Employment and the rights and obligations arising from the employment relationship in the legislation of the Republic of North Macedonia are covered by several laws, such as the Law on Labor Relations, the Law on Pension and Disability Insurance, the Law on Employment and Insurance in Case of Unemployment, the Law on Health Insurance, the Law on Labor Records, the Law on Employment of Disabled Persons, as well as with other laws in the field of labor law. In addition to these laws, labor relations are also covered by the Law on Personal Data Protection of (hereinafter: LPDP) in relation to the protection of personal data that is necessary for the establishment and fulfillment of the rights and obligations of workers, but also in relation to on the obligations of employers for the storage and processing of personal data.
Employment can be divided into three stages: showing interest in establishing an employment relationship, i.e. submitting a job application, establishing an employment relationship and terminating an employment relationship. In each of these stages, the employer processes data provided by the employee (or potential employee) which represent personal data, which are legally necessary for the fulfillment of employment objectives and which are subject to control and protection based on the provisions of the Law on Personal Data Protection.
Regarding the activities of applying for a job, the employee expresses their will to enter into a working relationship with the employer by sending a short summary and, in some cases, additional documentation, such as a motivation letter, diplomas and other various documents at the request of the employer. Common personal data typically contained in the application include the applicant’s first and last name, address and place of residence, email address, educational level, contact telephone number, etc. Furthermore, the documentation may include additional information that is not necessary and cannot be decisive for the selection of a candidate for employment such as a photograph of the applicant or additional certificates due to the specificity of the work in question such as a driver’s license, additional diplomas and/ or certificates, etc., can be requested by the employer only with the express consent of the applicant.
Furthermore, when the employer selects the applicant and the conclusion of an employment relationship is done, there is a re-processing of personal data, this time specific to establishing and fulfilling the employment goals of the new employee. The employment relationship is based on a work contract concluded between the employer and the employee. The employment contract includes personal data of the employee, such as name and surname, unique identification number, address, transaction account, etc. After establishing the employment relationship, the employer has a legal obligation to store and process collections of personal data of employees based on the provisions of the above laws. Personal data is required for the employer in order to pay the employee’s salary, register the employee in social and health insurance, etc. The employee is obliged, if they change their personal data, to notify the employer within 15 days of the change, in order to continue fulfilling the rights and obligations of the employment relationship between the employee and the employer based on accurate and updated data, such as in fact, it requires the principle of “accuracy of the data” from LPDP. Since the processing of these data sets is a legal obligation of the employer under the other aforementioned labor laws, failure to process, update or destroy these data sets may lead to penalties for the employer, while the employee does not have the right to request the termination of their processing or destruction (as an example, for the purpose of payment of salary for the employee, the employer must have and process the name and surname of the employee, their unique identification number, as well as the number of transaction account and depositor bank of the employee. Non-processing of these personal data will lead to non-payment of salary for the employee, because of which the employer will suffer sanctions from the competent authorities. For the same reasons, the employee cannot request that these personal data stop being processed). In addition, LPDP stipulates that all measures should be taken for safe and secure storage of these data sets and to limit access to them only to authorized persons.
After the termination of the employment relationship, the collections of personal data for the employee cease to be processed, that is, they are kept and/or archived permanently by the employer. This obligation of the employer to keep personal data collections originates from other labor laws. If the employer ceases to exist, they have the obligation to hand over these documents for safekeeping in the State Archive of the RNM.
A typical employment relationship is based on an employment contract. During the pre-contractual activities, i.e. the job application, after the establishment of the employment relationship as well as after the termination of the employment relationship, various categories of personal data are processed. The processing of these personal data is covered by several laws, including the Law on Personal Data Protection. In that regard, the rights and obligations of the employee arising from the LPDP are limited in order to fulfill the objectives of other laws in the field of labor. However, the employee enjoys these rights when it comes to the protection of personal data or collections of personal data that are not necessary to fulfill the purposes of other laws.
Author: Nikola Dimitrov, M.Sc
This text has been prepared with the support of the European Union. The contents of this text are the sole responsibility of the partners of the project “Privacy by Design – Building an Inclusive Digital Ecosystem” and the author and in no way reflect the views of the European Union.