Provision on State of Emergency Should Be Urgently Added to Labour Act

By 27 April 2020

ZAGREB, April 27, 2020 - A provision on a state of emergency should be urgently added to the Labour Act because of the payment of wages during the coronavirus pandemic, and the regulation of workers' entitlements should be simplified in the conditions of reduced business activity, the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) said in a statement on Monday.

On the first day of relaxed restrictions and ahead of a meeting of the Economic and Social Council, the HUP called on the social partners to discuss urgent amendments to the Labour Act.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted business activities through no fault of employers or workers, as a result of which businesses were forced to cease their operations and were left with reduced or no income, the HUP said, adding that employers cannot meet all the obligations under employment contracts and that it is no time for a dramatic increase in unemployment.

HUP director-general Davor Majetić said that the relief measures undertaken by the government had helped overcome the initial shock to the economy caused by the pandemic.

"Now is the time for businesses to overcome the negative consequences. The Labour Act does not provide for a state of emergency and we need to change that. The sets of government measures will become effective in May, but that does not mean that the circumstances will change for the enterprise sector for at least another three months. Employers cannot be expected to maintain the pre-crisis level of wages in all sectors. We have to get the wheel of the economy going by the autumn and no one can guarantee what the epidemiological situation will be like at that time of year. A state of emergency must be defined by the law," Majetić said in the statement.

The HUP said that in the circumstances of reduced income and increased costs many companies would be facing the challenges of how to keep jobs and ensure the necessary conditions to continue their business.

It said that labour legislation should simplify administrative arrangements for employment contracts, registration of workers, records of hours of work, job changes, recording of work performance, and work from home.

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