Friday, 29 October 2021

Minimum Wage to Be Contracted in Gross Amount as of Next Year

ZAGREB, 29 Oct 2021 - Parliament amended the Minimum Wage Act by majority vote on Friday and as of next year employers will have to contract the minimum wage with employees in the gross amount, or face a fine between HRK 60,000 and 100,000.

As of next year, the gross minimum wage will be HRK 4,687. Now it amounts to HRK 4,250.

The government decided yesterday that as of next year the net minimum wage will amount to HRK 3,750, an increase of 10.3%. For the first time, the minimum wage will exceed 50% of the average net wage.

Employers who pay below the minimum wage will also be fined, as will those who sign a contract with an employee in which they renounce the payment of the minimum wage.

Parliament rejected a conclusion by Katarina Peović of the opposition Workers Front under which the government should make sure that the minimum wage was a dignified wage. Anything else , she said, is contrary to the constitution.

Parliament also amended the Voluntary Health Insurance Act and now 120,000 insurees, mainly pensioners, will get free supplementary health insurance.

The amended law raises the income threshold from HRK 1,600 to 2,000 a month and for a single insuree from HRK 2,047 to 2,500. For that purpose HRK 16.8 million has been set aside in this year's budget and HRK 101 million for 2022 and 2023.

MPs also endorsed a corruption prevention strategy for the 2021-30 period.

Amendments to the farmland law was sent into a second reading.

A bill by Anka Mrak Tritaš of the opposition GLAS to cut  the tax on feminine hygiene products did not receive majority support. However, MPs endorsed a conclusion by the ruling HDZ group tasking the government with analysing period poverty within six months and taking action to eliminate it.

For more on politics, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 29 October 2021

Opposition Amendments to Minimum Wage Bill Rejected

ZAGREB, 29 Oct 2021 - A government representative on Friday rejected all opposition amendments to the Minimum Wage Bill, of which most were put forward by MP Katarina Peović of the Workers' Front, and accepted only an amendment by Croatian Pensioners' Party MP Silvano Hrelja, who is part of the parliamentary majority.

The bill makes it possible for employers to cheat workers, enabling them to sign employment contracts setting the wage below the minimum wage yet pay the worker the minimum wage but make them work additionally for it, said Peović.

It is therefore important that overtime work, work on holidays, work in shifts and work in difficult conditions be paid for separately, she said.

The minimum pay must be defined as a decent pay, she said, noting that this was a constitutional category.

MP Sandra Benčić of the We Can! party said that the bill included "catches" that would enable employers to pay lower wages than the minimum wage of HRK 3,750 (€500), defined by the government.

MP Hrelja, whose amendment was the only one accepted by the government, had proposed erasing an article from the Minimum Wage Bill so that the minimum wage is not lower than the one determined by the bill and the planned working hours do not affect the amount of the minimum wage the worker should receive.

For more on politics, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

Minimum Wage to Rise By 10.3% to €500 in 2022

ZAGREB, 28 Oct 2021 - Croatia's minimum wage for 2022 will be HRK 3,750 (€500), rising by 10.3%, and will thus be above 50% of the average net pay for the first time.

The government on Thursday adopted a regulation on the minimum wage after consultations with all social partners.

We have assessed that in the current circumstances, the minimum wage can be increased from HRK 3,400 to HRK 3,750, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said.

He went on to say that the net minimum wage of €500 would concern 51,000 workers who now receive the minimum take-home pay.

This is for the first time that the net minimum wage will be above 50% of the average monthly wage, as it will reach 52.7% of that wage.

In August, the average monthly take-home pay was HRK 7,118 (€949), when the median wage was HRK 6,014. (€802).

The new minimum wage will be 60% of the median wage.

All of this is a great step forward, Plenković said, recalling that five years ago the minimum wage was 38% of the average wage.

Over the last five years, the minimum wage has risen by HRK 1,254, or four times more than during the terms of the previous three governments, Plenković underscored.

The gross minimum wage in 2022 will be HRK 4,687.50, Labour Ministry State Secretary Dragan Jelić said.

He informed the government that the average gross salary had risen during the first seven months of 2021 as against the corresponding period of 2020.

(€1= HRK 7.5)

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

Opposition Says Not Against Minimum Pay Rise, But Employers Shouldn't Pay for It

ZAGREB, 28 Oct 2021 - Opposition MPs said on Thursday, ahead of a debate on changes to the Minimum Wage Act, that nobody was against the minimum wage being raised but not in such a way to make employers cover the cost. 

Marin Lerotić of the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) said his party was against employers covering the cost of a higher minimum wage, wondering when the serious discussion would begin about tax reliefs and stimulation of industries, notably export-oriented ones.

Davor Bernardić of the Social Democrats said PM Andrej Plenković's announcement of a HRK 350 increase in the minimum wage was a show, adding that people live poorly and noting that 200,000 people have left the Slavonia region.

Peđa Grbin of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) said that realistically, nobody could be against the PM's announcement but that the entire wage policy should be discussed.

Generally, wages are low, and when inflation is added to that, it is clear that not even the average wage suffices for a normal living, let alone the minimum wage, Grbin said.

Marija Selak Raspudić (Bridge) said the prime minister was "feeling generous" yet wanted somebody else to pay the bill. That is what the minimum wage bill is about, she said.

"If the prime minister really wants to be generous... he should raise the non-taxable income to HRK 5,000, as suggested by entrepreneurs," she said.

Katarina Peović of the Workers' Front said that the bill, under which the minimum wage would have to be agreed in its gross amount and employers who fail to do so would be penalized, would not bring anything good to 52,000 workers receiving the minimum wage.

The bill is unconstitutional and the amendments will only serve to improve the statistics, she said.

Hrvoje Zekanović of the Croatian Sovereignists said that employers were avoiding the government's measures, citing the example of a woman from Šibenik whose minimum wage did not increase at all after it was raised for the last two times. However, on paper her working hours were first reduced from eight to six and then to four, he said.

Employers are avoiding compliance with the government's measures by registering their workers as working six or four hours a day, so we are doing those workers a disservice instead of helping them, Zekanović said, calling the government's measures as 'cosmetic ones'.

Majda Burić of the ruling HDZ party said that the institute of minimum wage was a very sensitive one and had to be approached seriously, which, she said, the government was doing.

The gross minimum wage amounts to HRK 4,250, and the net amount is HRK 3,400, she said, adding that as of January 2022 the net amount would rise by HRK 350. Annually, that is an increase of 10.3%, the highest so far, she said.

She recalled that during the Andrej Plenković governments' terms in the past five years, the minimum wage had been raised by a gross amount of HRK 1,567 and a net amount of HRK 1,254.

During the term of the SDP-led government, it was raised by HRK 179, she said.

(€1 = HRK 7.521247)

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

PM Says Minimum Wage to Increase by HRK 350 as of January

ZAGREB, 27 Oct 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković announced on Wednesday in the parliament that the minimum net wage would increase by HRK 350 or 10.3% as of January, from HRK 3,400 to HRK 3,750, that is to €500.

The government would pass the decision on Thursday, the prime minister said, submitting to the parliament the annual report on the work of the government.

He underscored that the government was raising the minimum wage for the first time to more than 50% of the average net salary and to over 60% of the median net salary, which would impact 51,000 workers.

Five years ago, he recalled, the minimum salary was 38% of the average salary.

The prime minister also said that the number of employed persons was higher by 51,000 than last year and that it had reached 1.6 million employed persons, which was to date the highest number in August after the record 2008 and the second-highest since independence.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

The unemployment rate, which stood at 13.3% five years ago, declined in August to 7.3%, he said, adding that this was the result of active employment policy measures, in which about HRK 5.5 billion had been invested over five years, encompassing 165,000 persons.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 19 February 2021

People also ask Google: What is Croatia Famous For?

February 19, 2021 – What is Croatia Famous For?

People outside of the country really want to know more about Croatia. They search for answers online.

Here, we'll try to answer the popular search terms “What is Croatia famous for?” and “What is Croatia known for?”

Most of the people looking for answers to these questions have never been to Croatia. They may have been prompted to ask because they're planning to visit Croatia, they want to come to Croatia, or because they heard about Croatia on the news or from a friend.

What Croatia is known for depends on your perspective. People who live in the country sometimes have a very different view of what Croatia is famous for than the rest of the world. And, after visiting Croatia, people very often leave with a very different opinion of what Croatia is known for than before they came. That's because Croatia is a wonderful country, full of surprises and secrets to discover. And, it's because internet searches don't reveal everything. Luckily, you have Total Croatia News to do that for you.

What is Croatia known for?

1) Holidays


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Croatia is best known globally as a tourist destination. Catching sight of pictures of the country online is enough to make almost anyone want to come. If you've heard about it from a friend, seen the country used in a TV show like Game of Thrones or Succession, or watched a travel show, your mind will be made up. Following such prompts, it's common for Croatia to move to first place on your bucket list. If it's not already, it should be, There are lots of reasons why Croatia is best known for holidays (vacations).

a) Islands


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What is Croatia famous for? Islands © Mljet National Park

Within Croatia's tourist offer, its most famous aspect is its islands. Croatia has over a thousand islands - 1246 when you include islets. 48 Croatian islands are inhabited year-round, but many more come to life over the warmer months. Sailing in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the islands, and if you're looking for a place for sailing in the Mediterranean, Croatia is the best choice because of its wealth of islands. These days, existing images of Croatia's islands have been joined by a lot more aerial photography and, when people see these, they instantly fall in love.

b) Beaches


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What is Croatia famous for? Its holidays are famous for their beaches © Szabolcs Emich

Croatia has 5835 kilometres of coastline on the Adriatic Sea - 1,777.3 kilometres of coast on the mainland, and a further 4,058 kilometres of coast around its islands and islets. The Croatian coast is the most indented of the entire Mediterranean. This repeated advance and retreat into the Adriatic forms a landscape littered with exciting, spectacular peninsulas, quiet, hidden bays, and some of the best beaches in the world. There are so many beaches in Croatia, you can find a spot to suit everyone. On the island of Pag and in the Zadar region, you'll find beaches full of young people where the party never stops. Elsewhere, romantic and elegant seafood restaurants hug the shoreline. Beach bars can range from ultra-luxurious to basic and cheap. The beaches themselves can be popular and full of people, facilities, excitement and water sports, or they can be remote, idyllic, and near-deserted, accessible only by boat. Sand, pebble, and stone all line the perfectly crystal-clear seas which are the common feature shared by all.

c) Dubrovnik


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What is Croatia famous for? Dubrovnik © Ivan Ivanković

As a backdrop to Game Of Thrones and movies from franchises like Star Wars and James Bond, Dubrovnik is known all over the world. Everybody wants to see it in person, and that's why it's an essential stop-off for so many huge cruise ships in warmer months. But, Dubrovnik's fame did not begin with the invention of film and television. The city was an autonomous city-state for long periods of time in history, and Dubrovnik was known all over Europe – the famous walls which surround the city of Dubrovnik are a testament to a desire to maintain its independent standing for centuries while living in the shadow of expanding, ambitious empires.

d) Heritage


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What is Croatia famous for? Heritage. Pula amphitheatre is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world

The walled city of Dubrovnik is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Croatia's rich architectural and ancient heritage. Diocletian's Palace in Split is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and still the living, breathing centre of life in the city (that people still live within it and it is not preserved in aspic is one of its most charming features and no small reason for its excellent preservation).

Having existed on the line of European defence against the Ottoman empire, Croatia also has many incredible fortresses and castles. The fortresses of Sibenik are well worth seeing if you're visiting Sibenik-Knin County and its excellent coast. A small number of Croatia's best castles exist on the coast, Rijeka's Trsat and Nova Kraljevica Castle is nearby Bakar being two of them. Most of Croatia's best and prettiest castles are actually located in its continental regions which, compared to the coast, remain largely undiscovered by most international tourists.

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Many spectacular castles in the country's continental regions are, for these parts, what is Croatia famous for

Pula amphitheatre (sometimes referred to as Pula Arena) is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world. A spectacular sight year-round, like Diocletian's Palace, it remains a living part of the city's life, famously hosting an international film festival, concerts by orchestras, opera stars, and famous rock and pop musicians. Over recent years, it has also played a part in the city's music festivals.

e) Music Festivals


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What is Croatia famous for? Music festivals © Khris Cowley

There is a very good reason why the city of Pula leapt massively up the list of most-researched online Croatian destinations over the last decade. It played host to two of the country's most famous international music festivals. Though the music at some of these can be quite niche, the global attention they have brought to the country is simply massive. Clever modern branding and marketing by the experienced international operators who host their festivals in Croatia mean that millions of young people all over the world have seen videos, photos and reviews of Croatia music festivals, each of them set within a spectacular backdrop of seaside Croatia.

f) Plitvice Lakes and natural heritage


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What is Croatia Famous For? Plitvice Lakes, national parks and natural heritage

Known for its chain of 16 terraced lakes and gushing waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes is the oldest, biggest and most famous National Park in Croatia. Everybody wants to see it. And many do. But that's not the be-all and end-all of Croatia's stunning natural beauty. Within the country's diverse topography, you'll find 7 further National Parks and 12 Nature Parks which can be mountain terrain, an archipelago of islands, or vibrant wetlands.

2) Football


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What is Croatia famous for? Football. Seen here, Luka Modric at the 2018 World Cup © Светлана Бекетова

The glittering international careers of Croatian footballers Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Ivan Perišić, Mario Mandžukić, and others have in recent years advertised Croatia as a factory of top-flight footballing talent. They helped put Croatia football on the map with fans of European football. Football fans in Croatia have a very different perception of just how famous Croatian football is to everyone else in the world. If you talk to a Croatian fan about football, it's almost guaranteed that they will remind you of a time (perhaps before either of you were born) when their local or national team beat your local or national team in football. 99% of people will have no idea what they are talking about. The past occasions which prompt this parochial pride pale into insignificance against the Croatian National Football Team's achievement in reaching the World Cup Final of 2018. This monumental occasion brought the eyes of the world on Croatia, extending way beyond the vision of regular football fans. Subsequently, the internet exploded with people asking “Where is Croatia?”

Sports in general are what is Croatia known for

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Croatians are enthusiastic about sports and engage in a wide number of them. The difference in perception between how Croats view the fame this gets them and the reality within the rest of the world is simply huge. Rowing, basketball, wrestling, mixed martial arts, tennis, handball, boxing, waterpolo, ice hockey, skiing and volleyball are just some of the sports in which Croatia has enthusiastically supported individuals and local and national teams. Some of these are regarded as minority sports even in other countries that also pursue them. Croatians don't understand this part. If you say to a Croatian “What is handball? I never heard of that,” they will look at you like you are crazy or of below-average intelligence.

3) Zagreb


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What is Croatia famous for? Its capital city Zagreb is becoming increasingly better known

Over relatively recent years, the Croatian capital has skyrocketed in terms of fame and visitor numbers. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world now come to visit Zagreb each year. Its massive new success can be partly attributed to the rising popularity of international tourism in some areas of Asia (and Zagreb being used as a setting for some television programmes made in some Asian countries) and the massive success of Zagreb's Advent which, after consecutively attaining the title of Best European Christmas Market three times in a row, has become famous throughout the continent and further still. Zagreb's fame is not however restricted to tourism. Zagreb is known for its incredible Austro-Hungarian architecture, its Upper Town (Gornji Grad) and the buildings there, an array of museums and city centre parks and as home to world-famous education and scientific institutions, like to Ruder Boskovic Institute and the Faculty of Economics, University of Zagreb.

4) Olive oil


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What is Croatia famous for? Olive oil

Croatian olive oil is the best in the world. Don't just take out word for it! Even the experts say so. In 2020, leading guide Flos Olei voted Istria in northwest Croatia as the world's best olive oil growing region for a sixth consecutive year. Olive oil production is an ancient endeavour in Croatia, and over hundreds of years, the trees have matured, and the growers learned everything there is to know. Olive oil is made throughout a much wider area of Croatia than just Istria, and local differences in climate, variety, and soil all impact the flavour of the oils produced. Croatian has no less than five different olive oils protected at a European level under the designation of their place of origin. These and many other Croatian olive oils are distinct and are among the best you're ever likely to try.

5) There was a war here


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What is Croatia famous for? A relatively recent war left its mark on the country © Modzzak

Under rights granted to the republics of the former Yugoslavia and with a strong mandate from the Croatian people, gained across two national referendums, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic country, with each republic containing a mixture of different ethnicities and indeed many families which themselves were the product of mixed ethnicities. Ethnic tensions and the rise of strong nationalist political voices in each of the former republics and within certain regions of these countries lead to a situation where war became inevitable. The worst of the fighting was suffered within Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina and the part of southern Serbia which is now Kosovo. The Croatian War of Independence (known locally as the Homeland War) lasted from 1991 – 1995. The Yugoslav wars of which it was a major part is regarded as the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War II. In many cases, this war pitted neighbouring houses or neighbouring villages against each other and sometimes members of the same family could be found on opposing sides. The war left huge damage on the country and its infrastructure, some of which is still visible. Worse still, it had a much greater physical and psychological impact on the population. Some people in Croatia today would rather not talk about the war and would prefer to instead talk about the country's present and future. For other people in Croatia, the war remains something of an obsession. If you are curious about the Croatian War of Independence, it is not advisable to bring it up in conversation when you visit the country unless you know the person you are speaking with extremely well. It is a sensitive subject for many and can unnecessarily provoke strong emotions and painful memories. There are many resources online where you can instead read all about the war, there are good documentary series about it on Youtube and there are several museums in Croatia where you can go and learn more, in Vukovar, Karlovac and in Zagreb.

6) Wine


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What is Croatia famous for? Its wine is some of the best you'll ever try © Plenković

Croatia is not really that famous for wine. Well, not as famous as it should be because Croatia makes some of the greatest wine on the planet. Croatian wine is only really famous to those who have tried it after visiting – you'll never forget it! A growing cabal of Croatian wine enthusiasts are trying their best internationally to spread the word about Croatian wine. However, there isn't really that much space in Croatia to make all the wine it needs to supply its homegrown demands and a greatly increased export market. Therefore, export prices of Croatian wine are quite high and even when it does reach foreign shores, these prices ensure its appreciation only by a select few. There's a popular saying locally that goes something like this “We have enough for ourselves and our guests”. Nevertheless, Croatian wine is frequently awarded at the most prestigious international competitions and expos. White wine, red wine, sparkling wine, cuvee (mixed) and rose wine are all made here and Croatia truly excels at making each. You can find different kinds of grape grown and wine produced in the different regions of Croatia. The best way to learn about Croatian wine is to ask someone who really knows about wine or simply come to Croatia to try it. Or, perhaps better still, don't do that and then there will be more for those of us who live here. Cheers!

7) Croatian produce


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Drniš prsut
is protected at a European level, one of 32 products currently protected in this way and therefore what is Croatia famous for © Tourist Board of Drniš

To date, 32 agricultural and food products from Croatia have attained protection at a European level. These range from different prosciuttos, olive oils and Dalmatian bacon, to pastries and pastas, honey, cheese, turkeys, lamb, cabbages, mandarins, salt, sausages, potatoes and something called Meso 'z tiblice (which took a friend from the region where it's made three days to fully research so he could explain it to me at the levels necessary to write an informed article about it – so, you can research that one online). While some prosciutto, bacon, sausages, olive oil and wine do make it out of Croatia, much of these are snaffled up by a discerning few of those-in-the-know. The rest, you will only really be able to try if you visit. And, there are many other items of Croatian produce which are known which you can also try while here

Truffles


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What is Croatia known for? Truffles © Donatella Paukovic

By weight, one of the most expensive delicacies in the world, truffles are a famous part of the cuisine within some regions of Croatia. They feature heavily in the menu of Istria, which is well known as a region in which both white and black truffles are found and then added to food, oils or other products. Truth be told, this isn't a black and white issue - there are a great number of different types of truffle and they can be found over many different regions in Croatia, including around Zagreb and in Zagreb County. But, you'll need to see a man about a dog if you want to find them yourself.

Vegeta


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What is Croatia known for? Vegeta

Having celebrated its 60th birthday in 2019, the cooking condiment Vegeta is exported and known in many other countries, particularly Croatia's close neighbours. It is popularly put into soups and stews to give them more flavour. Among its ingredients are small pieces of dehydrated vegetables like carrot, parsnip, onion, celery, plus spices, salt and herbs like parsley.

Chocolate


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What is Croatia known for? Chocolate is a big export© Alexander Stein

Though making chocolate is only around a century old in Croatia, Croatian chocolate has grown to become one of its leading manufactured food exports. Some of the most popular bars may be a little heavy on sugar and low on cocoa for more discerning tastes. But, lots of others really like it.

Beer


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What is Croatia famous for? Its beer is becoming more famous internationally © The Garden Brewery

The exploding growth of the Croatian craft ale scene over the last 10 years is something that is likely to have passed you by, unless you're a regular visitor to the country, a beer buff or both. Most of the producers are quite small and production not great enough to make a big splash on international markets. However, even within a craft-flooded current market, Croatian beer is becoming more widely known – in one poll, the Zagreb-based Garden Brewery was in 2020 voted Europe's Best Brewery for the second consecutive year

8) Innovation


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What is Croatia famous for? Pioneers, inventors and innovation. Nikola Tesla was born here

From the parachute, fingerprinting, the retractable pen and the tungsten filament electric light-bulb to the torpedo, modern seismology, the World Health Oganisation and the cravat (a necktie, and the precursor to the tie worn by many today), Croatia has gifted many innovations to the world. The list of pioneers - scientists, artists, researchers and inventors - who were born here throughout history is long. And, although innovation is not currently regarded as experiencing a golden period in Croatia, there are still some Croatian innovators whose impact is felt globally, such as electric hypercar maker Mate Rimac.

9) Being poor


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What is Croatia famous for? Being poor. Yikes!

The minimum wage in Croatia is among the lowest in Europe. Croatian language media is constantly filled with stories about corruption. There is a huge state apparatus in which key (if not most) positions are regarded to be politically or personally-motivated appointments. This leads to a lack of opportunity for Croatia's highly educated young people. Many emigrate for better pay and better opportunities. This leads to a brain drain and affects the country's demographics considerably (if it usually the best educated, the ablest and the youngest Croatian adults who emigrate). Many of those who stay are influenced by the stories of widespread corruption and lack of opportunity and are therefore lethargic in their work, leading to a lack of productivity. A considerable part of the Croatian economy is based on tourism which remains largely seasonal.

10) People want to live in Croatia


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What is Croatia famous for? People want to come and live here. No, really.

Yes, despite many younger Croatians leaving or dreaming of leaving and despite the low wages, many people who are not from Croatia dream about living here. Of course, it's an all too familiar scenario that you go on holiday somewhere and while sitting at a seafood restaurant in sight of a glorious sunset, having had a few too many glasses of the local wine, you fall in love with Miguel or however the waiter is called who served it and Miguel's homeland. But, with Croatia, this is actually no passing fancy, no idle holiday dream. People do decide to move here. And not just for the sunset and Miguel (nobody in Croatia is called Miguel - Ed).

Croatia may be known for being poor, but it also has one of the best lifestyles in Europe. That it's cafe terraces are usually full to capacity tells you something about the work to living ratio. Croatians are not just spectators of sport, many enjoy a healthy lifestyle. This informs everything from their pastimes to their diet. There are great facilities for exercise and sport, wonderful nature close by whichever part of the country you're in. You can escape into somewhere wonderful and unknown at a moment's notice. The country is well connected internally by brilliant roads and motorways, reliable intercity buses and an international train network. The tourism industry ensures that multiple airports across Croatia can connect you to almost anywhere you want to go, and major international airports in Belgrade and Budapest, just a couple of hours away, fly to some extremely exotic locations. There are a wealth of fascinating neighbour countries on your doorstep to explore on a day trip or weekend and superfast broadband is being rolled out over the entire country. This is perhaps one of the reasons Croatia has been heralded as one of the world's best options for Digital Nomads. In a few years, when we ask what is Croatia famous far, they could be one of the answers.

What is Croatia famous for, but only after you've visited

Some things you experience when you visit Croatia come as a complete surprise. Most would simply never be aware of them until they visit. They are usually top of the list of things you want to do when you come back to Croatia.

Gastronomy


fritaja_sparoge_1-maja-danica-pecanic_1600x900ntbbbbb.jpgGastronomy is only one of the things what is Croatia known for only after you've visited © Maja Danica Pecanic / Croatian National Tourist Board

Despite a few famous TV chefs having visited and filmed in Croatia over the years, Croatian gastronomy remains largely unknown to almost everyone who's never been to Croatia. That's a shame because you can find some fine food here. Croatia has increased its Michelin-starred and Michelin-recommended restaurants tenfold over recent years. But, perhaps the bigger story is the traditional cuisine which varies greatly within the countries different regions. From the gut-busting barbecue grills and the classic Mediterranean fare of Dalmatia to the pasta, asparagus and truffles of Istria to the sausages and paprika-rich stews of Slavonia and the best smoked and preserved meats of the region, there's an untold amount of secret Croatian gastronomy to discover.

Coffee


restaurant-3815076_1280.jpgWhat is Croatia known for? Well, to locals, it's famous for coffee - not just a drink, it's a ritual

Croatians are passionate about coffee and about going for coffee. It's a beloved ritual here. Going for coffee in Croatia is often about much more than having coffee. It's an integral part of socialising, catching up and sometimes being seen. It doesn't always involve coffee either. Sometimes, you'll be invited for coffee, only to end up ordering beer. It's not about the coffee. Although, the standard of coffee in Croatia, and the places where you drink it, is usually really good.

The misapprehension: What is Croatia known for (if you are a Croatian living in Croatia)

Handball, music

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Friday, 5 February 2021

Croatia's Minimum Wage Among Lowest Within EU Countries 2021

To residents of the country, the news will hardly come as much surprise: Croatia's minimum wage is among the lowest within all of the countries of the European Union.

Though 2021 has only just begun, Eurostat looked at minimum wage levels in the entire block for the month of January. Croatia's minimum wage is the 5th lowest in Europe. Only in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Latvia are the set level lower than Croatia's minimum wage.

In January, the lowest minimum wage, of €332 per month, was reported in Bulgaria. In Hungary, Romania and Latvia, it was between €440 and €500 per month. Croatia's minimum wage followed at €563 per month. The Czech Republic and Estonia also had a minimum wage of below €600.

Some countries within the European Union do not have a minimum wage at all, although they are rarely regarded as being among the countries with the block's lowest living standards. They are; Denmark, Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Finland and Sweden.

21 EU member states do have a national minimum wage. It ranges from €700 in the east of the union to €1,500 in the northwest. In 10 member states - mostly in Eastern Europe - the minimum wage in January was below €700 per month. In five countries in southern Europe, the minimum wage was between €700 and slightly over €1,100. In six countries in the west and north, it was above €1,500.

The data shows that the highest minimum wage in the EU is as much as 6.6 times higher than the lowest.

One element of the statistics which may come as a surprise to the country's residents is that the countries regarded by the EU as being 'southern Europe', all had a higher minimum wage than Croatia's minimum wage. In Greece, the lowest minimum wage in January was €758. Among southern European countries, it was followed by Portugal, Malta, Slovenia and Spain who each had a minimum wage of between €780 and slightly over €1,100. Some of south Europe's countries – specifically Greece, Portugal and Spain – were among the continent's hardest hit in the 2008 financial crisis and aftermath. That they should have recovered to the point where their minimum wage is higher than Croatia's minimum wage is notable.

Croatian_people_in_the_world.pngThe Croatian diaspora around the world. Economics is not the only cause of Croatians leaving their homeland - they also move for political and sociological reasons © Davejcroyd

Among the countries in the north and west of the continent, France had the lowest minimum wage, of €1,555, followed by Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland, where the minimum wage ranged from slightly over €1,600 to slightly over €1,724. Luxembourg had the highest minimum wage, of €2,202.

When the minimum wage is expressed in purchasing power standards (PPS), the gap between member states is somewhat narrower - the minimum wage is 'only' 2.7 higher than the lowest. Bulgaria is still at the bottom of the list with a minimum wage of 623 PPS per month, while Luxembourg tops the list with 1,668 PPS. Croatia's minimum wage in January 2021 was 805 PPS.

While figures on Croatia's minimum wage level within the European Union are not entirely welcome on a national level, this economic disparity is, in some way, how the European Union is set up to function – residents of EU member states may travel to and live within any EU member state where opportunities may be better and wages may be higher. Croatians have free access to the employment market within the whole of the European Union.

Staatsangehrigkeit_Kroatien_in_Deutschland.jpgWhere Croats most live in Germany. Croatians are the sixth-highest group of residents of Germany who hold citizenship in a different country © Michael Sander

Many young Croatians are happy to take advantage of this situation and travel overseas for their employment. While this is beneficial to them on an individual level, it contributes to a considerable 'brain drain' from Croatia – where the brightest and best young minds are snapped up for employment in other countries, where wages are higher. It also greatly impacts the demographics of Croatia's population.

In the 1960s, Croatia had five or more employees per retiree, supporting the country's economy while the elderly enjoyed the retirement they had long worked for. In the Croatia of today, only 1.4 employees remain in the country to help support a nation that, thanks to advances in healthcare and education, has an increasing number of old people and retirees. And, why should younger people be asked to stay, when Croatia's minimum wage lines up so poorly compared to countries which are just a few hours away by bus?

 

Friday, 1 January 2021

What's Changing Today? Higher Croatian Minimum Wage, Less Income Tax

January the 1st, 2020 - As Index writes, in 2021, Croatia is set to introduce the national compensation for the elderly in the amount of 800 kuna, increase the Croatian minimum wage to 3400 kuna net, reduce income tax rates down to 20 and 30 percent, and also down to 10 percent for enterprises with an income up of up to 7.5 million kuna, abolish quotas for foreign (third country) workers, and regulate the temporary stay of digital nomads.

Usually, a number of new laws come into force at the beginning of any given year, or amendments to existing ones occur, such as the new National Allowance for the Elderly Act, the new Law on Foreigners, a package of laws regulating the fifth round of tax reform - amendments to the tax laws on income, profit, VAT, the fiscalisation in cash transactions, on the financing of local self-government units, as well as new laws regulating the banking sector.

At the beginning of this year, some new bylaws came into force, such as the regulation on the amount of the Croatian minimum wage.

The Croatian minimum net wage in 2021 will rise to 3400 kuna

From the beginning of 2021, the Croatian minimum wage will be 3,400 kuna, which is 150 kuna or 4.61 percent more than it was in 2020. Namely, the government prescribed, by decree, that the Croatian minimum wage this year amounts to 4,250 kuna, which is 187.49 kuna more than last year.

The minimum hourly rate for student services - 26.56 kuna

Students who work through student services will also profit slightly from the increase in the Croatian minimum wage, to whom employers must pay a minimum of 26.56 kuna per hour from the beginning of this year, which is about 4.7 percent more than the previous 25.39 kuna in 2020.

The decision on the Croatian minimum wage for students is made every year by the Minister of Science and Education.

In February, the first payment of national compensation for the elderly will take place - 800 kuna

From this year on, Croatia will start paying the national benefit for the elderly to Croatian citizens over the age of 65 who have for whatever reason not secured an old-age pensions and are not entitled to any sort of pension, in the amount of 800 kuna.

This, popularly called the national pension, is regulated by the new Law on National Compensation for the Elderly, and the Minister of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy, Josip Aladrovic, expects that around 20,000 beneficiaries will receive the new payment in the first year alone.

"The national benefit for the elderly is designed as a benefit that will cover the most vulnerable part of the population. We expect that in the first year, there will be slightly less than 20,000 who will use their right to access this benefit and the approximate cost of it to the state budget will stand at 132 million kuna in 2021,'' Aladrovic said in mid-December, when the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute (HZMO) began receiving applications for these payments.

HZMO will pay this fee through commercial banks and the first payments of this fee should start in February, with backpayments from January 2021 included.

Amendments to the Income Tax Act also define the tax treatment of this benefit - it, like other social benefits, will not be considered a sum on which income tax is paid.

Lower income tax rates

Amendments to the Income Tax Act are part of the package governing the fifth round of tax reforms. These changes have reduced income tax rates down from 24 percent to 20 percent, and from 36 percent down to 30 percent.

These lower rates should result in a higher salary for working people who, considering their salaries and thus their tax bases, must pay income tax. That increase can be anywhere from ten kuna to a thousand or two or more kuna. How much the increase is exactly depends on the amount of a person's salary, any benefits they receive for their dependent members and their place of residence and its surtax rate.

An estimate made earlier on by Finance Minister Zdravko Maric says that more than 900,000 taxpayers can expect higher incomes from the reduction of income tax rates, depending on the amount of their income. Out of a total of 2.8 million employees and pensioners, 1.9 million of them, given the amount of their income or pensions, don't pay any income tax, according to the Minister of Finance.

Amendments to the Income Tax Act reduce the rate applied from 12 percent to 10 percent applicable to the taxation of annual and final declared income and the flat-rate taxation of activities (such as renters of flats or apartments). However, the tax burden for those who fail to report their income in accordance with legal regulations is increasing, and the so-called penalty rate for asset disproportion has gone up from 54 percent to 60 percent.

This is other income based on the difference between the value of assets and the amount of assets with which it was acquired. Until now, this disparity has been taxed at a rate of 36 percent.

The novelty of the legal changes is that people who rent out their apartments, and if they certify the contract with a public notary, will no longer have to go to the Tax Administration themselves, but notaries will have the obligation to send this certified contract to the tax authorities. If, on the other hand, the contract is concluded without notarisation, people will still have to bring it to the Tax Administration themselves.

The financial effect of the changes in the income tax rate is estimated at two billion kuna, and since this tax is the income of local self-government units, the state will compensate them by taking over the equalisation fund, which is further explained below.

The state has taken over the equalisation fund

Thus, in accordance with the amendments to the Law on Financing of Local Self-Government Units, the shares of municipalities and cities in the distribution of income tax have increased from 60 to 74 percent, and that of counties has increased from 17 to 20 percent.

However, the funds for the equalisation fund, which has so far held a share of 17 percent in the distribution of income tax, will be provided for by the state budget from this year.

Income tax - the rate for enterprises with an income up to 7.5 million will fall from 12 to 10 percent

At the beginning of the year, amendments to the Income Tax Act came into force, reducing this tax rate for enterprises with an annual income of up to 7.5 million kuna from 12 percent down to 10 percent.

In addition to that, the tax rate on dividends and profit sharing was reduced from 12 percent down to 10 percent, and the tax rate on performance fees for foreign performers (artists, entertainers, athletes, etc) was reduced from 15 percent down to 10 percent.

The amendments to this law also stimulate banks to try to agree on a partial or complete write-off of receivables with clients who end up running into financial difficulties. Namely, the tax-deductible expense of a credit institution would be the same amount of the write-off of receivables, based on credit placements, the value of which is adjusted in accordance with special regulations of the Croatian National Bank.

VAT - the threshold for payment according to the collected invoices has been raised to 15 million kuna

Amendments to the Law on VAT raised the threshold for the payment of VAT according to the collected fees - from 7.5 million kuna to 15 million kuna. It also expands on the possibility of applying the VAT calculation category to imports.

Although most of the provisions of this law will enter into force at the beginning of this year, one important provision will enter into force in the middle of the year - from the 1st of July 2021, all imports of goods into Croatia from third countries will have to have VAT paid on them.

Fiscalisation - the treasury maximum is going to be prescribed by the Minister of Finance, Zdravko Maric, in an ordinance

The package of the fifth round of tax reform also includes amendments to the Law on Fiscalisation in Cash Transactions, whose provisions no longer prescribe the cash maximum, but will instead be prescribed by the Minister of Finance, according to certain categories of Croatian taxpayers.

At the beginning of the year, the application of some provisions adopted back at the end of 2019 began, so from the 1st of January 2021, the obligation to carry out the procedure of the fiscalisation of sales via self-service devices begins, as does the obligation to display QR codes on each issued and fiscalised invoice/receipt.

Law on Foreigners - quotas for foreign workers are abolished

At the beginning of 2021, Croatia will abolish its previous quota model for the employment of foreigners from third countries and move over to a new model that should make it easier for employers to employ foreigners.

Until now, the government has made decisions on determining the annual quota of permits for the employment of foreigners, for which it has also determined the list of activities and occupations they can engage in, as well as the number of permits for those professions in one year.

However, the new Law on Foreigners, which also came into force today, introduces a new model based on the opinion of the Croatian Employment Service (CES) on the justification of the employment of third-country nationals and the issuance of residence and work permits for such individuals.

This means that employers will first ask the CES to conduct a labour market survey before applying for a residence and work permit for the employment of a foreigner. If it is determined that there are no unemployed persons already here in Croatia who meet the requirements for that position, employers will then be able to apply for a residence and work permit to the Ministry of the Interior (MUP). The procedure for issuing residence and work permits, including the implementation of the labour market survey will take a maximum of 30 days.

The law also prescribes exceptions to the implementation of the labour market survey related to deficient occupations such as carpenters, masons, waiters, butchers and in the case of seasonal work of up to 90 days in agriculture, forestry, catering and tourism sectors.

The Law on sending workers to the Republic of Croatia (posted workers)

On the first day of the new year, the Law on Sending Workers to the Republic of Croatia and Cross-Border Enforcement of Decisions on Fines enters into force. It regulates the fundamental issues related to the position of workers in accordance with and on the basis of European Union legal sources, and provides a framework for compensation for the work performed, as other conditions, of posted workers.

These include the rights and guaranteed amounts of compensation for work performed in Croatia, the rights to protection at work, working hours and holidays, protection against discrimination, the right to quality for accommodation and internal mobility costs to which a Croatian worker is entitled, as well as the judicial protection of these rights.

The temporary stay of digital nomads will be properly regulated

Croatia is also among the few countries that will regulate the temporary stay of digital nomads. The Law on Foreigners also defined the term digital nomad - a third-country national who is employed or performs business through communication technology for a company or for their own company that isn't registered in the Republic of Croatia and doesn't perform work or provide services to employers headquartered in Croatia.

Temporary residence can be granted to third-country nationals who intend to stay in Croatia or are staying for the purpose of remaining here as digital nomads - this will be regulated by the new law. These people are mainly highly qualified foreigners and IT experts.

The rate for calculating and paying tourist board membership fees will be reduced by 12 percent

Enterprises can count on the reduction some parafiscal levies this year. As such, they will pay a 12 percent lower membership fee to the tourist board, regulated by amendments to the law on this topic.

This also enabled the Tax Administration to change the amount of the monthly membership fee advance due to a significant drop in that activity, and the calculation of the lump sum membership fee when persons providing catering and hospitality services in households or on family farms obtain a decision on approval in the current year, considering the fact that this membership fee is calculated based on the capacities from the previous year according to the data from the eVisitor system.

Amendments to the Tourist Board Membership Act are explicitly prescribed to enter into force on the 1st of January, and although this date isn't explicitly foreseen for amendments to the Forest Act, the application of these legal provisions coincides with the beginning of the year.

Namely, on the 15th of December 2020, Croatian Parliament passed amendments to the Forest Act, which were published in the Official Gazette (145/2020) on the 24th of December, and as they enter into force eight days after their publication, this coincides with the beginning of 2021. These legal changes envision the lowering of yet another parafiscal levy.

The total relief for the domestic economy from the above moves is estimated to stand at around 33 million kuna.

The new regulation on special tax on cars - Finance Minister Zdravko Maric expects their reduction in price

At the end of last year, the Croatian Government passed a new regulation on special tax on motor vehicles, and the Minister of Finance expects that this could lead to cheaper cars.

That regulation regulates the calculation of that special tax in the light of the new system for the measuring of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced by new cars. At the beginning of 2021, the full application of the so-called Globally Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) across the EU will begin, which means that new vehicles will no longer have CO2 measurement data according to the old type-approval rules, but it will be governed by new data. As such, it was necessary to adopt a new regulation, Minister Maric explained at a government session held on December 30th.

In addition to the environmental component which is implied, this special tax on motor vehicles also has a value component, and the new regulation has raised the value threshold up to which the special tax is not paid from 150 to 200 thousand kuna.

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Friday, 30 November 2018

Minimum Wage in Croatia Raised to 3,000 Kuna

ZAGREB, November 30, 2018 - At the government session on Friday, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković announced an increase in the net minimum wage from 2,752 kuna to 3,000 kuna, an increase of 248 kuna or 9% compared to 2018, underscoring that this is the largest one-off increase in the minimum wage since 2008.

"We will endorse a decision that will increase the minimum wage which currently amounts to 2,752 kuna net, to 3,000 kuna net. This is an increase of 248 kuna or nine percent compared to 2018. The gross amount that today totals 3,440 kuna will be 3,750 kuna, an increase of 310 kuna," Plenković said.

This is the highest one-off increase of the minimum wage since 2008, the prime minister underscored.

Expressed in the euro, following the increase the minimum wage will amount to 404 euro net or 505 gross.

Compared to other countries in central and eastern Europe, Plenković noted that according to Eurostat figures from July, Croatia's minimum gross wage amounted to 464 euro and was even then higher than in Bulgaria (261 euro), Lithuania (400 euro), Romania (407 euro), Latvia (430 euro) and Hungary (445 euro).

After this increase, the minimum wage in Croatia will as of the New Year be higher than in the Czech Republic (469 euro), Slovakia and Poland (480 euro) and Estonia (500 euro).

Plenković noted that according to the Labour and Pension System Ministry's data, about 37,000 people are currently earning a minimum wage.

He recalled that in the first two years of this government's term, the minimum wage was increased twice by five percent, which cumulatively amounts to 10.25%, with an additional 3.3% increase after excluding overtime, Sunday and public holiday hours.

"Prior to that, it was increased during our term by 13.6% compared to 2016. That was the biggest increase until now and with this increase that will mean a total net increase of the net minimum wage during our term of 504 kuna and that is 23.9%," the prime minister underscored.

He noted that the share of the gross minimum wage in the average wage will increase significantly in 2019 to 44.85%.

Plenković underscored that this measure takes employers into account. Certain compensatory measures are foreseen because the government doesn't want the challenge of increasing labour costs to lead to negative consequences for workers or their employers.

"The minimum wage is usually paid in the textile, timber, leather and metal industries and as such in 2019 we will retain the reduced base wage to calculate contributions by 50% for those workers who were paid a minimum wage in 2018, and in 2020, those reliefs will be reduced by one half," he underscored.

In addition to fiscal breaks, the government has prepared a set of measures to preserve jobs and that means that next year we will enable the use of up to 1.5 million kuna in support and in 2020 that support will be even greater in an effort to save jobs and open new ones.

Plenković recalled that the 2.8% increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) meant that it had grown for the 17th consecutive quarter and that the growth was based on sound foundations, on growing exports and investments.

"We think that the GDP growth, which has continued for 17 quarters in a row is a good signal. Figures that relate to the export of goods and services are also good – with exports increasing by 5.2% and services by 2.5% while investments have grown for the 15th consecutive quarter," he said.

With regard to industrial production falling after a long period, Plenković said that the government has been thinking about consolidating production and exports.

For more on the minimum wage in Croatia, click here.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Croatia's Minimum Wage to be Increased

Some good news for personal finances!

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