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)

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

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.

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Minister Josip Aladrović Says Union Tax Only a Proposal

ZAGREB, 5 May, 2021 - Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy Minister Josip Aladrović on Wednesday denied reports that "a union tax" would be introduced, noting that media had wrongly interpreted the social dialogue on the new labour law and that that was just one of the proposals. 

"I must specifically decline the possibility of introducing a so-called union tax in the form that the media tried to depict it," Aladrović told reporters after a meeting of the inner cabinet.

As for speculation that the government could accept the union proposal for the introduction of such a tax, that is, obligatory payment of a union membership fee even for workers who are not union members, Aladrović said that "the media had misinterpreted the social dialogue."

In the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and talks with unions on the new labour law, the government has decided to strengthen and encourage social dialogue and collective bargaining but that does not mean that all proposals are automatically accepted, he said.

"Certain proposals and solutions have been interpreted as if they are going to go into force immediately, but that is only one negotiating possibility, one of the proposal by workers and nothing more," said the minister.

He added that consultations with unions and employers on the new labour legislation were finished, that agreement had been reached on many issues and that soon a task force would be set up to draw up a new law.

No comment on court ruling in case of gay couple's motion for adoption 

Aladrović would not comment on the Zagreb Administrative Court ruling in the case of life partners Mladen Kožić and Ivo Šegota, stressing that it was a non-final ruling.

The Rainbow Families association of LGBTIQ couples and individuals who have or want to have children said earlier in the day that the court had decided that Kožić and Šegota had been discriminated against when in 2016 they were prevented from undergoing the process of evaluation for adoption.

In 2020 the two men were granted the right to provide foster care.

The association's president, Daniel Martinović, said the court ruled that the two men must not be discriminated against because they are life partners.

The ruling, Martinović said, confirms that life partners in Croatia can adopt.

He noted that the ruling was still not final and expressed a wish for the Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy not to appeal against it, thus respecting a Constitutional Court ruling of 2020 in which the court concluded that everyone should be enabled to participate in the provision of  foster care under equal terms.

"We saw the ruling this week, we are still analysing its effects and legal possibilities," said Aladrović.

He noted that the HDZ party had expressed its political position on the matter through the Family Act and the Foster Care Act.

"We will act in line with decisions of Croatian courts, but this is only a non-final ruling," said the minister.

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


Monday, 3 May 2021

Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic Discusses Refined Labour Law

May the 3rd, 2021 - Croatian Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic sat down to listen to the concerns both employers and employees have had to deal with throughout the pandemic, touched on the regulation of remote work and telework, and offered assurances about the refined Labour Law.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the president of the Independent Croatian Trade Unions, Kresimir Sever, said on a recent HRT show that employees aren't in the center of attention, as was the case in previous years, because the coronavirus crisis has become a much more important topic. He added that workers' problems have been set aside, but they exist and they are very much still there.

''What's worse is that because of the coronavirus crisis, they've even intensified, the government has managed to stop most layoffs with its measures. However, a lot of other things were swept under the carpet. People are being forced to work from home, but without the addition of what's stipulated in an employment contract. Nobody asked them if they had the conditions for carrying out such work from home at all or not,'' Sever pointed out.

Sever also said some employers have taken workers from their annual leave in order to work from home, and some workers have been forced into annual leave. He said that the government paid four thousand kuna in wages for their job preservation measure, and some employers put their workers on the minimum wage, keeping the difference to themselves.

Sever emphasised that things were exceptionally difficult for people back during that time, especially because people lacked much needed social contact. The president of the Independent Croatian Trade Unions also pointed out that back at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, some workers worked even without protective equipment. The workers also had a fear of losing their jobs, become unwell, and even death.

''Only now can people see how important a worker is, without a worker... there's nothing,'' he added.

Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic said when he listened to the president of the Independent Croatian Trade Unions, Kresimir Sever, who noted that the situation looked quite negative, and that he thought he was exaggerating. Sever replied to Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic that these were not exaggerations, but that people truly are afraid.

He said that the formal phase of the adoption of the Labour Law is beginning, and that it will minimise the problems that Sever had been talking about.

''The situation isn't all that black, but yes, the situation could be made better,'' the Minister emphasised.

The director general of the Croatian Employers' Association, Damir Zoric, disagreed with Sever. He said if an employer is doing something wrong, that it is on them and not all employers should be generalised by those taking advantage of government measures.

''I'd rather say that the situation is as Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic said it was - there are negative phenomena everywhere, but in most cases in this pandemic, good work has been done together,'' he added.

He stressed that employers, not just workers, also have many fears. Zoric said that there are also issues with employees and not only employers, but fortunately such people aren't in the majority. He added that certain problems need to be solved, such as those surrounding the Croatian attitude towards teleworking, because it hasn't been included in the Labour Law. He pointed out that more than thirty percent of people in Croatia have been working remotely ever since the pandemic struck.

Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic then said that the new Labour Law would include the proper regulation of telework, and that the framework of that law had already been set out.

''This act will be a proposal for a new Labour Law, which should define the roles of employers and the role of workers, as well as their protection, in a much better way,'' Aladrovic emphasised.

For more, follow our politics section.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Action Plan For Social Welfare System Reform To Be Presented Soon

ZAGREB, 21 April, 2021 - Labour and Social Policy Minister Josip Aladrović said on Wednesday that intensive talks had been underway with all stakeholders in the social welfare system, noting that the system was ready for a reform.

He said that an action plan for a broad reform was being prepared and that it would be presented in the next few days.

However, certain challenges have accumulated in the system for a long period of time so its reform will also take time and require quality engagement of all stakeholders, he said.

The action plan is comprehensive and detailed, the minister said, adding that no group of beneficiaries or employees would be left out.

"We want a solid and implementable document," he said, adding that the reform would focus on the beneficiaries of the social welfare system as well as deal with the problem of a shortage of social workers and excessive workload. 

An analysis has been made on the shortage of staff in all 83 social welfare centres in the country, he said, adding that the hiring of new staff would start soon.

The action plan also aims to facilitate the process of adoption and putting a child in a foster family, he said.

Commenting on a half-an-hour protest of social workers held earlier in the day, Aladrović said that it was their right and that he did not want to question it.

"But what we expect is the continuation of good cooperation with representatives from the entire system of social care," he said, expressing confidence that with joint work and implementation of the action plan the system could be improved to the benefit of its users.

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