Working in Croatia
What kinds of employment contract I can have?
The most usual type of employment in Croatia is to have an employment contract. The employment can be:
- permanent employment, which means that it doesn’t have an end date and you are employed until further notice;
- temporary employment, which means you are employed for a limited time. The end date must be stated in the employment contract.
Very often the employer will first offer you a temporary employment contract, for a probation period. It is not uncommon if the employer renews your temporary employment contract several times. However, you can be temporary employed three years the longest. After that the employer must offer you permanent employment contract.
There are also other types of contracts you can make for performing specific types of work, but those contracts offer lesser protection and benefits.
All working contracts have to be done in writing. Keep your employment contract and all other documents you receive from the employer.
What are the usual working hours?
The employment can be full time or less than full time.
If you are full time employed you will work 40 hours a week. The employer is allowed to require you to work more than 40 hours a week, in cases of need, but not longer than 50 hours. This is considered as overtime work and has to be played more than the full time working hours.
Your working hours in one week can be distributed evenly – for example 8 hours for 5 days in a week, or unevenly. You can work in different shifts. However, employer is obliged to distribute your working time in accordance with the Employment Law.
What are my rights as a worker?
All employees with the employment contract have the right on:
- regular payment of salary, according to the employment contract. If the employer wants to change your salary he needs to offer you new contract. You can decline the changed contract if it does not suit you.
- daily rest, of usually 12 hours between you finish one working day and the next working day; daily rest can be minimally 8 hours for seasonal work
- weekly rest of minimum 24 hours to which daily rest is added; usually Sunday is non-working day, and day before or day after is added in a weekly rest
- annual holiday of minimum 4 working weeks per year. You can use the annual holiday after 6 consecutive months of working. You will receive your salary for the time spent on annual holiday. Depending on the agreement with the employer, you can use your holiday time all at once or you can distribute those days during the year.
- payed sick leave in case of illness.
You have the rights on safe and healthy working environment, and to be protected against discrimination and ill-treatment.
What are my responsibilities as a worker?
You have the responsibility to carry out your work conscientiously and in due time. You are required to respect the working time agreed with the employer. You have to inform the employer of all the essential circumstances that influence or could affect the fulfilment of your contractual obligations. Read your contract carefully to understand what is expected of you.
If you get ill you need to inform your employer as soon as possible that you are unfit for work. You can do that by phone. You need to go to the doctor who will open a sick leave and give you a certificate proving that you are ill. When you recover and can get back to work, you need to visit your doctor again to close the sick leave.
Based on the official document from the doctor your employer will calculate your salary. You will receive reduced salary during the sick leave but it must not be lower than 70% of contracted amount.
Termination of the work contract
Both you and the employer have the right to terminate the working contract. Both sides need to respect the notice period which is mandatory part of the contract.
Usual notice period is 15 days. This means that if you decide to quit your job you have to notify current employer at least 15 days in advance. Also, the employer needs to give you notice before terminating your work contract. Termination can be immediate in exceptional and severe circumstances. You have to be payed for the period you worked after you gave notice.
You cannot be fired while you are on sick leave. Filing a complaint regarding discrimination, ill-treatment, breach of employment contract or Employment Law are not justifiable reasons for employer to terminate your employment contract.
Can I work without a contract?
Working without a contract, in the “black market” is illegal in Croatia. It can happen that some employers offer you this kind of work. You have to be aware that this can be very risky for you. If you have no contract it is difficult to protect and claim your rights as a worker. For example, if you get injured while working, you will have no right on payed sick leave, appropriate medical services and compensation.
If you are employed in the “black market” it means that no taxes and social security contributions are payed. Paying taxes and social security contributions is important. This money goes to funds that allow public health care, education, employment and other services that you and other residents use without paying.
Right to work
If you are asylum seeker in Croatia, you are permitted to legally work nine months after you have filed an application for international protection and you have not yet received any kind of decision during this period, and you cannot be blamed for the delay. You need to request the work permit from your case officer (person in charge of your asylum application). Same employment regulations apply to you as to Croatian nationals.
If you are granted international protection you have the same employment rights as nationals. This means you do not need a work permit. You can register with Croatian Employment Service and use services and benefits it offers to unemployed. For signing the employment contract, you need to have valid ID card (issued by the Croatian Ministry of Interior), bank account and a tax card (issued by the Tax Administration office according to your address).
If you are a family member of a person granted international protection you have the same rights as that person: free access to the labour market, meaning you don’t need the work permit.
How to find a job?
In Croatia public employment service is Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) (http://www.hzz.hr/default.aspx?id=18019). HZZ provides the list of job vacancies, job search counselling, career guidance and information regarding the labour market.
You can register with the HZZ if you are granted international protection. To remain registered, you need to be active job seeker and comply with the requirements (http://www.hzz.hr/default.aspx?id=18040). For example, you need to regularly contact your employment counsellor and apply to job offers recommended to you.
Other welfare benefits depend on you being registered with HZZ and you may be asked to prove it with official certificate HZZ issues to its registered users.
You can register at the HZZ offices (http://www.hzz.hr/default.aspx?id=18046) according to your place of residence. When you register for the first time you need valid identity card and the certificate of completed education or diploma (if you have it).
There are also private employment services offering job placement services. You can register as a jobseeker at one of their branches or on their websites.
Other ways to look for a job
Salaries and taxes
As an employed person you will receive a salary, which must always be paid out in money on your bank account monthly (for the previous month). You will receive net salary.
The gross salary includes social security contributions which are compulsory: pension and disability insurance, health insurance and contribution for unemployment insurance.
This means that when you start working with employment contract you are automatically insured with Croatian Health Insurance Fund and have basic health insurance; you are also contributing to compulsory and voluntary pension funds, from which pensions were payed once you retire. You are also insured in cases of work related disability and entitled on unemployment benefit (if your work contract is cancelled without your fault).
What is the average salary in Croatia?
The average monthly net salary in Croatia is 6 128 Kuna (April 2018). The minimum guaranteed wage is 2745 Kuna for full time employment.
Workers and trade unions
Workers and trade unions are voluntary mass employee organization with established to protect rights of workers, fight for a decent remuneration for work done, safe and healthy working conditions and for other labour rights. There are different workers unions (http://www.ilo.org/budapest/countries-covered/croatia/WCMS_470727/lang–en/index.htm) in Croatia in various fields of work.
The workers union can be organized at the level of individual employer, at the level of field of work (for example building trade union) and at the state level. The trade union enforces the interests of workers, its individual members, through negotiations with employers’ organizations and the government.
How to become a member?
You have the right to become a member of a trade union representing workers’ rights for your sector. If you want to become a member, you should check which workers unions represent the workers in the company or the field you are employed in. You need to fill in a membership form.
The employer must allow you to become a member of the union and should not violate your labour rights because you are a union member.
Can I start my own business in Croatia?
In addition to being employed with employer, you can also start your own business in Croatia and be self-employed. There are several types of legal entities (http://psc.hr/en/establishment/) you could establish for purpose of doing business:
- Craft business
Establishing your own business entails various costs. You will have to pay taxes to the state and local government, depending on the type of legal entity and the scope of the business. All this may be complicated and risky. If you have a business idea and entrepreneurial experience and skills, you may consider visiting one of the Entrepreneurial centres (https://poduzetnistvo.gov.hr/arhiva/stranice/poduzetnicke-potporne-institucije/poduzetnicki-centri-85/150) or Business incubators (https://poduzetnistvo.gov.hr/arhiva/stranice/poduzetnicke-potporne-institucije/poslovni-inkubatori/151) in Croatia.
Further information & links
NGO’s that can help you:
Croatian Red Cross (https://www.hck.hr/kontakt/9)
Jesuit Refugee Service (http://www.jrs.hr/kontakt/)
Center for Peace Studies (https://www.cms.hr/en/)
Rehabilitation Centre for Stress and Trauma (http://rctzg.hr/-/en/)
Croatian Employment Service HZZ – information for non-EU/EEA citizens (http://www.hzz.hr/default.aspx?id=18002)
Private employment services:
Manpower Hrvatska https://www.manpower.hr/
Addeco Hrvatska https://www.adecco.hr/
Dekra Employment https://www.dekra-zapo.hr/home
What should the employment contract contain?
Employment contract must contain following informations:
- Your name and the title of employer, residence or headquarters of both,
- place of work, or if there is no permanent or principal place of work, remark that the work is carried out at various places,
- job title or the type of work or a job description,
- date of start of work,
- expected duration of the contract, if the contract is for definite time,
- duration of the paid annual leave to which the employee is entitled, or the way in which the duration of this leave will be determined,
- termination notice periods to be observed by the employee and the employer or the method for determining termination notice periods,
- basic salary, salary supplements and payment of earnings to which the employee is entitled,
- duration of a regular work-day or week.
What can I do if I am a victim of discrimination at work or other forms of violation?
- If you are a worker’s union member, the union can offer you legal counselling and, in some cases, legal representation if you decide to press charges against employer.
- You can also file a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsperson and get the legal opinion and recommendation. If your complaint is justified, the Ombudsperson’s Office will warn the employer and give recommendations to mend the discriminatory practice.
What kind of work experience do I need?
Different fields of work and different types of employment require different work experience. For the jobs requiring lower skills, usually no specific previous experience is needed; but for jobs that require specific skills you will need to prove experience or training.
Your CV should present your training and experience to potential employer. Some employers will give you a probation period to assess do you have experience and skills the job requires. You must be payed for the probation period.
What is the procedure for starting my own business?
Detailed information and guides for starting your own business can be found in English at Hitro.hr (http://www.hitro.hr/Default.aspx?sec=18)
Can I get financial help to start my own business?
The Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) offers self-employment subsidies in the amount of 55,000 Kuna minimally. This subsidy can be combined with other employment subsidies HZZ offers and several persons can jointly use this support for self-employment. You have to be registered as unemployed person with HZZ to use it. If you are interested, your employment counsellor at HZZ (http://www.hzz.hr/default.aspx?id=18046 ) will refer you to self-employment counselling service.
You can also apply for a commercial credit at the bank. You will need to submit your business plan to justify your business idea.