Dismissals in Montenegro

1. Dismissal of employees

1.1 Reasons for dismissal

An employer may terminate an employee's employment contract if there is a justified reason for doing so, namely:

  1. the failure to achieve the results of work determined by a collective contract, an act of the employer or a contract of employment, for a period of no less than 30 days, if the employee has previously been given instructions for work;
  2. his/her behaviour is such that he/she cannot continue working with the employer due to:
    • a breach in the regulations on occupational health and safety, thereby causing danger to their own health or that of other employees;
    • coming into work under the influence of alcohol or psychoactive substances, drinking during work hours or using psychoactive substances while refusing to submit to the appropriate test conducted by the relevant authority that would confirm these facts, in accordance with the specific regulations;
    • unjustified absence from work for 3 or more consecutive workdays, or 5 non-consecutive days during a period of 12 months;
    • a final court decision by which the employee is sentenced for a crime of abuse of authority;
    • revealing a trade secret as determined by an act of the employer:
    • abusive or insulting behaviour towards customers or other employees;
    • a crime committed at work or in relation to the work done;
    • use or disposal of the company car, machine or tool contrary to an act of the employer with which the employee was previously familiarized;
  3. at the time of hiring, or re-assignment to a different workplace, the employee provided untrue information related to their employment or performing of other duties; 
  4. he/she refuses to conclude an annex to the employment contract (in situations prescribed by the law)
  5. he/she abuses the right to absence due to temporary inability to work, especially if he/she worked elsewhere during his/her absence and if he/she does not deliver the Doctor’s findings within three days of the findings or a report on temporary inability five days after it has been issued;
  6. he/she does not return to work two days after his/her unpaid leave concludes, and 15 days after the reason ceased in the case of a stay of employment;
  7. in case of collective terminations by the employer, if he was not provided  with the option to switch his/her workplace in accordance with his qualifications, to offer training in order to change the qualifications or offer work at other employers and other measures provided for in the law;
  8. In other cases, provided for in the collective contract or employment contract;

1.2 Form

Termination must be in written form and given to the employee in person. It must contain the reasons for termination, an elaboration of the reasons and set out the employee’s right of appeal and the time limit for submitting the employee’s response prior to terminating the employment. This decision is given in the form of a decision by the director and is final.

1.3 Notice period

The notice period depends on the ground for dismissal. If the ground for termination is one of the following:

  • a breach in the regulations on occupational health and safety;
  • an unjustified absence from work for 3 or more consecutive workdays, or 5 non-consecutive days during a 12-month period;
  • the use and disposal of the company car, machine or tool contrary to an act of the employer with which the employee was previously familiarized;
  • at the time of hiring, or re-assignment to a different workplace, the employee provided untrue information which relates to their employment or performing of other duties prior to the employment;
  • if he/she does not return to work two days after his/her unpaid leave concludes, and 15 days after the reason ceased in the case of a stay of employment;

Then, the employer is obliged to warn the employee in writing of the reasons for the employment termination, give evidence of those reasons, and allow the employee at least five working days to respond to the warning.

In addition, the employee has the right and duty to remain at work for at least 30 days from the day they receive notice that their employment contract is to be terminated, i.e. a termination notice.

1.4 Involvement of works council

Montenegrin Labour Law does not recognize work councils. The closest institution to a work council is a trade union (see information below).

1.5 Involvement of a union

The representative trade union must be invited to give its opinion on the redundancy programme draft if it becomes necessary to implement a redundancy programme and give its complaints to the Employment agency regarding redundancy proceedings.

1.6 Approval of state authorities necessary

No approval from the state authority is necessary according to the Montenegrin Labour Law.

1.7 Collective redundancies

If, within a 90-day period, the employer plans to conduct a collective dismissal of 20 or more employees, he must:

Conduct consultations and consider the opinion of the Union, or Employee representatives if there is no union, in order to reach an agreement regarding the lack of need for those employees’ work and reach a solution. The employer must respond to these in written form and consider them in order to reach a mutually beneficial solution; the consultation must last at least 30 days. The employer must inform the employment agency about the consultation and give all relevant information regarding the consultation in writing. Employees cannot be terminated before 30 days have elapsed after the consultation conclusion is delivered to the Employment agency.

The employer must deliver to the Union or Employee representatives, in written form, and for the purpose of conducting consultations, the following:

  1. reasons the employees’ work is no longer required;
  2. number of all employees;
  3. criteria for determining which employees’ work may no longer be needed;
  4. number of employees whose work might be no longer needed and their data as well as data pertaining to their places of work and positions;
  5. criteria for calculating severance; and
  6. measures taken by the employer in order to take care of the employees whose work is no longer needed: i.e. re-assignment to other work with the same employer with their qualifications, training for a different position with the same employer, assignment to another employer or other measures dictated by the contract.

1.8 Summary dismissals

Montenegrin Labour Law does not permit dismissal without notice. Notice has to contain the reasons for dismissal, evidence indicating that the conditions for dismissal have been obtained and a deadline for responding to the notice. The deadline may not be shorter than 5 days.

1.9 Consequences if requirements are not met

If a court determines during the proceedings that the employee’s employment relationship has been unlawfully terminated, the court will decide that the employee is to be reinstated and compensated for damage. The employee’s right to compensation for financial damage is to be calculated as the amount of the lost salary and all other earnings he/she would have earned at work, in accordance with the law, collective agreement and employment contract, as well as payment of contributions for mandatory social insurance.

1.10 Severance pay

If the employment contract is terminated because a certain job becomes unnecessary, the employer must pay severance pay as set by the labour rulebook/collective agreement or employment contract.

Severance pay is given to employees who have worked for that employer longer than 18 months.

The severance pay is given as the sum of one third of the employee's average gross salaries paid over the previous six months, for each year of work with that employer, or 1/3 of the average monthly salary without taxes and contributions in Montenegro, if this is more favourable for the employee.

Severance pay cannot be lower than three average monthly salaries without taxes and contributions in the past 6 months, or three times the average monthly salary without taxes and contributions in Montenegro, if this is more favourable for the employee.

1.11 Non-competition clauses

Contractual non-competition clauses may contain a number of jobs which the employee cannot do in his/her own name and on his/her own behalf (i.e. not in his/her capacity as an employee of the company) or for a different entity without the approval of the employer.  If the employee violates this obligation, he/she may be terminated.

Post-contractual non-competition restrictions may last for a maximum of two years after employment is terminated. However, such restrictions are only valid if the employer undertakes to pay monetary compensation to the employee in the employment agreement.

1.12 Miscellaneous

The employment termination resolution is void if, on the date the resolution is passed, the employer was aware of the existence of the grounds for using pregnancy leave, maternity leave, or leave for the special care of a child, or if the employee, within 30 days of termination of employment, informs the employer of the existence of these circumstances and submits the appropriate certificate from an authorized physician or other competent authority.  

Also, an employer may not terminate employment, or put an employee in a disadvantageous position in any other way, because of his/her status or activities as an employees’ representative, trade union member, or because of his/her participation in trade union activities.

As for disabled persons, the employer is obliged to make it possible for any disabled employee to perform work suited to his/her working capability. Also, the employer must find another suitable job for any employee who is compromised by his/her disability in his/her job. Only if the employee refuses to accept such a job may the employer serve an employment termination resolution. If the employer cannot provide the disabled employee with a job suitable for his/her working capability, then such an employee will be considered redundant.

2. Dismissal of managing directors

2.1 Reasons for dismissal

An employer may terminate an employee's employment contract if there is a justified reason for doing so, namely:

  1. if a Director’s mandate has elapsed and he/she is not re-elected, or if he/she is dismissed before the end of his mandate, the contract is cancelled unless otherwise provided for by a special law, or by the employment contract.
  2. for failure to achieve the results of work determined by a collective contract, an act of the employer or a contract of employment, for a period of no less than 30 days, if the employee has previously been given instructions for work;
  3. if his/her behaviour is such that he/she cannot continue working with the employer due to:
    • a breach in the regulations on occupational health and safety, thereby causing danger to their own health or that of other employees;
    • coming into work under the influence of alcohol or psychoactive substances, drinking during work hours or using psychoactive substances while refusing to submit to the appropriate test conducted by the relevant authority that would confirm these facts, in accordance with the specific regulations;
    • unjustified absence from work for 3 or more consecutive workdays in continuation, or 5 non-consecutive days during a period of 12 months;
    • a final court decision by which the employee is sentenced for a crime of abuse of authority;
    • revealing a trade secret as determined by an act of the employer:
    • abusive or insulting behaviour towards customers or other employees;
    • a crime committed at work or in relation to the work done;
    • use or disposal of the company car, machine or tool contrary to an act of the employer with which the employee was previously familiarized;
  4. at the time of hiring, or re-assignment to a different workplace, the employee provided untrue information related to their employment or performing of other duties; 
  5. he/she refuses to conclude an annex to the employment contract (in situations prescribed by the law)
  6. he/she abuses the right to absence due to temporary inability to work, especially if he/she worked elsewhere during his/her absence and if he/she does not deliver the Doctor’s findings within three days of the findings or a report on temporary inability  five days after it has been issued;
  7. he/she does not return to work two days after his/her unpaid leave concludes, and 15 days after the reason ceased in the case of stay of employment;
  8. in case of collective terminations by the employer, if he was not provided  with the option to switch his/her workplace in accordance with his qualifications, to offer training in order to change the qualifications or offer work at other employers and other measures provided for in the law;
  9. In other cases, provided for in the collective contract or employment contract;

2.2 Form

Termination must be in written form and given to the employee in person. It must contain the reasons for termination, an elaboration of the reasons and set out the employee’s right of appeal and the time limit for submitting the employee’s response prior to terminating the employment. This decision is given in the form of a decision by the director and is final.

2.3 Notice period

The notice period depends on the ground for dismissal. If the ground for termination is one of the following:

  • a breach in the regulations on occupational health and safety
  • an unjustified absence from work for 3 or more consecutive, or 5 non-consecutive days during a 12-month period;
  • the use and disposal of the company car, machine or tool contrary to an act of the employer with which the employee was previously familiarized;
  • at the time of hiring, or re-assignment to a different workplace, the employee provided untrue information which relates to their employment or performing of other duties prior to the employment;
  • if he/she does not return to work two days after his/her unpaid leave concludes, and 15 days after the reason ceased in the case of a stay of employment;

Then, the employer is obliged to warn the employee in writing of the reasons for the employment termination, give evidence of those reasons, and allow the employee at least five working days to respond to the warning.

 In addition, the employee has the right and duty to remain at work for at least 30 days from the day they receive notice that their employment contract is to be terminated, i.e. a termination notice.

2.4 Involvement of works council

Montenegrin Labour Law does not recognize work councils. The closest institution to a work council is a trade union (see information below).

2.5 Involvement of a union

The representative trade union must be invited to give its opinion on the redundancy programme draft if it becomes necessary to implement a redundancy programme and give its complaints to the Employment agency regarding redundancy proceedings.

2.6 Approval of state authorities necessary

No approval from the state authority is necessary according to the Montenegrin Labour Law.

2.7 Collective redundancies

If, within a 90-day period, the employer plans to conduct a collective dismissal of 20 or more employees, he must:

Conduct consultations and consider the opinion of the Union or Employee representatives if there is no union, in order to reach an agreement regarding the lack of need for those employees’ work and reach a solution. The employer must respond to these in written form and consider them in order to reach a mutually beneficial solution; the consultation must last at least 30 days. The employer must inform the Employment agency about the consultation and give all relevant information regarding the consultation in writing. Employees cannot be terminated before 30 days have elapsed after the consultation conclusion is delivered to the Employment agency.

The employer must deliver to the Union or Employee representatives, in written form, and for the purpose of conducting consultations, the following:

  1. reasons the employees’ work is no longer required;
  2. number of all employees;
  3. criteria for determining which employees’ work may no longer be needed; and
  4. number of employees whose work might be no longer needed and their data as well as data pertaining to their places of work and positions;
  5. criteria for calculating severance;
  6. measures taken by the employer in order to take care of the employees whose work is no longer needed: i.e. re-assignment to other work with the same employer with their qualifications, training for a different position with the same employer, assignment to another employer or other measures dictated by the contract.

2.8 Summary dismissals

Montenegrin Labour Law does not permit dismissal without notice. Notice has to contain the reasons for dismissal, evidence indicating that the conditions for dismissal have been obtained and a deadline for responding to the notice. The deadline may not be shorter than 5 days.

2.9 Consequences if requirements are not met

If a court determines during the proceedings that the employee’s employment relationship has been unlawfully terminated, the court will decide that the employee is to be reinstated and compensated for damage. The employee’s right to compensation for financial damage is to be calculated as the amount of the lost salary and all other earnings he/she would have earned at work, in accordance with the law, collective agreement and employment contract, as well as payment of contributions for mandatory social insurance.

2.10 Severance pay

If the employment contract is terminated because a certain job becomes unnecessary, the employer must pay severance pay as set by the labour rulebook/collective agreement or employment contract.

Severance pay is given to employees who have worked for that employer longer than 18 months.

The severance pay is given as the sum of one third of the employee's average gross salaries paid over the previous six months, for each year of work with that employer, or 1/3 of the average monthly salary without taxes and contributions in Montenegro, if this is more favourable for the employee.

Severance pay cannot be lower than three average monthly salaries without taxes and contributions in the past 6 months, or three times the average monthly salary without taxes and contributions in Montenegro, if this is more favourable for the employee.

2.11 Non-competition clauses

Contractual non-competition clauses may contain a number of jobs which the employee cannot do in his/her own name and on his/her own behalf (i.e. not in his/her capacity as an employee of the company) or for a different entity without the approval of the employer.  If the employee violates this obligation, he/she may be terminated.

Post-contractual non-competition restrictions may last for a maximum of two years after employment is terminated. However, such restrictions are only valid if the employer undertakes to pay monetary compensation to the employee in the employment agreement.

2.12 Miscellaneous

The employment termination resolution is void if, on the date the resolution is passed, the employer was aware of the existence of the grounds for using pregnancy leave, maternity leave, or leave for the special care of a child, or if the employee, within 30 days of termination of employment, informs the employer of the existence of these circumstances and submits the appropriate certificate from an authorized physician or other competent authority.  

Also, an employer may not terminate employment, or put an employee in a disadvantageous position in any other way, because of his/her status or activities as an employees’ representative, trade union member, or because of his/her participation in trade union activities.

As for disabled persons, the employer is obliged to make it possible for any disabled employee to perform work suited to his/her working capability. Also, the employer must find another suitable job for any employee who is compromised by his/her disability in his/her job. Only if the employee refuses to accept such a job may the employer serve an employment termination resolution. If the employer cannot provide the disabled employee with a job suitable for his/her working capability, then such an employee will be considered redundant.