Labour relations are governed by both the Employment Relationship Act and collective agreements.
The employment of foreigners is regulated by the Employment, Self-employment and Work of Foreigners Act, and other legislation. The Foreigners Act provides the regime for the entry and residence of foreigners in Slovenia.
The rights and obligations arising from employment relationships in Slovenia are regulated by the Employment Relationship Act, general collective agreements, collective agreements on the level of industrial sectors and by companies’ by-laws and employment contracts.
The Employment Relationship Act and collective agreements define the minimum level of rights for employees; company acts and employment contracts may also provide more favourable rights for employees.
An employment contract can be concluded on a permanent or fixed-term basis, with full- or part-time employment (for foreign workers, part-time employment is only possible under certain conditions).
The conclusion of an employment contract is always compulsory when elements of an employment relationship exist (i.e. a person is continuously working in an organised work process, in return for remuneration, according to instructions and under supervision etc.).
Hiring of employees
A job vacancy must be publicly announced, and the Employment Service of Slovenia (ESS) must be notified before hiring an employee. In some cases (temporary work, employment of a disabled person, managerial position in a private company), no public announcement is required, although the ESS must still be notified.
An employment contract must generally be made in writing. Still, if there is no written contract, when a dispute arises an employment relationship is presumed where elements of an employment relationship exist.
The employment contract may be concluded in a foreign language but a copy in the Slovenian language is required.
The employment contract must cover certain matters such as the names of the contracting parties, employment commencement date, employment position or type of work, place of performance, type of employment (permanent or fixed-term) and of the work (full-time or part-time), working hours, annual leave, basic salary and payment methods, notice periods, binding collective agreements and other compulsory elements prescribed by the law.
The provisions of the law automatically apply where an employment contract fails to stipulate:
- the length and distribution of daily or weekly working hours;
- a provision on salary components or other payments, the payment period, and the date and method of paying the salary;
- a provision on annual leave or the method for determining annual leave; and
- the length of the notice periods.
Working hours and annual leave
Full working time is fixed on a weekly basis. The maximum full working time is 40 hours a week. The minimum full working time is 36 hours a week, except where there is a great risk of injury or harm to health.
Full working time may not be spread over less than 4 days a week. A 30-minute paid break is included in the working time.
Workers are entitled to at least 12 hours of uninterrupted rest within 24 hours and to 24 consecutive hours of rest within 7 consecutive days. A longer break and rest period are mandatory for workers younger than 18 years.
The minimum annual leave prescribed by the law is 20 days; further criteria are specified in the collective agreements and companies’ by-laws. Workers whose jobs are particularly demanding and workers over the age of 50 are entitled to longer leave periods.
Wages, remuneration and compensation
Workers working on a full-time basis are entitled to the minimum wage and those working on a part-time basis to a proportionate amount of the minimum wage.
The minimum gross wage is set at EUR 1,024.24 per month in 2021. Additional payments (compensation for working conditions, job and business performance, seniority bonus etc.) are exempt from the minimum wage. The maximum salary or wage amounts are not prescribed, except for companies in which the state is the majority owner.
Workers are entitled to additional payment for overtime, night work and work on Sundays and public holidays. Collective agreements may provide additional compensation for special working conditions. Workers are also entitled to the reimbursement of work-related expenses, allowances for periods of service, rolled-up holiday pay and retirement severance pay.
Workers have the right to remuneration during annual leave, in the event of illness, maternity leave (a total of 12 months which may be shared by both parents and is covered by the state), and for particular personal reasons such as marriage etc.
Monthly social security contributions are paid by employers and employees (see Taxes).
The wage, reimbursement of work-related expenses and other receipts of the worker are generally paid to the worker’s bank account, although a collective agreement can lay down a different payment method. In-kind payments are provided in the manner agreed in the employment contract subject to the type of work and in accordance with custom.
Citizens of the EU, EEA and Switzerland
Citizens of the EU, EEA (Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland) and Switzerland have free access to the Slovenian labour market and hold the same status as domestic workers regarding employment or when looking for work.
EU, EEA and Swiss citizens do not need a residence permit to reside and work in Slovenia for up to 90 days. For longer periods, they must register at the administrative unit and acquire a registration certificate.
Employers (a company or an individual) from the EU, EEA and Switzerland may perform services in Slovenia via their employees, regardless of their nationality and without the need to obtain work permits. The employer must register the commencement of the employment in Slovenia at the Employment Service of Slovenia (ESS).
Foreigners from third countries
Foreigners from third countries are foreigners other than those from EU and EEA countries and Switzerland. Foreigners from third countries must have a permit in order to work in Slovenia (a special regime applies to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia). A permit is granted in the form of a single working and residence permit (a Single Permit).
A permit is not required for foreigners who are entered in the Companies Register in Slovenia as founders, partners or supervisory board members of a company, provided they do not perform commercial activities and are not registered as a company representative, for stays totalling up to 90 days a year. It is also not required for foreign diplomats, foreign reporters for foreign media, business visitors, tourist guides, apprentices, for the hosting of athletes and artists etc.
Certain categories of foreigners from third countries are granted free access to the labour market. These include foreigners who stay in Slovenia based on: a permanent residence permit; a residence permit for family reunification with a Slovenian citizen; a temporary residence permit (i.e. foreigners of Slovenian descent; victims of trafficking; victims of illegal employment); and certain categories of foreigners granted international or temporary protection.
Free access to the Slovenian labour market is also granted to family members of Slovenian citizens and family members of citizens of the EU, EEA or Switzerland as well as foreigners of Slovenian descent.
Single working and residence permit (‘Single Permit’)
A Single Permit is a working and residence permit which enables a foreigner to reside in the country and to be self-employed, employed or to work in Slovenia.
A Single Permit is issued to foreigners who come to Slovenia:
- for employment or work;
- for self-employment;
- for seasonal work exceeding 90 days;
- for cross-border provision of services via posted workers;
- as daily work migrants; and
- as long-time residents of another EU member state for employment or work.
Depending on the purpose, a Single Permit application is lodged by a foreigner or by a domestic or foreign employer. The application is lodged at the competent administration unit (or in some cases at a Slovenian embassy abroad) using the prescribed forms. According to the latest amendments to the Foreigners Act, an employer is entitled to provide additional documents in the process of issuing a single permit, without needing to submit the foreigner's authorisation. This applies when an application for the issue or extension of a single permit is lodged by the foreigner's employer.
The administrative unit checks the application and obtains a consent from the Employment Service of Slovenia (ESS) in a common procedure.
The ESS gives the following consents:
- consent for employment, self-employment or work;
- consent for employment;
- consents for specific purposes; and
- consent for the EU Blue Card.
If the conditions have been met, the ESS grants the consent and the administrative unit issues the Single Permit according to its purpose.
Consent for employment, self-employment or work
A Single Permit issued on the basis of the ESS’ consent to employment, self-employment or work grants free access to the labour market during the period of its validity.
This permit is issued for the following purposes:
- employment with any employer, including employment with several employers;
- self-employment; and
- work under a civil law contract.
This permit does not allow foreigners to work as posted workers of a foreign employer.
This permit may be granted to:
- foreigners with at least a vocational education (or a national vocational qualification obtained in Slovenia) who have been employed in Slovenia for at least 20 months within preceding 24 months, and are registered with the Slovenian social security system;
- foreigners who were employed or self-employed in Slovenia for at least 30 months during the preceding 3 years and were then registered with the compulsory social insurance schemes;
- foreigners who obtained at least a higher education degree in Slovenia in the last 2 years and intend to take up employment or pursue self-employment; and
- foreigners who finished research work and found an employer or became self-employed within 2 years after completion the research work.
An application for the permit is lodged with the competent administration unit by a foreigner or by a foreign or domestic employer.
A Single Permit for employment, self-employment or work is issued for a period of up to 1 year of employment; it may be renewed for a period of up to 2 years.
Consent for employment
A Single Permit based on the ESS’ consent for employment enables the foreigner to obtain employment only with the domestic employer that requested it.
Consent to employment is granted within the quota for the employment of foreigners; generally, only if no domestic unemployed persons are eligible for the job.
The following conditions must be met:
- the employer has entered the job vacancy in the ESS register;
- the employer is registered in the relevant register to pursue the activity of the job concerned;
- the employer is not in a winding-up or bankruptcy procedure;
- the employer is actively pursuing its business operations (which means that prior to the application: the employer had at least one person in full-time employment registered with the compulsory social insurance schemes who was employed for at least 6 months; the employer as an individual is registered to pursue an activity and was registered with the compulsory social insurance schemes for at least 6 months; receipts from the company’s business activities amounting to at least EUR 10,000 per month were recorded in its transaction account in Slovenia for at least 6 months; or the employer invested at least EUR 50,000 in the activity in which the foreigner is to carry out work if the employer was registered for a period of less than 6 months);
- the employer filed monthly withholding tax returns for employees’ income tax if workers are employed and the employer has no outstanding tax liabilities;
- the company representative is entered in the relevant register;
- an employment contract (or a civil law contract signed with the worker) is submitted; and
- no quotas have been exceeded for this type of work.
Special rules apply to high-added-value companies and start-up companies provided they fulfil the conditions set by the Investment Promotion Act.
An application for a Single Permit for employment and for an extension is lodged with the competent administration unit.
A Single Permit for employment is issued for the period indicated in the employer’s application, but for no more than 1 year.
After 1 year of employment, if the application is submitted by the same employer for the same foreigner and if other conditions are met, a Single Permit for employment may be extended by up to 1 year.
Consent for specific purposes
A Single Permit issued on the basis of the ESS’ consent can also be granted for several specific purposes, defined by the law. These are:
- seasonal labour by foreigners;
- the work of foreign representatives of Slovenian companies;
- the training, further training of foreigners, and internship;
- training at Slovenian companies;
- the cross-border provision of services by foreign companies; and
- individual services provided by foreigners.
Generally, consent for such purposes is granted based on an application filed by an employer within the scope of any quota that applies to an individual purpose.
Employment is limited to the period for which the Single Permit has been issued.
Seasonal labour by foreigners
The Single Permit for seasonal work is issued in the agriculture and forestry sectors and is only possible if labour market demand exceeds supply. For the purpose of seasonal work, the employer and worker can conclude a fixed-duration employment relationship. If the work is carried out on the basis of a civil law contract, the ESS grants its consent without verifying the state of affairs in the labour market.
A Single Permit for seasonal work is issued following an application submitted by the employer at a competent administrative unit if seasonal work exceeds 90 days. It may be extended or re-issued a few times a year if the total duration of the work does not exceed 6 months (up to 7 months in exceptional cases determined by law) within a single calendar year.
For seasonal work of up to 90 days, the ESS issues a work permit for seasonal work based on an application submitted by the employer with the ESS.
The work of foreign representatives of Slovenian companies
Consent for the work of foreign representatives is granted based on an application filed by a foreigner or domestic or foreign employer.
The consent allows a foreigner to work as a representative of a Slovenian company; a representative of the branch of a foreign entity; or the representative of a foreign sole trader.
Consent is granted within the quota for the employment of foreigners. The ESS grants its consent once the following conditions have been met:
- the employer is actively pursuing its business operations (which means that prior to the application the employer had at least one person in full-time employment registered with the compulsory social insurance schemes and who was employed for at least 6 months; the employer as an individual is registered to pursue the activity and was registered with the compulsory social insurance schemes for at least 6 months; receipts from the company’s business activities amounting to at least EUR 10,000 per month were recorded in its transaction account in Slovenia for at least 6 months; or the employer invested at least EUR 50,000 in the activity in which the foreigner is to carry out work if the employer had been registered for a period of less than 6 months);
- the employer filed monthly withholding tax returns for income from the employment and has no outstanding tax liabilities at the time of the application;
- the legal representative of the employer is entered in the relevant register;
- an employment contract or a civil law contract signed with the worker is submitted; and
- that no quotas have been exceeded for this type of work.
A company or sole trader employing 10 or fewer workers may obtain 1 consent for a foreign representative of a company (or sole trader) and 1 consent for a foreign representative of a branch, irrespective of the number of branches. A company or a sole trader employing 11 to 50 workers may obtain 2 consents for a foreign representative of a company and 2 consents for foreign representatives for a branch, irrespective of the number of branches.
A foreign representative shall be issued a Single Permit for a period of up to 1 year. It may be re-issued based on an application filed by the employer or foreigner supported by attached documentation.
If a foreigner does not reside in Slovenia, they may perform the function of a company representative for up to 90 days in a calendar year without requiring a Single Permit. In such a case, it is sufficient if such a person registers with the ESS the performance of the short-term work as a representative by the commencement of the work. The registration of the representative’s work is made using the e-form published on the ESS website.
The training and further training of foreigners, and intership
The training, further training of foreigners, and internship is only provided for if approved by a competent economic association, chamber or ministry (unless it is carried out by themselves). It is generally conducted under an employment contract.
The ESS grants its consent once the following conditions have been met:
- an employment contract or a civil law contract for the purpose of training, further training, or internship is submitted;
- a training, further training, or internship programme is submitted;
- a positive opinion given by an economic association, the competent chamber, or the ministry responsible for the relevant area of activity is submitted;
- the foreigner has previously not attended a training, further training, or internship programme with similar contents; and
- the employer filed monthly withholding tax returns for income from the employment and has no outstanding tax liabilities at the time of the application;
- there are no suitable unemployed persons on the register of unemployed persons; and
- the foreigner has obtained the level of a post-secondary or higher education degree in the 2 years before the application is submitted, or submits proof of enrolment in a study programme that leads to the acquisition of post-secondary or higher education.
The Single Permit for this purpose is issued based on an application by a domestic employer or a foreigner for the period of 1 year.
The training or further training of foreigners may be extended by 6 months. For training in the field of medicine (specialisation), the training programme may be extended until the specialisation has been completed.
Foreigners who hold a valid single permit issued on the basis of consent for training, further training, or internship may change jobs with the same employer, change employers, or enter into a new civil law contract only on the basis of a new single permit.
Training of posted and Slovenian workers in associated companies
Training in companies may be carried out provided the company established in Slovenia and the company established in a third country are members of the same corporate group, or in cases of business and technical cooperation or the transfer of technology.
The permit may be granted if direct capital ties link the companies, when they are in the majority ownership of one company, or when one of the companies has at least a 10% share in the other company, amounting to a minimum of EUR 10,000.
The Single Permit for this purpose is issued based on an application submitted by the foreign employer or the foreigner and the training is carried out in a Slovenian corporate entity under a training contract between the Slovenian and foreign entities.
A foreign entity may assign a worker to train at a Slovenian entity several times, but for no longer than a period of 6 months within 2 years.
Cross-border provision of services
Workers posted for other duties
A foreign employer (with or without a commercial presence in Slovenia) may provide cross-border services in Slovenia via posted workers. Capital ties for the purpose of the posting are deemed to exist between companies under the majority ownership of one company or between companies when one company, directly or indirectly, exercises a controlling influence over the other (based on its ownership, equity holding or management rules).
A foreign employer may provide services by posting either:
- foreign workers in its own name and for its own account on the basis of a contract concluded with a client from Slovenia for whom the services are intended; or
- its workers to an organisational unit via which the foreign employer is linked by capital ties.
A foreign company may perform services via seconded workers who have been employed with the foreign company for at least 9 months. The services involving posted workers can be performed up to 3 months within a calendar year.
If the performance of the contract is prolonged for objective reasons, the Single Permit may be extended for a period of no more than 1 month.
The Single Permit may be extended or renewed under conditions provided by the Foreigners Act.
During the performance of services in Slovenia, the employer is obliged to guarantee its seconded workers the rights pertaining to seconded workers laid down in the Employment Relationships Act.
Single Permits are issued on the basis of an application submitted by a foreign employer or a foreigner.
The movement of persons within a group of companies
A foreign employer with capital ties with a company based in Slovenia may be issued a Single Permit for the movement of persons among the companies of such a group, generally for a duration of up to 1 year.
This permit may be issued for:
- executive employees (management, supervisory, human resources roles);
- specialists with at least vocational training and special knowledge essential to the area of activity of the company for which the worker is posted; and
- trainees with at least a higher education degree who have been transferred for professional development purposes or training in business techniques or method.
The Single Permit may only be issued for workers who have been employed by the foreign employer for at least 9 months and in the case of trainees at least 6 months.
A foreign employer or foreigner submits an application for a Single Permit with the administrative unit, the Slovenian Embassy or a consulate abroad.
Individual contractual services provided by foreigners
A foreign self-employed person or a foreigner not registered for the performance of an activity may only obtain a Single Permit to carry out contractual services in cases where the specialist knowledge of the service provider is required.
The Single Permit is issued based on an application filed by the foreigner. A Single Permit may be issued several times within a single calendar year but for a total duration of no more than 3 months. Foreigners providing services in the fields of science, culture, sports, health and education may be issued a Single Permit with a validity of up to 1 year if the conditions for entering into an employment relationship are not in place.
EU Blue Card
The EU Blue Card is a temporary residence and work permit for highly educated workers from third countries. It is issued by an EU member state and allows the holder to enter, live and work in an EU member state.
An application for the issue of a Blue Card must be submitted by a foreigner with a diplomatic representation of Slovenia abroad or by their employer with the competent administrative unit in Slovenia.
The Blue Card is issued by a competent administration unit based on the consent of the ESS.
The Blue Card is valid for 2 years and can be extended by another 3 years, unless the employment contract itself is concluded for less than 2 years. In that case, the Blue Card can be issued for less than 2 years as well, but for 3 months longer than the actual employment contract. In the case of extending a Blue Card, the same rule applies – if the employment contract is extended by less than 3 years then so too is the Blue Card, but it must remain valid for 3 months longer than the contract.
During the first 2 years of legal employment a foreign worker can change employers based on a written agreement of the competent public authority; after 2 years, such an agreement is no longer necessary although the worker must still inform the competent public authority of their intentions.
Self-employment after 1 year of legal residence in Slovenia
Self-employment is possible after a foreigner has legally lived in Slovenia for 1 year without interruption.
Legal residence is possible on the basis of a temporary residence permit issued for one of the following purposes:
- work in research and higher education;
- family reunification;
- a national interest;
- a long-term resident of another EU country; and
- a foreigner of Slovenian descent.
The condition of having 1 year of uninterrupted residence does not apply to foreigners who are registered as persons pursuing a professional activity in a self-employed capacity in the Slovenian Business Register (such as lawyers, architects, cultural workers, athletes etc.).
The application in such cases is submitted with the competent administration unit. The ESS’ consent is not required.
The permit is issued for a period of 1 year and can be extended to up to 2 years.
Step-by-step procedure for employing foreigners
Obtaining a single working and residence permit
A Single Permit is a decision issued by the administrative unit in agreement with the ESS in the form of a residence card.
A Single Permit is issued by the administrative unit where the foreigner resides or will reside or by the administrative unit where the employer’s registered office is located.
An application for a Single Permit may be filed by a foreigner or their employer. As a rule, a foreigner files the application for the first Single Permit with the relevant diplomatic mission abroad (DMA) while the employer may file an application with the DMA or the competent administrative unit in Slovenia. Under the Foreigners Act, some categories of workers are entitled to lodge an application at an administrative unit on the condition they are already legally present in Slovenia (such as a sports trainer, a professional sportsperson or a private sports worker; a foreign media reporter or a foreign correspondent who is already accredited in Slovenia; a foreigner who, based on the opinion of the ministry responsible, demonstrates the existence of the national interest in the fields of education, science or culture.
Foreigners who legally reside in Slovenia at the time the first residence permit is issued will receive their first residence permit from the administrative unit.
The application for a Single Permit is filed on a form prescribed for each type of permit.
The application form lists all the documents that must be attached to it so as to comply with the conditions relating to residence and employment.
The applicant must provide a passport with validity exceeding the intended residence in Slovenia by at least 3 months, sufficient funds for subsistence and adequate health insurance as well as supporting documents required for the particular type of employment or work, e.g. employment contract, certificate etc.
The administrative unit verifies the formal completeness of the application and starts the procedure to establish compliance with the conditions applying to an individual type of Single Permit in line with the Foreigners Act and at the same time sends the application for consent to the ESS which verifies compliance with the conditions set out in the Employment, Self-employment and Work of Foreigners Act and other labour legislation. Both procedures are concurrent.
If the conditions have been met, after receiving the consent from the ESS the administrative unit issues the foreigner a residence card bearing the Single Permit mark. The foreigner is given a residence card and an informative list with information on the elements of employment which the foreigner must always carry with them, along with their residence card.
A Single Permit is granted for the period of the validity of an employment contract or agreement on the performance of work, but for no longer than 1 year and can be extended by 2 years.
Registration of residence with an administrative unit in Slovenia
A foreigner must register their permanent residence at an administrative unit within 8 days of the day they find accommodation and/or the day their permanent residence permit has been received. The same rule applies to temporary residence; temporary residence must be registered with an administrative unit within 8 days of the date of finding accommodation and/or when their temporary residence permit or certificate of registration of residence in Slovenia was received.
If a foreigner does not hold a residence permit or a certificate of registration of residence in Slovenia and is not accommodated in a tourist, catering or hospitality facility, they must register themselves with the competent police station within 3 days of crossing the state border.
Registration with the Health Insurance Institute
Prior to the commencement of work, an employer (or a self-employed foreigner) must register the commencement of the foreigner’s employment or work at the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia.
Registration with the FURS
At the same time, the foreign worker must register with the Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia (FURS), which issues a tax number for income tax purposes.
|Steps in employing a non-EEA foreigner in Slovenia|
|Non_EEA foreigner: Obtaining a single work and residence permit (Single Permit or Blue Card)||Foreigner or Employer||Slovenian embassies or consulates abroador Administrative unit||1 -2 months||€120-133or€86.5|
|EEA foreigner:Obtaining a registration of residence certificate||Foreigner||Administrative unit||1 -2 months||€14.16|
|Registration of residence||Foreigner||Administrative unit||1 day|
|Registration of commencement of employment||Employer||Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia||1 day|
|Obtaining the tax number for income tax purposes||Foreigner||FURS||1 day|
|Notification of the EES before hiring a new employee||Employer||EES||1 day|
|Conclusion of the employment contract||EmployerForeigner||1 day|
The employer’s obligations
Any employment contract concluded with a foreigner must be in line with the minimum requirements of Slovenian labour legislation (minimum wage, work breaks, holidays and other working conditions). The Employment and Work of Foreigners Act forbids employers imposing costs for obtaining work permits and other administrative costs on employees and prescribes the minimum housing and hygiene standards where accommodation is provided to foreign workers. Employers who fail to meet the legal requirements may not employ foreigners for a period of up to 10 years.