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Macedonia

Discover everything you need to know about Macedonia

Hire in Macedonia at a glance

Here ares some key facts regarding hiring in Macedonia

Capital
-
Currency
Hong Kong Dollar
Language
Chinese
Population
649,335
GDP growth
9.1%
GDP world share
0.06%
Payroll frequency
Monthly
Working hours
40 hours/week

Overview in Macedonia

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North Macedonia, a landlocked country in the south-central Balkans of Southeastern Europe, is bordered by Serbia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Greece, and Albania. It features a mountainous terrain with significant ranges like the Šar and Rhodope Mountains, interspersed with valleys such as the fertile Pelagonia Valley. Lake Ohrid and the Vardar River are notable geographical features. The climate varies from Mediterranean influences to colder continental conditions in the mountains.

Historical Background

Historically, the region was part of ancient kingdoms like Paeonia and Macedonia, the latter becoming prominent under Phillip II and Alexander the Great. It fell under Roman, Byzantine, and later Ottoman rule, which left a lasting cultural impact. Post-Balkan Wars and World War I, it became part of Yugoslavia, gaining independence in 1991 and renaming itself the Republic of North Macedonia in 2019 after resolving a naming dispute with Greece.

Socio-Economic Landscape

The economy is developing, focusing on services, industry, and agriculture. Ethnic Macedonians form the majority, with significant minorities including Albanians. The country has a high literacy rate and values education, with several universities. Cultural heritage is rich, influenced by its diverse historical rulers and local traditions. Challenges include emigration of skilled youth and a gender gap in the workforce. The service sector dominates employment, with industry and agriculture also playing significant roles. Professional communication balances formality with the importance of building rapport, and organizational structures often reflect respect for hierarchy.

Emerging Sectors

North Macedonia is exploring renewable energy and expanding its online marketplace, with potential growth in e-commerce, digital marketing, and sustainable development initiatives. These sectors are poised to create new job opportunities and contribute to economic diversification.

Taxes in Macedonia

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Social Security Contributions in North Macedonia:

  • Pension and Disability Insurance: Employers contribute 18.8% of the employee's gross salary.
  • Health Insurance: A contribution of 7.5% of the gross salary is required.
  • Additional Health Insurance: An additional 0.5% contribution is mandated.
  • Employment Insurance: Employers must contribute 1.2% of the gross salary.

Payroll Responsibilities:

  • Employers calculate and withhold employee contributions, adding their own before remitting to government authorities monthly. Contributions are based on a maximum salary limit, which is periodically adjusted.

Personal Income Tax (PIT):

  • Employees pay a flat rate of 10% PIT after deductions for social security contributions and a tax-free allowance of MKD 8,000.

VAT System:

  • Standard VAT rate is 18%, with reduced rates of 10% and 5% for specific goods and services. VAT obligations apply to businesses exceeding an MKD 2 million annual turnover, with options for voluntary registration below this threshold.

Corporate Tax and Incentives:

  • A competitive flat corporate tax rate of 10%.
  • Incentives include a 10-year tax exemption for businesses in Technological Industrial Development Zones (TIDZs), R&D tax credits, and various subsidies for job creation and investment in specific regions.

Recommendation:

  • Due to the complexity and variability of tax and labor regulations, professional advice is recommended to ensure compliance and optimization of benefits.

Leave in Macedonia

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  • In the Republic of North Macedonia, employees are entitled to a minimum of 20 working days of paid vacation leave annually, as per the Labor Law.
  • Additional leave is granted based on seniority, with an extra day for every 5 years of service, up to a maximum of 26 days.
  • Employees qualify for annual leave after six months of continuous employment.
  • The leave arrangement must include at least two consecutive weeks, and at least 12 days must be used within the calendar year, with any remaining days carried over until June 30th of the following year.
  • Sick leave does not reduce vacation days, and part-time workers receive a prorated amount of leave.
  • The country also observes several national and religious holidays, with provisions for additional non-working days if these holidays fall on a weekend.
  • Other types of leave include paid sick leave, maternity leave, leave for marriage, paternity leave, bereavement leave, and leave for military or educational purposes.
  • More favorable leave terms can be negotiated through collective agreements or individual employment contracts.

Benefits in Macedonia

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Employee Benefits in North Macedonia

  • Paid Time Off: Employees are entitled to 20-26 working days of paid annual vacation, with part-time employees receiving a minimum of 10 days. Paid leave is also available on national holidays and for short-term illnesses, with compensation ranging from 70% to 90% of the salary based on the duration of the illness. Maternity and paternity leaves are also provided.

  • Social Security Contributions: Employers and employees contribute to pension and disability insurance, with an employer rate of 18.8%. Health insurance contributions include 7.5% from employers and 0.5% from employees. Employment insurance contributions from employers stand at 1.2%.

  • Financial and Educational Support: Some employers offer financial assistance for further education and professional development, along with additional insurance for managerial staff.

  • Health and Wellness Benefits: Beyond the public health system, private health insurance plans are available, offering extended coverage and benefits.

  • Work-Life Balance Benefits: Companies may support flexible work arrangements like remote work or compressed workweeks to enhance work-life balance.

  • Mandatory Health Insurance: The public system covers various medical services, with some co-payments required. Employers may supplement this with private health insurance plans for better coverage and reduced wait times.

  • Retirement Plans: The Mandatory State Pension Scheme requires contributions from both employers and employees, operating on a pay-as-you-go basis. Voluntary Private Pension Plans are also available, offering potentially higher returns and more control over investments.

Workers Rights in Macedonia

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North Macedonia Labor Law Overview

  • Termination Reasons: Employers in North Macedonia can terminate employment for economic, technological, structural reasons, employee incapability, breach of contract, or legal grounds such as cessation of employer's activities.

  • Severance Pay: Mandated in cases like economic dismissal or termination of a pregnant employee, calculated based on the employee's average salary and length of service.

  • Notice Requirements: Employers must provide a minimum of one month's notice, with extended periods for large-scale layoffs. Employees are also required to give one month's notice.

  • Procedural Requirements: Termination must be communicated in writing with a stated reason, and employees can challenge unfair dismissals legally.

  • Discrimination Laws: The Law on Prevention of and Protection against Discrimination (2020) prohibits discrimination on various grounds and establishes mechanisms like the Commission for Protection against Discrimination and civil courts for redress.

  • Employer Responsibilities: Includes developing non-discrimination policies, providing training, establishing complaint procedures, and accommodating employees based on protected characteristics.

  • Work Hours and Rest: A maximum 40-hour workweek with provisions for overtime pay and rest periods, including a minimum of 20 working days of annual leave.

  • Ergonomic and Safety Requirements: Employers must ensure a safe work environment, conduct risk assessments, and provide necessary training and equipment to minimize health and safety risks.

  • Employee Rights: Include the right to a safe workplace, information and training on safety, the right to refuse unsafe work, and the right to report violations without retaliation.

  • Enforcement: The State Labour Inspectorate enforces health and safety regulations, conducts inspections, and can issue fines for non-compliance.

This summary provides a broad understanding of labor laws in North Macedonia, emphasizing termination, discrimination, workplace safety, and employee rights.

Agreements in Macedonia

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In North Macedonia, employment relationships are primarily regulated through Employment Contracts and Author's Contracts.

Employment Contracts are formal agreements that define the rights and duties of both parties. They come in two forms:

  • Indefinite-Term Contracts for permanent roles without a set expiry date.
  • Fixed-Term Contracts for temporary positions, with a maximum duration of five years, which can transition to indefinite-term if the employment extends beyond the initial term.

Author's Contracts are used for the creation of literary, scientific, or artistic works, with terms varying by the nature of the commissioned work.

Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) also influence employment terms, setting general conditions like wages and working hours for all covered employees.

Key clauses in employment agreements include:

  • Identification and Commencement: Details of both parties and the start date.
  • Job Description and Duties: Clear role and responsibility definitions.
  • Remuneration and Benefits: Details on salary, benefits, and payment terms.
  • Working Hours and Leave: Information on work hours, overtime, and leave policies.
  • Termination: Conditions and requirements for employment termination.
  • Additional Considerations: Clauses on confidentiality, intellectual property rights, and dispute resolution.

Probationary Periods are recognized, with a maximum duration of four months, allowing both parties to assess suitability. Termination during this period requires minimal notice.

Confidentiality and Non-Compete Clauses protect business interests:

  • Confidentiality Clauses enforce the protection of sensitive information, with clearly defined scope and permissible uses.
  • Non-Compete Clauses are restricted and generally prohibited, except under specific conditions for management roles, requiring demonstration of legitimate business interest and compensation for the employee during the restriction period.

Remote Work in Macedonia

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  • Remote Work in North Macedonia: North Macedonia allows employers and employees to agree on remote work arrangements through employment contracts or addenda, which must be filed with labor authorities within three days. There is no specific legislation for remote work, but existing labor laws covering work hours, breaks, and employee rights apply.

  • Technological and Infrastructure Requirements: Employers must provide secure communication tools, data security measures, and necessary equipment like laptops and software licenses. A stable internet connection is crucial, and employers may set connectivity standards in the remote work agreement.

  • Employer Responsibilities: Employers should clearly communicate remote work expectations and provide adequate training on communication tools and data security. They should also support remote employees in maintaining ergonomic workstations and promote healthy work habits to prevent isolation and health issues.

  • Flexible Work Options: Besides remote work, North Macedonia offers part-time work, flexitime, and job sharing, with terms typically agreed upon between employer and employee. The legal framework supports flexible work arrangements, influenced by the EU's GDPR.

  • Data Protection and Privacy: Employers must comply with the Macedonian Law on Personal Data Protection, ensuring informed consent for data processing, implementing security measures, and being transparent about data use. Employees have rights to access, rectify, or erase their personal data.

  • Best Practices for Data Security: Employers should enforce data security policies, use strong authentication methods, encrypt sensitive data, and train employees on data protection best practices. If transferring data outside Macedonia, employers must ensure adequate data protection levels in the recipient country.

  • Additional Considerations: Employers should have policies for the use of personal devices for work, including data storage restrictions and encryption requirements.

Working Hours in Macedonia

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North Macedonia maintains a standard 40-hour workweek, divided into five eight-hour days, as stipulated by its Labor Law. Overtime is capped at eight hours weekly and 190 hours annually, with compensation ranging from 135% to 150% of the regular wage. Exceptions allow for additional overtime in urgent situations or specific job roles, particularly in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Safety Agency.

Employees are entitled to a minimum of 12 hours of rest between workdays and a 24-hour rest period weekly, typically on Sundays. Workdays exceeding six hours require a break of at least 30 minutes, which cannot be scheduled at the beginning or end of the shift.

Night shift workers receive a 35% wage increase and must have health checks and food expenses covered by employers. Weekend workers earn a 50% increase in their hourly wage, although specific agreements may vary this rate.

Salary in Macedonia

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Understanding market competitive salaries in North Macedonia is essential for maintaining fairness, attracting skilled workers, and enhancing employee satisfaction and motivation. Competitive salaries align with industry and regional standards, and can be researched through salary surveys, job boards, and comparison websites. The minimum wage in North Macedonia, reviewed annually, is currently MKD 20,175.00 per month as of March 2023. Employers must comply with this regulation or face penalties.

Employers in North Macedonia are also required to provide mandatory benefits such as retirement contributions, public healthcare, and paid leave, including annual, public holidays, sick, and parental leave. Performance-based bonuses and a 13th-month salary are common practices, incentivizing employees based on their work performance and attendance. Additionally, companies may offer supplemental benefits like extended health insurance and educational financial assistance to stand out as attractive employers. Employees are typically paid monthly, with social security contributions deducted by the employer.

Termination in Macedonia

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In North Macedonia, the Labor Law regulates notice periods and severance pay during employment termination, with different stipulations based on the initiator of the termination and the type of employment contract.

  • Employee-Initiated Termination: Employees must provide at least one month's notice, extendable up to three months by agreement.
  • Employer-Initiated Termination: Notice periods vary:
    • Standard Terminations: At least one month.
    • Mass Redundancies: Minimum of two months for large-scale layoffs.
    • Summary Dismissals: No notice required for serious breaches such as unexcused absences or theft.

Severance pay is mandatory for terminations due to business reasons and is calculated based on the employee's tenure and average monthly salary over the last six months. The severance amount ranges from one to seven net salaries, depending on the length of service, with a minimum amount set at 50% of the average net salary in North Macedonia.

Termination must be formally communicated in writing, detailing the reason, justification, and legal remedies available to the employee. Consultation with a Workers' Council is required under certain conditions, and the termination notice must be delivered personally.

Freelancing in Macedonia

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North Macedonia's economy provides ample opportunities for both traditional employees and independent contractors, but distinguishing between the two is essential to avoid legal and financial issues. Employees are under direct employer control and receive benefits, while contractors work autonomously, often on multiple projects, and handle their own tools and benefits. Misclassification can lead to backdated payments and fines.

For contractors, clear contract terms, including scope of work, payment details, and termination conditions, are crucial. Contracts should be in Macedonian to be legally valid. Successful negotiation involves understanding market rates, defining scope and payment terms clearly, and maintaining professionalism.

Key industries for contractors include IT, marketing, translation, and construction. Protecting intellectual property is vital, with copyright typically belonging to the creator unless specified otherwise in a contract. Registration and clear records can help safeguard these rights.

Freelancers must navigate tax obligations and may benefit from securing insurance like health, accident, or professional liability insurance to mitigate potential risks.

Health & Safety in Macedonia

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  • Constitutional and Legislative Framework: North Macedonia's Constitution guarantees the right to safety and health at work, supported by the Law on Occupational Safety and Health and the Law on Health Protection. These laws outline the responsibilities of employers and employees and include risk assessment, safety measures, and enforcement mechanisms.

  • Employer Responsibilities: Employers are mandated to perform risk assessments, implement safety measures based on these assessments, provide personal protective equipment (PPE), and ensure training and maintenance of equipment. They must also educate workers about hazards, establish accident reporting procedures, and facilitate medical examinations.

  • Employee Rights and Responsibilities: Employees have the right to a safe work environment and can refuse work that poses serious risks to their health. They are entitled to receive training and information related to occupational safety and health (OSH) and must participate in safety procedures and use PPE correctly.

  • Specific Health and Safety Areas: The legislation covers various safety areas including handling hazardous chemicals, noise and vibration control, prevention of musculoskeletal disorders, and addressing workplace stress and harassment. It also includes provisions for emergency preparedness and first aid.

  • Enforcement: The State Labor Inspectorate is the primary body enforcing OSH laws, with powers to inspect workplaces, issue notices, impose fines, and halt operations in severe cases. The laws aim to align with EU best practices.

  • Risk Assessment and Control Measures: Employers must conduct comprehensive risk assessments and follow a hierarchy of controls to mitigate risks. This includes specific regulations for handling hazardous substances and protecting against various workplace hazards.

  • Worker Training and Health Surveillance: Employers are required to provide job-specific safety training and arrange for medical surveillance to monitor the health impacts of workplace exposures.

  • Emergency Preparedness and Response: Employers must have emergency plans and conduct regular drills to ensure readiness for workplace incidents.

  • Inspection and Compliance: Inspections are risk-based and focus on compliance with OSH regulations. The frequency of inspections varies based on the risk level and compliance history of the workplace.

  • Post-Inspection Actions and Accident Investigation: Following inspections, improvement notices may be issued, and non-compliance can lead to fines or operational suspension. Employers must report serious accidents immediately and conduct internal investigations to prevent future incidents.

  • Compensation and Legal Considerations: Employers must provide workers' compensation insurance, covering medical costs, disability benefits, and compensation for lost wages. Disputes over claims may be resolved legally, and worker representatives are encouraged to participate in accident investigations.

Dispute Resolution in Macedonia

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North Macedonia's labor court system comprises three levels: Basic Courts, Appellate Courts, and the Supreme Court, handling a variety of labor disputes including contract interpretations and workplace issues. The process starts with filing a lawsuit at a Basic Court, potentially followed by appeals. Arbitration serves as an alternative dispute resolution method, initiated by mutual agreement and resulting in binding decisions.

Labor standards enforcement involves compliance audits and inspections conducted by the State Labor Inspectorate, focusing on various types of inspections and addressing non-compliance with penalties ranging from warnings to criminal liability. Whistleblower protections exist but are considered fragmented and insufficiently comprehensive.

North Macedonia adheres to several ILO conventions impacting domestic legislation, which aligns with international standards on forced labor, child labor, discrimination, and union rights. However, challenges remain in fully implementing these standards, particularly in enforcement and labor inspection capacities. Efforts to improve include legal reforms, capacity building, and awareness campaigns to enhance compliance and understanding of labor rights.

Cultural Considerations in Macedonia

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Communication Styles in Macedonia

  • Indirectness and Relationship Focus: Macedonian professionals prefer indirect communication to maintain harmony and build trust before being direct.
  • Formality Levels: Initial interactions are formal, using titles and respectful greetings. Over time, as relationships develop, communication may become more casual.
  • Non-Verbal Communication: Body language is important; maintaining eye contact and an attentive posture is respectful, but intense eye contact can be seen as aggressive. Non-verbal cues are also used to express disagreement subtly.

Cultural and Business Practices

  • Respect for Hierarchy and Age: Hierarchical and age differences are respected, influencing interactions and decision-making in business settings.
  • Gift-Giving: Appropriate during special occasions to strengthen relationships, but should not be overly expensive.
  • Meetings and Decision-Making: Meetings often start with social discourse and can be lengthy. Decision-making is centralized, with a top-down approach, but input from various levels is valued during discussions.

Negotiation and Business Structures

  • Negotiation Approach: Emphasizes relationship building and long-term partnerships, with a preference for indirect negotiation tactics and a focus on mutual benefits.
  • Business Hierarchies: Macedonian businesses typically have tall hierarchical structures with centralized decision-making. Leadership styles tend to be directive, and respect for authority is emphasized.

Cultural Analysis

  • Management Theories: High Power Distance in Hofstede’s cultural dimensions indicates acceptance of hierarchical structures. Agency and contingency theories provide insights into the dynamics and effectiveness of these structures.

Statutory Holidays and Their Impact

  • Major Public Holidays: Include New Year's Day, Saints Cyril and Methodius Day, Ilinden Uprising, Independence Day, and Macedonian Orthodox Christmas, during which most businesses are closed.
  • Regional Observances: Such as Saint Blaise's Day in Ohrid and Shpola, affecting business operations locally.

Understanding these aspects of Macedonian professional culture and holiday observances is crucial for effective business planning and operations in the region.

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