This article, authored by Diana Dzubur, was originally published in the 2016 European Update Brochure published by Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP.
Ongoing reform of Slovenian Labour Law continued with the adoption of the Employment, Self-employment and Work of Foreigners' Act, which came into force on 1 September 2015.
Slovenian Labour Law, as applicable to foreigners working in Slovenia, had to be amended in light of the new provisions of the Act. As a result of these changes, a single application procedure now applies to obtain a permit for third-country nationals to reside and work in the territory of Slovenia as well as a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in Slovenia.
The new procedure enables all foreigners (except for those falling into specifcally exempt categories), who do not have an express right to freely access the labour market, to apply for a single permit for residency and employment, self-employment or labour in Slovenia. This so-called 'one stop-shop procedure', simplifes the realisation of the free access to the labour market principle. The application for a single permit must be fled with the territorially competent administrative unit, and the Employment Service then issues the relevant consent, provided that the conditions for granting the consent are met. Based on the issued consent, and during the term of its validity, the foreigner can perform work:
- on a civil law contract;
- on an employment contract with one or several employees; or
- a self-employed person.
The Act outlines the specifc conditions that must be met in order to obtain the consent of the Employment Service including conditions related to the foreigners' education, previous work status in Slovenia, as well specifc conditions, imposed on the employer in case employee status is sought. The latter includes new prerequisites, such as:
- general rule on full-time employment of a foreign employee;
- of a winding-up or bankruptcy of the employer;
- fulflment of all tax obligations; and
- of suitable unemployed persons. (This fnal condition is not absolute, given that the Ministry of Labour may dispose of this condition in specifc cases).
The single permit procedure applies to requests for the EU Blue Card for highly quced foreign employees, which was enacted in the previous 2011 Act.
Single working permits
In addition, the Act introduces other categories of foreign workers, including seasonal workers (i.e. workers who will work in Slovenia for no more than 90 days, on a seasonal work permit). If workers engage in seasonal work lasting more than 90 days, an application for a single permit must be submitted.
If a foreigner intends to be self-employed, a simplified procedure applies. No consent of the Employment Service is required and a foreigner may be self-employed after one year of uninterrupted legal residence in Slovenia.
When a single permit is first acquired, its validity is tied to the period for which an agreement had been concluded. Nevertheless, the validity of the first single permit is limited to a maximum of one year. Single permits may be prolonged for an additional two years, however the application procedures must be completed again. The single permit is issued in the practical form of a card.
While these changes were introduced to more efficiently control legality of residence and employment of foreigners in Slovenia, the Act provides for higher penalties in case of breaches of the imposed obligations, such as failure to obtain the necessary consent, engagement in work outside the scope of the consent, as well as other infringements of the Act. The employer may face penalties in amounts ranging from €3,000 to €30,000, while an employer legally engaged in the supply of temporary agency work may face penalties of up to €75,000, depending on the severity of the breach.