Pregnancy, maternity, and leave related to work-life balance for workers (Directive 92/85, relevant provisions of Directives 2006/54, 2010/18 and 2019/1158)

AuthorVesna Simovic-Zvicer
5 Pregnancy, maternity, and leave related to work-life balance for workers
(Directive 92/85, relevant provisions of Direct ives 2006/54, 2010/18 and
5.1 General (legal) context
5.1.1 Surveys and reports on the practical difficulties lin ked to work-life balance
In the last five years there has been no research in Montenegro that provides insight into
difficulties that workers face in practice in relation to work-life balan ce issues.
According to the official data, activity rates are the highest in the 25-49 age group (86 %
for men and 73.6 % for wo men). Out of the total number of employees, 27 % w ork in
enterprises belonging to the state or municipality. Most workers (54 %) are emplo yed in
private companies and of this workforce, just under half (47. 4 %) are women.60
Of all persons in employment in 2018, by employment status, most (190 132) are
employees, of whom 85 477 or 45 % are women.
Most women working for the companies surveyed are employed full time (97.96 %), while
significantly less are employed in part-time work. It is interesting to note that the number
of employed women in 2013 was 54.13 %, which is higher than the number of women
employed in 2017 (40.96 %). On the other hand, comparative data also indicate changes
in the number of women working full time (2013: 88.15 %, 2017: 97.9 6 %).61
5.1.2 Other issues
In Montenegro there are 21 public pre-school institutions with a network of 103
educational units and 23 private pre-schools licensed by the Ministry of Education. Private
pre-school facilities exist in just a few urban environments and are attended by only a
small number of children (up to 3 % of the total number of children).
Pre-school nurseries and kindergartens are attended by children up to six years of age,
i.e. until they go to elementary school. Children aged up to three attend nurseries, while
children aged three to six attend kindergarten, and are arranged in age groups. Most
children attend full-time programmes (more than 98 % of children in nurseries attend full
time and 88 % in kindergartens), while less than 2 % of children in nurseries and 11 % of
children in kindergartens attend half-day programmes.
There are fe es for children to attend a pre-school institution and to eat while they are
there. Single parent s pay 50 % of the cost of fees and food expenses, while the fees for
children who have no parents, whose parents are beneficiaries of family benefits and those
from the most vulnerable groups are paid by the social work centre in the municipa lity
where the child or parent is resident.
The coverage of children at tending pre-school varies from high (88 %) in the central and
southern regions, to very low in the northern region (27 %). The basic reasons for the low
level of at tendance in the north are the disp ersal of the settlements an d the distance to
59 See: Masselot, A. (2018) Family leave: enforcement of the protection against dismissal and unfavourable
treatment, European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination, available at
dismissal-and-unfavourable-treatment-pdf-962-kb and McColgan, A. (2015) Measures to address the
challenges of work-life balance in the EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, European
network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination, available at
61 Ombudsman (2019) Report for 2018, p. 173. Available at:
the educational unit. Thes e municipalities are also characterised by low levels of
development, higher poverty rates and higher unemployment rates than the rest of
Montenegro. In order to increase the c overage of children, in 2015, UNICEF and the
Ministry of Educati on launched a public campaign All in the Kindergarten to promote
early childhood education and education in five municipalities in t he north of the country
where the enrolment rate is the lowest.62
5.1.3 Overview of national acts on work-life balance issues
Under the new Labour Law, special protection o f women at work includes legal provisions
relating to reconciliation of professional and family obligations.
According to the Labour Law, wom en enjoy the right to protection based on motherhood,
after the end of maternity leave, or parental leave, and in some cases, the child's father
also has special protection. In this respect, there are three sit uations that are covered:
protection of single parents;
the protection of a mother with a child who is younger than three years old, in some
cases with a child younger than five;
protection of parents who have a child with disabilities.
Article 17(6) of the Labour Law stipulates that the employee has the right to special
protection for the care of a child in accordance with the law. It follows from this wording
that the right to special protection in this case appli es to both the m other and the fathe r
of the child. This provision is elaborated in th e following text of the law, making the
distinction between regular childcare and care for a child with disabilities.
A different level of work security is provided for a single parent compared to a situation
where the child has both parents. The prot ection of employment status is provid ed for
single parents with a child under seven years of age and is considered as a ban on contract
The Labour Law in Article 108 provides the following:
(1) The employer cannot cancel the contract of employment of an employed woman
during pregnancy and during her use of the right to maternity and par ental leave.
(2) As an exception to Paragraph 1 of this Article, an employed woman’s employment
contract may be terminated due to serious breaches of duties at work or existence
of a reason referred to in Article 164 Paragraph 1 points 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 of this
Law, for reasons not connected with pregnancy and the use of maternity and parental
leave, in which case the employe r is obliged to explain in detail and in writing the
reasons for termination of employment.
(3) The employer shall not terminate the employment contract with the parent,
adoptive parent or foster parent due to the use of parental, adoptive and foster care
leave, or the right to work part time for rea sons of caring for a child with disability,
or as a single parent with a child of up to 7 years of age or a child with disability, if
that person meets the obligations in line wi th the law, the collective agreement and
the labour contract.
(4) During the absence from work in order to care for the child, maintain a healthy
pregnancy, use maternity, parental, adoptive or foster parental leave, the employer
may not designate an employee redundant.
(5) In the case o f an employee whose fixed -term labour contract ends during the
period of u se of the right to maternity, i.e. parental leave, t he period of validity of
the fixed-term labour contract shall be extended until the end of use of the right to
such leave.

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