UNICEF: Low Awareness of Business Sector's Impact on Children's Rights in Croatia

By 27 September 2019

ZAGREB, September 27, 2019 - The awareness of the potential impact of the business sector on children's rights in Croatia is relatively low - only six percent of survey respondents believe that the operation of the company they work for has a great influence on children's rights, UNICEF has warned.

These are the findings of the first national survey on the impact of the business sector on children's rights, presented at a news conference in Zagreb on Friday.

The main goal of the survey, launched by UNICEF, is to understand to what extent children's rights are recognised as part of socially responsible business in Croatia and to identify the most important obstacles and motivational factors for companies and other stakeholders for greater engagement regarding children's rights.

Most surveyed companies enable flexible sick leave if the reason is the child's illness (94%), new mothers' return from maternity leave to a safe workplace (93%), and days off for fathers after a child is born.

More than half of respondents (60%) say that at the company where they work working hours are not respected but 55% say that their company offers the possibility of flexible working hours.

Sixty-four percent of surveyed companies do not have financial schemes for assistance to their employees' children in case of their illness or assistance to children with developmental problems, and 80% are always or occasionally willing to help children in cases of sudden disasters.

Forty-seven percent of companies support local community development programmes.

Sixty-six percent of companies participate in providing financial support to the most vulnerable families (donations), 55% invest in initiatives for early child development, 42% provide support for children with developmental problems, and 11% carry out or support drives aimed at encouraging the socialisation of Roma children.

Two in three companies do not assess the impact of their products and services on children, more than 60% do not assess the quality of products or services intended for children, and 59% do not use codes regarding children in advertisement.

In order to encourage the business community to greater engagement for the benefit of children, UNICEF has launched the establishment of an advisory body for human rights and socially responsible business, which will act as a platform for the exchange of knowledge and good practice to improve respect for and exercise of children's rights in the business community.

Members of the advisory body are organisations actively advocating responsible business in Croatia (Croatian Employers Association, Croatian Business Council for Sustainable Development, Croatian Chamber of Commerce), the academic sector (Zagreb Faculty of Economics), the business sector (Zagreb Stock Exchange, IKEA, Ericsson Nikola Tesla, Croatian Banking Association, Komunikacijski Ured Ćolić, Laco i Partneri, Tele 2, A1, Croatian Federation of Market Communication Associations, and the "Zaposlena mama" (Working mum) institute, members of the Network of Young Consultants to the Ombudswoman for Children, and the UNICEF Office Croatia.

More news about children in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.