Monday, 23 January 2023

Employment in Croatia on Record High Levels, Job Ads Popping up Daily

January 23, 2023 - Good trends in the Croatian labour market. One million and 617 thousand residents are currently working, with the level of employment in Croatia last being that high back in 2008. In addition, the country marks record low unemployment, equal to the average of the European Union: 121,189 residents.

However, as Poslovni / HRT report, long-term unfavorable trends are still present. The aging population and the outflow of working-age people to other European countries. The ratio between employees and pensioners is still unfavorable - the number of workers per pensioner is 1:1.32. The job market opportunities, though, are changing faster than ever before.

Living in Croatia and working remotely for an employer who may not even be in the same time zone is an increasingly popular form of work in the country. Globalization has also affected Croatia. Employers based in the country have fewer and fewer professionals at their disposal because it is more profitable for such workers to be self-employed and freelance.

Labour market

"This means significant support for foreign employers, who are not registered in the Republic of Croatia, which means that the high subsidies given for independent work should be abolished compared to work based on an employment contract," said Hrvoje Balen, the president of Algebra's Board of Directors and president of the Executive Board of HUP ICT.

The demand for labour is still very strong. For example, employers in tourism are starting to look for workers earlier every season. Last year, 120,000 permits were issued to foreign workers, while at the same time, we have an equal number of unemployed people.

"We certainly expect growth; I think this is a strong growth that will not be pronounced in the future; we expect an increase of twenty to thirty percent, it is difficult to estimate at this moment because a lot of these work permits are extended permits for people to stay and work in Croatia," said Ivan Vidiš, the State Secretary in the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.

There are more and more job ads, with a 22 increase in their number compared to 2019 on the Moj Posao portal alone. However, job advertisements from foreign employers do not follow this trend.

"Unfortunately, our market is exhausted, and in principle, there is a reduction in foreign advertisements in Croatia. Simply, so many people have moved out of Croatia that now it is more difficult for foreigners to find them, and they are looking further south, further east, on other continents", said the director of the Moj Posao portal, Igor Žonja.

Experts expect that there could be a slowdown in economies this year, which will also affect the labour market.

"We can see a certain slowdown, a cooling of the economy, and the labour market will feel this trend with a small lag; maybe sometime in the spring, slightly lower demand for work will be felt. It all very, very much depends on how much this recession in our foreign partners will hurt Croatia, how deep it will be, and how long it will last", stressed Dr. sc. Marina Tkalec, Institute of Economics, Zagreb.

In addition, due to inflation, higher wages will be in demand. Although we have more money in our wallets, it is worth less because inflation has grown faster than wages.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Thursday, 5 January 2023

Record Demand for Workers in Croatia, Top 5 Jobs Include Waiters, Cooks

January 5, 2023 - The OVI (Online Vacancy Index) for 2022 showed that the demand for workers in Croatia compared to 2021 increased by as much as 26 percent, while compared to the pre-crisis 2019, the total number of online advertisements was higher by 32.3 percent, which indicates that demand on the Croatian labour market is at historically highest levels, as announced by the Zagreb Institute of Economics (EIZ).

As Vecernji reports, it was pointed out in the announcement on the website of the Zagreb Institute of Economics, as in previous years, the most significant contribution to the annual growth in demand was made by ads seeking workers with lower qualifications and those with secondary education, while the need for employees with higher education contributed with only 2.4 percentage points increase in the total number of ads, which amounted to 12.1 percent.

Salespeople, waiters, cooks, storekeepers, and bookkeepers were among the five most sought-after occupations. At the same time, the most significant contribution to the overall annual growth in labour demand was recorded by advertisements seeking salespeople, storekeepers, accountants, waiters, hoteliers/caterers, and clerks, while among the very rare negative contributions were programmers, construction workers, carpenters, and bricklayers.

In 2022, there was also a more significant increase in the number of fixed-term contracts compared to open-ended contracts, which led to the fact that the share of fixed-term contracts in one year remained almost unchanged, from 46.2 to 46.1 percent of all ads, but the number of advertisements with open-ended contracts saw a decrease in share to 43.7 percent of total ads compared to 44 percent in 2021, the EIZ analysts noted.

OVI - Online Vacancy Index is a monthly index of online job vacancies developed at the Economic Institute in cooperation with the MojPosao portal, and its purpose is to provide timely information on the current state of demand for work. This index is created by simply counting the number of unique new ads whose application deadlines end in the month for which the index is calculated. Considering that ads published through only one portal are taken, the number of ads is expressed as an index (base year is 2015).

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 4 January 2023

Job+: Croatian Employment Service Introduces New Approach

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.

For more, check out our news section.

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

How to Croatia - How Can I Work Legally and How Do I Find a Job?

November the 30th, 2022 - Imagining yourself lounging around on a Dalmatian beach with a cold beer in hand is all well and good, but unless you've won the lottery or have a foreign wage or pension coming in every month, how do you fund it? Here's how to get a job (legally), in this edition of our How to Croatia series.

I know, it might be funny to read ‘working in Croatia’ considering the reality that the Croatian economy isn’t exactly booming and an enormous number of people are out of work for various reasons. There is a demographic crisis which is still ongoing, a brain drain, and there are employers seeking employees but can’t pay them what they’d like to. It’s a complicated situation that requires a book of its own, but one of many Croatian paradoxes is that you just can’t get the staff, despite the fact that the staff are quite literally everywhere.

I’m aware that many expats in Croatia earn their money abroad, or are drawing a foreign pension. In that case, you can safely skip this part, but for those who want the experience of working for a Croatian company, read on!

Now, it’s important to note that being able to work in Croatia and under what conditions also depends, much like residence, on your nationality. 

So, who can work in Croatia? Do I need a work permit?

If you’re an EEA citizen, or you’re from Switzerland, you are free to take up work or self-employment in Croatia much like a Croat can. You don’t need any type of work permit or special permission to do that. If a Croatian company wants to hire you, they can.

If you’re a third country national, then things are a bit more difficult. Not impossible, might I add, but more difficult. If you’re a third country national and you haven’t yet been granted permanent residence, then you’ll need to seek a work permit if you’re offered employment.

If you’re a British national covered by the Withdrawal Agreement (a pre-Brexit Brit), then you can work without a work permit. Post-Brexit Brits, however, fall under the third country national category.

If you have permanent residence in Croatia, you can work in Croatia regardless of your nationality, be it an EEA citizenship or a third country one, being a permanent resident in Croatia more or less equals you with a citizen, especially in this regard.

Seems simple enough… How do I get a work permit?

In order to get a work permit, you'll need to either apply from within Croatia if you're already here, or at a diplomatic mission in your own country. Should you need to extend the work permit you've been granted when here in Croatia, you may do so in person at your local administrative police station (shock, horror, it’s the police again!)

Please note that the law states you must begin the work permit extension procedure 60 days before your current work permit is due to expire. There are exceptions of course, and discretion is commonly used by MUP, but it's best to stick to this rule to avoid needless complications and possible extra paperwork, not to mention a fine.

What does a third country national need to present when applying for a work permit for Croatia?

You'll need to present an official (government issued) ID, such as a biometric ID card or a passport, and a copy of the information page.

An employment contract (it's wise to make a couple of copies), or other appropriate proof of having concluded (signed) a work contract

If you're not technically being employed by a third party, and you intend to carry out your work in Croatia as a self employed person, you'll need to provide proof of you having registered your company/trade (tvrtka or obrt), etc, in Croatia. (Extracts from the relevant registers should not be more than six months of age).

A completed application for the work permit (this can be picked up at the administrative police station when you apply, or at the competent diplomatic mission outside of Croatia).

Your OIB (personal identification number used for tax purposes that was touched on earlier).

If you've registered your address in Croatia, you'll need to provide proof of you having done so (either via a registration certificate, proof of you having submitted that particular document, or your Croatian ID card if you already have it).

A photo of you (this is done in the same way as with the residence permit, so MUP will tell you more).

Proof of having paid the applicable fees for the application.

You may be asked for proof of your education and qualifications, proof of sufficient funds, and other documents depending on your individual situation.

You'll notice that unlike when you as a third country national applied for residence in Croatia, you may not need to provide proof of having Croatian state health insurance when applying for a work/stay and work permit if you are being hired by a Croatian employer/company, as this will be paid by them anyway.

In some cases, however, third country nationals continue to be asked for this, and it is prescribed by law even though this often isn't asked about, so do be prepared for the question.

Is Croatia part of the EU Blue Card scheme?

Croatia is indeed part of the EU Blue Card scheme, which often proves useful for third country nationals in Croatia. If you're highly skilled and are offered an EU Blue Card, this can entitle you to two years of being able to work in Croatia. Other work/stay and work permits typically only allow for twelve months at a time and in some cases can prove problematic to extend.

For certain jobs, you don't need a work permit, but a work registration certificate, and your employer can get this for you from the police. If you're unsure of whether or not this applies to you, ask MUP and your employer.

I’m a third country national going through this process, does my Croatian employer need to be involved at all in this process?

Yes.

The work/stay and work permit procedure can either be done by you, or by your employer who has their company seat in Croatia. You'll both be required to provide supporting documents as and when asked for them. You may also be asked to provide official translations for any documents you provide which are not already in Croatian.

There used to be a quota system in place, but it has been abolished… Why?

Croatia used to use a quota for the employment of third country nationals in various sectors in need of workers. This has been abolished, so I won’t go too deeply into it. 

Under the no-more-quotas-rule, an employer from Croatia seeking to hire a foreign (non-EU) worker will have to contact their Croatian Employment Service’s (CES) regional office to verify whether or not there are any unemployed persons in their records who meet their requirements.

If there are any, the CES will mediate the employment of that (usually Croatian or EEA) individual, otherwise, it will issue an opinion on the basis of which MUP will issue work permits for foreigners. Once again, this refers to third country nationals, not EEA citizens, who can work freely just like Croatian citizens, without the need for any type of permit. If you’re an EEA citizen, just ignore this entirely.

It’s worth bearing in mind that these tests aren’t carried out in the case of seasonal agricultural workers, and there’s no need for the test in certain other professions either. I’m aware this comes across as somewhat vague, but these tests are also overlooked for occupations that are lacking on the local and regional labour market and cannot be 'stoked' by migration into the country, the implementation of strategic and investment projects, and ‘other circumstances relevant to economic growth and sustainable development’.

In other words, it’s all about context and the situation at hand. Much like just about everything else in Croatia.

Now that bit is (hopefully) cleared up, how do I actually find a job?

I’ll be honest, it’s no easy feat. Croatia is a nation of paradoxes in many regards, and this is just one of them. There’s an ongoing demographic crisis, employers can’t get the staff, everyone is out of work, there is plenty of work and there’s also no work. I know, it’s difficult to wrap your head around.

Employment in Croatia is, on the whole, very seasonal. The unemployment rate traditionally drops like a tonne of bricks the closer we edge to the summer tourist season, and we all get to read about it each and every year in the newspapers like it’s some economy-rescuing phenomenon. Talk about groundhog day. I digress, finding a job in the catering, hospitality and tourism sector isn’t that difficult as the warmer weather approaches, especially as the demographic crisis is biting even harder.

Traditionally, citizens of Croatia’s neighbouring countries such as Serbia and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina come to work as bar staff, waiters and chefs in coastal Croatian destinations to fill labour market gaps. Many people from Bosnia and Herzegovina also hold Croatian citizenship and of course speak Croatian, so it’s easy for them to hop over the border and get a job. Given that Dubrovnik for example is so close to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, people from a town called Trebinje which belongs to Republika Srpska often travel the few miles into the extreme south of Dalmatia and gain employment as seasonal workers during summer, repeating the same thing each year, much to the disdain of Dubrovnik’s locals.

More recently, Croatia has been importing labour from much more distant countries, including India, Nepal and the Philippines. There are even agencies which facilitate precisely this. Since the war broke out in Ukraine following the Russian invasion in February 2022, many Ukrainians have also taken up residence and work in Croatia. Ukraine is hardly a distant country, but it is a third country (a non-EEA member state) and this is worth mentioning because the number of Ukrainians working in Croatia has increased significantly since Croatia facilitated this for refugees.

Many Croats have gone off to Ireland, Germany and all over the place to seek work and better prospects. This was made extremely easy when Croatia joined the EU in July 2013, allowing Croats to work in most countries across the bloc without the need for a work permit, with only a few continuing to maintain labour restrictions which would expire after a period of however many years. The United Kingdom and Austria were just two of several of the countries which imposed this. Those restrictions were eventually dropped.

Background over, let’s get back to the practicalities.

How do I find a job in Croatia?

There are a multitude of ways. In a country so set in the ways of connections and someone’s friend’s uncle knowing someone else’s cousin who used to work for so and so (apparently it’s called networking now), word of mouth is king. 

Talk to who you know, and ask them to talk to who they know

Word of mouth is, as I stated above, king in Croatia. Many people find jobs through someone who knows someone else, so put yourself out there. If you’re fluent in a language like English or German, you can absolutely use this to your advantage.

The Croatian Employment Service (CES)

In Croatian, this is Hrvatski zavod za zapošljavanje, or HZZ for short. It is a state institution which implements employment programmes. It is by no means a legal requirement as a jobseeker to apply to be kept up to date with new jobs on offer linked to your desired field of work, education and profession in this way, but it might help you. What you need to commit to if you do choose to do this is to visit their office once a month, then once every two months after some time passes. You’ll need to find the office closest to your place of residence if you choose to take this route. 

You can unsubscribe from their service and from receiving information on available jobs from them at any time, whether you’ve found work or not.

Facebook groups

There’s a Facebook group for just about anything, and finding jobs and staff is no exception. Numerous Facebook groups exist solely for this purpose. Many of these groups are regionally based, or city/town based. A quick Facebook search will allow you to narrow down the sort of thing you’re looking for, be that freelancing, work in the blossoming Croatian IT sector, seasonal work, or even work as a skipper, videographer or photographer.

Most of these groups will contain the words ‘trebam’ (I need), ‘tražim’ (I’m looking for), ‘nudim’ (I’m offering) and posao (work/a job). Add your location if that is important to you and you’re not a remote worker, and off you go. Just watch out for scams and spam posts. They’re usually obvious and properly administered Facebook groups will quickly take such posts down, but sometimes they aren’t as obvious as one might hope. This is a very legitimate way to seek and find work, with thousands of people doing it, but it always pays to keep your wits about you.

Websites and platforms

Just like in most other places, Croatia has its own array of websites and platforms dedicated to job searches. Posao (posao.hr) is a very popular one, as is Moj Posao (moj-posao.hr), Jooble (hr.jooble.org), Oglasnik (oglasnik.hr), Freelance (freelance.hr) and even Njuškalo (njuskalo.hr) all have a huge amount of jobs on offer spanning a very wide array of different fields and professions. There are some which offer information and even live chats in English, such as danasradim.hr, which is a Croatian language website with a live English language chat option, and PickJobs, which is available in multiple languages. 

I’m not endorsing any of the above websites, nor do I have any affiliation to them, but this is just an example of (only a mere handful) the amount of websites in Croatia dedicated to employment, be you the employer or the would-be employee. LinkedIN is also extremely helpful and will show you jobs best suited to you, as will websites like the aforementioned Moj Posao which have a newsletter you can subscribe to.

Target Croatian companies specifically

If you’re qualified and interested in a highly specific field, such as engineering for example, the likes of Rimac Automobili and Infobip might well be on your radar. There are many rapidly growing, wildly successful companies in Croatia (contrary to what you might hear and read), and they’re more or less constantly expanding and trying their hands at new things. These are the types of companies that you need to contact directly. They might be a safer option if you’re a non-EEA national without permanent residence, meaning you need a work permit in order to legally work in Croatia, as highly qualified employees who aren’t EU Blue Card holders are still deeply desired by companies like the aforementioned who are willing to go the extra mile to get you sorted legally.

Language schools

There are multiple language schools spread across Croatia who are often on the hunt for native English speakers (and indeed the native speakers of a number of other languages). A quick Google search will reveal their details. It’s absolutely worth contacting them.

Things to note

There are more and more large multinational companies popping up in Croatia, particularly in larger cities Zagreb and Split, who require staff who speak other languages. Some don’t even make speaking or understanding Croatian a requirement.

When the quota system (which I talked about a little bit in the Working in Croatia chapter) was in force, things were a bit different for companies seeking to employ third country nationals. They didn’t have to contact the Croatian Government and were free to facilitate the employment of a third country national (and have their work permit approved) as long as their skills matched what the quota needed. That is no longer the case. Now quotas are a thing of the past (and have been since January the 1st, 2021), employers must still contact the powers that be and make sure there are no Croats or permanent residents registered on the labour market who would fit the bill for the job before being able to hire you.

Many job posts being posted on Facebook groups in particular will state that they want people who have ‘EU papers’ (meaning either an EU passport, or someone who isn’t an EU citizen but who does have permanent residence in Croatia).

The economy isn’t ideal at the minute (it feels like we’ve been saying that for an eternity, doesn’t it?), and finding a job is not easy, so don’t be put off if you don’t hear back from some of the places you apply to. Unfortunately, ignoring applications as opposed to sending out a ‘thanks, but no thanks’ in response has become the norm just about everywhere.

As I talked about before, because Croatia’s demographic crisis is becoming more and more problematic, many Croatian employers are importing foreign (non-EEA) labour, either from neighbouring countries or from much further afield. If you are a non-EEA national and you manage to land a job, just be prepared for MUP to take a while to approve your work permit. They have been struggling with an increasing backlog and there are unfortunate (and infuriating) cases in which Croatian employers in the tourism, catering and hospitality sectors are waiting for weeks for their employees’ work permits to be processed, leaving them short of staff in the height of the summer season purely due to complicated red tape. 

Because of this, if you’re a non-EEA citizen and you want to work in Croatia’s tourism, catering or hospitality sector, you must begin your job hunt months before summer arrives to make sure (as best you can), that your paperwork is all done and dusted and you can begin work and legally receive a wage before the tourist season hits.

You’re much more likely to find work in less formal ways than through the CES. I’m not saying that it doesn’t help, but most people simply don’t fall into jobs through that service, particularly if they’re foreign, and every other way I’ve listed is more popular and usually yields more fruit.

For more on our How to Croatia series which is published each week, check out our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Employment Growth of Fifteen Percent in the Croatian IT Sector

November 22, 2022 - In addition to data on last month's September salary payments, the Croatian Bureau of Statistics also published the latest data on employment. The Croatian IT sector has shown a significant increase in employment.

As Poslovni writes, the average net salary paid for September to employees of legal entities in the Republic of Croatia amounted to HRK 7,623. Compared to the previous month, it is nominally 0.7% less, and if inflation is considered, the real drop is a slightly more significant 2.2%. On the annual level, September wages are on average nominally 7.2% higher than in the same month last year, but the purchasing power is 5% weaker. Half of the total of 1.4 million employees in legal entities have a salary of less than HRK 6,500, while 10% of those with the lowest salaries, i.e. around 140,000 people, in the net earn less than HRK 4,211. In terms of the average net salary in September, the activity of air transport was also in the lead (HRK 12,580). The lowest salaries were paid in protective and investigative activities - less than HRK 5,000.

In addition to data on last month's September salary payments, the Croatian Bureau of Statistics also published the latest data on employment. Although total employment (which, in addition to legal entities, also includes craftsmen, freelancers and insured farmers) in October recorded a normal seasonal slight monthly decline (by about 900, to 1.62 million), the number of employees in legal entities increased by more than 8,400 or 0.6%, which means that the annual growth of employment for them reached 1.3%.

The IT sector stands out with double-digit annual employment growth. The Information and Communication activity registered a growth of 14.6%, to more than 55,600 employees. There are almost 10% more employees in tourism and hospitality companies today than a year ago, and an above-average increase of more than 6% was also recorded in real estate and administrative and other service activities.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 20 November 2022

Seasonal Workers from Third Countries Getting Scammed by Croatian Agencies

November 20, 2022 - After the summer season in Croatia, thousands of seasonal workers from the so-called third countries were left unemployed.

As Poslovni / Dnevnik report, this year alone, 105,000 work permits were issued. There are more and more workers from third-world countries like Nepal, the Philippines, and India. Agencies promised them good salaries, accommodation, meals, transportation, and visa processing, but many still had to pay hundreds of euros to come and work in Croatia.

Many were left on the road, without money, and practically in debt to slavery. What is worrying is that the Croatian institutions have almost no control over the whole situation, writes Dnevnik. The agencies through which they come often take money to get a job, and when they arrive, the salary and working conditions are nowhere near what was promised. Thus, they practically fall into debt slavery. Croatian institutions have no control over this situation nor a migration policy, but by October of this year, more than 105,000 work permits had already been issued.

Debt slavery

According to the Ministry of Labour, there are around 440 agencies that deal with temporary employment and bring foreign workers to Croatia. Another 424 natural and legal persons are involved in employment mediation.
"Let's say that they would come to work in Croatia and if you promise someone that they will have a salary of 1200, 1300 euros, then they will give that money without any problem because he thinks that in two or three months they will earn enough to cover those debts. However, it happens that they come there and work for 500 euros, and with that money, they can never pay back that debt, and they are practically forced to work for even less in the future so that they can pay back that debt and somehow survive," revealed the interviewee for Dnevnik.
The trade union says that this practice is entirely illegal.

Prostitution

Most of the workers claim that Croatian agencies took their money. To the e-mails sent to a dozen of these agencies, some more, some less politely replied that they do not take money from workers.

"I know from the stories that prostitution already appeared, and for very little money, because somehow they have to survive, they have to buy rice and food. And that's the simplest, so to say, the easiest way to make money," said one of the agency's owners.

Who knows?

The Ministry of Interior stated that they "do not maintain data collections on reports of irregularities in the labour relations of citizens of the third countries." In doing so, they issued almost 82,000 residence and work permits in 202 and nearly 106,000 in 2022 by the end of October.

What happens to these people, where they end up, and even whether the employer and temporary employment agencies that are, by the Labour Act, even at the Employment Office, they do not know.

The State Inspectorate responded to the journalist's question that they do not keep precise records of where people are from when it comes to violating the law but that they have received a large number of petitions related to violations of the law regarding the work of foreigners.

In these cases, both employers and workers who worked illegally were punished. That was about 395 citizens of third countries during this year, and the employers paid HRK 4,650,000, writes Dnevnik.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated News section.

Thursday, 6 October 2022

How Many Croatian Hotel Employees Were Lacking in Tourism This Year?

October the 6th, 2022 - Just how many Croatian hotel employees did this first post-pandemic tourism season actually lack? The numbers are now in, and they're concerning to say the least.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, over this past summer tourist season, around 7.5 thousand seasonal workers were missing in the accommodation sector, and workers were missing in 86 percent of tourist companies from the latest survey of the Association of Employers in the Croatian Hotel Industry (UPUHH).

If this extremely worrying trend continues, more than 8,000 Croatian hotel employees and the like will be missing next season, UPUHH director Bernard Zenzerovic revealed at a recent meeting with journalists. The sector is therefore appealing to strengthen education and training programmes for Croatian workers, to speed up work permit processes for foreign workers with MUP and more.

A survey in which 39 companies which employ 45 percent of all workers in the country's accommodation sector took part, revealed that due to the lack of workers, as many as 42 percent of companies were forced to reduce the scope of their operations or services. This is significantly better than the situation was last year, when business was reduced by 65 percent, but it is still a very high number, explained Zenzerovic. This is especially true because the public health crisis which rocked the world for the past two years wasn't an issue during the summer of 2022.

Because of all this, this year 37 percent of companies will have a reduced income this year, in contrast to last year when two thirds of companies reported this.

The survey also revealed that as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic, when many Croatian hotel employees and others engaged in similar jobs left the sector or even the country, the share of seasonal workers in the total workforce increased. In these companies, the share of seasonal workforce stands at around 70 percent. The turnover of workers also increased, that is, the number of workers who came to a certain company for the first time increased, and the share of permanent seasonal workers decreased by as much as 17 percent in just one single year.

"This shows that the permanent seasonal measure has now had its day and needs to be adjusted, because it's obviously no longer as attractive as it was before," said Zenzerovic.

Within the UPUHH, they propose to increase the amount of salary compensation that seasonal workers receive from the state during the months in which they don't work. As a good example of the sector's cooperation with state institutions, he cited the employment of pupils and students, which increased by around 21 percent this year, which is the result of an increase in the tax limit.

When it comes to foreign workers, the UPUHH pointed out that it is necessary to start working on measures that will speed up the processes involving stay and work permits and MUP's engagement as soon as possible. They propose to reduce the security check procedure for returning workers, which they rather ridiculously have to repeat every year, and given the fact that these returnees make up about 50 percent of the total number, it is an unsustainable way of doing things going forward.

They are advocating the digitalisation of the process of issuing work permits for foreigners at the level of the whole country, and they are asking the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to speed up the issuance of visas for the minority of workers who need them, and to increase the capacity of the services that process applications for stay and work permits for third country nationals within MUP.

"We need to actually realise that it isn't just Croatia which is fighting for these workers, the whole of Europe, Austria, Germany... they're all looking for them, and we have to do everything we can to remain competitive, because we now need to be aware that we can't meet our needs for workers here on the Croatian market," concluded Zenzerovic.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Sunday, 2 October 2022

Croatian Fixed-Term Employment Limited to Three Year Period

October the 2nd, 2022 - Croatian fixed-term employment is set to be limited to a maximum of three years, and in addition to minor modifications that were incorporated into the initial proposal for amendments to the Labour Law after public consultation, a series of new legal solutions will soon be presented to parliamentarians.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, last week, the government adopted a proposal for legal amendments that should enter into force at the beginning of next year, with the exception of provisions related to work via digital platforms as one of the new forms of work, for which the start of application is scheduled for 2024. Considering the widespread practice of Croatian fixed-term employment, one of the most important changes since January refers to that specifically.

In order to prevent the unjustified consecutive conclusion of Croatian fixed-term contracts, a limit wil be introduced for them so that they can do on for a maximum of three years, that is, a maximum of three consecutive contracts concluded with the same employer, pointed out the minister in charge, Marin Piletic. Amendments to the law also stipulate the obligation to contract the salary in the gross amount and pay it into the employee's transaction account.

Changes are also set to follow in the regulation of additional work for another employer, without the consent of the 'parent employer' and with a greater number of permitted hours of such work. At the same time, a new way of performing permanent seasonal jobs is being introduced, which includes work for an indefinite period of time and the possibility of legal work outside of the main season.

Among other things, Piletic apostrophised the fact that working at a separate place of work, i.e. working from home and/or working remotely, is being regulated more properly. Along those same lines, certain categories of employees, primarily parents of children up to eight years of age, will receive additional protection in terms of unequal working hours and overtime.

Starting next year, employees will have the right to five days of unpaid leave a year to provide personal care for a family or household member, and they will be able to miss one day from work for urgent family reasons. Among other things, the proposed changes foresee the absence of the right to a notice period and severance pay for workers who exercise the right to an old-age pension with the purpose of encouraging employers to keep older workers on in their places of employment, explained the minister.

Finally, from next year on, union members who signed a collective agreement will be able to negotiate certain more favourable material rights for themselves compared to non-union members. It's also worth mentioning that during the public consultation on the proposal for amendments to the Labour Law, as many as 774 comments were received, along with general remarks that the timing of the e-consultation - in the middle of the summer holiday season - was highly inappropriate.

The largest number of remarks and comments related to Croatian fixed-term contracts, permanent employment, additional work and work that is performed at a designated place, ie from home or remotely, especially related to compensation of workers' expenses.

Although in general most of the comments were either not accepted or only noted, some suggestions were indeed readily accepted.

As such, in connection with the issue of Croatian fixed-term contracts, the proposed provisions have been amended in the section that refers to the definition of objective reasons and the prescription of exceptions, so that they are linked only to the longest period, and not to the number of contracts concluded with the same employer, and at the same time, exceptions related the work of foreign citizens were also removed.

And although employers welcomed some changes in the Labour Law, HUP (Croatian Employers' Association) has already called on the Government and the competent ministry to start the drafting process instead of "attempting to solve matters by intervention to the detriment of those whom the law should protect" of a completely new, modern Labour Law.

However, the changes to the Labour Law, as well as those of the Law on Prevention of Undeclared Work, are related, among other things, to the deadlines for the execution of certain goals set by the National Recovery and Resilience plan, so a completely new Labour Law is clearly not an option for the Croatian Government at this moment in time.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

5000 New People Employed in Croatian Public Sector in Just Two Years

September the 21st, 2022 - The over-inflated Croatian public sector has become richer for a massive 5000 new employees in a relatively short period of just two years.

Many people refer to the public sector in this country as being bloated, with others considering that the vast majority of the jobs people are employed for within the sector no longer necessary. Hopes were high that the digital era that Croatia has been more or less forced into by the coronavirus pandemic would see enormous changes to this, but it doesn't seem as if things have gone quite as digital with less people involved as we initially hoped.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, from the pandemic-dominated year of 2020 which changed the way the world worked as we knew it to the end of June 2022, judging by the data provided to Lider by the Ministry of Justice, the number of employees in the Croatian public sector increased by five thousand new employees.

As such, on the last day of June 2022, 175,913 people were employed in the Croatian public sector, and on June the 30th, 2020, 170,915 people were employed by the same state body.

In their second mandate, HDZ Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic's government employed around 1,500 new people in state bodies alone, this includes the government, various different ministries, central state offices and the like.

At the beginning of the year 2020, 31,954 people worked there, and at the end of June of this year, 33,105 people were employed in those same state bodies.

However, it's worth noting that this number does not include employees of the Ministry of the Interior (MUP), given the fact that an enormous 25,431 people work within that system, and in the two pandemic-dominated years of 2020 and 2021, the number of employees there also grew - but only by six people, Lider writes.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

Osijek Software City - Best Place on the Planet for Family Life

August 24, 2022 - Nathan arrived in Osijek from Arizona via Colorado and Prague. Not only did he find a job there, but also what he calls the ideal place for family life. The Osijek Software City movement is slowly, but surely coming to life.

As RTL writes, Osijek is a city where IT companies produce good software. Where do you acquire the necessary knowledge and skills for that? Where are the educated and motivated workers employed in quality and promising companies? This is how the objectives of the Osijek Software City project were presented, were they achieved?

Ten years from the first vision of Osijek as a regional IT center, and seven years until the first company in the IT park. The story of Osijek Software City unfolded slowly.

“It went slowly and it was difficult, but now it's going faster and faster”, Denis, one of the initiators of this story, told RTL. Better cooperation with universities will create the necessary IT specialists and scholarship programs with the City and the County that will attract young people.

“For us, this current pool of young people is no longer enough to turn Osijek into a true center of the IT industry, and we will really need to attract and import a lot of foreign students”, says Denis Sušac, director of the IT company.

Nathan arrived in Osijek from Arizona via Colorado and Prague. Not only did he find a job there, but also what he calls the ideal place for family life.

“Osijek could be one of the best cities on the planet for family life”, said Nathan Chappell, a developer.

The family spirit is present in the workplace, and his family is also helping him learn the Croatian language.

Ivana, on the other hand, studied languages, but after finishing her studies, she felt that it was not her life's calling.

“And then, little by little, I started poking around in IT to see what was there and what I was really interested in and I came across this testing”, said Ivana Belak, software tester.

She didn't want to leave Croatia and rather wanted to find the job she desired here, and that, she says, came true.

“We think that today young people can live very well working in Osijek, without leaving, and this trend of going to Ireland, Sweden, Germany is slowly coming to a halt”, claims Sušac.

The number of IT people in Osijek is growing. The goal of recognising Osijek as a city where IT experts live and work is becoming closer, and without their skills life is almost unimaginable today.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

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