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Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case SI-2020-15/482 Updated – measures in Slovenia

Restrictions lifted on temporary work in agriculture

Umik omejitev za začasno delo v kmetijstvu

Country Slovenia , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 11 April 2020 – 31 December 2021
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Ensuring business continuity and support for essential services
– Change of work arrangements (working time, rota schemes)
Author Maja Breznik (University of Ljubljana) and Eurofound
Case created 11 April 2020 (updated 11 January 2021)

Background information

The ‘Intervention measures to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 infectious disease epidemic on citizens and the economy Act (ZIUZEOP)’ modified the already amended ‘Agricultural Act’, adopted on 24 April 2018, which created a new legal form of labour, the so-called temporary work in agriculture.

As an exception from the labour law, temporary work in agriculture does not fall under the general prohibition on work based on civil contract, if there are elements of the employment relationship. It is thus covered by a limited set of labour rights, like the ban on discrimination and harassment, the interdiction of child work, rules on working time, breaks, and rest periods, the prohibition of work for some specific groups. The Agricultural Act explicitly mentions viticulture, fruit growing, hop growing, and vegetable growing as sectors much in need of such unprotected and occasional labour force.

The 2020 provisions lifting restrictions to the utilization of temporary work in agriculture have been introduced to put a remedy to the shortage of immigrant workers in the agricultural sector, due to the limitations to cross-border movements caused by the COVID-19 epidemic.

Content of measure

The measure responds to the concern of some agricultural sectors which, after the ban on border crossing relating to the COVID-19 epidemic, remained without seasonal migrant workers. By rule, ‘temporary work in agriculture’ is limited to 120 days a year. The emergency regulation suspend this limitation until the end of 2020. It means that such type of work can be carried out without restriction all year. The emergency regulation also stipulates that Public Employment Service may assign temporary work in agriculture to temporary laid-off persons. Upon the request of agricultural enterprise, the Public Employment Service sends to work a person who is temporary laid-off due to the epidemic

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

29 December 2021

The seventh COVID-19 law (ZIUPOPDVE), adopted by the Parliament on 29 December 2020, extends the maximum period of 150 days for ‘temporary work in agriculture’ until 31 December 2021.

02 July 2020

The Minister of agriculture brought to an end the controversies over agricultural work by giving Rumanian workers special permission to enter Slovenia (during the epidemics). The third COVID-19 law (ZIUOOPE), issued on 30 May 2020, increased the maximum number of days from 90 to 150 days per year for foreign agricultural workers.

Use of measure

Hop growers report on troubles due to labour shortage after the ban on the border crossing. They say that the sector relies on Rumanian seasonal agricultural workers who are no more allowed to come. Goran Lukič from the Counselling Office for Workers commented that better pay and labour protections would help to make agricultural work more attractive to the Slovene population.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Seasonal workers
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Sectoral or branch level

Involvement

The law was adopted under an accelerated procedure with no involvement of the Economic and Social Council. Its functioning is momentarily blocked because the new government, which came to power on 13 March 2020, has not yet appointed its members in the Economic and Social Council.

Views and reactions

Trade unions and employer organizations have submitted proposals to the law. The Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry of Slovenia (KGZS) - the umbrella interest organization of natural and legal persons in the Republic of Slovenia engaged in agriculture, forestry and fishery - demanded uninterrupted ‘access’ to the migrant labour force, while trade union confederations requested the withdrawal of the relevant article.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      A - Agriculture, Forestry And Fishing A1 Crop and animal production, hunting and related service activities
      A2 Forestry and logging
      A3 Fishing and aquaculture

This case is not occupation-specific.

Sources

  • 10 April 2020: Zakon o interventnih ukrepih za zajezitev epidemije COVID-19 in omilitev njenih posledic za državljane in gospodarstvo (ZIUZEOP) [Act Determining the Intervention Measures to Contain the COVID-19 Epidemic and Mitigate its Consequences for Citizens and the Economy (www.pisrs.si)
  • 10 April 2020: Coronavirus also stopped the import of agricultural migrant workers (Koronavirus ustavil tudi uvoz sezonskih delavcev v kmetijstvu) (www.dnevnik.si)
  • 11 April 2020: The minister for agriculture recruits Slovene workers (Ministrica Pivčeva Slovence novači za delo) (www.dnevnik.si)
  • 30 April 2020: Zakon o interventnih ukrepih za zajezitev epidemije COVID-19 in omilitev njenih posledic za državljane in gospodarstvo, ZIUZEOP-A [Act Determining the Intervention Measures to Contain the COVID-19 Epidemic and Mitigate its Consequences for Citizens and the Economy (www.uradni-list.si)
  • 30 December 2020: Act Determining Intervention Measures to Assist in Mitigating the Consequences of the Second Wave of COVID-19 Epidemic (Zakon o interventnih ukrepih za pomoč pri omilitvi posledic drugega vala epidemije COVID-19, ZIUPOPDVE (pisrs.si)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Restrictions lifted on temporary work in agriculture, case SI-2020-15/482 (measures in Slovenia), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.