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Bosnia and Herzegovina

Employee Rights and Protections

Explore workers' rights and legal protections in Bosnia and Herzegovina


Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has a complex legal framework for employment termination due to its federal structure, with regulations differing between the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) and Republika Srpska (RS).

Lawful Grounds for Dismissal

Employers in BiH can terminate employment contracts based on the following general grounds:

  • Employee-Related Reasons:

    • Inability to perform work duties
    • Unsatisfactory performance
    • Serious breach of work obligations
    • Extended sick leave or absence
  • Business-Related Reasons:

    • Economic reasons (e.g., redundancy)
    • Technological or organizational changes
    • Cessation of business operations

Notice Requirements

The required notice periods vary depending on the entity of BiH and the reason for termination:

  • Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH):

    • Minimum notice by employee: 15 days
    • Minimum notice by employer: 30 days
    • These can be extended by collective agreements or employment contracts (up to a maximum of 6 months).
    • No notice is required if the termination is due to a serious breach of work duties.
  • Republika Srpska (RS):

    • Minimum notice by employee: 15 days
    • Minimum notice by employer: 30 days
    • Like in FBiH, these can be extended by agreements or contracts and are not required in cases of serious misconduct.

Severance Pay

Severance pay is mandatory in Bosnia and Herzegovina when an employer terminates an employment contract due to business-related reasons or redundancy.

  • Calculation: The amount varies depending on the entity and the employee's length of service.
    • FBiH: Determined through collective agreements, rule books, or employment contracts
    • RS: Minimum of one-third of the average monthly wages (last three months) for each full year of service

Important Considerations

  • Procedural Requirements: Employers need to follow specific procedures when terminating an employment contract, including providing written notice with a clear explanation of the termination reasons.
  • Challenges: Navigating the regulations can be complex, especially due to the differences between FBiH and RS.


Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has a comprehensive legal framework in place to combat discrimination and promote equality.

Protected Characteristics

The Law on Prohibition of Discrimination in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of BiH, No. 59/09) provides protection against discrimination on a wide range of grounds. These include race, skin color, language, religion, ethnicity, national or social origin, connection to a national minority, political or other beliefs, property, membership in a trade union or any other association, education, social status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, health status, disability, family or marital status, and any other circumstance or personal characteristic.

Redress Mechanisms

BiH offers several channels for victims of discrimination to seek redress. Individuals can file complaints with the Institution of Human Rights Ombudsman of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has the authority to investigate and mediate discrimination complaints. Alternatively, victims can pursue legal action through civil or criminal courts. Civil claims may result in compensation or reinstatement, while criminal proceedings can lead to punishment for discriminatory offenses.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers in BiH have a crucial role in preventing discrimination. They are responsible for implementing policies that clearly state the prohibition of discrimination and the process for lodging complaints. They are also required to conduct regular training for all employees on anti-discrimination law, promoting a respectful and inclusive workplace culture. Employers must have an internal system for reporting and addressing discrimination complaints that is accessible and confidential. They are also required to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities or other protected characteristics as required by the law. Employers are encouraged to take positive proactive measures to promote diversity and inclusion.

Important Notes

Despite the comprehensive legal framework, enforcement remains a challenge in BiH, and discrimination against specific groups persists. Additionally, anti-discrimination laws in BiH are continuously evolving, particularly with alignment to European Union standards.

Working conditions

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, standards have been established to ensure fair treatment and well-being for employees. These standards cover aspects such as work hours, rest periods, and ergonomic requirements.

Work Hours

The typical workweek in Bosnia and Herzegovina is 40 hours, spread across five days from Monday to Friday. Overtime work is permitted upon the employee's request, with a maximum limit of eight hours per week. The specific overtime pay rate is determined by collective agreements and can vary depending on the industry.

Rest Periods

Employees working more than six hours a day are entitled to a break of at least 30 minutes. Additionally, workers must be granted a minimum of 24 consecutive hours of rest every week.

Ergonomic Requirements

While there isn't readily available information on specific regulations regarding ergonomic requirements in Bosnia and Herzegovina, general safety principles are likely enforced. Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment, which may include considerations for proper workstation setup to minimize musculoskeletal risks.

Health and safety

Bosnia and Herzegovina prioritize worker safety through a comprehensive set of health and safety regulations. Understanding these regulations is crucial for both employers and employees.

Employer Obligations

Employers in Bosnia and Herzegovina hold significant responsibility for ensuring a safe and healthy work environment. The following represent some core obligations:

  • Risk Assessment and Management: Employers must conduct risk assessments to identify potential hazards in the workplace and implement measures to mitigate those risks.
  • Provision of Safe Equipment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Employers must provide employees with the necessary tools and equipment to perform their jobs safely. This includes PPE tailored to specific workplace hazards.
  • Training and Instruction: Employees must receive proper training and instruction on safety procedures, including hazard identification, risk mitigation strategies, and emergency response protocols.
  • Safe Work Practices: Employers are obligated to establish and enforce safe work practices to prevent accidents and injuries.
  • Accident Reporting and Investigation: Employers must report work-related accidents and illnesses to the relevant authorities and conduct investigations to identify and address root causes.

Employee Rights

Employees in Bosnia and Herzegovina have fundamental rights regarding workplace health and safety:

  • Right to a Safe Work Environment: Employees have the right to work in an environment free from foreseeable risks to their health and safety.
  • Right to Information and Training: Employees have the right to be informed about potential hazards in the workplace and receive proper training on safety procedures.
  • Right to Refuse Unsafe Work: Employees have the right to refuse work they believe is unsafe and unhealthy, without fear of retribution.
  • Right to Report Violations: Employees can report violations of health and safety regulations to the relevant authorities.

Enforcement Agencies

The enforcement of health and safety regulations in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a shared responsibility between entities:

  • Federal Level: The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Policy establishes national health and safety frameworks and conducts inspections through its Labour Inspectorate.
  • Entity Level: Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina have their own ministries responsible for labor inspection within their respective territories.
  • Brcko District: Brcko District has its own inspectorate responsible for workplace safety inspections.
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