30 March 2022

  •   Population: 1.8 million (2021)
  •   Real GDP growth: 10.5% (2021)

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.


Working life in Kosovo


  • Author: Kristina Doda
  • Institution: Institute for Human Rights
  • Published on: Tuesday, June 25, 2019

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




% (point) change 

GDP per capita




Unemployment rate – total




Unemployment rate – women




Unemployment rate – men




Unemployment rate – youth




Employment rate – total




Employment rate – women




Employment rate – men




Employment rate – youth




Source: Kosovo Agency for Statistics – GDP per capita in euro; unemployment and employments rates in euro. 



Economic and labour market context

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

On 17 February 2018, Kosovo marked its 10th anniversary since independence. One of its most important recent steps towards EU accession was the signature of the EU-Kosovo Stabilisation and Association Agreement, which entered into force on 1 April 2016.

Kosovo is characterised by a very young population, in which the average age is 30.2 years. Unemployment is a significant problem that encourages outward migration and a substantial informal economy. According to the World Bank’s country snapshot for Kosovo, published in 2018, gender gaps in accessing economic opportunities remain one of its main challenges.

Alongside the EU-Kosovo Stabilisation and Association Agreement, other strategic documents and agreements in recent years have focused on employment, economic growth and social welfare in Kosovo. These include the National Development Strategy 2016–2021, the National Economic Reform Programme, the Government Programme 2017–2021 and the Legislative Programme 2017. However, according to the Assessment Report on Employment and Social Welfare Policies in Kosovo, there is a lack of information on the progress of reforms and measures for monitoring reforms systematically.

Legal context

The Stabilisation and Association Agreement signed with the EU has so far introduced few significant changes in Kosovo. This agreement is however expected to have an impact on labour policies, and some basic laws relating to social dialogue have already been amended.

The main sources of labour law are the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, published in 2008, the Law on Labour, Law on Safety and Health at Work, Law on Foreigners, Law on the Protection of Breastfeeding, Law for Organizing Trade Union in Kosovo and Law on Strikes. The employment of civil servants is governed by the separate Law on the Civil Service of the Republic of Kosovo, which regulates the status of civil servants and the terms and conditions of their employment with the institutions of the central (national) and municipal administrations.

Several basic laws were amended in 2016 and additional legislation has been initiated. However, most of this proposed legislation has thus far remained within the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and not yet been adopted.

The European Commission also recommended that the Law on Social Economic Council be revised in a report published in 2014. In December 2015, Kosovo formally joined the European Qualifications Framework, which acts as a reference point for national qualifications systems in the European labour market. The adoption of the law on the ratification of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU has also had an impact on labour market policies.

Industrial relations context

The tripartite social dialogue in Kosovo is organised through the Social Economic Council, which is defined by law as an independent three-party entity that undertakes consultation at national level.

The European Commission’s 2018 progress report for Kosovo notes that the General Collective Agreement of 2014, which is fundamental in setting out the rights and obligations of employers and employees, is not being implemented. Collective bargaining mainly takes place centrally, through the Social and Economic Council, as well as at sectoral level. However, this mostly covers the public sector, and trade union membership is very low among workers in the private sector. The lack of presence of trade unions in the private sector is also seen as a key obstacle to meaningful social dialogue and collective bargaining. Organisational structures of trade unions are outdated, which, together with ineffective leadership, represents the primary cause for the inability to effectively represent the interests of workers. The amendments to the Law on Social Economic Council have not yet been approved.

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 Kosovo.

Public authorities involved in regulating working life

The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare facilitates social dialogue in Kosovo and collective agreements need to be registered to this Ministry. The Labour Inspectorate oversees the implementation of the Law on Labour, regulates employment relationships and is responsible for occupational safety and protection based on the Law on Safety and Health at Work.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, is responsible for bylaws regulating hazardous working conditions that may severely damage workers’ health.

The Social Economic Council facilitates dialogue on employment, social welfare and labour policies between representatives of employers’ organisations, workers’ organisations and government authorities acting as social partners. The Law on Social Economic Council regulates and defines the organisation, its scope, work and overall functioning, as well as terms and criteria for the representation of social partners in this tripartite body.

Employees and employers can resolve labour disputes through mediation. Any employee who believes that their rights as a worker have been breached may, within a term of 30 days, initiate a labour dispute at the competent basic court. Rules and procedures for resolving labour disputes are determined by the provisions of the Law on Mediation, as well as other applicable legal provisions including the Law on Labour.

Trade unions

About trade union representation

The Law for Organising Trade Unions regulates the criteria for the recognition of trade unions. According to this law (Article 12), workers’ organisations (associations, federations and confederation unions) must apply to be officially recognised and registered as a trade union at the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, in order to become a legal entity. The main criteria for recognising trade unions are outlined below.

  • A trade union should have at least 10 members.
  • A federation of unions may be registered if it is composed of at least two trade unions with a membership of at least 10% of workers in the relevant sector.
  • A confederation of unions may be registered if it is composed of at least two federations of unions with a membership of at least 10% of workers at national level.

The overall number of trade union members in Kosovo is in decline. Private organisations employ the majority of workers in Kosovo, but the presence of trade unions in the private sector is very small. On the other hand, the proportion of public sector workers in trade unions is higher. This means that private sector workers, despite representing the majority of the employed in Kosovo, are lacking direct representation in social dialogue.

The Union of Independent Trade Unions of Kosovo (BSPK) is the only workers’ organisation represented in the Socio Economic Council. At regional level, there are around 18 trade unions registered with the relevant authorities.

Main trade union confederations and federations

Long name




Involved in collective bargaining

Union of Independent Trade Unions of Kosovo (Bashkimi i Sindikatave të Pavarura të Kosovës)


18 unions

50,000 combined members



The main national trade union organisation is the BSPK, which has around 18 trade unions as members. Total membership of the BSPK is estimated to be around 50,000 members, coming from both the public and private sector.

Employers’ organisations

About employers’ representation

Employers’ organisations, according to the Law on Labour of Kosovo, are associations of employers who come together voluntarily to protect their interests. Employers, like employees, are guaranteed the freedom of association and action without undue interference from any other organisation or public body by the same law. There are no specific laws regulating employers’ associations.

There is an apparent lack of effective employer representation for some sectoral associations, while most sectors of the economy remain unrepresented in collective bargaining at national level.

Main employers’ organisations and confederations

Long name




Involved in collective bargaining

The Kosovo Chamber of Commerce (Oda Ekonomike e Kosovës)





The Kosovo Business Alliance (Aleanca Kosovare e Bizneseve)





The American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo (Oda Amerikane e Tregtisë në Kosovë)

AmCham Kosovo




Tripartite and bipartite bodies and concertation

Tripartite social dialogue in Kosovo is organised through the Social Economic Council, which is an independent three-party institution that undertakes consultation at national level. According to the Law on Social Economic Council, which regulates and defines its organisation, scope, forms of work and overall functioning, the Social Economic Council is the leading body for tripartite social dialogue in Kosovo. The law also determines the terms and conditions of social partners represented in this three-party institution. The composition of the Social Economic Council changed in 2015; its membership is now composed of several government ministries (the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, and Ministry of Health), trade unions (five representatives from BSPK) and employer associations (the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce, with three members, and the Kosovo Business Alliance, with two members).

Main tripartite and bipartite bodies




Issues covered

Social Economic Council



Facilitating tripartite dialogue


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 Kosovo.

Bargaining system

Although a collective bargaining system exists in Kosovo, the general collective agreement have so far not been implemented with success. The Law on Labour in Kosovo states that the terms and conditions of employment are to be agreed in a collective contract, which is defined as an agreement between employees’ and employers’ respective organisations and lays down rights, duties and responsibilities deriving from an employment relationship. The collective contract may not contain any rights for the employee or employer which are less favourable than the rights defined in the Law on Labour.

In 2011, Kosovo set a statutory minimum wage that applies nationwide. It has also negotiated a collective agreement with labour unions, known as the General Collective Agreement, on the minimum wage and other benefits for workers.

The General Collective Agreement states that parties involved in agreements are obliged to implement and observe its provisions.

However, Article 90 of the Law on Labour leaves it to the discretion of companies to decide whether or not to implement the provisions of the General Collective Agreement.

Bargaining levels

According to law, collective agreements may be concluded at three levels: state level, sector level and organisation level. Irrespective of the level, the provisions of the contract are binding for all parties of the agreement, whether in the private or public sector. The General Collective Agreement contains only conditions for setting the minimum wage, which is set by the government by December of each calendar year.

The General Collective Agreement has no provisions that regulate the breach of an agreement.

In recent years there have not been any significant collective bargaining processes at national level in terms of wages and working time.


There is no available provision for articulation.

Timing of the bargaining rounds

There is no timing defined for bargaining rounds.


Collective contracts may be concluded between employers’ organisations and employees’ organisations, or employee representatives in cases where there are no such organisations. Collective contracts may be concluded at state level, sector level and organisation level.

Extension mechanisms

There are no specific extension mechanisms.

Derogation mechanisms

There are no derogation mechanisms.

Expiry of collective agreements

Collective agreements may be concluded for a fixed period of time, with a duration of a maximum of three years.

Peace clauses

The Social Economic Council is in place for the resolution of disputes in a peaceful manner and the development of consultations on employment, social welfare and labour economic policies between representatives of employers, employees and government in the capacity of social partners. Other issues of social dialogue shall be regulated through a legal or sub-legal act, depending on the agreement reached by the social partners.

Other aspects of working life addressed in collective agreements

The only gender-sensitive aspects of collective bargaining processes have related to maternity leave, which is included in the Law on Labour, and breastfeeding, which has been turned into the specific Law on the Protection of Breastfeeding. Other aspects have not been addressed in collective bargaining processes.

Training and lifelong learning have also not been addressed by collective bargaining processes.

Industrial action and disputes

Industrial action and disputes

Legal aspects

The right to strike is a basic right of employees’ organisations and trade unions in Kosovo, as guaranteed by the Law on Strikes. The purpose of this law is to guarantee freedom and rights relating to the organisation of and participation in strikes by workers in Kosovo, in line with international standards. The law defines a strike as the ‘organized interruption of work by the employees with aim of realisation of the rights and economic, social and professional interests from work relationship’ and strikers as ‘workers who express their dissatisfaction regarding the rights, working conditions, economic, social and professional interests through strikes’.

Industrial action developments 2013–2016

In Kosovo in recent years, there have been reports of strikes by workers in the education sector (except those in kindergartens) the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office and the medical sector, among others, but there are no available statistics on these strike actions and their total number of days.

Dispute resolution mechanisms

Collective dispute resolution mechanisms

According to the legal framework in Kosovo, following the Law on Labour, the Social Economic Council is responsible for the resolution of collective disputes through mediation. Paragraph 9 of Article 90 of the Law on Labour states:

For the resolution of various disputes in a peaceful manner and the development of consultations on employment, social welfare and labour economic policies by the representatives of employers, employees and Government in the capacity of social partners, through a special legal-secondary legislation act, the Social-Economic Council shall be established.

Individual dispute resolution mechanisms

The national legal framework provides additional remedies for the resolution of individual disputes derived from work. The Law on Labour provides that ‘an employee and employer may resolve disputes deriving from work through mediation’. The Law on Mediation sets out specific rules and procedures for the resolution of labour disputes through mediation. According to this law, 'mediation' is an extra-judicial activity carried out by a third person (mediator), for the purpose of resolving by conciliation disagreements between parties subject to law […]’ (Article 2). The mediator is a neutral third party, authorised to mediate between two parties aiming to resolve disputes, in accordance with the principles of mediation. Therefore, Kosovo applies alternative resolutions for both collective labour disputes, through the Social Economic Council, and individual labour disputes, through mediation regulated by a specific law.

Individual employment relations

Individual employment relations

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

Start and termination of the employment relationship

Requirements regarding an employment contract

An employment relationship may be concluded by any person aged 18 or above. An employment relationship may also be established with a person between the ages of 15 and 17, provided that they are employed in light work that does not represent a risk to their health or development and that such labour is not prohibited by any law or sub-legal act. An employment contract must be concluded in writing and signed by the employer and employee. The employment contract shall include details including specific tasks and duties and may cover an indefinite or fixed period of time.

Dismissal and termination procedures

Before terminating an employee’s contract, the employer must notify the employee in writing of the reason for termination (Law on Labour, Article 72). In the event that the employment contract is to be terminated, the employer must hold a meeting with the employee, who may be accompanied by a trade union representative if required. According to Article 71 of the Law on Labour, the employer may terminate the employment contract in the line with the following notice periods:

  • for employees with 6 months to 2 years of employment: 30 calendar days;
  • for employees with 2 to 10 years of employment: 45 calendar days;
  • for employees with 10 or more years of employment: 60 calendar days.

Entitlements and obligations

Parental, maternity and paternity leave

Employed women in Kosovo are entitled to 12 months of maternity leave. On production of a medical certificate, a woman may commence her maternity leave up to 45 days before the expected date of birth. In the period from 28 days before the expected birthdate, the employer may – with the consent of the pregnant employee – request that she begin her maternity leave if the employer finds that she is no longer able to perform the functions of her employment. In the first six months of maternity leave, payment shall be made by the employer to the employee at 70% of her basic salary. In the following three months of her maternity leave, the employed woman shall be paid by the government at a rate of 50% of the average salary in Kosovo. The employed woman shall also have the legal right to extend her maternity leave by a further three months without payment.

There are no available data on paternity leave in Kosovo.

Statutory leave arrangements

Maternity leave

Maximum duration

12 months


Six months at 70% of salary, then three months at 50% of salary

Who pays?

Six months at 70% paid by the employer, three months at 50% paid by the government

Legal basis

According to Article 49 of the Law on Labour: ‘An employed woman is entitled to 12 months of maternity leave. During the first six months of maternity leave, the payment shall be done by the employer with the compensation of 70% of basic salary. The following three months, the maternity leave shall be paid by the Government of Kosovo with the compensation of 50% of average salary in Kosovo. The employed woman shall have the right, upon this Law, to extend her maternity leave also for three months without payment.’

Paternity leave

Maximum duration

See below


See below

Who pays?

The employer

Legal basis

According to Article 49 of the Law on Labour, the father of the child may assume the rights of the mother if the mother dies or abandons the child before the end of the maternity leave. The rights of the mother may be conveyed to the father in agreement with the mother.

According to Article 50, assuming the mother uses her parental leave, the father of the child has the right to two days of paid leave at the birth or upon adoption of the child and two weeks of unpaid leave after the birth or upon adoption of the child, at any time before the child reaches the age of three. The employee must inform the employer of his intention to take leave at least 10 days in advance.

Sick leave

In case of illness or other temporary incapacity to work, an employee is obliged to inform the employer immediately, at the latest on the same day that the absence occurs. In case of serious illness or injury preventing the employee from informing the employer, the employee shall make efforts to inform the employer as soon as possible. If the employee cannot show that they have made reasonable efforts to inform the employer of their absence without undue delay, the employer may claim that a breach of contract has occurred. Should the notified absence from work last longer than three days, the employer is entitled to request that the employee provide a medical certificate justifying their absence from work.

An employee is entitled to compensation for sick leave on full pay for up to 20 working days in one year. The employee is entitled to compensation at 70% of their salary for sick leave resulting from a documented occupational injury or illness caused by delivering work or services for the employer. The employee is entitled to compensation for sick leave after 10 days of absence from work, up to a maximum of 90 working days. The employer is responsible for paying compensation for sick leave. The employee is also entitled to take unpaid leave.

Retirement age

The legal retirement age for both men and women in Kosovo is 65 years of age.



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

When it comes to pay, the most important development in recent years in Kosovo was the decision of the government to increase the salaries of certain categories of public sector workers. As a result of this decision, teachers received a 50% pay rise and healthcare professionals received a 30% increase, plus provisions for overtime.

Minimum wages

The Government of Kosovo has not changed the minimum wage during the last five years. The current minimum wage set by the government stands at €170 per month. The minimum wage exists for all sectors and occupations and does not vary according to different types of work, skills, qualifications or categories of worker. The calculation of the minimum wage was based on the minimum income required to achieve a decent and dignified living, although there is no information available on the specific methodology according to which the minimum wage was set.

Minimum wage (in euro)







Adult rate






Youth rate






Working time

Working time

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

Working time regulation

According to Article 20 of the Law on Labour, the statutory working week in Kosovo is 40 hours. Full time working hours for employees under 18 years of age may not exceed 30 hours per week.

For work performed during extended working hours, national holidays and night shifts, employees are entitled to allowances in compliance with the Law on Labour, as well as with their collective contract and employment contract. Employees are entitled to the following allowances for such work, calculated as a percentage of their basic salary:

  • additional shifts: 20% per hour
  • night shifts: 30% per hour
  • extended working hours: 30% per hour
  • national holidays: 50% per hour
  • weekends: 50% per hour

Other forms of compensation, such as compensation for accrued overtime and/or in the form of additional leave, may be stipulated in the employee’s contract or in the internal policies of the company.

Overtime regulation

In extraordinary cases, an employer is legally permitted to request that an employee work extended working hours for a maximum of eight hours per week if necessary, for example due to a temporary increase in the volume of work. Extended working hours may only last as long as necessary and work in excess of the stipulated limit may only be performed in case of urgency, for example to prevent accidents or in the event of force majeure. In addition to compulsory overtime, employees may perform paid, voluntary overtime in agreement with their employer. Extended working hours are prohibited for employees under 18 years of age.

An employee working on reduced or part-time hours may not undertake overtime that brings their working hours above the statutory full time limit. The employer is obliged to keep a full record of overtime performed and to produce it to the Labour Inspectorate upon request. The Labour Inspectorate shall prohibit overtime if it is seen to have a harmful impact on the health of an employee or their ability to carry out their work.

Part-time work

Part-time work is regulated by Article 21 of the Law on Labour, which defines part-time working hours as ‘shorter working hours than the full-time working hours’. Employment relationships involving part-time working hours may cover a definite or indefinite period. An employee working part-time is entitled to all the rights deriving from the employment relationship on the same basis as a full-time employee and in proportion to the number of hours worked.

Persons employed part time

According to the Labour Force Survey in Kosovo, the percentage of people employed part time was 5.3% in 2015, 6% in 2016 and 5.9% in 2017.

Involuntary part-time

There are no available statistics or other data on involuntary part-time work.

Night work

According to the Law on Labour, working hours between 22:00 and 06:00 are considered as night shifts. If work is organised in shifts, it is necessary for the employer to organise shifts so as to prevent any employee from working a full week of consecutive night shifts without a day’s break. Night shifts are prohibited for workers who are under 18 years of age, pregnant or breastfeeding. Only with their consent may night shifts be performed by single parents and women with children younger than 3 years or with permanent disabilities. Should an assessment by a competent health body find the health of an employee working on night shifts to have deteriorated as a result of the labour performed, then the employer is obliged to find an appropriate daytime job for the respective employee.

Shift work

The Law on Labour states that an employer must define an employee’s division of working hours during the week. Working weeks may be organised differently in cases when an employer has to organise shift work or night work, or when the nature of work requires it. The employer is obliged to inform the employee of the division of – and any modification to – their working hours at least seven days before they begin work.

Weekend work

Employees are entitled to an allowance of 50% of their basic salary per hour for weekend work.

Rest and breaks

Employees working full-time hours are entitled to a break of at least 30 minutes during the day. This break may not be taken at the beginning or end of their working hours. Employees who work between four and six hours a day are entitled to a daily break of 15 minutes. Employees under the age of 18 who work at least 4 hours and 30 minutes are entitled to a daily break of 30 minutes. Break times are considered as work.

Employees are entitled to a day of rest between two consecutive days of work, lasting for at least 12 continuous hours, or 11 hours for those employed in seasonal work.

Employees are also entitled to a weekly rest of at least 24 continuous hours, or at least 36 continuous hours if the employee is under 18 years of age. If an employee has to work on their day of rest then an additional day off must be given to the employee in the following week.

Working time flexibility

The Law on Gender Equality in Kosovo addresses working time flexibility by obliging employers to take all necessary measures to enable women and men to work hours that fit with both their professional and family obligations. Work schedules must be organised in accordance with the professional needs of the employer and the family needs of the employee, so that workers ‘can return to their previous posts after maternity leave, parental leave, abortion leave, sick leave or after the time spent out of the place of work due to family emergencies or professional training’ (Section 13.9).

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 Kosovo.

Health and safety at work

The protection of health and safety at work is regulated by the Law on Labour and the Law on Safety and Health at Work. According to the latter, the employer is responsible for providing safe and healthy working conditions in ‘all aspects of work’. The same law also states that the role of the National Council on Safety and Health at Work, established by the government following a proposal by the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, is to continuously propose, recommend and develop policies to improve safety and health at work.

An employee must not be made to work night shifts or work longer than their full-time working hours if a competent body assesses the employee’s health and concludes, on the basis of their health insurance, that such a task may worsen their health.

Accidents at work

No information on accidents at work is available in Kosovo.

Psychosocial risks

No information on psychosocial risks is available in Kosovo.

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 Kosovar system for ensuring skills and employability and looks into the extent of training.

National system for ensuring skills and employability

The Action Plan for Increasing Youth Employment is an inter-sectoral plan aimed at enhancing employment and improving employability among young people in Kosovo. This plan is an integral part of the spectrum of strategic documents of the Republic of Kosovo that build on the National Development Strategy 2016–2021.

These documents include the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare’s Sector Strategy (2018–2022), the Kosovo Education Strategic Plan (2017–2021), the Strategy on Education and Career Orientation (2015–2019) and other sectoral strategies related to employment, all of which are partially covered in the action plan. The plan is also guided by Kosovo's political commitments related to the EU integration process and regional initiatives. As such, it is designed as one integrated document to help bring about reforms in the field of employment, education and training.

The contribution made by the social partners to national policy dialogue in the area of skills development and employability has so far been small.


In December 2015, Kosovo formally joined the European Qualifications Framework, which acts as a reference point for national qualifications systems in the European labour market. The adoption of the law on the ratification of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU has also had an impact on labour market policies. Under this law, the acquis of the EU in relation to third-country nationals will also be applicable to Kosovo citizens.

The education system in Kosovo is still characterised by insufficient resources. The National Qualifications Authority, the body responsible for vocational qualifications, has fully aligned its National Qualifications Framework with the European Qualifications Framework. The vocational education and training system remains under reform and has begun to strengthen its position in Kosovo’s educational system. This component of education is foreseen in a strategy for adult learning and the amended Law on Adult Education and Training. The vocational training system is comprised of two types of institution: those offering formal education and those specialising in non-formal education. The formal vocational education and training system includes all professional or vocational schools that offer three to four years of formal education and target students that have completed elementary school. The non-formal vocational education and training system is comprised of 11 vocational education and training centres that are administered by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and offer short-term vocational courses aimed at jobseekers registered with employment agencies.

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 Law on the Protection from Discrimination prohibits discrimination ‘in all areas of life’, including employment. In an employment context, this relates to recruitment, training, promotion, terms and conditions of employment, disciplinary measures, termination of employment and any other issues arising from an employment relationship. Direct or indirect discrimination of persons with disabilities is prohibited during employment, promotion and capacity building, if that job may be performed adequately by a person with disabilities. When hiring new employees, an employer is obliged to create equal opportunities and criteria that treat male and female applicants equally. The provisions of the Law on the Protection from Discrimination are directly applicable to any employment relationship concluded between an employee and their employer.

The Ombudsperson Institution in Kosovo is the body authorised to receive and investigate complaints concerning violations of rights based on discrimination. Discrimination cases may also be brought in front of a court or relevant administrative body.

Equal pay and gender pay gap

The Law on Labour and the Law on Gender Equality in Kosovo ensure equal pay for equal work carried out by men and women. There are no data on the gender pay gap and there is no compulsory audit to monitor this. A key issue in Kosovo concerns the low level of economic activity of women; only about one in five women of working age are economically active, as compared to three-fifths of men within the same age group. According to the Labour Force Survey, the employment rate among working age women in Kosovo was just 12.7% in 2017, compared to 46.6% of men.

Quota regulations

The Law on Gender Equality in Kosovo stipulates that public institutions must take temporary ‘special measures’ in order to accelerate the promotion of equality between women and men in areas where inequalities exist. Special measures may include quotas to achieve equal representation of women and men.

The Law on the Civil Service of the Republic of Kosovo states that communities and their members have a right to fair and proportional representation in the civil service and bodies of central and local public administration. The legal framework of Kosovo requires that a minimum of 10% of positions at central administration level are occupied by staff belonging to non-Albanian communities, while at municipal level, representation must be proportionate to the demographic composition of the respective municipality. In addition, it regulates the number of senior management posts for members of communities: in central administration this figure is again 10%, while at municipal level it is proportionate to the demographic composition of the municipality. To enhance representation of communities, employing institutions are obliged to:

  • pursue an active recruitment strategy, including special efforts to seek job applications from underrepresented communities
  • address the results of long-term discrimination by developing on-the-job training programmes for commonly disadvantaged communities
  • provide training on antidiscrimination policies for staff
  • include ‘statements of encouragement’ in vacancy announcements targeting members of communities

There are no obligations or quotas in the private sector.



Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo (undated), Official website of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo , web page.

Demi, A. (2017), Assessment report on employment and social welfare policies in Kosovo (PDF) , assessment report, Kosovo Education and Employment Network, Pristina.

European Commission (2018), Kosovo 2018 report (PDF) , SWD(2018)156 final, Brussels.

Institute for Advanced Studies GAP (2011 ), Labour Law: Its implementation in the first six months, policy brief, Institute for Advanced Studies GAP and Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Pristina.

Jashari, M. and Pepaj, I. (2018), Collective employment relationships and collective disputes resolution in Kosovo (PDF)’, Acta Universitatis Danubius, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 104–112.

Kosovo Agency of Statistics (2016), Results of the Kosovo 2015 labour force survey (PDF) , Pristina.

Kosovo Agency of Statistics (2017), Labour Force Survey 2016 (PDF) , Pristina.

Kosovo Agency of Statistics (2018), Labour Force Survey 2017 (PDF) , Pristina.

Kosovo Agency of Statistics (2019), Official website of the Kosovo Agency of Statistics , web page.

Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of the Republic of Kosovo (2014), Strategy for the improvement of professional practice in Kosovo 2013 – 2020 (PDF) , Government of Kosovo, Pristina.

Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (2017), Labour and employment, Annual report 2016 (PDF) , Government of Kosovo, Pristina.

Ministry of Public Administration (2010), Regulation No. 04/2010 on Procedures for the Fair and Proportional Representation of Communities not in the Majority in the Civil Service of Kosovo, Government of Kosovo, Pristina.

Shaipi, K. (2017), 2016 annual review of labour relations and social dialogue: Kosovo (PDF) , Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Bratislava.

The World Bank in Kosovo (2018), The World Bank in Kosovo: Country snapshot (PDF) , Pristina.


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