Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic has warned that public sector workers who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 will not get paid leave if they catch the virus and fall ill.
“If you have been infected – and have received two vaccines … you have the right, if you are in a state body, the army or similar, to [paid] sick leave. But if you are not vaccinated, you will not have paid sick leave,” Vucic told Pink television on Wednesday.
Vucic said this decision has yet to be confirmed by the government and added that the state will cover the costs of treatment for the unvaccinated if possible, but they will not get paid leave for COVID-19.
Most sick leave employees receive part of their salary when off work. If the sick leave lasts up to 30 days, the employer pays the part-wage, and if the sick leave is longer than 30 days, the state covers the salary. This applies only to people with working contracts.
In April 2020, the government recommended all employers, both public and private, to pay staff their full salaries in case of COVID-19-related sick leave.
The President added that people who got at least one shot of vaccine by May 31 will also get 3,000 dinars (some 25.5 euros) as a bonus from the state.
Like many other countries, Serbia has had problems with loud anti-vaccination campaigners.
According to official data, by May 2, Serbia had given out 3.52 million doses of vaccine, 1.49 million of which were second doses – a significant percentage in a country of about 7 million.
Online application for vaccines in Serbia started on January 11 and by telephone on January 14. Since then, jabs have been offered not only to Serbian residents but also to foreign residents that live in Serbia and also to people who do not live in the country. The only condition is a Serbian mobile phone number, in order to get an SMS with the scheduled date, time and location for vaccination.
The director of the Office for IT and eGoverment, Mihailo Jovanovic, told the media in mid-April that about 39,000 foreign citizens had been vaccinated in Serbia. Four vaccines are available in Serbia: Pfizer/BioNTech, Sinopharm, Sputnik V and AstraZeneka.