Job+: Croatian Employment Service Introduces New Approach

By 4 January 2023

January the 4th, 2023 - The Croatian Employment Service (HZZ/CES) has come up with a new tool aimed at the long-term unemployed, and 2023 is greeting that group with a new approach entirely - Posao+/Job+.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, we're more than aware by now of the utterly chronic lack of workers on the domestic labour market, and groups of those registered within the Croatian Employment Service have become entangled in long-term unemployment. Various programmes have been trying to activate and include this category in the labour market for a long time, and for 2023 a completely new approach has been designed.

Namely, the new Croatian Employment Service's programme "Job+" is being introduced, which integrates the use of several existing measures to encourage employment, and was adopted by the Administrative Council of the CES at the last session before Christmas last year, at which the measures of the active employment policy for 2023 were also adopted.

In designing this programme, the Croatian Employment Service was guided by the fact that the Croatian labour market has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past 20 years, and that people who were once declared as more difficult to employ now have a much greater opportunity to find and remain in work, because supply and demand relations, as well as the general conditions for workers have evolved significantly.

However, for some of the unemployed, inclusion is a problem, even with employment measures intended for more vulnerable groups, partly because employers failed to recognise them as motivated potential workers, and partly because some were not ready for education for a new occupation and raising their competencies, something financed by the Croatian Employment Service.

Care for this category of unemployed people is also provided for in the NPOO, which, through the improvement of the Croatian Employment Service, envisages the introduction of a new procedure for identifying more vulnerable groups and referring them to different sorts of measures for employment. The approach to each of the unemployed will be individual, and ror everyone who becomes a candidate for "Job+", a special plan tailored to their specific needs and capabilities, and an employment counsellor will monitor the implementation of the measure and be in contact with both the would-be worker and the would-be employer.

The new programme envisages synergy between the CES and the Institute for Social Welfare, as well as with employers who will engage workers and institutions where education will be conducted. In preparing the programme, the CES conducted an analysis of data on newly registered persons from the past three years, more precisely from 2019 to 2021, and the dynamics of their employment.

In that aforementioned period, 592,274 people were registered with the Croatian Employment Service, of whom 95.1% left, mostly because they managed to gain employment (72%), and 4.9% or 28,756 are still registered. The data also shows that more than half of those who apply get a job within six months, while 16% of those newly registered enter long-term unemployment, longer than one year, and 7% into extremely long-term unemployment, longer than two years.

The data also shows that among those who have been registered for more than two years, they are mostly over 50 years old and have completed primary or secondary school. Part of the long-term unemployed could return to the labour market, and a change in attitudes is expected to be achieved by combining several active employment policy measures depending on the needs of each unemployed person.

"Job+" aims to include the unemployed who are beneficiaries of the guaranteed minimum compensation, without high school education and the long-term unemployed, who will receive the aid of an employment counsellor, and for those from the guaranteed minimum compensation group, social mentoring, and the combination of measures would last up to 36 months.

How much per individual measure?

For one individual, the current plan is to use up to three measures from the active employment policy programme, which would achieve activation in the job search, the acquisition of work skills with employers involved in public work measures or employment support, and raising qualifications in educational institutions and workplaces alongside employers.

The amount of the cost will depend on the value of the measures that are combined and used, and in this case, three of the nine measures from the package for which the Croatian Employment Service planned a total of 120.9 million euros in incentives are available. In particular, we're talking about the Support for employment, Public work and Training at the workplace measures, but it isn't yet known how much the CES will distribute per individual measure.

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