Business

NGO Demands Changes to Laws Regulating Work on Sundays

By 27 March 2017

Working on Sundays would be discouraged, but not banned.

Leaders of the conservative U Ime Obitelji association (On Behalf of Family) submitted on Monday to Parliament a proposal for amendments to the Law on Labour, which would allow workers employed in the retail sector to decide whether they want to work on Sundays, and would also determine that the minimum hourly wage for employees who do accept to work on Sundays or public holidays should be at least 50 percent higher than the standard hourly wage, reports 24sata.hr on March 27, 2017.

Association president Željka Markić told reporters in front of the Parliament building that the current Law on Labour had been written so poorly that it was possible for an employer to raise wages for just one kuna and fulfil their obligation to pay higher wages for working on Sundays or holidays.

She warned that in Croatia there were about 180,000 employees working in the trade sector, mostly women. Also, around 100,000 of them work in retail chains. “Eurostat data show that 35 percent of them work on Sundays, eight percent work every Sunday, and about 30 percent in cycles”, said Markić.

Krešimir Planinić explained that their proposal of changes to the Law on Labour promotes the principle of non-working Sundays and the day is regulated as the only day of rest. However, workers would be able to make a declaration to their employer that they want to work on Sundays, but would have to be paid at least 50 percent more than the standard hourly wage. “This model has been recognized in the European Union; it is a combination of the English and the Austrian model”, he said.

Paula Jurković, an employee in the trading sector who works on Sundays, advocates for the introduction of non-working Sundays in order to spend more quality time with her family and children. “It would be nice if the state were to enact legislation that would allow us to have the day for ourselves”, she said.

Asked whether employers could in some way force employees to declare that they want to work on Sundays, Planinić replied that determining the minimum hourly wage for working on Sundays has the goal of discouraging employers and, at the same time, motivating those workers who do want to work on Sundays. However, if employers were to use coercion, there are misdemeanour provisions and penalties should be draconian, he added.

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