Engage In Kosovo

Table of Contents

About Kosovo

Capital City

Pristina

Population

As of March 2024, the estimated population of Kosovo is 1.7 million.

Currency

The currency in Kosovo is the Euro (EUR). The currency symbol is €.

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Overview

 Kosovo, a disputed territory located in Southeast Europe, is a landlocked country in the Balkans. It shares borders with Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. This region was historically known as Kosovo and Metohia, an autonomous region within Serbia from 1945 to 1989. However, in 2008, Kosovo declared its independence, becoming the youngest country in Europe. Despite its independent status, not all countries recognize Kosovo as a sovereign nation, with Serbia, Russia, and a few others still considering it part of Serbia. Kosovo is characterized by its mountainous terrain, with high and rugged mountains forming natural boundaries between neighboring countries. Its geography mainly consists of flat plains that are extensively utilized for agriculture, while some areas are dotted with low rolling hills. The country has transitioned to a market economy, where goods and services are priced through a free market system. It is a member of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA). The government is structured as a republic, with the president serving as the chief of state and the prime minister as the head of government. Kosovo’s complex history, disputed status, and distinctive geography make it a fascinating and unique destination. The region offers a blend of cultural influences, with a mixture of Serbian and Albanian ethnicity. From its rich cultural heritage to its stunning natural landscapes, Kosovo is a country that continues to evolve and captivate visitors with its intriguing past, vibrant present, and promising future.

Employment Relationship

Permanent Employment

Per Kosovo's labor law, employment contracts made for an indefinite period are considered permanent employment contracts. An employment contract that contains no indication of its duration shall be deemed to be for an indefinite period. Additionally, a fixed-term contract that is expressly or tacitly renewed for a continued period of employment of more than 10 years shall be deemed a contract for an indefinite period of time. Indefinite term contracts can be terminated by either party by giving a notice to the other.

Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

Kosovo's labor law limits the duration of fixed-term contracts to 10 years. A contract for a fixed term expressly or tacitly renewed for a continued period of employment of more than ten years is considered a contract for an indefinite period of time. Employees with fixed-term contracts are entitled to the same rights as full-time employees. Kosovo's labor law distinguishes between employees on a fixed-term contract and employees who conclude a contract for a specified task or duty. The duration of a contract for a specified task may not exceed 120 days within a year.

Temporary Employment Contratcs

Kosovo's Labor Law allows the use of contracts for specific tasks and duties. The duration of a contract for a specified task may not exceed 120 days within a year. The labor law provides no guidance on temporary employment agencies. An employee can be reassigned temporarily with consent, to another employer, on the basis of an agreement between two employers for emergency purposes. An employer receiving a temporarily reassigned employee shall conclude an employment contract with the employee. After the work is completed, the employees have the right to return to work to the previous employer in the same post or some other post that corresponds to the professional qualification.

Probationary Period

Kosovo's Labor Law requires probationary periods to be defined in the employment contract. Probationary periods may not exceed six months in duration. During the probationary period, the employer or the employee may terminate the employment relationship by giving a notice period of seven days.

Working Hours

Kosovo's labor law indicates that the standard full-time workweek is 40 hours. The maximum regular working hours of employees under 18 years of age cannot exceed 30 hours per week. For employees whose work exposes them to harmful health impacts, the working hours may be reduced to no less than 20 hours per week, per Health Ministry regulations. Employees working in such jobs shall enjoy all the rights of full-time employees.  In extraordinary cases, such as during periods of increased work volume, employees may work beyond 40 hours at an employer's request. Employees who work more than 40 hours per week are entitled to overtime. Overtime is limited to a maximum of 8 hours per week. Overtime is prohibited for employees under 18 years of age. Also, a part-time employee cannot work more than full-time working hours. Employers must keep a full record of overtime performed and produce it upon request to the Labor Inspectorate.

Holidays / PTO

Statutory Holidays

New Year-January 1-2; Independence Day of Republic of Kosovo-February 17; Constitution Day-April 9; International Labor Day-May 1; Europe Day-May 9; Eid ul Fitr-One day-Variable; Eid ul Adha-One day-Variable; Christmas (Catholic)-December 25; Christmas (Orthodox)-January 7; Easter Monday (Catholic) - Variable; Easter Monday (Orthodox)- Variable.

Paid Annual Leave

Kosovo's Labor Law entitles all employees to a paid annual leave of four weeks whether they are working full-time or part-time. 1 day of leave is added for every 5 years of service for all employees. Employees who work in harmful conditions are entitled to at least 30 working days of annual leave per calendar year. Mothers with children up to 3 years of age, single parents, and persons with disabilities are entitled to 2 extra days of annual leave. The annual leave for teachers and other educational and administrative staff in schools and other educational institutions is to be used during summer vacations. It can last as long as the leave of the educational institution. Public holidays coinciding with working days are not counted as annual leave. If the employee falls sick during the use of annual leave, the sick leave is not counted as annual leave. The employer decides the schedule of annual leave in agreement with the employee. An employee must inform their employer at least 15 days before the commencement of annual leave. Annual leave can be used in 2 or more parts: in this case, the main part must last at least 10 days. All annual leave must be used by June 30 of the following calendar year.

Sick Leave

Per Kosovo's labor law, an employee is entitled to fully paid sick leave of up to 20 days. After the first 20 days of sick leave and based on the employee's request, an employer may allow the employee to take unpaid leave. In cases of occupational injury or illness, 70% of the employee's salary is paid as an allowance for a maximum of 90 days after ten days of absence from work. The employer is responsible for the payment of sick leave. An employee is also entitled to 1 day of paid leave in every case of voluntary blood donation. The sick leave entitlements described above set a statutory floor for employees, but employers are free to offer more generous provisions in individual or collective agreements. 

Maternity Leave

Kosovo's labor law provides 12 months of maternity leave to female employees. Female employees can begin maternity leave up to 45 days before the expected date of delivery. The employer can request that the pregnant employee start her maternity leave 28 days before birth if the employer finds that the woman cannot perform the functions of her employment. For the first 6 months of maternity leave, benefits are paid by the employer, with compensation equal to 70% of the employee's basic salary. The next 3 months' payment is borne by the Government of Kosovo, with compensation equal to 50% of the employee's basic salary. Employees may then extend their leave for another 3 months without payment. If the employee does not want to take the leave for the last 3 months, she must inform her employer of the same at least 15 days before the end of 9 months' leave.

Paternity Leave

Kosovan labor law grants paid paternity leave of 3 days at the child's birth or 2 days upon adoption. Government employees are entitled to 3 days' leave. Additionally, fathers can request an unpaid leave of up to 2 weeks after a child's birth or adoption, at any time before the child reaches the age of 3. The employee must inform his employer of his intention of taking this leave at least 10 days in advance. The child's father can avail himself of remaining maternity leave if the mother dies or abandons the child. The last 6 months of leave can be transferred to the father with the mother's consent. The full maternity leave entitlement can be used by the individual looking after the child if both parents die or abandon the child.

Termination of Employment

Notice Period

The notice period for the termination of indefinite term contracts in Kosovo depends on the length of service as follows: 6 months to 2 years of employment – 30 calendar days of notice 2 years to 10 years of employment – 45 calendar days of notice More than 10 years of employment – 60 calendar days of notice An employment contract for a fixed term can be terminated with a 30-day notice period. An employer that does not intend to renew a fixed-term contract must inform the employee at least 30 days before the contract's expiration. Failure to provide this notice entitles the employee to an extension of employment with full pay for 30 calendar days. During a trial period, the employer and employee can terminate the employment relationship through an advance notice of 7 days. The decision to terminate an employment contract must be issued in writing and include the dismissal grounds. The employer must pay the employee's salary and other allowances up to the day of termination of the employment relationship. The employer may deny the employee access to the company premises during the notice period.

Severance Benefits

In Kosovo, there are no provisions for severance payments in cases of individual dismissals. Kosovan labor law defines collective dismissals as dismissals where at least 10% of the employees, but not less than 20 employees, are discharged within 6 months. The labor law provides for severance pay in cases of collective dismissals, based on the employee's length of service as follows: 2 to 4 years of service – 1 month's salary 5 to 9 years of service – 2 months' salary 10 to 19 years of service – 3 months' salary 20 to 29 years of service – 6 months' salary More than 30 years of service – 7 months' salary

Social Security

Pension

Kosovo has a two-tiered pension system, which consists of a basic pension and a contributory pension. The basic pension is paid to all permanent Kosovo citizens who have reached the age of 65, without consideration for their employment status. The contributory pension is paid to persons who have been employed in Kosovo and paid social security contributions before January 1, 1999. In addition to this, employees may voluntarily save in other pension insurance schemes. The amount of basic pension is EUR 100 (Euros) per month.  The amount of monthly contributory pensions is dependent on education as follows: Pensioner with no education or primary education – EUR 182 Pensioner with secondary education – EUR 198 Pensioner with higher education – EUR 214 Pensioner with a university education – EUR 265. Both employees and employers are required to pay monthly contributions to the mandatory pension scheme.

Dependents/Survivors Benefit

In Kosovo, the law provides family pensions to family members of deceased insured employees under the age of 65 who died after January 1, 1999, and who had paid pension contributions for at least 15 years. If an employee died after the above date due to an occupational injury or disease, their family members would be eligible for a pension irrespective of the period of contributions. The following persons are eligible to receive benefits: Spouses up to the age of 65 years who provide evidence for marriage (must be unemployed or self-employed) Spouses under the age of 65 years who have been declared permanently disabled Children under the age of 18 years (or 26 years, if they provide evidence of attending university). The amount of a family pension is the same as the basic age pension: EUR 100 (Euros) per month. If both a spouse and children are surviving dependents, the pension amount is increased by 20%. Both employees and employers are required to pay monthly contributions to the mandatory pension scheme.

Invalidity Benefit

Kosovo provides disability pensions to persons between 18 and 65 who have a permanent disability due to work injury or illness. Such persons must submit a medical assessment stating the extent of disability and prognosis for permanence. Persons who continue to be employed, self-employed, or who are receiving an old-age pension are not eligible to receive a disability pension. The amount of the disability pension is EUR 100 (Euros) per month. For paraplegic and tetraplegic persons, the monthly pension with a caregiver is EUR 375, and the monthly pension without a caregiver is EUR 150. The monthly pension for blind persons is EUR 125 (EUR 125 for caregivers).  Both employees and employers are required to pay monthly contributions to the mandatory pension scheme.

Taxation of Compensation and Benefits

Personal Income Tax

The tax year in Kosovo is the same as the calendar year. Taxpayers can be resident or non-resident natural persons, personal business enterprises, partnerships, or associations of persons who receive or accrue gross income in Kosovo. Residents are taxed on their income from sources both inside and outside Kosovo and non-residents are taxed on their income from sources in Kosovo. There are no personal allowances in Kosovo. Income tax rates range from 0-10% of annual income based on a progressive income scale.

Immigration

Types of Visas

There are 2 categories of visas issued in Kosovo: Air transit visas are issued to foreign nationals who wish to leave the airport's international transit zone while continuing their journey to another country. They are valid for 15 days and can be issued for 1 or more transit passages. Multiple air transit visas may be issued for a period of up to 6 months. Entry visas are issued for residence in Kosovo. These can be issued for single or multiple entries. The period of validity of an entry visa may not exceed 5 years. Foreign nationals who wish to study in Kosovo are required to obtain temporary residence visas. This visa type is given to students for secondary education as well as higher education. Students must meet the following conditions: Be enrolled in a secondary or higher education institute Are a part of a student exchange program Present the consent of their parents (for secondary education) Provide evidence for sufficient means of subsistence for the duration of the stay in Kosovo. A temporary residence visa for secondary and higher education is issued for 1 year.

Work Permit

A foreign national can work in Kosovo with a work permit issued for residence and employment. The foreign national can work only in those jobs for which a residence permit for work or certificate for employment notification has been issued. There is an annual quota for foreign employees in Kosovo, decided by the government. Employers may apply for work permits under this quota. Work permits based on quota are extended to employees who have valid travel documents, sufficient means of subsistence, and medical insurance. They must submit the following documents: Copy of employment contract Proof of education, qualifications, and training Evidence on registration of the trade company or association in Kosovo. Work permits may be issued outside the annual quota to the following persons: Daily immigrants on the condition of reciprocity Key personnel, service providers, employees, and their family members, whose status is regulated by the Stabilisation and Association Agreement and the interaction between the European Union and its states and the Republic of Kosovo A foreign national working in private companies which are subcontractors to diplomatic missions that operate in the Republic of Kosovo A foreign national who performs major duties for trade companies, associations, and representations Teachers who teach in educational institutions in one of the languages of ethnic minorities A foreign national who is transferred within the internal transfer of staff within trade companies and other personnel required determined in advance under the contract A work permit is issued by the Department for Citizenship, Asylum and Migration (DCAM) after confirmation from the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare. Work permits can be issued to foreign nationals for the period required to carry out the tasks (up to 1 year). 

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