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Bosnia and Herzegovina

Section 7. Worker Rights

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

The monthly minimum wage in the Federation was 410 convertible marks ($221). In the RS, the monthly minimum wage was 370 convertible marks ($200), except in the textile and footwear sectors, where it was 320 convertible marks ($172). Brcko District did not have a separate minimum wage or an independent pension fund, and employers typically used the minimum wage rate of the entity to which its workers decided to direct their pension funds.

The legal workweek in both entities and the Brcko District is 40 hours, although seasonal workers may work up to 60 hours. The law limits overtime to 10 hours per week in both entities. An employee in the RS may legally volunteer for an additional 10 hours of overtime in exceptional circumstances. The Federation has no provision for premium pay, while the RS requires a 30 percent premium. Laws in both entities require a minimum rest period of 30 minutes during the workday.

Employers in each entity and the Brcko District must provide a minimum of nine paid annual holidays. Employees may choose which holidays to observe depending on ethnic or religious affiliation. Entity labor laws prohibit excessive compulsory overtime. The entities and the Brcko District did little to enforce regulations on working hours, daily and weekly rest, or annual leave.

The Federation Market Inspectorate, the RS Inspectorate, and the Brcko District Inspectorate are responsible for enforcement of labor laws in the formal economy. There were 110 market inspectors in the Federation, 61 in the RS, and 11 in the Brcko District. Authorities in the two entities and the Brcko District did not adequately enforce labor regulations. Penalties for violations of the law are 1,000 to 7,000 convertible marks ($540 to $3,780) in the Federation and 5,000 to 20,000 convertible marks ($2,700 to $10,800) in the RS. The penalties for wage and safety violations were generally sufficient to deter violations.

The Federation and the RS set mandatory occupational health and safety standards, especially for those industry sectors in which there were working conditions were hazardous. Worker rights extended to all official (i.e., registered) workers, including migrant and temporary workers.

Governments in both entities made only limited efforts to improve occupational safety and health at government-owned coalmines; such efforts were inadequate for the safety and security of workers. Workers in certain industries, particularly metal and steel processing and coal mining, often worked in hazardous conditions. A collapse at the Zenica coalmine in 2014 resulted in five deaths and 29 injuries to coalmine workers. There were no official social protections for workers in the informal economy.

Workers could not remove themselves from situations that endanger their health or safety without jeopardizing their employment. Authorities provided no protection to employees in this situation.

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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future