Monday, 27 June 2022

A Short Guide to Croatian Public Services and Institutions

June 27, 2022 - You see them on the street, you see them on your bills, and you hear them on the phone. Who is who among the Croatian public services and institutions? We'll tell you more in this short guide.

If moving to Croatia is one of your short-term projects, or even if you're already in the process of adaptation, you may have heard of or been in contact with one of these institutions. These Croatian public services and institutions will be part of your daily life here, and it is true that sometimes it can be a bit confusing trying to distinguish them from each other.

In this short guide, we've listed some of the Croatian public services and institutions that you will be in contact with most often, and we hope that this will help you when you don't know where to go for a certain task, or when it's time to do your accounts at home.

MUP

If you're working on getting your residency or citizenship in Croatia, you have most likely gone to a local MUP office. It's also likely that they've called you on the phone or have written you an email or two. MUP is the Ministry of the Interior, and it provides services to both locals and foreigners alike. At MUP, you will also carry out procedures to obtain your passport, your driver's license, your Croatian identification card, and more.

HZZO 

HZZO is the Croatian Health Insurance Fund, it's part of the Ministry of the Health and it includes everything that is related to public health insurance services in the country. As you well know, public health insurance is mandatory if you reside in Croatia. If you wish to enroll in the Croatian public health system, you must go to the HZZO offices in your city of residence. There you can also find out everything related to your health coverage, sign up with a family doctor, and more.

HZZ

HZZ is the Croatian Employment Office, and it serves to report your current employment status, whether you've found a job or if you don't currently have one. At the Employment Office, you can also find job openings that match your skills. 

HZMO

The Croatian Pension Insurance Institute (HZMO) is a public institution that is dedicated to the implementation of mandatory pension insurance based on generational solidarity (1st pillar of the pension insurance) and the child benefit entitlement procedure.

Porezna uprava

Porezna uprava is the Croatian Tax Administration, and it's a unique and independent administrative organisation within the Finance Ministry whose basic task is the application and supervision of tax regulations and laws on the collection of contributions. Most of your bills will be issued by Porezna uprava. They'll also issue you with tax rebates.

FINA

FINA, the Financial Agency, is a leading Croatian company in the field of financial and electronic service provision. Although state-owned, Fina operates exclusively on a market basis and cooperates with banks, the Croatian National Bank, numerous business systems, and other similar entities. A multitude of payments can be paid at their offices.

Hrvatska Pošta

Hrvatska Pošta is the Croatian Post Office, and it has locations in every city and town across the country. In addition to being the place where you can send letters and packages throughout the country and even abroad, it's also the place where you can pay for your phone, electricity, water, health insurance, and more.

HEP

A state-owned company, HEP is the Croatian Electricity Company and it is the only energy entity authorised to provide a public electricity supply in the Republic of Croatia. It also performs the activities of electricity production and heat production for central heating systems, in addition to the management, maintenance, construction, and development of the electricity distribution network.

HAC 

Hrvatske autoceste or Croatian Motorways Ltd is a Croatian state-owned limited liability company tasked with the management, construction, and maintenance of motorways in Croatia.

HRT

Croatian Radio and Television (HRT) performs the activity of providing public broadcasting services. On their radio and television channels, they dedicate themselves to the dissemination of news, information, culture and other related content. Even if you don't watch their channels or listen to their radio stations, a bill of 80 kuna from HRT will always arrive at your home.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

VL: Over 7,000 Apply For Permission To Employ 50,000 Foreign Nationals

ZAGREB, 12 May 2022 - In the first four months of this year, over 7,000 companies asked the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) for permission to hire nearly 50,000 foreign nationals to work in 300 different occupations, the Večernji List daily said on Thursday.

According to the Ministry of the Interior, around 84,000 foreign nationals were temporarily staying in Croatia in April, while about 10,000 had a permanent residence permit. They were mostly from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Albania, Ukraine, China, Nepal, India and the Philippines.

The jobs they are hired for are traditionally in short supply in Croatia and concern construction, tourism and hospitality, and the metal industry.

Between 2,300 and 3,000 applications were for assistant cooks, maids, cooks and bricklayers, and between 1,000 and 2,000 were for welders, locksmiths, plasterers, waiters/waitresses and cleaners.

Gross wages paid by companies may not be lower than the minimum wage for 2022, the newspaper quoted the HZZ as saying. The net monthly wage for a young foreigner without dependants would be between HRK 4,000 (€530) and 4,800 (€640).

The construction sector pays an average net monthly wage of around HRK 6,000 (€800), and the situation in the tourism and hospitality industry is similar. Highly-skilled workers are paid a gross wage of between HRK 7,100 (€945) and 7,600 (€1,010).

"No wonder then that there is a shortage of workers," Večernji List said. "Foreigners being hired by domestic companies are increasingly coming from very poor Asian countries," it added.

Although it is possible that in addition to the net wage employers pay per diems, non-taxable compensation, cover the cost of board and lodging for foreign workers, which increases their income and drives up the hourly wage, all that is too little for anyone to feel secure. In this way employers cannot count on getting the necessary number of workers, and workers cannot meet their basic needs, says the article signed by Ljubica Gatarić.

For more, check out our politics section.

 

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

HZZ: 118,922 Persons Registered as Jobless at End of April

ZAGREB, 11 May 2022 - At the end of April, 118,922 job-seekers were registered with the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ), a drop of 5.3% on the month and of 20% on the year.

April was the third consecutive month to see a monthly decline in the number of job-seekers, and compared to March, there were 6,682 fewer jobless persons.

Daily HZZ data show that due to the influence of seasonal trends and the needs of the tourism sector, the decline in the number of job-seekers will continue into May as well.

Currently, there are 114,163 job-seekers, 4,759 fewer than at the end of April. The HZZ currently offers 23,024 vacancies.

Year-on-year, the number of registered job-seekers is down by 29,822.

In April, 21,994 persons or 18.5% of the unemployed used unemployment benefits. The number of beneficiaries was down from April 2021 by 16.4%, with 4,315 fewer persons using unemployment benefits.

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

Friday, 15 October 2021

Croatia's Survey Unemployment Rate at 8%

ZAGREB, 15 Oct 2021 - In the second quarter of this year, 1.69 million people in Croatia were gainfully employed, while 146,000 were unemployed, and the survey unemployment rate was 8%, according to a labor force survey carried out by the Croatian Bureau of Statistics (DZS).

The survey found that of the 146,000 unemployed people, 89,000 or 61.3% were registered with the employment bureau and the remaining 38,7% were not.

At the same time, of 138,000 job seekers registered with the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ), 48,000, or 35.1% did not meet the international employment criteria.

The survey showed that in the second quarter of this year 3.5 million Croatians were of working age (aged 15 and over), of whom 1.69 million were in work, 146,000 were out of work and 1.7 million were inactive.

Among the inactive population, 66,000 said they wanted to work but were not looking for a job, while 1.2 million did not want to work because of old age, poor health, education, and so on. There were an estimated 8,000 people who were looking for a job but could not accept it in the next two weeks, and about 28,000 who were not looking for work and could not accept it in the next two weeks. The "Others" category included 399,000 inactive persons aged 75 and over who, under the methodology, are not asked about details of their inactivity.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 29 July 2021

7.5 Billion Kuna Paid Out to Micro and Small Croatian Enterprises

July the 29th, 2021 - The government introduced job preservation measures in an attempt to tackle the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic and all of the related lockdowns throughout 2020. When it comes to micro and small Croatian enterprises, the amounts paid out to keep their heads above water are generous indeed.

As Jadranka Dozan/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, according to the daily "barometer" of the Croatian Employment Service (CES), there are currently 126,175 unemployed persons officially registered as such across Croatia, which is slightly less than were officially registered back at the beginning of the month.

The latest available data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) and the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute for the month of June this year confirmed this positive continuation of employment growth.

According to the CBS, there were a total of 1.56 million employees across Croatia in the middle of the year, and the number of insured persons reached 1.6 million, recording the fourth month of consecutive growth when compared to last year.

In addition to domestic economic recovery, these developments are also influenced by the aforementioned measures to preserve jobs (ORM) introduced shortly after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. From last March to the end of May this year, 11.05 billion kuna in aid for was paid out to companies.

Of that amount - and in addition to co-financing the payment of salaries, the measure of compensation of fixed costs introduced at the end of last year has also been included - standing at 8.24 billion kuna which was paid last year, and 2.81 billion kuna which was paid out during the first five months of this year. Most of the money from these measures in the past 15 months, about 5.3 billion kuna of it, was directed to micro Croatian enterprises (with up to 10 employees), and a further 20 percent ended up going to small Croatian enteprises (which have between 11 and 50 employees).

As opposed to small Croatian enterprises, for the purpose of preserving jobs, less than 1.8 billion kuna was diverted to medium and large enterprises. Both the amount and the number of workers covered by these measures are now gradually decreasing.

For more, make sure to follow our dedicated business section.

Monday, 11 January 2021

HZZ: Nearly 160,000 Jobless People in Croatia at End of December

ZAGREB, 11 January, 2021 - There were 159,845 jobless people registered with the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) at the end of December, or 28,092, that is 21.3%, more than in December 2019, HZZ data shows.

Unemployment increased on the month too with 3,295 more people out of work or 2.1% compared to November 2020.

Daily data indicates that unemployment is continuing to increase in January 2021 too and currently there are 161,768 people registered as unemployed which is 1,923 more than at the end of December. 

HZZ currently has 5,459 vacancies advertised.

Unemployment continued to increase by more than 20% on the year in December but it slowed down to 21.3% compared to 21.9% registered in November y-o-y.

22.1% of jobless persons receive unemployment benefits in December

According to HZZ data in December 2020, there were 35,388 people on the dole, or 22.1% of all those unemployed,  or 59 more people (0.2%) y-o-y.

HZZ continued implementing job-retention measures in December for those businesses affected by the COVID pandemic however, eligibility criteria was changed. The number of workers who received job-retention grants in December amounted to 96,179  persons hired by 25,493 employers, HZZ reported.

Friday, 4 December 2020

HRK 8 bn will Have Been Disbursed for Support to Employers by Year's End

ZAGREB, December 4, 2020 - Labour and Pension System Minister Josip Aladrovic said on Friday that HRK 7.6 billion from the state budget had been disbursed so far for job retention grants and shortened working hours, and the amount could climb to HRK 8 billion until the end of this year.

Aladrovic told reporters that the government had already outlined three measures to bail out the economy.

They are job retention grants of HRK 2,000 to 4,000 as a monthly allowance for workers which means that if an employer is shut down for more than 14 days they receive HRK 4,000 for each employee. In this case, employers are also exempt from paying contributions, which amount to about HRK 470 million. The Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) updated that measure today, he added.

The second measure relates to covering a portion of all fixed costs during lockdown and that measure could amount to about HRK 250 million. A fall in turnover of more than 60% in regard to the comparable period last year (Dec 2020 to Dec 2019) makes businesses eligible for that measure. The Tax Administration will soon hammer out the criteria for this measure.

The third measure is a new package of COVID loans through the Hamag-Bicro agency amounting to HRK 1.3 billion.

This encompasses all branches that the government considers will be most exposed due to the anti-Covid epidemiological restrictions that are in force until December 21, said Aladrovic.

"We will monitor the epidemiological measures, evaluate their effect and accordingly upgrade economic measures, if necessary, in an effort to keep jobs and business activities," he added.

He underlined that negotiations with employer associations provided a series of proposals and one of them was to include micro enterprises that depend on all those who have been shut down.

"We have included them in the measures, however they have to prove a fall in revenue and that they have business connections with those sectors that are in lockdown," Aladrovic explained and added that they will be eligible for the job retention measure.

Compensation of fixed costs only applies to those who are in lockdown until December 21, he underlined.

According to Aladrovic there are three various sources to finance the jobkeeping measures, the state budget, the EU Sure programme which has provided a loan for Croatia of just over one billion euro and EU funds, or one part of the resilience programme which will provide €530 million.

He added that in the earlier phase, between March and May, Croatia absorbed HRK 1.3 billion in funds from the European Social Fund and that it plans to absorb another portion of that fund for the jobkeeping measures.

The total effect on the budget regardless of all these sources of funding at the moment is HRK 7.6 billion, which is how much has been spent on support and by the end of the year that amount could be HRK 8 billion. About 60% of that will come from the state budget and 40% from EU funds, he explained.

(€1 = HRK 7.545450

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

'Grow Croatia with Google' Initiative for Economic Recovery and Development

December 2, 2020 – With the new initiative named "Grow Croatia with Google" presented by Google, the goal is to significantly contribute to the recovery and development of the Croatian economy and accelerate the digital transformation, and thus respond to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Novac.hr reports, the coronavirus pandemic and the simultaneous lockdown greatly affected the economy. However, the current situation also opens up new possibilities, as consumers turn to the internet which increases the need to accelerate the digital transformation of business.

The technology that has enabled us to work and learn remotely in recent months, virtual socializing with friends and family, shopping, and using a variety of online services can play a significant role in helping SMEs survive the crisis today.

But not all companies are ready for such a rapid change, and the main obstacle for most of them who have already started an online business or are planning to do so is the lack of knowledge, skills, and tools.

‘Digitization is a significant challenge'

That's why the Grow Croatia with Google initiative seeks to accelerate economic recovery and development through the use of technology, tools, education, and advice to help 10,000 local businesses, communities, and people become stronger, more resilient, and enable faster development by the end of 2021.

"In Croatia, in cases of lack of own resources, the Ministry of Labor, Pensions, Family, and Social Policy through the network of the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) and active employment policy measures funded by the European Social Fund seeks to support individuals and companies through measures to educate the workforce. These measures enable the training of employed and unemployed in order to strengthen their employability," said Dragan Jelić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labor, Pensions, Family and Social Policy.

He also pointed out that the goal is to encourage the digitization of the Croatian economy, which has been further accelerated due to the outbreak of the pandemic.

computer-767776_1280.jpg

Source: Pixabay

The Grow Croatia with Google initiative is adapted to the "new normal" and is implemented in partnership with Algebra College and offers tools, courses, and advice such as free online digital marketing courses, free tools for collaborating with teams and suppliers using Google Meet and workshops to help people in acquiring relevant digital skills that can help them find a job, advance in a career, or develop a business.

"For micro and small entrepreneurs, digitization of business and the acquisition of appropriate skills is a significant challenge. That is why, in cooperation with Google and Algebra as a workshop provider, we have provided free support to our customers. I would put special emphasis on those who have decided to use our measure of self-employment and start their own entrepreneurial story. We are talking about more than 20,000 users who represent a completely new generation of entrepreneurs who will have to continue their business in the 'new normal' in which digital business and digital skills are the basis for business success," added Dragan Jelić.

Online workshops

The director of the Croatian Employment Service, Ante Lončar, also took part in the presentation of the initiative. As part of the Digital Garage initiative, the CES cooperates with the Ministry of Labor, Pensions, Family and Social Policy, Google, and Algebra by organizing digital marketing workshops aimed at strengthening the country's current and future workforce with digital skills and helping small and medium-sized enterprises.

"During July and October, the CES included a total of 390 beneficiaries of self-employment support in the workshops, thus allowing them to further improve their business. Since we saw the benefits of the workshops during our participation in the initiative, we decided to expand the target groups for education, and we offered an introductory workshop called Introduction to Digital Marketing to unemployed people and other job seekers who are in the records of the Bureau and want to expand their knowledge," said Lončar.

The mentioned workshop is currently held once a week in an online form, and since the beginning of its implementation (through November) they have included a total of 560 people. This workshop is still conducted for all interested candidates.

Reducing the digital divide

"As the traditional main drivers of economic growth gradually disappear, the digital economy, whose potential in Croatia has not been fully exploited, is taking on the role of catalyst for economic growth," said Joško Mrndže, Google's director for Adriatic region.

Namely, Mrndže says that according to the report of the consulting company McKinsey, with a strong focus on digitization, Croatia has the potential to generate 8.3 billion euros of GDP by 2025 (additional about 2,000 euros of GDP per capita).

"With this in mind, we presented the Grow Croatia with Google initiative as a continuation and expansion of the Digital Skills learning platform, which is part of the Grow with Google program, which we have trained more than 37,000 people since its launch in 2016. Through the Grow with Google initiative, we will accelerate this pace to help 10,000 Croatian citizens and companies find jobs, digitize and grow, and thus participate in reducing the digital divide in Croatia," concluded Mrndže.

The Grow Croatia with Google initiative was launched in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor, Pension System, Family, and Social Policy and the Croatian Employment Service, and under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Croatia.

To read more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Parliament Passes Foreign Nationals Act, No More Annual Quotas for Employment

ZAGREB, November 25, 2020 - The Croatian Parliament on Wednesday passed the new Foreign Nationals Act under which there will no longer be an annual quota for the employment of foreign nationals.

None of the 32 amendments put forward by the opposition were accepted.

Under the new law, the government will no longer establish an annual quota for the employment of foreign nationals, but employers will be obliged to submit a request to the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) to conduct a labour market test.

If there are no unemployed persons in Croatia that meet employers' criteria, employers will then submit an application for residence and work permits to the Interior Ministry, which then requests an opinion from the HZZ regarding hiring a specific foreign national. The procedure, including the labour market test, will last a maximum of 30 days.

The act also stipulates exceptions to the labour market test, which is not conducted for shortage occupations, such as carpenters, masons, waiters, butchers, and for seasonal work up to 90 days in agriculture, forestry, hospitality and tourism.

The new act also introduces long-stay visas (visa D) in the event that a third-country national is granted temporary residence for work, family reunification, university education, research and secondary education.

Another novelty is a more favourable regulation of temporary and permanent residence for Croats with a foreign citizenship or without a citizenship who have a certificate from the Central State Office for Croats Abroad.

In addition, family members of Croatian nationals can acquire permanent residence under more favourable conditions, as can foreign minors who have been granted temporary residence for a period of three years and one of their parents has been granted permanent residence or long-term residence.

The act also gives the possibility of regulating the temporary residence of digital nomads, that is, foreign nationals who work online for foreign employers.

The new Foreign Nationals Act enters into force on 1 January 2021.

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Businesses Can Apply to HZZ for Job Retention Grants for September

ZAGREB, September 8, 2020 - The Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) has stated that businesses hit hard by the corona crisis can apply for job-keeping grants for September in the period from 15 September to 15 October.

The job retention scheme will be in place until the end of this year, according to a press release issued after the HZZ steering board's meeting on Monday afternoon.

As for businesses that are particularly at risk, support in the amount of HRK 4,000 per employee per month will continue until December 31.

This refers to the transport of passengers, hospitality, travel agencies and recreation-related businesses, as well as cultural, business and sports events, if their drop in revenues exceeds 60%.

The aid in the amount of HRK 4,000 per employee will also be given to businesses and activities which will have to be closed down in line with decisions by local or national COVID-19 response teams, according to the announcement made by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic last week.

Micro businesses that employ up to 10 workers and have a revenue drop for a claim period of at least 50% are entitled to the monthly job retention grant of 2,000 kuna per worker.

This scheme and similar measures for furloughed workers will cost by the end of the year around HRK 800 million and will be financed from the state budget, but some of the funding will be obtained from EU funds, both from the current financial perspective and from future loans to be granted under the SURE programme, as well as from future programmes such as the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

Plenkovic also announced that COVID-19 loans would continue to be issued through the HAMAG-BICRO agency and the Croatian Reconstruction and Development Bank.

(€ 1 = HRK 7.5)

 

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