age of 62 (15 years pension contributions), early retirement is possible for men and women. However, the pension is reduced by 0.35% per month.



    Pay: For workers, the reward for work and main source of income; for employers, a cost of production and focus of bargaining and legislation. This section looks into minimum wage setting in Montenegro and guides the reader to further material on collective wage bargaining.

    Since 2014, the average net salary has increased each year in Montenegro (€477 in 2014, €480 in 2015, €499 in 2016 and €510 in 2017 respectively). The new Law on Salaries in the Public Sector (adopted in 2016) has contributed to the higher rise in salaries between 2016 to 2017. This law regulates the method of determining salary, the right to a salary, salary compensation and other employee benefits in the public sector. It also outlines the method of providing funds alongside other issues of importance for the exercise of these rights.

    Minimum wages

    A collective agreement in 2010 introduced the ‘minimum wage’, replacing the earlier concept of the ‘minimum price of work’. The change was incorporated into the Labour Code in December 2011. Legislation states that the minimum wage must be set twice a year by the tripartite Social Council, and then approved by the government. Wages cannot be less than 30% of the average wage of the previous semester. Until June 2013, the minimum wage remained at the legal minimum (30%). This meant wages fell below the poverty line due to divergences in price and wage trends. In March 2013, the Social Council agreed to increase the minimum wage to €193 per month (40% of the net average wage) in Montenegro and remains unchanged.

    Minimum wages







    Adult rate






    Youth rate

    Not indicated





    Working time

    Working time

    Working time: ‘Any period during which the worker is working, at the employer’s disposal and carrying out his activities or duties, in accordance with national laws and/or practice’ (Directive 2003/88/EC). This section briefly summarises regulation and issues regarding working time, overtime, part-time work as well as working time flexibility in Montenegro.

    Working time regulation

    The statutory weekly working time is 40 hours. Employees can negotiate with employers regarding weekly working time, providing 40 hours is fulfilled. An employer can introduce working hours of less than 40 hours if, due to the technology and organisational improvements and implementation of a shift system, it becomes possible to effectively operate with shortened business hours. In this instance, an employee working less than 40 hours is still entitled to the same labour rights as an employee working on a full-time basis.

    Overtime regulation

    The Law on Labour regulates overtime work in Montenegro. As stated by the employers’ collective agreement (2014), workers may be required to work overtime should an unexpected increase in work mean that it cannot be overcome, by either a rescheduling of other work or the work time. Employers are required to notify the Labour Inspector on the introduction of additional hours, within three days of implementing the new work schedule.

    Following the collective agreement in 2014, working overtime should correspond to an increase in wages. The hourly wage increases to at least 40% for overtime work. However, employees younger than 18 years old cannot work overtime hours.

    Part-time work

    The employee can negotiate a labour agreement, regarding the number of hours working on a part-time basis, providing this is not less than 10 hours of the required working hours. Depending on the nature of work and the type of organisation, part-time positions – based on labour agreements – are defined by systematisation acts. In 2013, only 4% of all employed workers were in part-time jobs in Montenegro.

    Involuntary part-time

    There is no data available on involuntary part-time work.

    Night work

    Work that occurs between the hours of 22:00 and 06:00 is considered night work. The Law on Labour stipulates that employers are responsible for providing shift change, where a shift system is in place; this must prevent employees working during the night for more than one week. The collective agreement (2014) states that the hourly wage increases at least 40% for night shift work

    Weekend work

    The Law on Labour and the collective agreement do not define weekend work. However, the collective agreement stipulates that the hourly wage increases (150%) for working on a state or a religious holiday.

    Rest and breaks

    During the course of the working day, an employee is entitled to a 30-minute break which cannot be used at the beginning, or at the end, of working hours. A break is defined in a way that ensures continuation in the working day, and where the nature of work requires continuity. Breaks are added to the regular working hours. An employee is entitled to a rest period of at least 12 successive hours, between two consequent working days.

    Working time flexibility

    No specific regulations for working time flexibility are established by legislation or collective agreement.

    Working time: Do you have fixed starting and finishing times in your work?

    In the figure, we see a comparison between Montenegro and European Union for the workers with 'Age : All' when asked 'Do you have fixed starting and finishing times in your work?'. For the 'No' answer, Montenegro's score is higher than the European Union score. For the 'Yes' answer, Montenegro's score is lower than the European Union score.

    Source: Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey 2015. More detailed figures are available from Eurofound’s European Working conditions survey .

    For more detailed information on working time, please consult Eurofound’s recent reports:

    Health and well-being

    Health and well-being

    Maintaining health and well-being should be a high priority for workers and employers alike. Health is an asset closely associated with a person’s quality of life and longevity, as well as their ability to work. A healthy economy depends on a healthy workforce: organisations can experience loss of productivity through the ill health of their workers. This section looks into health and safety, and psychosocial risks in Montenegro.

    Health and safety at work

    Safety at work is a constitutional principle under Article 64 of the Constitution of Montenegro. There is also legislation in place that ensures health and safety at work:

    • Law on Safety and Health at Work
    • Law on Labour
    • Law on Health Care
    • Law on Health Insurance
    • Law on Pension and Disability Insurance
    • Law on Labour Inspection
    • Law on Safety of Navigation
    • Law on Ionising Radiation Protection and Radiation Safety
    • Mining Law
    • Law on Social Council

    In recent years, a number of rules have been adopted in Montenegro to align with the corresponding EU standards on health and safety at work; these are listed below.

    Employees’ rights and measures to protect against risks at work: This includes rules on exercising the right to being temporarily unable to work; exercising the right to compensation during a temporary inability to work; necessary measures for health and safety protection in the use of equipment with displays.

    Protecting workers against professional tasks involving non-ionising radiation: This includes detailed conditions on the protection required for professional tasks; providing vocational training to workers and employers responsible for implementing this protection against non-ionising radiation; outlining the requirements for workers, and the necessary equipment and accessories for vocational training regarding non-ionising radiation.

    Protecting workers against the risks of noise: This includes the measures of health and safety necessary to protect workers against any exposure to vibration, and the requirements to protect workers against exposure to noise.

    Additionally, employees’ must meet any specific health and safety conditions that a job requires.

    Assessments of employees’ health ensure that they are able to carry out the work that employers’ require. If the assessor specifies that a certain type of work may damage the health of an employee, then the employee cannot be deployed to the position, requested to work overtime or overnight by the employer.

    There are no specialised labour courts in Montenegro. Consequentially, the courts have become general inefficient and accumulated a backlog for resolving labour disputes. The Agency for Peaceful Resolution of Labour Disputes has increased in popularity in light of this, despite the fact that decisions are not legally binding. From the establishment of the agency in 2010 to the end of 2013, 7,000 cases have been successfully mediated.

    The Department of Labour Inspection operates an occupational safety and health (OSH) group that supervises the implementation of the Law on Safety and Health at Work, secondary legislation as well as any technical or additional measures relating to the protection of health and safety at work. This excludes instances where the law stipulates that the implementation of these regulations – in certain activities – are not adopted because they are fulfilled by other authorities.

    Institutions and organisations that undertake activities in the field of health and safety in Montenegro are:

    • Parliament of Montenegro
    • Government of Montenegro
    • Line ministries
    • Administration for Inspection Affairs, Health Insurance Fund, Pension and Disability Insurance Fund of Montenegro
    • Institute for the Development and Research in Safety at Work
    • Chamber of Commerce of Montenegro

    In addition, health and safety provisions are administered by social partners, such as the following organisations:

    • Montenegrin Employers Federation
    • Federation of Trade Unions of Montenegro
    • Union of Free Trade Unions of Montenegro
    • Social Council
    • authorised organisations for environmental protection and occupational health (34 in total)
    • Safety at Work Association of Montenegro
    • Insurance companies

    Accidents at work

    According to the Law on Safety at Work, employers’ must immediately (no later than 24 hours after an accident) file a written report to the Labour Inspection. In cases of a fatal, collective or serious injury, the OSH inspector has a duty to conduct an immediate investigation. Once all relevant data is gathered, the inspector submits a written report to the relevant court indicating whether the prescribed OSH measures have, or haven’t, been implemented.

    There is no register for occupational accidents and diseases in Montenegro. No information is available at central level.

    Psychosocial risks

    The Labour Law and the collective agreement (2014), do not explicitly mention psychological risks. However, the mandate of the labour inspection is to enable improvements to working conditions, to avoid injuries, occupational diseases and diseases related to work. In addition to this, the labour inspection can create the conditions for the full physical and psychological protection of employees.

    Work intensity: Do you have enough time to get the job done?

    In the figure, we see a comparison between Montenegro and European Union for the workers with 'Age : All' when asked 'Do you have enough time to get the job done?'. For the 'Always or most of the time' answer, Montenegro's score is higher than the European Union score. For the 'Rarely or never' answer, Montenegro's score is lower than the European Union score. For the 'Sometimes' answer, Montenegro's score is lower than the European Union score.

    Source: Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey 2015. More detailed figures are available from Eurofound’s European Working conditions survey.

    Skills, learning and employability

    Skills, learning and employability

    Skills are the passport to employment; the better skilled an individual, the more employable they are. Good skills also tend to secure better-quality jobs and better earnings. This section briefly summarises the Montenegro system for ensuring skills and employability and looks into the extent of training.

    National system for ensuring skills and employability

    In Montenegro, the Ministry of Education is responsible for the overall educational policy. The government finances education up to university level. The amount of funds for financing public higher education institutions, and the students attending those institutions is determined by the government ­– advised by the Council for Higher Education – for each academic year. Around 4.5% of GDP is allocated for education.

    Education is provided at preschool institutions, schools, educational centres, resource centres, adult education providers, universities and faculties, academy of art and upper secondary non-tertiary schools. All the educational institutions mentioned can be public or private. Secondary education is not mandatory.

    The Ministry of Education and Sports, in cooperation with the Vocational Education Training Centre (VET Centre), has begun implementing the Vocational Education and Training Strategy (2015–2020) and the Adult Learning Strategy (2015–2025), encouraging skills that match labour market needs.


    At a national level, the Human Resources Management Authority is responsible for training and professional development initiatives across the public administration.

    Training: Have you had on-the-job training in the last 12 months?

    In the figure, we see a comparison between Montenegro and European Union for the workers with 'Age : All' when asked 'Have you had on-the-job training in the last 12 months?'. For the 'No' answer, Montenegro's score is higher than the European Union score. For the 'Yes' answer, Montenegro's score is lower than the European Union score.

    Source: Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey 2015. More detailed figures are available from Eurofound’s European Working conditions survey.

    Work organisation

    Work organisation

    Work organisation underpins economic and business development and has important consequences for productivity, innovation and working conditions. Eurofound research finds that some types of work organisation are associated with a better quality of work and employment. Therefore, developing or introducing different forms of work organisation are of particular interest because of the expected effects on productivity, efficiency and competitiveness of companies, as well as on workers’ working conditions. Ongoing research by Eurofound, based on EurWORK, the European Working Conditions Survey and the European Company Survey , monitors developments in work organisation.

    Work organisation: Are you able to choose or change your methods of work?

    In the figure, we see a comparison between Montenegro and European Union for the workers with 'Age : All' when asked 'Are you able to choose or change your methods of work?'. For the 'No' answer, Montenegro's score is higher than the European Union score. For the 'Yes' answer, Montenegro's score is lower than the European Union score.

    Source: Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey 2015. More detailed figures are available from Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey.

    Labour Force Survey Montenegro -

    Equality and non-discrimination at work

    Equality and non-discrimination at work

    The principle of equal treatment requires that all people, and in the context of the workplace all workers, have the right to receive the same treatment, and will not be discriminated against on the basis of criteria such as age, disability, nationality, sex, race and religion.

    Non-discriminatory treatment at work is guaranteed in Montenegro by the following laws: the Law on Labour, the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination Law on Gender Equality, Law on Prohibition of Harassment at Work and Law on Prohibition of Discrimination of Persons with Disability.

    Article 5 of the Law on Labour prohibits acts of direct, or indirect, discrimination for anyone seeking employment or those in employment. The law defines acts of discriminations as based on sex, birth, language, race, religion, skin colour, age, pregnancy, health state (disability, nationality, marital status, family duties, sexual orientation, political or other affiliation), social background, marital status, membership to political and trade union organisations or other personal characteristic.

    The Law on Prohibition of Discrimination outlines that the protector of human rights (Ombudsperson), and the respective courts, are responsible for the protection of the right of non-discrimination.

    Legislation states that ‘anyone who considers to be discriminated against by an act, action or failure to act made by an authority and other legal and natural persons, may address the Protector (Ombudsperson) with a complaint’.

    Therefore, anyone who considers to be damaged by discriminatory treatment by an authoritative body or legal entity is entitled to court protection, in accordance with the law. Legal proceedings regarding this treatment can be initiated by filing a lawsuit.

    Equal pay and gender pay gap

    The Law on Prohibition of Discrimination defines inequality in pay as ‘the payment of unequal salary, or remuneration for work, of equal value to a person or a group of persons, on any ground’.

    Although women have achieved equal representation in the services sector, the female employment rate in Montenegro is significantly lower than the male employment rate. Average wages for women are 8% lower than for men. Broadly defined, the services sector accounts for 73% of all jobs in Montenegro and 85% of all female jobs. This prevalence of female employment in this sector has resulted in an almost equal gender balance. In contrast, while the industrial sectors represents 20% of all employment in the country, only two out of ten workers in the sector are women.

    Quota regulations

    The government determines the annual number (quota) of work permits for foreigners, in accordance with the migration policy, labour market status and trends. The quota of persons employed with a disability is regulated by the Law on Employment of Persons with Disability.



    Begović, B., Ćalović, V., Pejović, K. and Kostić, R. (2014), Promocija jednakosti I prevencija diskriminacije na radu u Crnoj Gori: Pravni okvir (PDF) , ILO, Podgorica.

    Constitution of the Republic of Montenegro (2013), ‘Official Gazette of the Republic of Montenegro’.

    Official Gazette of Montenegro (2015), Decision on Montenegrin standards and related documents No. 58.

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    European Commission (2018), Montenegro 2018 Report: 2018 Communication on EU Enlargement Policy (PDF) , Staatsburg.

    Eurostat (2019), Enlargement countries - statistical overview .

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    ‘Regulation on the Registration of Representative Trade Unions’ (2010), Official Gazette of Montenegro, No. 36/2010.

    ‘Regulations on the procedure for registering employers' organisations and detailed criteria for determining the representativeness of the authorised employers' organisations’ (2005), Official Gazette of Montenegro, No. 34.

    Simonovic-Zvicer, V. (2017)Annual Review of Labour Relations and Social Dialogue Montenegro 2016 (PDF)Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

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    Statistical Office of Montenegro (Monostat) (2017), Labour force survey .

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    World Bank (2013), Montenegro Gender Diagnostic: gaps in endowments, access to economic opportunities and agency (PDF) , Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Unit Europe and Central Asia Region.



    Law on Administrative Procedures, Law No. 56 (2014), 20 (2015), 40 (2016) and 37 (2017).

    Law on Foreigners (2014), Law No. 56.

    Law on Foreigners (2015), Law No. 28.

    Law on Health Care (2016), Law No. 3 and 39.

    Law on Health Insurance (2016), Law No. 6.

    Law on Ionizing Radiation Protection and Radiation Safety (2009), Law No. 56 and 58.

    Law on Labour Inspection (2008), Law No. 79.

    Law on Labour, Law No. 49 (2008), 26 (2009), 59 (2011) and 66 (2012).

    Law on Pension and Disability Insurance, Law No. 54/03, 39/04, 61/04, 79/04, 81/04, 14/07 and 47/07 and “Official Gazette of Montenegro” No. 79/08, 14/10, 78/10, 34/11, 66/12, 38/13, 61/13, 60/14, 10/15 and 44/15).

    Law on Prohibition of Discrimination, Law No. 46 (2010), 40 (2011) and 18 (2014).

    Law on Representativeness of Trade Unions (2010), Law No. 254 .

    Law on Safety and Health at Work (2014), Law No. 34.

    Law on Social and Child Welfare, Law No. 27/2013, 1/2015, 42/2015 and 47/2015.

    Law on Social Council, Law No. 16 (2007), 20 (2011) and 61 (2013).

    Law on Strike (2015), Law No. 11/2015.

    Law on the Peaceful Resolution of Labour Disputes (2007), Law No. 206.

    Law on the Representativeness of Trade Unions (2018), Law No. 12.

    Law on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities, Law No. 49 (2008), 73 (2010) and 39 (2011).

    Mining Law, Law No. 65/08 and 74/10.

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