Living and working in Albania

05 lipnja 2018

  •   Population: 2.8 million (2018)
  •   Real GDP growth: 4.1% (2018)

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 Albania: 76% of respondents are able to choose or change their methods of work

    Living in Albania

    Quality of life

    Quality of life

    Findings from Eurofound’s European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) show that many of the quality of life indicators are below the EU28 averages in Albania. For instance, average life satisfaction in Albania is lowest of all the countries surveyed in the EQLS, at 4.9 in 2016 versus the EU28 average of 7.1 (on a scale of 1–10). Moreover, 76% of respondents in Albania had difficulties in making ends meet in 2016, a much larger share than the respective EU28 average of 39%.

    However, 67% of respondents in Albania were optimistic about their own future in 2016, which was higher than the EU28 average of 64%. Furthermore, 75% of respondents were optimistic about their children’s or grandchildren’s future in 2016, again higher than the corresponding EU28 average of 57%.

      2003200720112016
    Life satisfactionMean (1-10)---4.9
    Taking all things together on a scale of 1 to 10, how happy would you say you are?Mean (1-10)---5.2
    Optimism about own futureAgree & strongly agree---67%
    Optimism about children’s or grandchildren’s futureAgree & strongly agree---75%
    Take part in sports or physical exerciseAt least once a week---12%
    In general, how is your health?Very good---33%
    WHO-5 mental wellbeing indexMean (1-100)---63
    Making ends meetWith some difficulty, difficulty, and great difficulty---76%
    I feel I am free to decide how to live my lifeStrongly agree---32%
    I find it difficult to deal with important problems that come up in my lifeAgree & strongly agree---57%
    When things go wrong in my life, it generally takes me a long time to get back to normalAgree & strongly agree---61%

    Work-life balance

    Work-life balance

    Work–life balance related problems are more frequent in Albania than on average in the EU. In 2016, 72% of respondents in Albania were too tired from work to do household jobs at least several times a month, compared with a much lower EU28 average of 59%. Moreover, in 2016, 56% of respondents in Albania experienced difficulties to fulfil family responsibilities because of work at least several times a month, again higher than the respective EU average of 38%. The least common work–life balance problem was having difficulties to concentrate at work because of family responsibilities, reported by 37% of respondents in Albania in 2016, but still much higher than the EU28 average of 19%. Looking at the gender-specific breakdowns, the data show that women in Albania report work–life balance problems more often than men.

      2003200720112016
    (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%
    Men---64%
    Women---86%
          
    It has been difficult for me to fulfil my family responsibilities because of the amount of time I spend on the jobTotal---56%
    Men---49%
    Women---67%
          
    I have found it difficult to concentrate at work because of my family responsibilitiesTotal---37%
    Men---35%
    Women---41%

    Quality of society

    Quality of society

    Trust in other people is low in Albania, at only 2.4 in 2016 compared with the EU28 average of 5.2 (on a scale of 1–10). Additionally, the Social Exclusion Index score is relatively high in Albania, at 2.7 in 2016 versus the lower EU28 average of 2.1 (on a scale of 1–5 where a higher value means a higher incidence of social exclusion). Perceived tensions between poor and rich people are also higher in Albania than on average in the EU28. In Albania, 46% of respondents reported a lot of tension between poor and rich in 2016, compared with 29% for the EU28.

    However, the share of respondents reporting a lot of tension between different racial and ethnic groups is lower in Albania than on average in the EU. In Albania, 24% of respondents reported a lot of this type of tension in 2016, whereas the EU28 average was 41%. In addition, Albania outperforms the EU28 average also in regard to feeling safe when walking alone after dark: 48% in Albania versus 35% in the EU28.

      2003200720112016
    Social exclusion indexMean (1-5)---2.7
    Trust in peopleMean (1-10)---2.4
    Involvement in unpaid voluntary work% "at least once a month"---4%
    Tension between poor and rich people% reporting 'a lot of tension'---46%
    Tension between different racial and ethnic groups% reporting 'a lot of tension'---24%
    I feel safe when I walk alone after darkStrongly agree---48%

    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 Albania received the highest perceived quality rating among the public services, at 6.2 in 2016, being also relatively close to the EU28 average of 6.7 (on a scale of 1–10). Social housing in Albania received the lowest quality rating of 4.5 in 2016. The perceived quality of the state pension system is also relatively low in comparison to other public services in Albania, at only 4.9 in 2016. However, this rating is very close to the EU28 average of 5.0 in 2016.

      2003200720112016
    Health servicesMean (1-10)---5.3
    Education systemMean (1-10)---5.8
    Public transportMean (1-10)---5.7
    Childcare servicesMean (1-10)---6.2
    Long-term care servicesMean (1-10)---5.6
    Social housingMean (1-10)---4.5
    State pension systemMean (1-10)---4.9

    Working life in Albania

    About

    • Autor: Sonila Danaj
    • Institution: European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research
    • Published on: četvrtak, lipnja 27, 2019

    This profile describes the key characteristics of working life in Albania. 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 Albania

     

    2012

    2017

    % (point) change 
    2012–2017

    GDP per capita

    3,200*

    3,500***

    3.5***

    Unemployment rate – total

    13.4**

    13.7**

    0.3

    Unemployment rate – women

    11.7**

    12.6**

    0.9

    Unemployment rate – men

    14.6**

    14.6**

    0

    Unemployment rate – youth

    29.8**

    31.9**

    2.1

    Employment rate – total

    49.6**

    50.3**

    0.7

    Employment rate – women

    43.5**

    43.5**

    0

    Employment rate – men

    55.9**

    57.1**

    1.2

    Employment rate – youth

    25.8**

    21.6**

    -4.2

    Source: * Eurostat - Real GDP per capita (chain linked volumes [2010], in EUR).

    **Albanian Institute of Statistics (Instat.gov.al).

    *** Provisional 2016 data ‘Eurostat - Real GDP per capita (chain linked volumes [2010], in EUR) and percentage change 2011–2016 (both based on tsdec100). 

    Background

    Background

    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) andTurkey (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. The report for Kosovo can be accessed here .

    For 2016, the provisional data from Albanian indicated a slight increase in the GDP to 3,500 (€4,077 on 3 May 2019) from GDP 3,200 (€3,728) in 2012. The unemployment rate increased by 0.3% between 2012 and 2017. The unemployment rate for men remains unchanged at 14.6%, but the unemployment rate for women increased from 11.7% to 12.6%. Youth unemployment increased the most from 29.8% to 31.9%.

    In the last five years, the overall employment rate has increased slightly (0.7%). However, women’s employment remains unchanged, while men’s employment has increased by 1.2% and youth employment has decreased by -4.2%.

    Legal context

    Albanian legislation is constantly changing. The changes are being driven by the country’s objective to join the EU, which means that national legislation needs to be approximated to the EU acquis. Furthermore, Albania has ratified a number of International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions, such as on minimum wage, wage protection, health and safety, part-time work, child labour, night work and labour inspection.

    The Albanian Labour Code was updated in 2015 and came into force in 2016. The main changes to the Labour Code include:

    • a new article on the temporary employment of foreign workers in Albania (posted workers) (3/1)
    • five new articles on employment via Agencies (18/1-18/5)
    • a new article on information and consultation (33/1)
    • a new article on shift work (79/1)
    • a number of new articles on the chapter on worker organisations (Chapter XVI)
    • a new article on the establishment of regional tripartite councils.

    Other articles have been subject to changes including:

    • on part-time work (14)
    • working from home and teleworking (15)
    • data protection (33)
    • night work (80)
    • overtime (90, 91)
    • pregnant women (104)
    • protection of women at work (105/1)
    • minimum wage (111)
    • equality of pay (115)
    • dissolution of contracts (140-156)
    • trade union organisations (Chapter XVI).

    There is also a number of policy documents on the world of work. The policy document covering all areas is the National Strategy for Development and Integration (2014–2020) and the National Plan on European Integration for the period 2014–2020. Documents that are more specific include Decent Work Country Programme for the period 2017–2021, the Policy Document for Health and Safety at Work, 2016­–2020, and the National Strategy on Employment and skills 2014–2020.

    Industrial relations context

    In Albania industrial relations are characterised by low trade union density, decentralised wage bargaining (with the exception of the public sector), minimal coverage of collective agreements and modest social dialogue. Collective agreements remain predominately at company level. The tripartite social model - in place since 1997 following the establishment of the National Labour Council - was only consolidated into a functioning mechanism of social dialogue in 2014. The main challenges to an effective social dialogue in Albania are a labour market with considerable levels of informality; a lack of genuine interest and commitment from the state; and organisational problems among worker and employer representative bodies.

    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 Albania.

    Public authorities involved in regulating working life

    The Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, which represented the state and the National Tripartite Council as the coordinating body of social dialogue, was dissolved in 2017. Following this, the Ministry of Economy and Finance is currently responsible for policies on employment such as active labour market policies and vocational training.

    As the autonomous public employment agency in Albania, the National Employment Service (NES) is responsible for implementing active labour market policies and vocational training. Regional and local employment offices are subsidiary offices under NES.

    The State Labour Inspectorate (SLI) is responsible for enforcing all legislation related to employment, including labour standards, health and safety and social rights.

    The District Court decides on contractual disputes between employees and employers, with the exception of civil servants whose cases are tried by the Administrative Court.

    The National Reconciliation Office and the Regional Reconciliation Offices are comprised of two representatives - the employee organisations and two representatives from employers’ organisations - that aim to settle collective disputes between employers and employees, or between the representative organisations.

    Trade unions

    About trade union representation

    There are 83 trade unions in Albania, most of which are part of one of the two main confederations: the Confederation of Trade Unions of Albania (Konfederata e Sindikatave Shqiptare) and the Union of the Albanian Independent Trade Unions (Bashkimi i Sindikatave të Pavarura të Shqipërisë). Together represent 90% of all union workers in Albania. According to ILO statistics, union density in 2013 was 13.3% and collective bargaining coverage was at 58%. By 2017, the number of employees with trade union memberships was approximately 220,000 and union density increased to 21%, although collective bargaining coverage decreased to 25.1%. There are no systematic reports on membership and the figures are reported, as declared by the unions.

    The relationship between the two confederations is characterised by competition, despite the Memorandum of Collaboration signed between them. At the lower levels the situation is slightly better, specifically where there have been different instances of collaboration, such as the Alliance of the Education Trade Unions (FSHASH and SPASH). Albanian unions are hierarchical and their leadership displays authoritarian tendencies and limited turnover in terms of leadership roles. Conflicts among the leaders have mostly been resolved through fragmentation, with some leaders leaving the confederation to form independent unions. Most of the 10% of the independent unions are fractions that have left the existing confederations in the last five years. The independent unions, mostly in the sectors of education, health and construction, have further undermined the labour movement by maintaining a conflictual attitude towards their previous confederation.

    Main trade union confederations and federations

    Long name

    Abbreviation

    Members

    Year

    Involved in collective bargaining?

    Confederation of Trade Unions of Albania (Konfederata e Sindikatave Shqiptare)

    KSSH

    120,000

    2017

    Yes

    Union of the Albanian Independent Trade Unions (Bashkimi i Sindikatave të Pavarura të Shqipërisë)

    BSPSH

    110,000

    2017

    Yes

    Trade Union Federation of Industry Employees of Albania

    (Federata e Sindikatave të Punonjësve të Industrisë së Shqipërisë)

    FSPISH

    12,500

    2017

    Yes

    Independent Trade Union of Education of Albania

    (Sindikata e Pavarur e Arsimit të Shqipërisë)

    SPASH

    9,800

    2017

    Yes

    Trade Union Federation of Education and Science

    (Federata e Sindikatave të Punonjësve të Arsimit, Edukimit dhe

    Shkencës)

    FSASH

    9,500

    2017

    Yes

    Employers’ organisations

    About employers’ representation

    The employers’ organisations in Albania are voluntary and are formed by a minimum of five founding members. To be recognised, the organisations have to be registered by the District Court of Tirana. The highest decision-making body of the organisation decides the membership fee (Labour Code, Article 176–180). In total, 90% of Albanian enterprises employ between 1 to 4 people, 5% employ between 5 to 9 people, 4% employ 10 to 49 people and 1% employ over 50 people. The cooperation and organisation of employers in Albania has been difficult, and although there are a number of employer associations in the country, their level of organisation is still weak. In 2013–2014, there were approximately 30 employers’ organisations, 25 of which have recently joined Business Albania. Since March 2018, ten employers’ associations have one representative each in the National Labour Council (NLC). The main employers’ organisations have not been very active during 2017. However, they have expressed opposition towards changes to tax legislation and the attitude of labour inspectors against businesses, which is considered restrictive to business growth.

    Main employers’ organisations and confederations

    Long name

    Abbreviation

    Members

    Year

    Involved in collective bargaining?

    Union of Albanian Businesses -Business Albania (Bashkimi i Bizneseve Shqiptare - Biznes Albania)

    Biznes Albania

    30,000

    2018

    Yes

    The Council of Employers’ Organizations

    (Këshilli i Organizatave të Punëdhënësve të shqipërisë)

    KOPSH

    6,477

    2018

    Yes

    The Confederation of the Employers’ Organizations Council (Konfederata e Këshillit të Organizatave të Punëdhënësve)

    KKOP

    N/A

    N/A

    N/A

    The Agro-Business Council of Albania

    (Këshilli i Agrobiznesit të Shqipërisë)

    KASH

    N/A

    N/A

    Yes

    The Union of Business Organizations of Albania (Bashkimi i Organizatave të Biznesit të Shqipërisë)

    BOBSH

    N/A

    N/A

    N/A

    Tripartite and bipartite bodies and concertation

    The National Labour Council (NLC) is the highest tripartite body in Albania. Established in 1997, it was only consolidated into a functioning mechanism of social dialogue in 2014. The NLC is comprised of 27 members - 10 representing the employees’ organisations, 10 representing the employers’ organisations, and 7 representing the NLC of Ministers. Every three years, the Council of Ministers decides which organisations will have a representative in the NLC. The NLC has a consultative role on issues related to employment such as the implementation of the labour code, changes to legislation, policies and measures on employment, vocational training, the protection of workers, health and safety, social and economic development programmes, and the implementation of the ILO norms. The NLC can establish specialised tripartite commissions in which the social partners are represented. Currently, the NLC has established the following working commissions: Wages and Pensions, Economy and Finance, Employment and Vocational Training, Working Conditions, Health and Safety at Work, Legal Affairs, and Equal Opportunities.

    An amendment to the Labour Code passed in 2015 included the establishment of labour councils at regional level, which defined the new regional labour councils as consultative bodies rather than decision-making ones (Article 200/1). The regional councils have 15 members: 5 representing the government, 5 representing the employee organisations and 5 representing the employers’ organisations.

    Main tripartite and bipartite bodies

    Name

    Type

    Level

    Issues covered

    National Labour Council (Këshilli Kombëtar i Punës)

    Tripartite

    National

    · Implementation of the labour code

    · Changes to legislation

    • Policies and measures on employment
    • Wages and pensions
    • Vocational training
    • The protection of workers
    • Working conditions
    • Health and safety
    • Social and economic development programmes
    • Equal opportunities

    · Implementation of ILO standards and norms.

    Regional Consultative Labour Council (Këshilli Konsultativ Trepalësh Rajonal)

    Tripartite

    Regional

    Issues of common interest for employee and employer organisations at local level.

    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 Albania.

    Bargaining system

    In Albania, the collective bargaining system is highly decentralised, with most collective bargaining agreements signed at enterprise level. At company or industry-level, a representative from a worker organisation can request a collective agreement. Once the parties agree in writing, the agreement is legally binding for the employers and applies to all employees at company or industry-level. If the collective agreement covers half of the industry, the minister of the respective industry can decide to make the agreement an industry-level agreement. This would make it binding for all employers in that particular industry. The agreements cover minimum wage, remuneration in case of dismissal, overtime work, term of the contract and the free activity of trade unions. However, by law, the collective agreements must meet the minimum lower standards established by law or decisions made by the Council of Ministers.

    The main confederations have signed and enforced 692 collective agreements in the private non-agricultural sector, covering 31.2% of the workforce in this sector. At enterprise level, 139,600 employees are covered by 680 collective agreements, while 12 industry-level agreements cover 49,200 employees. In the public sector, 14 agreements cover 128,230 employees (76.7%), and 40 agreements in the private agricultural sector at enterprise level cover 17,450 employees (3.8% of the sectors’ workforce).

    In 2017, the overall coverage of collective bargaining in Albania was 25.1%. Public sector industries, such as pre-university education have a single employer - often one of the ministries or a national agency - making collective agreements easier to achieve. In a few cases, collective agreements are a result of cooperation between different trade union federations with members in the same profession. For example, the education sector has an industry-level agreement, and the energy and construction sectors have a number of signed collective agreements at enterprise level.

    Bargaining levels

    There are only two bargaining levels in Albania: industry (sectoral level) and company level. Currently, the majority of collective agreements are signed at company level. However, bargaining for wages and working time can take place at both levels. Most collective bargaining agreements in the public sector - in particular relating to wages - repeat what is stated in law or by the decisions made by the Council of Ministers. These decisions can be taken in consultation with the trade unions.

    Levels of collective bargaining, 2017

     

    National level (Intersectoral)

    Sectoral level

    Company level

     

    Wages

    Working time

    Wages

    Working time

    Wages

    Working time

    Principal or dominant level

           

    X

     

    Important but not dominant level

             

    X

    Existing level

       

    X

    X

       

    Articulation

    Industry-level agreements apply to all employees working in these sectors, and company level agreements apply to employees of the company. Both types of agreements by law can cover the same areas of bargaining. Legislation allows industry and company level agreements to be negotiated independently and, in cases where they exist at both levels, workers can choose the level most beneficial to them.

    Timing of the bargaining rounds

    Trade unions have one week to request, and receive, information on initiating a collective bargaining process. This is followed by two weeks of public display at the working place or in all the companies in the respective sector. All parties then have thirty days to come to an agreement. The employer is responsible for depositing the agreement within 15 days, from its signing, to the Regional Employment Office for company level agreements, or to the relevant ministry for an industry-level agreement or a company active in multiple regions.

    Coordination

    There are no specific coordination mechanisms.

    Extension mechanisms

    If half of the companies in a sector apply or sign the same agreement, the respective minister can make it an industry-level agreement that is applicable to all employees working in that industry.

    Derogation mechanisms

    One derogation mechanism prescribed in Albanian legislation is that a company, operating under a company and a sectoral agreement, can opt for the most beneficial agreement for the workers. When an industry-level agreement is signed, employers can declare the termination of a company level agreement, unless otherwise agreed in the industry-level agreement. Employers who have signed both an industry- and a company level agreement are relieved of the obligations in the company agreement after the industry agreement ends, unless otherwise agreed in the industry-level agreement.

    Expiry of collective agreements

    Collective agreements can be signed on a definite or indefinite time-period. In instances when an employer wants to opt out, they can do so after the current collective agreement expires, but not after a period of three years (in cases of indefinite agreements). Collective agreements can be dissolved three years after being signed with a notification period of six months in advance.

    Peace clauses

    Parties are required to use a mediator, the reconciliation office and, if the parties agree, arbitration before exercising the right to strike. Irresolvable disputes are tried in the Albanian Courts, starting in the District Court.

    Other aspects of working life addressed in collective agreements

    N/A

    Industrial action and disputes

    Industrial action and disputes

    Legal aspects

    The Albanian constitution guarantees the right to strike ( E Drejta e Grevës). The Labour Code (Articles 197–197/10) outlines the right to strike for social and economic demands, and voluntarily participating in a strike. It is only trade unions that can organise and declare a strike. Although employers cannot forcefully interrupt strikes, replace striking workers with others or hire new workers after the declaration of the strike, trade unions should not prevent the right to work for workers that are not participating in the strike. Trade unions cannot organise and declare a strike without having used mediation or the Reconciliation Office first.

    The legal industrial action types in Albania are:

    • Legal Strike (Greva e ligjshme) – social and economic demands addressed to the employer.
    • General Strike (Greva e Përgjithshme) – against economic and social policies, and measures of the national or local government that affect the interests of the employees.
    • Solidarity Strike (Greva e solidaritetit) – in support of a legal strike, which stops when the original strike stops.
    • Unlawful strikes (greva e paligjshme) are met with severe sanctions. For example, interrupting the workers contract after three days of strike to demand compensation from the workers, and/or trade unions, organising the strike.

    Industrial action developments 2013–2016

    There have been a number of strikes in Albania between 2013 and 2016. Noteworthy strikes have addressed issues on unpaid wages in the oil industry, and highly hazardous working conditions and fatalities in the mining industry. After the electoral elections in 2013, there were a number of protests and demonstrations – allegedly with a political motivation – against the termination of employment in the public sector. However, official data is missing on the number of strikes and the number of days lost because of strike action.

    Dispute resolution mechanisms

    Collective dispute resolution mechanisms

    The Labour Code (Chapter XVII) outlines the dispute resolution mechanisms in Albania. For all collective disputes, this involves the use of mediators and the Reconciliation Office. The process for resolving disputes firstly requires parties (employers and employee representatives) to make use of a mediator, who should resolve the dispute within 10 days. If the dispute remains unresolved, parties can address the Reconciliation Office at regional or national level. The National Reconciliation Office is only addressed when the dispute involves more than one region, or if the respective minister decides to involve them.

    The Reconciliation Office requests that all parties involved in the dispute provide documentation, in support of their claims (optional), before proposing a reconciliation plan. The reconciliation process should be concluded within 10 days. The next step of the process is arbitration ( Gjykata e Arbitrazhit), which requires all parties to agree. Parties can choose between one to three arbiters, and if they fail to do so, the Court makes the final choice. Arbitration should be completed within three weeks. Unresolved disputes are tried in the Albanian Court.

    Individual dispute resolution mechanisms

    The Albanian Court is the authority responsible for resolving individual disputes, with the exception of civil servants whose cases are tried in the Administrative Court. The main confederations offer legal counselling and support to employees with individual disputes.

    Use of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms

    Until the dissolution of the Ministry of Welfare and Youth in the autumn of 2017, the alternative dispute resolution mechanisms had been effective. Unfortunately, the process of restructuring has had a deterring influence on these good practices.

    No statistics available.

    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, as well as entitlements and obligations in Albania.

    Start and termination of the employment relationship

    Requirements regarding an employment contract

    In Albania, individual employment relations is regulated by the Constitution, the Labour Code, international conventions ratified by the country, the collective agreement, individual contracts and local and professional customs. The minimum working age in Albania is 16 years. However, limited work during school holidays for youth between the age of 15 and 16 years is an exception to this. Therefore, all adults and persons with disabilities who are authorised, in writing, to work can enter into an employment relation. This would be a written contract, which is valid within the first seven days of the employment commencing. The contract should detail the identity of the contractual parties; the place of work; a general job description; the date of employment commencement; the duration of the employment, trial period and paid holidays; the notification period for contract termination; the details of the salary; and the weekly working hours. Reference to any collective agreements in force and – where there is no collective agreement – disciplinary measures procedures would also be detailed in the employment contract.

    Dismissal and termination procedures

    Indefinite contracts end when one of the parties decides to terminate them and after the end of the notification period. After a three-month trial period – during which a contract can be terminated five days after notification – two weeks’ notice for a contract termination must be given if a person has worked up to six months. If a person has been employed between six months to two years then one month advance notice is required; two months where employment has lasted between two and five years; and three months for more than five years of employment.

    In cases of dismissal, the employer has to inform the employee in writing at least 72 hours in advance about a meeting to discuss the decision. During the meeting, the reasons for dismissal are presented and the employee is invited to respond. The employer then has between 48 hours to one week to inform the employee of the decision to dismiss them. Once informed of the decision, the employer has to give a minimum of 20 hours of paid leave per week to the employee. In cases where there is a breach in regulation, the employer has to pay the employee two months’ salary.

    Entitlements and obligations

    Parental, maternity and paternity leave

    Maternal and parental leave is granted when a person has worked for 12 consecutive months. Paid maternity leave can be for a full year, and includes 35 days of leave prior to the birth and 63 days after the birth. If a woman decides to work after the first 63 days, the employer has to guarantee two hours of paid leave per day for a year (to feed the baby) or shorten the working day by two hours without a change in salary. In Albania, there is no legislation on paid paternal leave. Although, a non-transferable and unpaid parental leave can be taken within the first six years of a child’s life. Article 106 of the Labour Code on adoption leave stipulates that one of the parents can take paid leave (either the father or the mother), but not by both parents. In cases of leave in order to adopt, the Social Insurance legislation refers only to paid benefits for mothers.

    Statutory leave arrangements

    Statutory leave arrangements

    Maternity leave

    Maximum duration

    365 calendar days/390 calendar days for delivering more than one child

    Reimbursement

    80% of the average daily wage net rate for the past 12 months within 35 days prior to birth and within the first 150 calendar days; 50% for the rest of the 365 days.

    Who pays?

    The Regional Directorate of Social Insurance.

    Legal basis

    Articles. 26; 27; 28; 29, of the Law No. 7703, date 11.05.1993 “On Social Insurance in the Republic of Albania”, updated.

    Parental leave

    Maximum duration

    4 months for the first 6 years of a child’s life or adoption (up to 12 years).

    Reimbursement

    Without pay.

    Who pays?

    -

    Legal basis

    Article 132/1 of the Labour Code.

    Paternity leave

    Maximum duration

    -

    Reimbursement

    -

    Who pays?

    -

    Legal basis

    -

    Sick leave

    The Labour Code and the Social Insurance Law form the basis for the legislation on sick leave. The employer has to pay at least 80% of the salary for up to 14 days, uncovered by social insurance. If sick leave is longer than 14 days, the other days are paid by social insurance up to 6 months. Workers on sick leave are entitled to 70% of their average daily net salary from the last six months (where the workers has been insured for up to 10 years), and 80% if the person has been insured for more than 10 years.

    Retirement age

    In Albania, there are three categories for retirees. From 2018, men can retire at the age of 62 years and 6 months (Cat 1) and 65 (Cat 2 and 3) after having worked for 36 years and 4 months. Women can retire at the age of 57 years, after having worked 35 years (Cat 1), and 60 years and 8 months after 36 years and 4 months (Cat 2 and 3). The retirement age, and the number of years worked, will increase each year (up to 67 years and 40 years) until 2056 for men and women in all categories.

    Pay

    Pay

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

    Minimum wages

    The Council of Ministers sets the minimum wage in Albania, taking into account economic factors, economic development, production growth and the decrease of unemployment, as well as other social factors that influence the standards of living. Minimum wage is also discussed by the NLC, which means that social partners are consulted before the Government makes a decision. The latest decision of the Council of Ministers was made in 2017, following a long discussion with the social partners, nullifying the previous decision issued in 2013.

    Minimum wages

     

    2013

    2014

    2015

    2016

    2017

    Adult rate

    158 (22 000 ALL)

    158

    158

    158

    175 (24 000 ALL)

    Youth rate

    158 (22 000 ALL)

    158

    158

    158

    175 (24 000 ALL)

    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 and part-time work as well as working time flexibility in Albania.

    Working time regulation

    The Labour Code stipulates that the normal daily working time is no more than eight hours for adults, and no more than six hours for workers under 18 years. Weekly working time is regulated by collective or individual contracts, however by law it cannot be more than 40 hours.

    Overtime regulation

    While the details for overtime are regulated by collective agreements or individual contracts, the Labour Code stipulates that the maximum number of overtime hours per year cannot be more than 200. The Code also outlines that a worker cannot do overtime if they have already worked 48 hours that week; with the exception that a person can work more (for up to four months), if the average number of hours in that period remains 48 hours. Pregnant women, women with infant children (up to one years) and people with disabilities cannot work overtime (Article 90).

    Overtime is compensated with time off, a minimum of 25% more than the regular rate or as agreed in the collective agreement. Any overtime worked during holidays and rest days should be compensated either with additional time off, paid at least 50% of the usual wage rate or as agreed in the collective agreement (Article 91).

    Part-time work

    Part-time work is defined as hour-based work for half of the working day, or a working day for a weekly or monthly period that is shorter than that of full-time workers with the same conditions. In the last five years, approximately a fourth of workers in Albania are part-time.

    Persons employed part time

    The percentage of people employed part time was 24.3% in 2013, 27.5% in 2014, 26.6% in 2015, 24.3% in 2016 and 20.7% in 2017.

    Involuntary part-time

    For youth working on an involuntary part-time basis, the percentage for employment in 2011 was 3.8%; in 2014, it was 5% increasing to 18% in 2015 (compared to 10.8% among adult workers). Data for 2015 indicates that young women were more likely to work on an involuntarily part-time basis compared to men (19.7% and 16.5% respectively), a similar trend to the adult labour market (11.3% for women and 9.7% for men).

    Night work

    Night-time work is defined as the work done between the hours of 22:00 and 06:00 (Article 80) and cannot be more than eight consecutive hours, which is preceded by a day off. Workers, who work at least three hours within that timeframe, are categorised as night workers. The night working wage should be 50% more than the usual wage (Article 81).

    Shift work

    Shift work is defined in the Labour Code (Article 79) as the work that is done by employees in succession at the same workplace, according to a certain pattern, in different schedules, during a certain period of days or weeks.

    Weekend work

    Weekend work is defined as the work done on Sunday, during the weekly rest time. If a person works on Sunday, they have to be compensated with paid compensatory time off in which at least an additional 25% of the time worked is included, or paid at least 25% more than the usual rate. The exact amount of compensatory time off or payment is set by the Council of Ministers, the collective agreements or the individual contract.

    Rest and breaks

    The Labour Code guarantees at least 11 consecutive hours of rest from work (Article 78). Additionally, Government decisions regulate the timeframe for when daily breaks can be taken. However, the start and end of the working time is regulated by internal company regulations, whereas the time and length of the breaks is regulated by collective and individual contracts.

    Workers are entitled to at least 36 hours of weekly rest, out of which 24 hours should be consecutive. The weekly rest should include Sunday.

    Working time flexibility

    There is no specific law explicitly regulating working time flexibility. However, Article 79 of the Labour Code stipulates that internal regulation can set the start and end time of work, within the limits established by the law.


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

    In the figure, we see a comparison between Albania 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, Albania's score is higher than the European Union score. For the 'Yes' answer, Albania'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.

    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 Albania.

    Health and safety at work

    Chapter VIII of the Labour Code guarantees health and safety in the workplace (Articles 39–75). According to the Code, employers are responsible for preventing risks and providing a safe working environment for their employees. They should also inform, and train, workers to operate safely. Articles 39–75 describes in detail the obligations employers have to protect workers from specific risks. Furthermore, there is a separate law on ‘Safety and Health at Work’ (No. 10.237), and a number of regulations approved by the Council of Ministers, on specific aspects on occupational health and safety (OSH) risks. The most recent, are the regulations on the protection of children at work (2017) and the protection from asbestos (2016). In addition to this, there is a Policy Document for Safety and Health at Work 2016–2020.

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

    According to official statistics from the Labour Inspectorate, in 2013 there were 85 accidents at work, 89 people involved in accidents and 19 fatal accidents. In 2014, there were 111 accidents at work; 121 people were involved in accidents and 33 fatal accidents. In 2015, 125 accidents were recorded, 133 people involved in accidents at work and 28 were fatal. A lower number of accidents were recorded in 2016 (98 accidents at work, 99 people in accidents and 12 fatal accidents), compared to 2017 (115 accidents at work, 135 people in accidents and 18 fatal accidents). The main reasons for these figures is reported to be the low level of awareness and compliance with OSH regulations, among employers and workers.

    Psychosocial risks

    Albanian legislation does not directly address psychosocial risks. The term psychosocial is used only in Article 35 of the Law on Health and Safety at Work (No. 10.237), addressing the working conditions for minors. The rest of the law refers to natural and professional risks, with vague references to psychosocial ones. In the Policy Document for Safety and Health at Work 2016–2020, the importance of psychosocial risks for developed countries is recognised, whilst in Albania improving safety and health practices in primary industries is the priority. It is outlined in the Policy Document that the Faculty of Medicine does not provide training in these types of risks.

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

    In the figure, we see a comparison between Albania 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, Albania's score is higher than the European Union score. For the 'Yes' answer, Albania'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 Albanian system for ensuring skills and employability, and looks into the extent of training.

    National system for ensuring skills and employability

    In Albania, the national system for governing skills and employability is the Ministry of Finance and Economy,. As the national public authority for implementing employability and skills measures, the National Employment Service (NES) has a number of active labour market measures in place that target vulnerable groups and hard-to-employ categories.

    (Apart from its central office, NES operates through its regional and local offices throughout the whole territory of Albania.) There is a National Employment and Skills Strategy and Action Plan for 2014­–2020. Social partners were directly involved through consultation during the drafting of the plan, which foresees social partners signing cooperation agreements to ensure the implementation of active labour market measures and programmes. Until recently, the social partners’ involvement in the vocational training system has been limited, due to the rigidity of a centralised and inadequate system. In 2017, a new law – Vocational Education and Training (No. 17/2017) – was passed. The law aims to transform the vocational education and training system in Albania, to meet the needs of the current labour market and support Albania’s ambitions to join the European Union. The new law stipulates that social partners should be involved at all levels of the vocational education and training (VET) system (Article 5/ç, 6, 7 and 18).

    Training

    The Vocational Education and Training (2017) law stipulates that the ministry is responsible for legislation, policy-making and coordination. The Ministry of Education does share some responsibility by incorporating aspects of VET into general education. The National Agency for Employment and Skills is the public authority that is responsible for the implementation of VET, and for monitoring and controlling service providers. The Agency develops national training programmes and specific courses, and sets, monitors and controls accreditation and certification criteria for training providers and trainees. Despite the fact that training is mentioned in collective agreements, there is no indication that employee representation in the workplace achieves a higher quality of training.

    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 Albania 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, Albania's score is lower than the European Union score. For the 'Yes' answer, Albania's score is higher 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.

    There are no recent, major surveys or studies on work organisation in Albania.

    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.

    The legal bases for ensuring equality and non-discrimination at work is the Albanian Constitution, the Labour Code (Articles 9, 32, 115 and 146), the Administrative Procedures Code, the Law on Inclusion and Access for Persons with Disabilities (No. 93/2014), the Law for the Protection of Minorities (No. 96/2017), the Law for the Protection Against Discrimination (No. 10 221) and the Law on Gender Equality in Society (No. 9970).

    The Labour Inspectorate is the authority that supervises the implementation of the law and is the governing body for equality at work. The Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination is responsible for investigating claims of discrimination in all fields of life in Albania.

    Equal pay and gender pay gap

    In 2015, Article 115 was added to the Labour Code to guarantee equality of pay. An explicit address to the issue of equal pay between male and female workers is outlined in the Law on Gender Equality in Society (Article 21). However, according to the National Institute for Statistics, the gender pay gap for 2014 was 10%, for 2015 was 7%, for 2016 was 6,3% and in 2017 it was reportedly 10.5 %. The sector with the highest gender pay gap, namely 22.7%, is the manufacturing sector, while the economic sectors with the lowest gender pay gap are commerce, transport, hospitality, as well as business and administrative services, by 3.3%.

    Quota regulations

    The Law on Promoting Employment (No. 7995) stipulates that employers should employ one person with a disability for every 25 employees (Article 15). Alternatively, employers can recruit a severely handicapped person instead of employing five people with moderate disabilities (Article 15). The same law, and other active labour market measures, promote the employment of specific groups; however, no other quota regulation is in place.

    Bibliography

    Bibliography

    Center of Official Publications (undated), Labour Code of the Republic of Albania .

    Danaj, S. (2016), ‘Social Dialogue in Post-Socialist Albania: Challenges of a tripartite model under construction’, conference presentation, RRPP 7th Annual Conference, 2–3 September, Tirana, Albania.

    Doçi, N. (2018), 2017 Albania: Annual review of labour relations and social dialogue (PDF) Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Bratislava.

    Dragoshi, F. and Pappa, A. (2015), RRUGA E GJATE DREJT DIALOGUT SOCIAL NE SHQIPERI: Kthimi i sfidave në mundësi , Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Tirana, Albania.

    ILO (2018), ILOSTAT Country Profiles: Albania .

    ILO (2016), Occupational Safety and Health Policy Document 2016–2020 (PDF) .

    ILO (2014), National Employment and Skills Strategy 2014–2020 (PDF) .

    ILO (undated), Ratifications for Albania .

    INSTAT (2018), Women and Men in Albania 2018 .

    INSTAT (2017), Labour Market 2016 .

    INSTAT (2015), Youth in Albania: Challenges in changing times .

    ITUC (2010), Report for the WTO General Council Review of the Trade Policies of Albania

    Papa, A. and Kongoli, Z. (2016), Labour Standards in Albania (PDF) , IDM, Tirana, Albania.

    Revista Monitor (2017), Shqipëria, me vdekjet ndër më të lartat nga aksidentet në punë, në raport me vendet e BE-së 18 May.

    Sinaj, Z. (2017), ‘The Analysis of the Labor Market in Albania’, European Journal of Economics and Business Studies. Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 69–77.

    The Albanian Crown (2018), Këshilli i Organizatave të Punëdhënësve të Shqipërisë (KOPSH) .

    Legislation

    Legislation

    Albanian Labour Code, updated

    ILO Conventions ratified by Albania

    Decent Work Country Programme for the period 2017-2021

    Law on Safety and Health at Work No. 10.237 dated 18.02.2010, updated

    Law on Vocational Education and Training No. 17/2017 dated 16.2.2017

    Policy Document for Safety and Health at work 2016-2020

    National Employment and Skills Strategy, 2014-2020 (only available in Albanian):

    On Social Insurance in the Republic of Albania, Law No. 7703, dated 11.05.1993, updated

    National Strategy for Development and Integration (2014-2020) and the National Plan on European Integration for the period 2014-2020

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