Good practice examples (individual)

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CASE STUDY no. 1

07. 03. 2017.

The Participants in the Dispute

An individual labour dispute was initiated in order to determine the entitlement to the reimbursement of commuting expenses at the proposal of the claimant – the employee, with which the employer – the Institute agreed.

The parties to this individual labour dispute are:

– The employee;

– The employer – the Insitute.

This study analyses the role of the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labour Disputes in the process of resolving the individual labour dispute, which arose between the employee and the employer, regarding the reimbursement of commuting expenses.

The Subject of the Dispute

The subject of this individual labour dispute is determining the entitlement to the reimbursement of commuting expenses.

How was the Arbiter included

With the decision of the Director of the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labour Disputes dated 18 December 2015, Danka Jaćimovic was appointed for the arbiter in this case.

Short Review of the Procedure

The arbiter held three public debates in the premises of the employer, attended by the employee and the attorneys of the employer.

The employee submitted the Proposal for the initiation of an individual labour dispute to the Republic Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labour Disputes, in order to determine the entitlement to the reimbursement of commuting expenses for the period from April 2013 to November 2015. At the public hearings, the parties agreed that the actual period is from May 2013 to November 2015, during which the employee was not given commuting expenses.

The attorneys of the employer explained that there was no basis for paying the reimbursement of commuting expenses to the employee for the period from May 2013 to November 2015, since the General Act of the employer does not regulate the reimbursement of commuting expenses for the territory outside the municipalities of the City where the employee resides, because the employer only provides transport within the territory of the municipalities of the City.

The Arbiter determined that there were the Regulations on the Compensation of Staff Costs of the Institute as of 21 April 2005, which established the entitlement to the reimbursement of commuting expenses for employees from the place of residence to the place of employment. The Regulations were amended by the Decision of the Board of Directors from 4 April 2013 and the Decision of the Board of Directors from 26 August 2013 so that the employee was not granted the entitlement to the reimbursement of commuting expenses (from home to work), but partly, on the territory of the municipalities of the City where the employer organized his own transport, while outside the territory of the municipalities of the City, the employee was not entitled to reimbursement. The new Regulations on the reimbursement of staff expenses at the Institute determines the entitlement to reimbursement of commuting expenses of the employees, so that the employees, from the date of entry into force of this Regulation (from December 2015), will be entitled to reimbursement of commuting expenses, namely from the place of employment to the place of residence.

The arbiter established that:

– The employer did not pay to employee the reimbursement of commuting expenses for the period from May 2013 to November 2015, upon which the employee and attorneys of the employer agreed;

– The employee was present at work based on the record of working hours for the period from May 2013 to November 2015;

– The employee had commuting expenses as evidenced by monthly and single tickets delivered in the amount of the price on the submitted tickets (single and monthly) for the period from May 2013 to November 2015. The price of monthly and single tickets did not change for the specified period.

Pursuant to Article 118, paragraph 1, item 1 and Article 9, paragraph 1 of the Labor Law (‘Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia’ No. 25 / 05,61 / 05, 54/09, 32/13 and 75/14), the employee is entitled to the reimbursement of commuting expenses, and the General Legal Act of the employer determines unfavourable work conditions. In accordance with the above stated, the decision was made that the employee is entitled to the reimbursement of commuting expenses.

The Outcome of the Procedure

The arbiter made a decision in the procedure of an individual labour dispute between the employee and the employer. The decision established the employee’s entitlement to the reimbursement of commuting expenses, by evaluating the provisions of the Labour Law and especially referring to the employee’s right, based on Article 118 and having in mind Article 9 of the Labour Law. Pursuant to the Labour Law the employee is entitled to the reimbursement of commuting expenses, therefore, the General Legal Act cannot provide working conditions, which are less favourable for the employee than the conditions determined by the Law. If this is the case, the provisions of the Law shall apply.