Slovenia: Working life country profile

  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Health and well-being at work,
  • Löhne und Gehälter,
  • Skills and training,
  • Work organisation,
  • Arbeitszeit,
  • Labour market participation,
  • Collective bargaining,
  • Social partners,
  • Social partners,
  • Inequality,
  • Working conditions,
  • Beschäftigung und Arbeitsmärkte,
  • Arbeitsbeziehungen,
  • Labour and social regulation,
  • Lebensbedingungen und Lebensqualität,
  • Social policies,
  • Beschäftigung und Arbeitsmärkte,
  • Published on: 25 November 2015



About
Country:
Slovenia
Author:
Institution:

This profile describes the key characteristics of working life in Slovenia. It aims to complement other Eurofound research by providing the relevant background information on 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 discrimination at work. The profiles are updated annually.

Key figures

Comparative figures on working life in Slovenia                                       

 

2010

2015

% (point) change
2010–2015

Slovenia

EU28

Slovenia

EU28

Slovenia

EU28

GDP

21,100

25,400

23,700

28,700

12.3%

13.0%

Unemployment rate  total

7.3

9.6

9

9.4

1.7

-0.2

Unemployment rate  women

7.1

9.6

10.1

9.5

3

-0.1

Unemployment rate – men

7.5

9.7

8.1

9.3

0.6

-0.4

Unemployment rate  youth

14.7

21.4

16.3

20.3

1.6

-1.1

Employment rate – total

71.5

71

71.8

72.5

0.3

1.5

Employment rate  women

67.4

64.4

67.9

66.8

0.5

2.4

Employment rate  men

75.4

77.6

75.4

78.3

0.0

0.7

Employment rate  youth

39.9

42.8

35.3

41.5

-4.6

-1.3

Source: Eurostat - Unemployment rate by sex and age - annual average,  % [une_rt_a]; Purchasing power parities (PPPs), price level indices and real expenditures for ESA 2010 aggregates [prc_ppp_ind]).

Background

Economic and labour market context

Between 2010 and 2015, Slovenian GDP grew 12.3%, close to the EU average of 13% for this period. Unemployment rates for all categories saw some increase. Female unemployment, in particular, rose by 3 percentage points over the five years, reaching 10.1% in 2015, slightly above the EU average of 9.5%. There was a small increase of 0.5 percentage points in the female employment rate and no change at all for men between 2010 and 2015. Youth employment fell, however, by 4.6 percentage points. In 2015, total employment stood at 71.8%, slightly below the EU average of 72.5% for that year.

More information on:

Legal context

Labour relationships in Slovenia are regulated by the Employment Relationships Act (Zakon o delovnih razmerjih, The Official Gazette of RS, no. 21/2013). There were no major changes to the Labour Act in 2014.

In May 2014 the Prevention of Undeclared Work and Employment Act (Zakon o preprečevanju dela in zaposlovanja na črno, The Official Gazette of RS, no. 32/2014) came into force.

Industrial relations context

Industrial relations in Slovenia took root in the 1870s, when trade unions became legal. At the turn of the century there were 17 industrial unions. Trade unions were centralised after World War Two, with mandatory membership. Employers’ organisations did not exist.

After the change to the socio-economic system and the first free elections, a democratic industrial relations system gradually emerged with free collective bargaining. A recent study (Stanojević and Kanjuo Mrčela, 2014) has found that the nature of industrial relations in Slovenia is undergoing a change. Although social partners describe collective bargaining in Slovenia as more cooperative than conflictual, they also reported that there are sectors where there is practically no social dialogue any more. This study confirms the findings of an earlier analysis (Eurofound, 2013), which showed a deterioration in social dialogue since the onset of the crisis (for example, increasing breaches of collective agreements by employers, increasing workers’ unrest and number of strikes, and a rise in unilateral and hasty government interventions in public sector working conditions). However, the social partners did sign the social agreement for 2015–2016 in February 2015, after many years of negotiations.

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 European, national, sectoral, regional (provincial or local) and company levels. This section looks into the main actors and institutions and their role in Slovenia.

Public authorities involved in regulating working life

The Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities (Ministrstvo za delo, družino, socialne zadeve in enake možnosti) mainly deals with social dialogue and working conditions, including health and safety at work. Its objectives are to provide the necessary legislative framework and information, advisory and dispute settlement services and the minimum levels of worker protection through legislation. The state also participates in national tripartite consultation or negotiation on economic and social questions and is a partner in sectoral tripartite bodies. The state has been heavily involved in public sector industrial relations as employer. This includes the civil service (state administration at central, regional and local levels), public social services (such as health and safety at work, education and childcare) and industrial or commercial enterprises (such as postal services and railways).

Representativeness

Representativeness of trade unions is regulated by the Law on Representativeness of Trade Unions (1993). Article 6 of this law stipulates the criteria for representativeness, according to which a representative trade union must be democratic, enable voluntary membership, has been active for the past six months, is independent of governmental bodies and employers, is mostly financed through membership fees and other own sources and has a certain number of members (at least 10% of employees in a particular branch, activity or occupation).

Representativeness of employers’ organisations is not regulated by a separate law. It is nevertheless indirectly regulated by the Law on Collective Bargaining (Zakon o kolektivnih pogodbah, Uradni list of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 43/2006), which stipulates in Article 12 that when a collective agreement has been concluded between one or more representative trade unions and one or more representative employers’ organisation, one of the parties may ask the labour minister to extend the collective agreement to all employers in the activity to which the agreement refers. The employers’ organisation in this case have to employ more than half of all the workers at companies covered by the extension.

More information on the representativeness of the main social partner organisations can be found in Eurofound’s representativeness study of the cross-industry social partners or in Eurofound’s sectoral representativeness studies.

Trade unions

About trade union representation

Trade union representation is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia, which stipulates in Article 76 that the organisation and work of trade unions as well as trade union membership are free. Consequently, there are no legislative restrictions regarding the right to join trade unions.

According to data from the OECD, trade union membership had been declining before the crisis (from 43.7% of the workforce in 2003 to 23.1% in 2011) and it continued to decline during the crisis.

Trade union membership and trade union density

 

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Source

Trade union density in terms of active employees

25%

23%

 

 

 

OECD/Visser (2014)

Trade union membership in 1,000s

200

180

 

 

 

OECD/Visser (2014)

Main trade union confederations and federations

The most important trade union confederations and federations in Slovenia are:

  • Union of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia (ZSSS) is the largest union organisation;
  • Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KSJS);
  • Confederation of Trade Unions of Slovenia Pergam (Pergam);
  • Confederation of Trade Unions 90 of Slovenia (Konfederacija 90);
  • Independent Confederation of New Trade Unions of Slovenia (KNSS);
  • Union of Workers’ Trade Unions of Slovenia – Solidarity (Solidarnost);
  • Slovene Union of Trade Unions Alternativa (Alternativa).

Main trade union confederations and federations

Long name

Abbreviation

Members (2012)

Involved in collective bargaining

Union of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia

ZSSS

250,000

Yes

Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions

KSJS

74,000

Yes

Confederation of Trade Unions of Slovenia Pergam

Pergam

72,000

Yes

Confederation of Trade Unions 90 of Slovenia

Konfederacija 90

36,000

Yes

Union of Workers’ Trade Unions of Slovenia – Solidarity

Solidarnost

n.a.

Yes

Slovene Union of Trade Unions Alternativa

Alternativa

n.a.

Yes

Source: Eurofound (2014a)

There have been no trade union mergers.

Employers’ organisations

About employers’ representation

Membership in employers’ organisations suffered its biggest decrease when the obligatory membership in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry was abolished in 2006. Two years afterwards, it was at 55% (Glassner, 2013).

The Association of Employers of Slovenia (ZDS) was the first voluntary economic association in Slovenia representing and protecting the interests of employers. They claim that in the private sector, half of all employees are employed by more than 1,000 members, representing over half of the total capital in Slovenia.

Employers’ organisations – membership and density

 

2012

2013

2014

Source

Employers’ organisation density in terms of active employees

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Visser (2014),

Employers’ organisation density in private sector establishments*

n.a.

44%

n.a.

European Company Survey 2013

* Percentage of employees working in an establishment that is a member of any employers’ organisation that is involved in collective bargaining.

Main employers’ organisations

The most important intersectoral employer organisations in Slovenia are:

  • Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (GZS);
  • Slovenian Employers’ Association (ZDS);
  • Slovenian Chamber of Commerce (TZS);
  • Chamber of Craft and Small Businesses of Slovenia (OZS);
  • Slovenian Employers’ Association of Crafts (ZDOPS).

Main employers’ organisations and confederations

Long name

Abbreviation

Members

Year

Involved in collective bargaining

Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia

GZS

9,600

2012

Yes

Slovenian Employers’ Association

ZDS

1,400

2012

Yes

Slovenian Chamber of Commerce

TZS

6,300

2012

Yes

Chamber of Craft and Small Businesses of Slovenia

OZS

51,651

2012

Yes

Slovenian Employers’ Association of Crafts

ZDOPS

20,000

2012

Yes

Source: Eurofound (2014a)

Tripartite and bipartite bodies and concertation

The Economic and Social Council of Slovenia (ESSS) was established by a tripartite agreement on pay policy in the private sector in April 1994. Through this accord, the government, employers’ organisations and trade unions established a central body for tripartite cooperation in Slovenia. ESSS has substantially contributed to the successful implementation of basic economic and social reforms and the process of transition, as well as rapprochement with the European Union and integration into the international economy. Moreover, it has helped with the enforcement of social justice and social peace, which are seen as crucial for successful economic development. The ESSS’s field of activity mainly concerns industrial relations, conditions of work, labour legislation, social rights and employment policy; other, broader economic and social issues that concern the interests of workers and their families; and employers’ interests and government policy.

The primary function of the ESSS is consultative, which means it takes an active part in the preparation of legislation and other documents. It can also issue its own standpoint on different matters, such as working documents and draft documents (such as the state budget and budget memorandum).

Secondly, the ESSS has a quasi-bargaining function (though not collective bargaining in its proper sense), which means that ‘social agreements’, pay policy agreements and other tripartite accords are negotiated within its framework.

Main tripartite and bipartite bodies

Name Type Level Issues covered

Economic and Social Council of Slovenia (ESSS)

Tripartite

National

Industrial relations, conditions of work, labour legislation, social rights and employment policy

Workplace-level employee representation

At company level there is a dual channel of representation: company trade unions and works councils/workers’ trustees. Eurofound’s 2009 European Company Survey reports that trade union shop stewards play a prominent role within Slovenia’s dual channel system. The results also indicate that where dual forms of representation exist, trade unions tend to focus more on collective bargaining, while works councils are mostly involved in information and consultation. In Slovenia there is a demarcation of competences between works councils and trade unions. The legislation says that the right of workers to participate in management may not encroach upon the rights and duties of trade unions and employers’ organisations to protect the interests of their members.

The 2009 Eurofound report also says that Slovenia has a medium to high coverage of employee representation structures compared with Europe as a whole, with 42% of the establishments involved in the survey and 66% of workers being covered by some form of body, and a further 15% of establishments using representation when necessary. Trade unions have the highest incidence of single-channel representation (23% of establishments covering 25% of employees). In terms of employee coverage, dual-channel representation is most widespread (15% of establishments with 39% of employees). Works councils as single-channel representative bodies are very rare and occur predominantly in smaller establishments (4% of establishments, covering only 2% of employees).

The regulation of these bodies is codified both by law and in collective agreements.

Regulation, composition and competences of the bodies

  Regulation Composition Involved in company level collective bargaining Thresholds/rules when they need to be/can be set up 

Trade union

Yes

 

Yes

No threshold

Works council

Yes

A works council member can be any employee who has been employed by the company for at least 12 months

No

Can be set up in a company with more than 20 employees

Employee representation at establishment level

 

ECS 2013

 

% of employees covered

% of establishments covered

Trade union

67%

28%

Works council

43%

19%

Shop steward or workers’ representative

21%

15%

Note: Private sector establishments with more than 10 employees.

Source: ECS 2013

Collective employment relations

Collective bargaining

Bargaining system

Collective bargaining in Slovenia is highly structured. In the private sector there is collective bargaining between unions and employers at industry and company level. However, national bargaining for the private sector as a whole ceased at the end of 2005 following a decision by the employers to withdraw from it. The agreement that had previously covered the entire private sector, known by its initials as the SKPzGD (General Collective Agreement for the Non-commercial Sector), was cancelled in 2005.

In the public sector, there is both an agreement covering the entire non-commercial sector and separate agreements for different parts of it.

Industry-level agreements must be registered with the Ministry of Labour. As of April 2013, 46 public and private sector agreements had been registered since the passage of new collective bargaining legislation in 2006, although not all had been updated recently. As well as agreements covering specific industries, such as the food industry, metalworking and textiles, there is also an agreement covering small businesses, which covers a wide range of sectors.

Company-level bargaining is very important and supplements sectoral bargaining in most of the sectors. In Slovenia, major (cross-sectoral) agreements between social partners or minimum increases prescribed by the government do not exist.

The law on the minimum wage introduced a formal national minimum wage in 1999. It determined that any increase was to be set by the tripartite Economic and Social Council of Slovenia. Since 2000, the minimum wage has been adjusted in line with the inflation forecasts rather than past inflation to prevent sizeable wage rises that might fuel price rises during inflationary periods. This system of indexation has also been used in most of the collective agreements (Poje, 2009).

Collective agreements are legally binding. In the private sector, wage bargaining is coordinated at sector level. Sector-level collective agreements contain minimum standards, which can be changed only for the better at the lower-level (company) collective agreements. In the public sector, there is a centralised system of determining wages and other rights. The main trend in collective bargaining is decentralisation (Eurofound, 2013).

Wage bargaining coverage

Collective wage bargaining coverage among private sector establishments stands at 69–78% according to ECS 2013 data.

The ECS 2009 data show that the coverage rate of collective agreements stood at 90%, which indicates that the coverage rate is decreasing.

Collective wage bargaining coverage of employees at different levels

Level

 

Source

All levels

78%

2013 – ECS

All, excluding national level

69%

2013 – ECS

All levels

92%

2010 – SES

Sources: Eurofound, European Company Survey 2013 (ECS), private sector companies with establishments >10 employees (NACE B–S) – multiple answers possible; Eurostat, Structure of Earnings Survey, companies >10 employees (NACE B–S), single answer: more than 50% of employees covered by such an agreement. For more information on the methodology, see here.

Bargaining levels

For a long time the dominant level of bargaining and pay setting in Slovenia has been at the sectoral level, but the current trend in collective bargaining is decentralisation.

Working time is not an issue in collective bargaining in Slovenia. The collective agreements cover statutory weekly working time, which is 40 hours. It can be fewer than 40 hours but not fewer than 36, unless the job entails great risk of injury or ill-health. Full working time may not be spread over fewer than four days a week.

Levels of collective bargaining, 2014

 

National level (insectoral)

Sectoral level

Company level

 

Wages

Working time

Wages

Working time

Wages

Working time

Principal or dominant level

 

 

x

 

 

 

Important but not dominant level

 

 

 

 

x

x

Existing level

 

 

 

x

 

 

Articulation

In general, agreements at a lower level can only improve the arrangements reached at the higher level. However, the 2006 Collective Agreements Act (unofficial translation) introduced a provision under which a higher-level agreement can specifically provide for lower-level agreements to worsen conditions. It has to be stressed, however, that few agreements implement this provision in practice.

Timing of the bargaining rounds

Bargaining rounds take place throughout the year. There is no specific period of the year or a pattern over the year.

Coordination

In Slovenia there are no pace-setting collective agreements or so-called trend-setting sectors that establish a framework for other sectors. There is no intersectoral collective agreement in the private sector at the moment. There is no actual coordination, but there is some pattern bargaining (across different sectors). Vertical coordination also plays a part due to the fact that the negotiators from employers and trade unions also represent different companies and thereby the rights agreed for the lower levels impact on the higher levels of collective bargaining.
Some sectoral collective agreements that defined lower levels of rights for employees (compared to other sectoral collective agreements), such as the collective agreement for the textile, clothing, leather and leather-processing industry of Slovenia, are used by employers when negotiating other sectoral collective agreements to try to lower the standards for employees.

Extension mechanisms

With regard to extension mechanisms, Articles 12 and 13 of the Collective Agreements Act state the following:

1.    If a collective agreement on one or more activities is concluded between one or more representative trade unions and one or more representative associations of employers, one of the parties may propose to the minister responsible for labour to extend the validity of the whole of the collective agreement or a part of it to all employers in an activity or activities for which the collective agreement has been concluded.

2.    The minister recognises an extended validity of the whole or a part of the collective agreement if the collective agreement has been concluded between one or more representative trade unions. The same applies if one or more associations of employers, the members of which employ more than half of all employees at employers for whom an extension of the collective agreement has been proposed.

3.    In his or her decision on extending the validity of the whole or a part of the collective agreement, the minister is bound by the proposal from the proponent from paragraph 1 of this article.

The minister responsible for labour recognises an extended validity of the complete or part of the collective agreement with a decision that is published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia.

Derogation mechanisms

Derogation from minimal standards is stipulated in some of the collective agreements. It is possible to derogate from those collective wage agreements after agreement between the representative company trade union (or national trade union) and the employer, mainly in order to save jobs. This provision came into force separately for each of the collective agreements, mostly from the year 2006 onwards (see the Eurofound portal on collective wage bargaining by country).

Cases and conditions for rescinding a collective agreement and a rescind period are determined by the parties to a collective agreement. If a collective agreement does not contain a rescind period, it may be rescinded with a rescind period of six months. Collective agreements concluded for a definite period of time cannot be rescinded prematurely (Collective Agreements Act, Article 16).

Expiry of collective agreements

Article 17 of the Collective Agreements Act stipulates that after a collective agreement expires, provisions of the procedural part that regulates the rights and duties of employees and employers when concluding employment contracts, during employment relationships and in respect of the termination of employment contracts, pay for work and other personal remunerations and reimbursements regarding work, and occupational safety and health, shall still be applied until a new contract is concluded, but for one year at the most, unless otherwise specified by the parties.

Other aspects of working life addressed in collective agreements

According to recent qualitative research (Stanojević and Kanjuo Mrčela, 2014), a number of recently changed collective agreements cover a narrower scope of topics than before. For example, topics such as education and training or work–life balance are reported not to be included any more. After the former Office for Equal Opportunities suggested that trade unions and employers should consider equal opportunities in the collective bargaining procedures, the ZSSS (the biggest trade union confederation in Slovenia) addressed a letter to all sectoral trade unions in May 2005 in which sectoral trade unions were invited to act in accordance with the initiative and to be especially sensitive with respect to potential reasons for/factors of the gender pay gap. The ZSSS concludes that as there are no stipulations of the wage-setting system that determine gender pay gap, the reasons must be found in more subtle factors, such as discrimination of workers with family responsibilities and valuation or naming of jobs. Equal opportunities and diversity provisions are still not included in all collective agreements. However, the collective agreement for banks and savings banks does include two articles on the prohibition of discrimination.

The social partners cooperated in the project ‘Modernisation of industrial relations through the promotion of renewal of collective agreements’ (2013–2014).

Industrial action and disputes

Legal aspects

There are no national data (official nor unofficial) on strikes in Slovenia. The main reasons for collective action have been wage cuts and wage arrears. Mechanisms to resolve collective disputes are included in the collective agreements. However, there are no data on their use.

The right to strike is regulated by the Strike Act (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia 23/91). This Act defines a strike as an organised stoppage of work by workers with the purpose of exercising economic and social rights and interests arising from work. Workers may freely decide on their participation in a strike. The Act specifies that a strike can be organised in a company or other organisation, in a part of an organisation, in a branch of the economy or as a general strike.

The right to strike for workers in organisations that perform activities of special public importance for military defence can only be exercised under the following conditions: provision of a minimum level of work which ensures security of people and property or is an irreplaceable condition for the life and work of citizens or for the functioning of other organisations; or for the performance of Slovenia’s international duties.

Workers participating in a strike maintain their basic rights from the employment relationship except the right to pay. They retain rights to pension and disability insurance in accordance with the regulations on these matters. Financial compensation during a strike may apply if this is foreseen under a collective agreement or general legal document (see also Eurofound, 2002).

Incidence of different forms of industrial action between 2010 and 2013

Work-to-rule or refusal to do overtime

17

Work stoppage or strike for less than a day

8

Strike of a day or more

8

Blockade or occupation

1

Note: Percentage of private sector establishments reporting any form of industrial action during the indicated period.

Source: European Company Survey

Industrial action developments, 2012–2014

 

2012

2013

2014

Source

Working days lost per 1,000 employees

14.9

n.a.

n.a.

LFS 2012

Number of strikes

n.a.

16% of establishments in the private sector

n.a.

ECS 2013

Dispute resolution mechanisms

Collective dispute resolution mechanisms

Article 18 (general, chapter VII: Settlement of Collective Labour Disputes of the Law on Collective Agreements (LCA)) stipulates that:

1.    Collective labour disputes are settled peacefully by negotiation, mediation and arbitration, and in accordance with the Law on Labour and Social Courts (Official Gazette of RS, no. 2/04 and 61/04) before the competent labour court.

2.    Collective labour disputes are settled in accordance with this law if a procedure for dispute settlement has not been determined in the collective agreement.

The LCA distinguishes between an interest dispute through mediation or arbitration and procedures for a peaceful settlement of disputes on rights.

Article 87 (resolution of collective disputes) of the Collective Agreement for the Retail Sector (CARS) stipulates that the parties to the agreement agree that the collective disputes shall be resolved in a way and according to the procedure determined by the law on collective agreements.

There are no data on the frequency of use of different resolution mechanisms.

In a recent qualitative study (Stanojević and Kanjuo Mrčela, 2014), a representative of employers in craft and entrepreneurship reported on the introduction of mediation as an instrument of conflict resolution in their collective agreement.

Individual dispute resolution mechanisms

The Act on work and social courts (Zakon o delovnih in socialnih sodiščih) stipulates in Article 5 that the labour court is competent to rule on individual (as well as collective) industrial dispute issues. The aspects covered include employment contracts; rights, obligations and responsibilities ensuing from the employment relationship between the worker and employer or their legal successors; rights and obligations ensuing from the relations between the worker and the user undertaking; the employment procedure; industrial property rights and obligations ensuing from the employment relationship; work of children younger than 15; work of apprentices, pupils and students; scholarships; voluntary apprenticeship; and other issues determined by law.

Individual employment relations

Start and termination of the employment relationship

Requirements regarding an employment contract

According to Article 21 of the Employment Relationships Act, an employment contract may be concluded with people who have reached the age of 15. Article 22 of this Act stipulates that a worker who concludes an employment contract must meet the requirements for the performance of work prescribed and laid down in a collective agreement or the employer’s general acts or as required by the employer and published in accordance with a public notice of a vacancy, which must contain the job requirements.

Workers under the age of 18 are not allowed to carry out work that may be harmful or dangerous. An employment contract has to be issued before work begins.

Dismissal and termination procedures

The 2013 Employment Relationships Act covers dismissal and termination procedures, including an employer’s obligations in terminating an employment contract. In the event of the cancellation of the employment contract due to incompetence, the employer must give notice of dismissal no later than six months following the occurrence of the justified reason. In the event of misconduct, the employer must give notice of cancellation no later than 60 days after identifying the justified reason and no later than six months from the occurrence of the justified reason. If the reason of misconduct on the part of the worker has all the characteristics of a criminal offence, the employer may give notice of cancellation of the employment contract within 60 days of the date the employer identifies the justified reason of misconduct for ordinary cancellation; this applies to the entire period in which the offender may be subject to criminal prosecution.

In the event of cancellation for a reason of misconduct on the part of the worker that has all the characteristics of a criminal offence, the employer may prohibit the worker from carrying out work for the duration of the proceedings. During the period of being prohibited from carrying out work, the worker shall be entitled to wage compensation amounting to half of his or her average salary received in the last three months before the institution of the cancellation proceedings.

Entitlements and obligations

Parental, maternity and paternity leave

A mother has the right to maternity leave. Under certain conditions, this right may also be exercised by the father or another person. The mother normally starts maternity leave 28 days before the anticipated date of birth, as specified by a gynaecologist. If the mother does not start maternity leave at that time, the unused part of the maternity leave may not be used after the child’s birth, unless the birth was premature. If, on the day of giving birth, the mother has not begun maternity leave, it shall begin on that day. Maternity leave lasts 105 days and must be used in a single block in the form of complete absence from work.

The father has the right to maternity leave if the mother dies, abandons the child, is deemed by a competent physician to be permanently or temporarily incapable of independent life and work, or is younger than 18 years and has the status of apprentice, pupil or student. In the last example, the mother must give her consent for the father to use the remaining maternity leave. The father has the right to the same amount of maternity leave as the mother, minus the number of days that the mother has already used, and by at least 28 days.

Paternity leave was extended from 15 to 30 days in April 2014. The change will be applied when economic growth in the country achieves 2.5%. The uptake of paternity leave is slowly growing, rising from 75% in 2008 to 80% in 2012.

Every parent has the right to 130 days of parental leave. The mother can transfer 100 days of parental leave to the father, while 30 days are non-transferable. The father may transfer all of his 130 days of parental leave to the mother.

Statutory leave arrangements

 

Maximum duration

Rate of reimbursement

Who pays?

Legal basis

Maternity leave

105 days, of which 28 days must be taken before the birth of a child. The father has the right to maternity leave in special circumstances.

100% wage compensation

Pension and Disability Insurance Institute of Slovenia (Zavod za pokojninsko in invalidsko zavarovanje Slovenije)

Law on Parental Protection and Family Benefits

Parental leave

130 days for each parent. There are no mandatory periods for fathers.

100% wage compensation

Pension and Disability Insurance Institute of Slovenia (Zavod za pokojninsko in invalidsko zavarovanje Slovenije)

Law on Parental Protection and Family Benefits

Paternity leave

30 days

100% wage compensation

Pension and Disability Insurance Institute of Slovenia (Zavod za pokojninsko in invalidsko zavarovanje Slovenije)

Law on Parental Protection and Family Benefits

Multiple births

90 days for the birth of twins and a further 90 days for each additional live child born

100% wage compensation

Pension and Disability Insurance Institute of Slovenia (Zavod za pokojninsko in invalidsko zavarovanje Slovenije)

Law on Parental Protection and Family Benefits

Premature birth

Leave is extended by the number of days that the pregnancy was shorter than 260 days

100% wage compensation

Pension and Disability Insurance Institute of Slovenia (Zavod za pokojninsko in invalidsko zavarovanje Slovenije)

Law on Parental Protection and Family Benefits

Birth of a child needing special care and protection

Leave is extended by 90 days

100% wage compensation

Pension and Disability Insurance Institute of Slovenia (Zavod za pokojninsko in invalidsko zavarovanje Slovenije)

Law on Parental Protection and Family Benefits

When the parents are already providing care and protection to 3 children below the age of 8 years at the time of birth

Leave is extended by 60 days

100% wage compensation

Pension and Disability Insurance Institute of Slovenia (Zavod za pokojninsko in invalidsko zavarovanje Slovenije)

Law on Parental Protection and Family Benefits

When the parents are already providing care and protection to 4 children below the age of 8 years at the time of birth

Leave is extended by 90 days

100% wage compensation

Pension and Disability Insurance Institute of Slovenia (Zavod za pokojninsko in invalidsko zavarovanje Slovenije)

Law on Parental Protection and Family Benefits

Sick leave

According to the Employment Relationships Act, the employer must pay wage compensation from their own resources in cases of the worker’s inability to work due to illness or injury not related to work for a period up to 30 working days for individual absence from work, but no more than 120 working days in a calendar year. In cases of the worker’s inability to work due to an occupational illness or injury at work, the employer must pay the worker wage compensation from their own resources for a period of up to 30 working days for each individual absence from work. In the event of a longer absence from work, the employer must pay wage compensation, which will be covered by health insurance. Unless otherwise stipulated by law, the worker shall be entitled to wage compensation in the amount of his or her average monthly wage for full-time work during the past three months or during the period he or she worked in the three months prior to the start of absence. If during the period of employment in the past three months the worker did not work and received wage compensation for the entire period, the basis for this compensation shall be equal to the basis for wage compensation in the past three months prior to the start of absence. If during the whole period of the past three months the worker did not receive at least one monthly salary, he or she shall be entitled to wage compensation in the amount of the basic salary laid down in the employment contract. The amount of wage compensation may not exceed the amount of pay that the worker would have received if he or she had worked during that period.

In the event of the worker’s absence from work due to illness or injury that is not related to work, the wage compensation to be covered by the employer shall amount to 80% of the worker’s salary in the preceding month for full-time work.

The Health Insurance Institute pays an allowance from the first day of a worker’s absence from work if he or she:

  • donates live tissue or organs for the benefit of another person;
  • suffers from the effects of donating blood;
  • has to care for a close family member;
  • has a medical condition requiring isolation;
  • is ordered by a doctor to accompany a patient;
  • has injuries that were sustained in certain circumstances.

The base for calculating the allowance is the average monthly pay for full-time work in the preceding year.

The employment relationship of a worker whose employment contract has been cancelled for a business reason or for a reason of incompetence and who is, upon the expiry of the period of notice, absent from work due to temporary incapacity for work because of illness or injury shall be terminated on the day the worker returns to work or should return to work, but no later than six months after the expiry of the period of notice.

Retirement age

The retirement age for both men and women is set at 65 years, or at 60 years of age on the basis of 40 years of service. The equalisation of the retirement age for men and women was introduced with a pension reform that has been in force since 1 January 2013. The equalisation of the retirement age is to be reached gradually in six years.

Pay

Minimum wages

The minimum wage is calculated in accordance with the Minimum Wage Act adopted on 11 February 2010 on the basis of published data on inflation. The Act stipulates that the minimum wage be adjusted annually in line with the rise in consumer prices. The official data from the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SORS) on the annual rise in consumer prices for the previous December-to-December period is used to calculate minimum wage adjustments.

The minimum wage is not adjusted for different groups of workers.

Statutory minimum wage, 2012–2015

 

2012

2013

2014

2015

Adult rate

€763.06

€783.66

€789.15

€790.73

Source: Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities

For more information regarding the level and development of minimum wages, please see Eurofound’s annual update on developments in collectively agreed pay or visit Eurostat.

Collectively agreed pay outcomes

For more detailed information on the most recent outcomes in terms of collectively agreed pay, please consult Eurofound’s collective wage bargaining portal or Eurofound’s most recent annual update on developments in collectively agreed pay.

Working time

This section briefly summarises regulations and issues regarding working time, overtime, part-time work as well as working time flexibility in Slovenia.

Working time regulation

The statutory weekly working time is 40 hours. It can be less than 40 hours but not less than 36 hours, unless the job entails great risk of injury or ill-health. Full working time may not be spread over fewer than four days a week. Full working time is regulated by the Employment Relationships Act (ERA).

For more detailed information on working time (including annual leave, statutory and collectively agreed working time), please consult Eurofound’s most recent annual update on working time.

Overview of average weekly working time, 1 January 2015

 

2012

2013

2014

2015

Source

Statutory weekly working time

40

40

40

40

ERA

Collectively agreed weekly working time

 

 

 

 

 

Actual weekly working hours

40

40

40

 

Eurofound

Statutory maximum daily working time

10

10

10

10

ERA

Source: ERA and Eurofound (2015)

Overtime regulation

The Employment Relationships Act defines overtime work as work exceeding full working time. The worker is obliged to perform it at the employer’s request in some exceptional circumstances. Overtime work may not exceed 8 hours a week, 20 hours a month or 170 hours a year. A working day may not exceed 10 hours. With the worker’s consent, overtime work may exceed the annual time limitation (170 hours) but may not exceed 230 hours a year. In each case of required overtime work exceeding 170 hours a year, the employer must obtain written consent from the worker. Should the worker refuse to provide the written consent, he or she must not be exposed to unfavourable consequences in respect of the employment relationship.

Part-time work

The Employment Relationships Act defines part-time work as working time that is shorter than the full working time in force with the employer. A worker who has concluded a part-time employment contract has the same contractual and other rights and obligations arising from the employment relationship as a worker who works full time, and exercises these rights and obligations proportionally to the time for which the employment relationship was concluded, with the exception of such rights and obligations as are otherwise stipulated by lay. According to the LFS, part-time work constituted 9.8% of total employment in 2012 and 10.1% in 2013.

Working time flexibility

Working time flexibility is not regulated by law. It is regulated by collective agreements or general acts at the company level.

In more than one-third of establishments in Slovenia, a majority of employees have the possibility to adapt the start and end of their working day according to their personal needs. This option is two times greater in small establishments (compared to medium-sized and large establishments). This option exists for a certain number of employees in 43% of large establishments. In almost half (46%) of medium-sized establishments, none or fewer than 20% have this option.

Proportion of establishments reporting that some employees have the possibility to adapt the start and end of their working day according to their personal needs

Establishment size

None or fewer than 20% in the establishment

Between 20–80% in the establishment

More than 80% in the establishment

10–49

38%    

21%

41%

50–249

46%

33%

21%

250+

36%

43%

21%

Total

40%

23%

37%

Source: European Company Survey 2013

Health and well-being

Health and safety at work

The number of all accidents at work with four days’ absence or more dropped significantly, from 17,314 in 2008 to 11,505 in 2012.

Accidents at work, with four days’ absence or more – working days lost

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

All accidents

17,314

14,361

13,637

12,449

11,505

Percent change on previous year

 

-17.1

-5.0

-8.7

-7.6

Per 1,000 employees

20.3

17.5

17.1

16.0

14.9

Source: Eurostat, [hsw_mi01] and [lfsa_eegaed]

Total work accidents, 2008–2012

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

All accidents

17,048

12,219

12,012

12,154

10,091

Fatal accidents

27

25

22

20

21

Source: Labour Inspectorate – Annual Reports

Psychosocial risks

The Health and Safety at Work Act regulates the entire area of health and safety at work. Psychosocial risks at work are addressed in Articles 24 and 29 of this Act. The employer must adopt measures to prevent, eliminate and manage cases of violence, mobbing, harassment and other forms of psychosocial risks at the workplace that can pose a threat to workers’ health. It is the safety officer’s task to coordinate measures to prevent psychosocial risks.

Selected working condition indicators affecting psychosocial risks

 

2000

2005

2010

Work intensity: Working to tight deadlines at least a quarter of the time

50.3%

67.3%

69.1%

Long working hours: Working more than 10 hours once or more per month

44.4%

50.8%

44.2%

Discrimination: Having been subjected to discrimination at work over the past 12 months

-

6.1%

6.8%

Source: Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey

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

Skills, learning and employability

National system for ensuring skills and employability

The National Vocational Information and Counselling Centre at the Employment Service of Slovenia offers the following services: description of vocations, information on (upper) secondary and higher education institutions, information on possibilities for vocational training and study abroad, information on available financial aid for education and training, postings of educational programmes, information on student residences, postings of jobs, directions and tools for more effective job searching, video clips of vocations and computer programmes for independent planning of educational or vocational path.

Social partners have an important role in the development, confirmation and acknowledgement of occupational competences and qualifications at all educational levels. Article 7 of the National Professional Qualifications Act (Zakon o nacionalnih poklicnih kvalifikacijah, Uradni list RS, št. 1/2007, 85/2009) stipulates that in the field of the acquisition of professional qualifications, chambers, employers’ organisations, professional associations, non-governmental organisations, trade unions and competent ministries primarily perform the following tasks as partners:

  • introducing initiatives for new professional standards and catalogues;
  • introducing initiatives for the adoption of study programmes at higher education institutes that allow for the acquisition of professional qualifications in accordance with the fourth indent of Article 3 of this Act;
  • proposing members of sector committees for professional standards;
  • performing other tasks determined by Acts and other regulations.

Training

The Secondary, Higher Vocational and Adult Education Directorate at the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport performs administrative and expert tasks in secondary education, higher vocational education and adult education. The directorate draws up draft regulations; implements regulations; informs the public about professional and legislative issues; carries out tasks relating to financing, international networking and cooperation and plans; develops strategic bases to regulate education policies; and prepares a national programme for adult education. Higher vocational education complements or completes the range of services in tertiary education.

Proportion of employees receiving paid time off for training by existence of workplace employee representation and establishment size

Establishment size

Employee representation at establishment or company exists

None or fewer than 20% in the establishment

Between 20–80% in the establishment

More than 80% in the establishment

10–49

Yes

42

28

30

 

No

50

25

25

50–249

Yes

34

41

25

 

No

35

41

24

250+

Yes

23

48

30

 

No

50

33

17

Source: European Company Survey 2013

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 effect 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.

For Slovenia, the European Company Survey 2013 shows that between 2010 and 2013, 49.7% of establishments with 10 or more employees reported changes in the use of technology, 34.6% introduced changes in ways to coordinate and allocate the work to workers and another 17.5% saw changes in their working time arrangements.

Results from the 2014 Cranet Survey (an international survey on HR practices coordinated by Cranfield University in the UK) in Slovenia (based on a sample of 218 organisations with more than 100 employees) give information on the frequency of different working arrangements (including job sharing, home-based work and teleworking). The data show that 21.7% of organisations use job sharing, 12.6% use home-based work and 27.9% use teleworking.

Equality and non-discrimination at work

The legal basis for ensuring equality and non-discrimination at work is the Employment Relationships Act, which prohibits, in Article 6, all forms of direct or indirect discrimination and retaliatory measures.

The Advocate of the Principle of Equality provides assistance to discriminated people in legal and other proceedings by giving advice on legal remedies and how to use them at other national authorities. A proceeding before the advocate is free and confidential.

Inspection services  supervise the implementation of legislation in certain social areas, with particular emphasis on protection against discrimination:

  • for cases of violations concerning employment and labour relations – Labour Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia;
  • for cases concerning education and training – Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia for Education and Sport;
  • for cases concerning access to and the provision of goods and services – Market Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia.

Inspectors must deal with complaints, messages and other documents within their area of responsibility.

Equal pay and gender pay gap

The Employment Relationships Act stipulates in Article 133 that the employer must provide equal pay for equal work and for work of equal value to workers regardless of their sex. Provisions of an employment contract, a collective agreement or an employer’s general act that are contrary to this stipulation shall be regarded as invalid.

The unadjusted gender pay gap stood at 2.5% in 2012. It is one of the lowest in Europe, which puts Slovenia in 27th place in the EU28 ranking. However, the indicator has been continuously rising since 2010, when it stood at 0.9%, and in 2011 it was 2.3%. However, this value does not fully acknowledge labour market segregation. The indicator for gender segregation in occupations points to 25.2% in 2013 (0.6 pp below the 2012 value), which is still higher than the EU28 average of 24.4%. Gender segregation in economic sectors was at 19.2% in 2013, which had decreased since 2012, when it was 19.9%. It is now higher than the EU28 average of 18.9%.

The Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SORS) shows that average monthly gross earnings of women in 2011 were 95.4% of that of men (SORS, 2012). SORS points out that these are average values and that the reason for these differences is due to different educational, occupational and age structures. However, the recently published analysis of matched employer–employee data examining gender differences in pay over a 15-year period (1993–2007) in Slovenia found that there was a substantial increase in gender inequality over this period, and that in the period 2003–2007, men on average earned roughly 23% more than women and 18% more than women doing the same work for the same employer. The analysis shows that women doing the same work for the same employer earn significantly less, even in the public sector (Penner et al, 2012).

Quota regulations

There are no legal obligations for specific gender quotas in the economy. While gender quotas for electoral lists within political parties (at least 40% of each sex) were introduced in 2005, discussion on quotas in the economy started at the beginning of 2010. Debate about gender equality in positions of power in the economic sphere was marginalised for decades, but following the initiatives of the European Commission, it has recently gained more public attention.

However, there are quotas for companies to employ workers with disabilities. In 2014, the government issued the Regulation on quotas for the employment of people with disabilities,  which stipulates that any employer that employs more than 20 employees is obliged to meet the quota requirements, which range from 2% to 6%, depending on activity. If the employer does not meet the requirements, they must pay a contribution aimed at enhancing the employment of people with disabilities.

Bibliography

Glassner, V. (2013), ‘Central and Eastern European industrial relations in the crisis: National divergence and path-dependent change’, Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 155–169.

Eurofound (2002), Strike legislation and trends examined, Dublin.

Eurofound (2013), Slovenia: Impact of the crisis on industrial relations, Dublin.

Eurofound (2014a), Slovenia: Representativeness of the European social partner organisations in the cross-industry social dialogue, Dublin.

Eurofound (2014b), Developments in collectively agreed working time 2013, Dublin.

Eurofound (2015), Developments in collectively agreed working time 2014, Dublin.

Penner, A. et al. (2012), ‘Neenakosti po spolu v Sloveniji od 1993 do 2007: Razlike v plačah v perspektivi ekonomske sociologije’ (Gender inequality in Slovenia, 1993–2007: An economic sociology perspective on pay differences); Theory and Practice, Vol. 49, No. 6, pp. 854–877.

Poje, A. (2009), Minimum wage and its influence on employment in Slovenia, Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana.

Stanojević, M. and Kanjuo Mrčela, A. (2014), Social dialogue during the economic crisis: The impact of industrial relations reforms on collective bargaining in the manufacturing sector: Slovenia (national report), University of Ljubljana.

Visser, J. (2014), ‘ICTWSS: Database on institutional characteristics of trade unions, wage setting, state intervention and social pacts in 34 countries between 1960 and 2014’, Institute for Advanced Labour Studies, AIAS, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam.

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