Towards new employment regulation in Croatia

Dubravka Glavas (left) Djurdjica Svigac (right) Photo:Davor Javorovic/Pixsell

Dubravka Glavas (left) Djurdjica Svigac (right) Photo:Davor Javorovic/Pixsell

Hrvoje Vidan of Vidan Attorneys At Law captures in his article a good summary of issues contemplated and considered under upcoming legislative changes in Croatia:

The lack of structural reforms, amongst others within the labour market, resulted in the recent crash of the Croatian credit rating. Yet, since February 2012, under the leadership of Prime Minister, Mr. Zoran Milanovic the Croatian Government has been considering the modification of the employment law with a purpose to ease the investments and provide more flexible “hiring” and “firing” regulation. The changes are expected to be enacted soon, until the first half-year.  

Historical overview

The first Employment Act in Croatia after its independence was adopted in 1995 and for that time it established a modern employment system. The changes of the Employment Act that followed did not respond the situation on the labour market. The most extensive changes to the Employment Act in 2009 were related to the European workers’ participation, which changes did not significantly affect the labour relations in Croatia. Yet, these changes also included the amendments on working time regulations which to great extent restricted the possibility of overtime work, redistribution of working hours and thus even prevented the employers in further developing of business. The current Minister of Labour and Pension System, Mr. Mirando Mrsic announced the comprehensive changes to the employment law which would be sent into the Government procedure soon…READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON LEXOLOGY WEBSITE

In the upcoming time we will inevitably be witnessing the changes to the Croatian employment law, which have been recently thoroughly and systematically discussed in the general public but also between the employment experts. The recent downgrade of Croatia suggests that the changes should tend to ease dosing business and inevitably liberate procedure of hiring and firing the employees. What kind of changes are to be adopted and to which extent remains yet to be seen“, concludes Vidan in his article.

It’s about time serious and business invigorating employment changes hit the streets of Croatia. The rags still dragging along from the inflexible system inherited from former Yugoslavia have long passed their use by date, especially in the modern free and competitive markets. Hopefully the new laws will spread good news far and wide and attract the badly needed investment and business development that will lead to sizable reduction of unemployment.

As of January 2013 there were 372,003 unemployed people in Croatia, and this figure has been rising consistently, currently making it between 21 and 22% of registered unemployment.

Out of this figure (sourced from Croatian Employment Office 14 February 2013):

Women: 195.435
Without any working experience: 62.031
Up to 24 year olds: 73.390
Those younger than 24 without any working experience: 35.737
Long term unemployed: 155.864

How much of this appalling state of affairs, which leads or has already led to disturbing levels of poverty or dangling at the border of poverty, is due to archaic employment laws that provide little if any incentive to business entrepreneurship, how much is due to the corruption with and theft of national assets through privatisation in Croatia, how much of it is due to weakening economies and markets, it’s difficult to assess. However, one thing is definite: changes in employment laws are needed “yesterday”.

Altruism and humanity often surface in times of despair caused by unemployment and threat of poverty. A heartwarming story has gripped the Croatian public in the last two days when it came to light that a single woman, Dubravka Glavas, gave up her own job in Vinkovci in favour of her co-worker Djurdjica Svigac, a struggling single mother with two children. Vecernji List reports that when Dubravka heard that Djurdica and two other women were to lose their jobs due to the needs for cutbacks, she approached the company director and asked that she, instead of Djurdica be the one to lose the job. After his initial shock and surprise the director checked whether such a move would be legally possible and finally agreed to Dubravka’s request. What an amazing gift. Dubravka is a heroine in my book; humbly she said: “I’m still young, I’m single and I can find a new job, hopefully, more easily than a woman with two children”. God bless you, Dubravka.     Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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