The Protector of Citizens requested the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy and the Tax Administration to rectify systemic shortcomings in the cases of violating citizens’ rights by the employers and that they act according to the Criminal Procedure Code in case of suspicion that some of the criminal acts related to labor have been committed.
Following the complaint about labor rights violation, the Protector of Citizens initiated the investigation of controlling work regularity and legality of these bodies to which the complainant turned for help and which transferred to her the entire job of rectifying the irregularities.
The Protector of Citizens ascertained in the investigation that the complainant's employer had sold the company and during her maternity leave, registered her as an employee of his other fictitious company, and that he did not pay taxes and contributions, which was why she did not have valid health care booklet for herself and the child. In addition, she was denied the right to compulsory social insurance after returning from maternity leave after giving birth to the first child, which indirectly affected her inability to exercise the right to salary compensation during pregnancy with the second child, the one that she was at when addressing the Protector of Citizens.
Amid these circumstances, the complainant was not even able to obtain the termination of her employment contract, thus preventing her from registering with the National Employment Service and exercising her statutory rights in the event of unemployment. She has also been prevented from seeking employment with another employer, because she is still employed in a company that exists only formally and whose accountable person is inaccessible to state authorities.
In this procedure, the Protector of Citizens established that the competent authorities only formally undertook actions within their competence, which did not have a real effect on the exercise of rights that have not been exercised to date and that by giving priority to form over substance, the complainant remained neglected and invisible to the system.
The Protector of Citizens determined that none of the competent bodies undertook activities to regulate the legal status of the complainant, despite the indisputable fact that the complainant’s employer was evading the laws and bodies of the Republic of Serbia. This job was transferred to the complainant by referring her to various bodies and instructing her to regulate her own status, although she was not authorized to and was not able to ensure the availability of the employer to the authorities, nor to force him to perform his duties.
The Protector of Citizens reminds that two years ago, after 22 similar complaints were received; he issued a recommendation for rectifying the shortcomings, which have only been partially acted upon to date, and that the systemic problems covered by that recommendation are still pending.
Given that, from 2018 until today, the competent authorities have not taken the necessary measures to amend the regulations to ensure timely action of the authorities in case the employer acts illegally, circumvents the laws and makes himself inaccessible to the competent authorities, the Protector of Citizens is again asking them to rectify systemic shortcomings and to act in similar cases in accordance with the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code.