Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Aladrović: Job Keeping Measure to Remain in Place Until Year's End

ZAGREB, 14 Dec 2021 - Labour Minister Josip Aladrović said on Tuesday that the job keeping measure was intended to remain in place until the end of the year in sectors where it was necessary and that Croatia was now moving to the job creation stage, for which more than a billion kuna has been set aside.

"We have secured some funding for the shortened working hours measure and for the job keeping measure. We hope and expect that these measures will not be intense next year because we are moving to the job creation stage, for which we have secured over a billion kuna," Aladrović said in response to questions from the press on the sidelines of a conference organized by the Livit company under the government's auspices.

Aladrović said that this would be the direction in which the country would be going in 2022. He, however, reiterated that "we will be at the service of workers and employers as long as necessary."

He said that about HRK 40 million was currently being paid out for 12-15,000 workers as part of the job-keeping measure.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Monday, 15 November 2021

Aladrović: There Is No Rational Reason to Reject Testing

ZAGREB, 15 Nov 2021 - Minister of Labour and Pension System Josip Aladrović on Monday said that there is no rational reason to reject being tested for coronavirus, underscoring that employers would decide on the fate of those who refused to be tested.

"We can try and have understanding, for a certain period of time, for people who do not wish to get vaccinated. However, there is no rational reason to reject testing and I think that we all need to show responsibility here," Aladrović told reporters.

Speaking ahead of the introduction of COVID certificates in all state and public service facilities on Tuesday, Aladrović underscored that the healthcare and welfare sectors, where COVID certificates were introduced in October, had demonstrated a high level of responsibility, adding that he did not believe other systems could encounter any major problems for introducing the certificates either.

Asked what will happen to employees who refuse to be tested, Aladrović underscored that their employers would be the ones to decide.

"The related lay-offs so far have been at the level of statistical errors. I expect a vast majority of employees will be responsible, however, employers will be the ones to decide in cases of non-compliance," he said and added that this was in line with the law.

Commenting on ongoing protests against COVID certificates, he said that they were exclusively politically motivated. "It is really difficult to find any rational reason for the protests," the minister said, adding that he expected them to wane at one point.

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Monday, 25 October 2021

Minister Aladrović Tests Positive for COVID-19

ZAGREB, 25 Oct 2021 - The Minister of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy, Josip Aladrović, has tested positive for COVID-19, he wrote on his Facebook account on Monday.

"I took a test for COVID-19 yesterday after feeling mild symptoms associated with this disease, including an elevated temperature and cough. The test has turned out positive," the minister said.

"I am in touch with doctors and epidemiologists. I feel good and am continuing my regular duties from isolation at home," he added.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Saturday, 18 September 2021

Aladrović: COVID Certificates Required in Health, Social Care as of 1 Oct

ZAGREB, 18 Sept, 2021 - COVID certificates will be required in the health and social care systems most probably as of 1 October, Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy Minister Josip Aladrović said on Friday.

We can see that neighbouring countries are using COVID certificates much more extensively than we. We have opted for introducing them in the health and social care systems, he told the public broadcaster HTV.

In social care, the certificates will be mandatory for those employed in both the private and public systems.

They will not be mandatory for those working with the youngest beneficiaries, but they will be in care homes, which are the most at-risk and where mortality is highest, Aladrović said. We assume that will occur as of 1 October, he added.

Asked about mandatory vaccination for certain employees on the model of other countries, for example Slovenia, which has imposed it for state administration employees, Aladrović said Croatia was not propagating that and that he hoped people would be responsible so that mandatory vaccination would not become mandatory.

However, COVID certificates are the mildest possible measure we can introduce to ensure a high degree of protection for health and social care beneficiaries, he said, adding that the certificates might be required in other sectors as well, depending on COVID developments and experts' advice.

Aladrović went on to say that he did not expect a new lockdown because of the availability of vaccines.

He said that if some businesses had to close again due to the epidemic, the government would support them as it had during the previous two lockdowns to save jobs.

Speaking of amendments to the Minimum Wage Act, he said the government wanted to provide employees with an additional socioeconomic protection mechanism.

Under the amendments, the wage must be contracted in the gross amount and collective agreements must be honoured, Aladrović said, adding that in the two terms of the incumbent government, the minimum wage was raised by 38%.

Given the trends on the market, with wages generally going up, we expect the minimum wage, which is now HRK 3,400, to go up significantly by 31 October, on which negotiations are under way with the social partners, the minister added.

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Thursday, 16 September 2021

Minister Aladrović: 50,000 More Pension Contribution Payers Now Than Last Year

ZAGREB, 16 Sept 2021 - Labour Minister Josip Aladrović informed the parliament on Thursday that despite all the challenges, Croatia had registered roughly 50,000 more pension insurees at the end of August than a year before and also 9,000 more than at the end of August 2019.

Minister Aladrović underscored these figures while presenting the draft amendments to the minimum wage legislation, which were supported by lawmakers.

The draft amendments envisage the stipulation of the gross minimum wage and also fines for employers who pay wages lower than the defined minimum wage.

Commenting on trends in gross minimum monthly payments, the minister noted that at the end of 2013, the gross minimum pay was HRK 2,984 and it rose to HRK 3,120 at the end of 2016,  which meant that during the term of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) government it rose only by 4.5% or by 135 kuna.

During the term of this government, it increased from HRK 3,120 to 4,250 or by HRK 1,130, he said.

The net minimum pay rose from HRK 2,496 to HRK 3,400 or by 904 kuna that is by 36.2%, he stressed and added that this June the average net monthly wage was HRK 7,175.

Aladrović said that the growth in the minimum wage was evident, however, some shortcomings had been spotted and the draft amendments were aimed at correcting them.

Parliamentary deputies welcomed the proposed changes, and some of them warned that there were still some employers who paid only the gross minimum pay, while they gave the difference to a higher earned pay directly to workers or they denied the right of employees to free days.

(€1 = HRK 7.470695)

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Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Who Exactly Will Continue to Receive Aid? Minister Aladrovic Reveals Plans

September the 1st, 2021 - As Croatia prepares to further loosen its measures and allow the currently closed off parts of coffee bars, restaurants and cafes to work as normal as of today, Minister Aladrovic has spoken out about which sectors can expect what in terms of aid, if anything at all.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic announced the reduction of state aid to sectors that have achieved good business results, as well as the continuation of aid to those who still desperately need it, as was further detailed previously.

"This is no longer the situation on the labour market and in the economy in which we need to continue to have very intensive support from the state," said Minister Aladrovic, adding that with more than 12 billion kuna in net support for enterprises and their employees paid out, the pool of those who actually do need that help is decreasing, according to a report from H1.

Depending on the unfolding epidemiological situation, he said, in the coming months there will be a further reduction in aid.

"Certainly, some of those who received intensive support from the government will now, due to changed economic circumstances, believe that they can continue on their own, with the retention of jobs and the retention of business substance and everything that was exposed due to reduced business activity," Minister Aladrovic explained.

He pointed out that the state will continue to support those who need it the most, adding that they have held consultations with various social partners and announced another round of consultations, saying that by the end of this week, they will inform which sectors these new decisions on the paying out of government aid will apply to.

"What we can now say that we see as the most exposed activities are those sectors that are related to extremely large gatherings, the organisers of sporting events, cultural events, the event industry itself, travel agencies… Other sectors that are now able to work at full capacity no longer require that same state support and therefore we will go in the direction of reducing state support where it isn't most needed,'' said Minister Aladrovic, adding that he does not believe there will be additional restrictions introduced anymore.

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

Sunday, 29 August 2021

Minister Aladrovic Reveals Who Will Continue to Receive Economic Support

August the 29th, 2021 - Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic has revealed who the Croatian economic support created by the government as a result of the pandemic will continue to go to, and who it no longer will. Minister Aladrovic also announced a rise in both wages and pensions.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, economic aid for Croatian companies will remain in place only for those who continue to be the most vulnerable to the pandemic and to any introduced anti-epidemic measures, announced Minister Aladrovic. He stated that because of the easing of the country's epidemiological measures, he sees no reason to continue to stimulate individual employers.

Minister Aladrovic also stated that aid will continue to be paid out to the organisers of sport and cultural events, the event industry, and perhaps the hardest hit of all - travel agencies.

"So, this will keep being paid out to a relatively small segment of our society, but to those who are most exposed," said Minister Aladrovic as a guest on Dnevnik Nova TV, adding:

"If there are economic disruptions again, which we hope won't occur, we're still ready to help those to whom the disruption occurs," he said, calling once again for people to get vaccinated as the best way to preserve both public health and the domestic economy.

As for the much talked about reforms, Minister Aladrovic said that they have been implemented and that he will continue to implement them, but he didn't give a concrete answer as to when concrete reforms in the healthcare system, public administration, or the judiciary will start. He pointed out that the coronavirus pandemic has slowed down certain reforms, but he remains confident that the Government will implement them by the end of its term.

He added that it is difficult to assess whether rising prices will push certain vulnerable individuals even further into poverty.

"What is good, is that salaries are rising," said Minister Aladrovic, adding that pensions are also rising. The average pensioner will receive about 60 kuna more per month, and Aladrovic says that it is equal to almost a billion kuna annually for the state budget.

He didn't bother to properly answer the question as to whether or not it is fair for the average pension to increase by around 60 kuna, and for members of parliament to have theirs increased by as much as 230 kuna. Aladrovic briefly stated that "harmonisation takes place in accordance with the legislative framework".

''Aware of the inadequacy of certain types of pensions, we've decided on a new way of calculating family pensions that are the least adequate and we'll do all that in the next step. The lowest pensions have been increased by more than 20 percent. I'm sure that movements within the pension system will also prevent any increase in poverty,'' said Minister Aladrovic.

Speaking about the Labour Law, Minister Aladrovic said that two things are changing, the relationship between fixed-term contracts and indefinite contracts.

''We want to reduce the number of fixed-term contracts and allow those who want to work more to be able to do that,'' he said.

For more, follow our politics section.

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Minister Says Croatian Labor Market Stable and Has Recovered From COVID Crisis

ZAGREB, 18 Aug 2021 - Labour Minister Josip Aladrović said on Wednesday that the labor market was stable and had recovered from the corona crisis.

"The data for the first 15 days in August show that we are going in the right direction. We are switching from job preservation to job creation," Aladrović told the press while arriving at a meeting of the inner cabinet.

The minister is hopeful about retaining record high levels in employment since official statistics started to be kept 21 years ago.

In the period to come, the biggest challenge will be finding skilled manpower, said Aladrović who expects a rise in workers' pay.

However, the situation with the corona crisis still requires caution, and some branches of the economy will continue to need grants to keep jobs, according to his explanation.

As for August, we do not have any intensive requests from employers' associations, and a strong rebound can be perceived. A strong tourist season has positively impacted the labor market and businesses, he added.

The minister added that the talks would soon be held with the Croatian Employers' Association and trade unions on who would be eligible for the job retention grants in August.

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

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Minister Pushes for Higher Vaccination Rate, Says Croatia Can't Afford New Lockdown

ZAGREB, 8 July 2021 - Labour Minister Josip Aladrović said on Thursday that Croatia cannot afford a new lockdown because that would additionally burden the budget and economy, stressing that the time has come to separate responsible people from irresponsible ones but also to find a way to motivate citizens to be inoculated.

"We cannot afford a new lockdown scenario and limited economic activities because that would additionally exhaust the state budget and additionally burden our economy. In those cases, which we wish to avoid with our measures, we could bring into question the forecast of economic growth, we have planned," Aladrović told reporters in Parliament House.

He noted that Croatia has been struggling with the coronavirus pandemic for 16 months and that now it is "time to separate the responsible from the irresponsible, to stimulate responsible employers and workers."

COVID certificates - third criteria to receive govt support 

He underscored that during talks with unions and employers, the ruling majority proposed that, in addition to a decrease in revenue, and the exposure of certain sectors, third criteria should be introduced to receive COVID support, and that would be a COVID certificate. Talks in that regard will continue next week.

"In that way, we will preserve health and protect the economy. We should not neglect the fact that we are in the tourism season. We are now reaching the peak of the season and our tourism season depends on the responsibility of all Croatian citizens, and in particular, those working in the service sector, as potentially, does our future and our economy," claimed Aladrovič.

A current issue being discussed with social partners refers to 100,000 workers who are eligible for COVID grants, recalling that in April last year, during the lockdown, as many as 600,000 workers were eligible for support measures.

These are the risks we wish to eliminate in this way, said Aladrović, convinced that a consensus will be reached with social partners about the grant eligibility criteria and vaccination.

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Thursday, 8 July 2021

Aladrović: 55,000 More People Employed Than in 2020, 4,000 More Than in 2019

ZAGREB, 8 July 2021 - Labour and Pension System Minister Josip Aladrović said on Thursday that Croatia had 55,000 employed persons more than last year and 4,000 more than in 2019, which was the year with the highest total number of employed persons since 2008, that is the last economic crisis.

We have slightly over 120,000 unemployed persons on the labor market, the minister said in parliament presenting a legal solution according to which family pension beneficiaries would have the right to work part-time and receive the full amount of pension.

Citing data from the Croatian Pension Insurance Insitute (HZMO), he said that there had been 216,000 family pension beneficiaries in June, mostly widows and widowers, and their pension had been HRK 2,094 on average, which is lower than the average pension.

At the risk of poverty

In 27% of cases, the surviving spouse is at risk of poverty, the minister stressed, explaining that amendments to the Pension Insurance Act seek to reduce the risk of poverty for pensioners, as well as fill gaps in the labor market.

Nada Murganić (HDZ) welcomed the amendments, recalling that family pension beneficiaries often left their jobs to take care of family members or look after the children. This will enable them to return to the world of work, she said.

Although MPs support the government's proposal that family pension beneficiaries be allowed to work and receive a pension, some of them fear that this could harm the unemployed, and some warn that this will not bring much momentum to the labor market.

Labour shortage, especially shortage of skilled workers, is one of the challenges Croatia is facing, and one of the ways to overcome it is to activate everyone who wants to work and has a specific knowledge, the minister told Anita Pocrnić Radošević (HDZ).

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