No one is responsible for "gig" workers

Although the engagement of workers through digital platforms for performing short-term jobs is increasingly present in Montenegro, the Government has not dealt with the regulation of these workers' rights to date, nor is it known which ministry is responsible for this issue

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The Union of Trade Unions pointed out the unregulated area (illustration), Photo: Boris Pejović
The Union of Trade Unions pointed out the unregulated area (illustration), Photo: Boris Pejović
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

Although work in the "gig" economy, that is, the engagement of workers through digital platforms for performing short-term jobs, is increasingly present in Montenegro, the Government has not yet dealt with the regulation of these workers' rights, nor is it known which ministry is responsible for this issue.

"Vijesti" asked the Ministries of Economy, Labor and Internal Affairs whether the regulation of this type of industry had started, but they all said that it was not their responsibility.

This problem of unregulated labor rights was recently pointed out to "Vijesti" from the Union of Free Trade Unions. They explained that people hired through the platforms are considered "self-employed" and not employees, which primarily avoids the application of labor and social legislation such as the establishment of an employment relationship, payment of contributions, sick leave, pregnancy, maternity and parental leave, the right to a union organizing, limited working hours, protection and health at work...

In addition, they assessed that terminologically, and from all other aspects, platform workers still remain unknown to the entire Montenegrin system, that a particularly aggravating circumstance is the absence of official statistics related to the presence of these categories on the Montenegrin labor market, but that we are witnesses, if we did not have the number of our citizens work as platform workers as delivery workers (for example, "Glovo").

"Vijesti" first asked the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism (MERT) whether they were engaged in determining the number of workers who work through platforms, in the so-called "gig" economy and whether they have started to regulate this type of industry.

The questions were not answered, but it was unofficially said that they are not responsible for them, that is, that they are for the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, from which it was unofficially said again that it is not a question for them, but for the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MUP).

"The Law on Foreigners regulates the conditions for the entry, exit, movement, stay and work of foreigners in Montenegro, the same law stipulates that a foreigner can work in Montenegro on the basis of a permit for temporary residence and work or a certificate of registration of work and only in jobs for which he was issued a permit for temporary residence and work or a certificate of employment registration and only with the employer who employs him. According to the above, the Law on Foreigners does not recognize the category of foreigners who work in Montenegro through platforms in the so-called 'gig' economy, and the MUP does not keep official records of this category of foreigners, so we cannot give an estimate of how many people work as platform workers in Cma Gora, especially considering the fact that Montenegrin citizens also work as platform workers", explained the MUP.

When asked whether the ministry has begun to regulate this type of industry and whether any specific steps have been initiated, they noted that the regulation of this area is not within the competence of the MUP, in accordance with the Decree on the Organization and Mode of State Administration "and it is necessary to to obtain data related to the above, contact the competent authorities, MERT and the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare".

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