Saturday, 17 December 2022

Croatian Law on Employment of Foreign Seasonal Workers Simplified

December the 17th, 2022 - The Croatian law on the employment of foreigners (third country nationals/non-EEA nationals) has been simplified, making life much easier for sectors like the hospitality, catering and tourism sector going forward.

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the operative group of employers within the tourism and hospitality sector, the Croatian Employment Service (CES) and the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) have come together to devise a workable solution within Croatian law that will significantly simplify the procedures for issuing stay and work permits for returning foreign workers.

Instructions for police administrations and police stations have been prepared, as have all of the proper recommendations for employers for the correct submission of such requests, in order to facilitate the entire procedure to the satisfaction of both parties within the scope of Croatian law. Over the following days, detailed instructions for applications for returning workers will be provided to police administrations as well as to employers.

In addition to the above, on January the 12th, 2023, a workshop will be held where employers will have all of the details of the the model of issuing stay and work permits, as well as the methods of properly submitting requests, explained and clarified to them in full. On top of all of that, the possibility of upgrading the CES application is being investigated, so that through the application, it will be possible to check the status of any ongoing procedure, whether the request has been processed, when the work permit was issued and other similar information.

This method of cooperation and communication between the public and private sectors has showcased some truly excellent results and can be an exemplary example of efficient and high-quality communication that results in solutions that, on the one hand, relieve MUP clerks, and on the other hand, truly ensure a quality response to problems on the domestic labour market.

"In the short term of this initiative, our ministry established a dialogue with the representatives of employers within the tourism sector, in order to speed up and simplify the process of issuing residence and work permits, especially for seasonal workers who have been working in Croatia for several consecutive seasons. Both the employers and our Ministry are satisfied with the agreed concrete measures, and this is the way we'll continue our further cooperation. The first such opportunity is their inclusion in the drafting of the new Croatian immigration policy", said Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic.

"This kind of dialogue between MUP and Croatian employers is an excellent example of quality and efficient cooperation that very concretely helps both employers and workers. In a short period of time, we've facilitated the continuous employment of foreign workers who have proven themselves as quality employees in previous years. These changes to the Croatian law will make it easier for employers to prepare for the tourist season," said Irena Weber, CEO of the Croatian Association of Employers (HUP).

For more, check out our news section.

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Proof of having paid the applicable fees for the application.

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

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

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

Is Croatia part of the EU Blue Card scheme?

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

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

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

Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do I find a job in Croatia?

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

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

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

The Croatian Employment Service (CES)

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

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

Facebook groups

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

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

Websites and platforms

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

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

Target Croatian companies specifically

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

Language schools

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

Things to note

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 20 November 2022

Seasonal Workers from Third Countries Getting Scammed by Croatian Agencies

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

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

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

Debt slavery

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

Prostitution

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

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

Who knows?

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 8 September 2022

More and More Foreign Workers in Croatia, Where are They From?

September the 8th, 2022 - There are more and more foreign workers in Croatia, but where do they come from and what sort of work do they typically take up?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, given the fact that Croats have been leaving the country for years to try to find better opportunities, more stability and the chance to comfortably make ends meet, the laboyr market in Croatia has been (as expected) seriously disrupted and burdened by a severe lack of labour for some time now. According to the statistics of the Croatian Employment Service (CES), among the most sought-after professions for which a positive opinion was issued in the period from January to August 2022, are precisely those related to construction.

The most work permits for foreign workers have been issued for the following trades: construction workers (6,476), followed by masons (5,194), civil engineering workers (3,359), carpenters (3,299), locksmiths (2,265), welders (2,231), facade workers (2,161), electricians ( 1,727) and installers of building elements (1,645). The Ministry of the Interior (MUP) confirmed for the Baustela.hr portal that an increase in the number of residence and work permits has been observed in recent years. Back in 2019, 72,523 such permits were issued, in 2020, 66,655, and in the last year, this number increased to 81,995 permits for foreign workers.

This year, and only until July the 31st, 77,205 permits for foreign workers were issued. Of these, 48,167 were for new employment, 14,294 were permit extensions, and 14,744 were for seasonal employment. This means that in the last three months alone, 25,689 foreign workers requested such permits.

In addition, according to the data currently available to the Ministry of Interior, and regarding the citizenships of foreigners who were issued residence and work permits, the largest number this year was issued to citizens of: Bosnia and Herzegovina (23,799), Serbia (13,764), Macedonia (7,468), Nepal (7,141) and Kosovo (5,407). Regarding the activities in which foreign nationals are mostly employed in in Croatia, construction is the leader (29,702), followed by catering, hospitality and tourism (26,211), industry (9,467), transport and communications (3,765), and agriculture and fishing (1,678).

From the data they received from the Ministry of the Interior, regarding the extended permits, there is a huge numerical difference between the activities. A massive 8,517 were extended in construction, while 1,138 were extended in catering, hospitality and tourism, and only 355 were extended in trade.

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

Friday, 2 September 2022

Third of Croatian Employees Have Never Had a Pay Rise

September the 2nd, 2022 - It's hardly a secret that the Croatian economy isn't known for being a booming one where employers fight over would-be staff with pay rise after pay rise, but it is jarring to learn that an entire third of Croatian employees have never received a pay rise.

Giving a pay rise to your employees is one way to show not only your appreciation of their efforts and choice to remain with you and your company, but to further build the confidence and loyalty of your employees, and as Poslovni Dnevnik writes, despite spiralling inflation and the worries surrounding the energy crisis, only one in three Croatian employees can actually expect a raise by the end of this year.

Inflation is ongoing and as a result, the prices of just about everything imaginable have been running wild. It is making the cap between rich and poor even wider, and now more and more people are at risk of poverty than before. To add insult to injury, as analysed by the MojaPlaca (MyWages) service, Croatian wages have only grown by a very pitiful four percent when compared to last year.

Just over a quarter of Croatian employees (28 percent of them) received a raise earlier this year, while 23 percent of them received a raise for the last time back in 2021. It is worrying that a third of Croatian employees (30 percent of them) have never received a raise, despite the fact that many have been with their employers for a long time.

The amount of the average raise in the Republic of Croatia is 8 percent of a peron's salary, or 645 kuna on average. 36 percent of respondents expect a raise by the end of the year, a quarter of respondents (25 percent) don't yet know if they can expect a raise, while 34 percent don't expect a salary increase of any level at all.

When asked by what criteria raises are received/distributed in the company where they work, the majority of Croatian employees (58 percent of them) stated that it isn't remotely clearly defined when and to whom raises are given.

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

Sunday, 14 August 2022

Croatian Socialist Past Responsible for Lower Wages? Analysis Says Yes

August the 14th, 2022 - Is the Croatian socialist past responsible for the big wage gap between the country and other European Union member states which were never part of Yugoslavia? One Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) analysis says an emphatic yes.

As Marija Brnic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the growth of wages over the last year has been mostly attributed to the chronic lack of workers in Croatia, but calls are regularly heard from the ranks of Croatian businessmen to the government to undertake tax reforms and finally reduce the high burdens due to which workers' wages are low compared to other countries, and their products are as such very uncompetitive.

In recent statements, they warned that 42% of an employee's gross salary goes straight to the state. However, an analysis of the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) on the average gross wages in the manufacturing industry across EU member states shows that the level of wages and indeed large differences between EU countries is also determined by a number of other elements that determine labour productivity, and the most interesting conclusion they've drawn is that such differences are greatly influenced by the legacy of socialism.

The Croatian socialist past - Life behind the "Iron Curtain"

This fact can be seen at first glance from the very ranking of wages paid per hour of work by industrialists in certain other countries, because they are the highest among the older EU member states, while the countries behind the former "Iron Curtain", including Croatia, come second with gross salaries which are several times lower.

According to Eurostat data for 2021, the highest gross hourly wage is paid in Denmark (48.5 euros), while the lowest (5.8 euros) in Bulgaria is 8 and a half times less. Workers at processors in Belgium, Sweden and Germany had more than 40 euros in gross hourly wages, and almost 40 euros is paid out per hour in both Austria and France.

Among the former socialist countries, the highest gross wages are paid to employees in neighbouring Slovenia (20.3 euros), which is twice as much as in Croatia, where an hour of production costs an average of 10.3 euros. Industrial workers in the Baltic country of Latvia also have a very similar gross salary, and only salaries in Romania, along with Bulgaria, are lower than that.

This trend, although CES analysts refrain from drawing firm conclusions since the past two years we've all been operating under the conditions of a global coronavirus pandemic, shows that in most countries the price of labour in industry has increased, and this is most visible in hourly rates in Denmark and Sweden, while in some countries, slight reductions were also recorded.

Here in the Republic of Croatia back during the pre-pandemic year of 2019, the average gross hourly wage stood at 10.1 euros, a year later it stood at 9.9 euros, and last year it rose to 10.3 euros.

Due to the unreliability of the data from the time of the unprecedented situation involving the spread of the novel coronavirus, CES analysts based their further research on wage differences on 2019, i.e. data on what affected labour productivity, and thus wages, in the period from 1996 until that time. The data on the share of experts and the share of technicians in the total number of employees were also compared, and they also processed data on the extent of investments in machines and equipment during that longer period.

Impacts on productivity

It has been shown that Finland (23.8%) and Luxembourg (229%) have the largest share of experts in the total number of employees in the processing industry, while Sweden (24.8%) and France (24.6%) lead the way in terms of the share of technicians, Belgium leads in terms of industrialists (305,000 euros per worker) and Sweden (262,500) in terms of relative investment in machinery and equipment.

Former socialist countries are at the bottom again - Slovakia in terms of the share of experts (3.6), Romania in terms of the number of technicians (4.5), and Bulgaria in terms of investments in machinery and equipment (34,200 euros per worker). In Croatia, 7.6% of the employees in the industry are experts, 12.3% are technicians, and the average investment per worker was 60,000 euros.

CES analysts calculated that the share of specialists in the total number of employees, higher by one percentage point, increases wages by 3.7%, and the share of technicians by 2.7%. In the case of investments, the ratio of logarithmic values ​​shows that investments are higher by 10%, with an unchanged share of experts and technicians, associated with a higher salary level by 5.7%.

It is clear that part of today's wage differences very likely reflect the historical handicap of countries that were once socialist, and as such the Croatian socialist past should as such be taken into account. CES analysts pointed out that according to their calculations, the historical legacy of socialism reduces today's wages in the industry sector by a not at all insignificant 21% in total.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics and business sections.

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Unions Want Croatian Public Sector Wages to Match Inflation Rate

July the 5th, 2022 - Unions want Croatian public sector wages to match the rate of ongoing inflation as the government's budget framework for the period from 2023 to 2025 brings the biggest increase in expenditures due to the increase in costs for the payment of pensions.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, over the next year, the government will spend a massive 50.2 billion kuna on pension payments, which is 4.2 billion kuna more than was paid out this year.

The reason is, unsurprisingly, ongoing inflation, that is, the expected record adjustment of pensions in the second half of this year, which will spill over into next year as well. The increase in the average pension of 150 kuna, with a double-digit inflation rate, will not help any pensioner much. In a country with more than 1,200,000 resident pensioners, this significantly increases the largest budget expenditure, but the situation is also being eased by the large increase in income brought to the budget by inflation.

Negotiations this September

However, the state doesn't yet know how much the second largest expense from the budget will cost, and that relates to the payment of salaries for 250,000 employees in the Croatian public sector. The four percent increase in the base rate as of May the 1st didn't even cover the previous rate of inflation, and in September, the government is expected to negotiate with the trade unions regarding an additional increase in the base rate. The negotiations that will begin immediately after the end of 2022's tourist season will destroy the government's budget framework for the next three years, but will bring very welcome changes in this year's budget.

Back in April, the unions agreed to an increase of only four percent, although they'd asked for eight percent, and they based their request on the growth of budget revenues and the fall in the price of labour in the Croatian public sector because the inflation rate was much higher than the growth of the base rate was. They agreed to give the government a break until the results of this year's tourist season could be properly seen, but the results so far that the government keeps on bragging about mean that the trade unions will also have high demands themselves.

According to Novi list, Zeljko Stipic, president of the Preporod trade union, will demand that the base be increased as early as October the 1st this year, because the four percent increase from May has long since been overtaken by increasing inflation. Trade union veteran Vilim Ribic adds that the four percent increase from May the 1st is an annual increase of 2.3 percent, which is several times lower than the expected inflation rate this year.

''We should start the negotiations during the second half of September, but I believe that we can finish them quickly enough to increase the base rate from October the 1st onwards. The government insisted that the negotiations regarding the additional increase of the base rate this year continue when they have the results from the tourist season, but by all accounts, it will be better in terms of revenue than that of 2019 and the increase of the base rates as such cannot be avoided,'' believes Stipic.

The trade unions are ready...

The trade unionists don't want to say how much they will request from the government for this year's base rate increase for Croatian public sector wages, but Stipic notes that, at a time of constant price changes and accelerating inflation, the solution could be to agree that wage growth follows the growth of inflation rates and thus avoid the need for negotiations several times a year.

''Inflation is continuing to accelerate and we still can't see an end to it. By the time we agreed to a four percent wage increase and the government's offer to talk in autumn, the inflation rates at the time had already cancelled out that growth, and the solution is to include in this new agreement that the increase in Croatian public sector wages follows the increase in living costs,'' notes Stipic, adding that this is how the issue of compensation for transportation costs is typically regulated. The ''April agreement'' increased the transport fee to 1.35 kuna per kilometre, instead of the previous one kuna, with this amount being adjusted every time fuel prices rise by ten percent.

Ribic doesn't want to reveal how much, in his opinion, Croatian public sector wages should rise in autumn either, but he says that it's no longer possible to accept things as they currently stand, and that also includes attitudes towards the public sector.

''Back in May, the salary base increased by four percent, and in the same month, inflation, compared to May 2021, stood at 10.8 percent. It's clear to everyone that this isn't even close to what the employees in the Croatian public sector should have received as a salary. This increase of four percent means an annual wage growth of 2.3 percent. Inflation will be several times higher and the work of employees in the Croatian public sector will once again be devalued, that is, the price of their work will fall. The government must compensate for this in the negotiations in September,'' warns Ribic.

The growth of the base of four percent this year comes at an enormous cost of 850 million kuna, but the state will obviously not be able to avoid increasing that amount, writes Novi list.

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

Friday, 10 June 2022

Could New Croatian Government Plans See Work Permitted Until 68?

June the 10th, 2022 - Could new Croatian Government plans see normal employment permitted for people until they reach the age of 68? While there are certainly many industries in which this would either not be possible or would simply be undesirable, it seems that it could well be on the cards.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, one of the most interesting novelties of the Croatian Government's legislative proposals is that it proposes extending the age until which a worker can be employed from 65 to 68 years of age, as confirmed by our interlocutors from the trade union and the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP).

At the same time, clearly, the age requirement for exercising the right to retirement remains 65 years in this country, which is prescribed by another law, Jutarnji list writes.

In other words, Croatian employers would not be able to terminate their employment contracts held with those employees who are turning 65 if the workers themselves do not want to agree to that, and after the age of 68, it will simply become a matter of agreement between the employee and the employer.

Of course, these new Croatian Government plans open up many questions, the most important of which being; who will want to work at that age, or in which industries is such a move remotely realistic? As HUP's negotiator for ZOR Nenad Seifert pointed out, when an employment contract is indeed terminated after an employee reaches 65 years of age, workers will not be entitled to any severance pay, given that they will then retire.

In the first version of the ZOR proposal, the age limit for the duration of employment was dropped, which, according to him, seemed somewhat insane.

Nevertheless, the Republic of Croatia is among the three European Union (EU) member states with a legal age limit for the termination of employment contracts. Fierce discussions were held in the negotiations on other issues, such as the extension of fixed-term contract periods.

Both the Ministry of Labour and the unions referred to data showing that the Republic of Croatia is at the infamous European top of the list (with an embarrassing share of more than 20 percent), and about 90 percent of new employment contracts are still concluded for a certain period of time, which is a very uncertain and often unwelcome form of work.

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

Thursday, 2 June 2022

DM is the Most Desirable Employer in Croatia for 13th Year in a Row

June 2, 2022 - For the thirteenth year in a row, the most desirable employer in Croatia is the company dm - drogerie markt. In second place is the retail chain Lidl Croatia, and in third place is the Rimac Group, according to a survey by the MojPosao (MyJob) portal published on Thursday.

The survey was conducted for the eighteenth year in a row, and this time during the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022 it was conducted on a sample of more than 24 thousand respondents, reports tportal.hr. It is based exclusively on the respondents' perception of the companies themselves, and its goal was to find out which employers in the Croatian labor market are the most attractive to the general public and why.

Respondents were asked to name the employer of the "first", "second" and "third" choice, with the "first" getting three, the "second" two, and the "third" one point, based on which the overall ranking was calculated.

Thus, dm - drogerie markt won 19.08 percent of the points, Lidl Hrvatska 5.57 percent of the points, and Rimac Group 4.44 percent of the points.

"The domestic company (finally) entered the top three most desirable employers in Croatia", commented the MojPosao portal on Rimac Group's new position in the ranking.

The most important: job security

Unlike in previous years, when harmonious workplace relationships were the most important factor in evaluating the degree of attractiveness of a particular employer, in the last two years the most "crucial" votes, 43 percent, have been job security. Harmonious relations in the workplace are the decisive reason for attractiveness for 40 percent of respondents, while in third place, with 37 percent of the vote, is the social responsibility of the employer.

The amount of salary and other material benefits are a crucial factor in the attractiveness of 35 percent of respondents, which is slightly more than last year, the survey showed.

For respondents for whom dm-drogerie markt is the employer of the first choice, job security is crucial, but the level of salary, harmonious relations in the workplace, and the social responsibility of the employer are equally important. Lidl is a desirable employer primarily because of job security, and Rimac mostly because of harmonious relations in the workplace.

dm-drogerie-markt is the first choice employer for respondents from all regions

Dm-drogerie markt is most attractive to both men and women, but more to women than men. It is the same company and the most desirable employer for all respondents, regardless of their level of education, but it has the highest scores among those with secondary education.

Regardless of employment status, dm-drogerie markt is the employer of choice for all groups of respondents, although it is somewhat less attractive to respondents who are still in school.

Also, dm-drogerie-markt is the first choice employer for respondents from all Croatian regions.

Among other things, the survey showed that almost half of employed respondents often think about changing employers, a third think about it sometimes, and a fifth do not think about it at all.

For more, check out our business section.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Croatian Construction Industry Doomed to Import Labour Long-Term?

May the 26th, 2022 - Is the Croatian construction industry simply doomed to have to import foreign (non-EEA) labour as an attempted long-term strategy to keep things afloat?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, there are fewer and fewer ''homegrown'' workers in the Croatian construction industry, and an increasing number of foreign workers on construction sites pose a number of challenges to the companies that hire them, according to the panel discussion "Challenges of the workforce" which was held in Zagreb recently.

Dragutin Kamenski, the director of the very well known company Kamgrad, pointed out that if the country successfully removed all other challenges that the Croatian construction industry is currently facing, and only the lack of manpower remaind, we'd still be in trouble.

A very complex process

"Now, the state has begun to take steps to facilitate labour migration, but it remains to be a very complex process because it requires additional efforts in bringing and introducing a new workforce to a particular company, as well as additional organisation and costs. As there is no additional base for recruiting labour here in Croatia, it's clear that in the long run we're doomed to importing foreign construction workers under any conditions,'' said Kamenski, adding that so far, they have had all kinds of situations with agencies that bring in foreign workers arise.

"Recently, a large number of agencies have appeared that bring in foreign labour, and time will show which ones are good and bring in high quality workers, and which aren't. If you end up with inadequate workers, it raises your costs and you're less competitive overall,'' Kamenski pointed out.

Based on his own many years of experience, he stated that in fact the best workers were those who did their training within large construction systems, and then eventually moved to smaller companies such as Kamgrad.

However, he is aware that is now rapidly becoming a thing of the past and that such workers no longer exist, and that now the focus should be on developing the Croatian construction industry's workers here in the country, and even more on selecting and introducing a foreign worker and then educating and introducing them to the whole process.

“Technical staff without knowledge of the Croatian language can only do a small range of work. We employ 10-15 trainees a year, of which only one or two remain,'' concluded Kamenski. Danijel Risek, the director of Hidroing, pointed out that they're a relatively small company that didn't have any major needs for the import of foreign labour, and what they did experience had a focus on nearby Kosovo.

“We're too small a company to go into the process of finding a workforce on our own, so we're referred to agencies. It's important to have a correct relationship with such agencies so that they know exactly what we need,'' said Risek. Stjepan Jagodin, the director of Pinoy385, a company specialising in the employment of Filipino workers, said that there are currently more than 300 agencies across the Republic of Croatia registered for employment mediation.

"An unregulated market leads to a situation where everyone comes to us, without any selections and conditions, and then the problem is that companies that hire such workers. In tourism, there are precise conditions that you must have and know in order to open an agency, and employment mediation can be done by anyone. That must be regulated urgently,'' Jagodin said.

Knowledge of the market

Ana Jadresin from the Manpower Group pointed out that it takes time for the market for mediation in the employment of foreign workers to be profiled. "Agencies that deal with employment mediation, be they domestic or foreign, must have a good knowledge of the market and the needs of their clients - what exactly companies need, what qualifications are necessary, what level of digital literacy there is, etc.

The problem is often that the client himself doesn't know what kind of workers he needs and what qualifications will be necessary, so it becomes difficult to meet their expectations. On the other hand, it's pointless to give unrealistic promises to foreign workers about a country with rivers full of milk and honey, because that only leads to frustration,'' stated Jadresin.

The issue faced by the Croatian construction industry isn't something new. The demographic crisis the country has been in for a very long time now has been a gradual drain on labour across all fields, even with the tourism sector, otherwise the country's strongest economic branch, also suffering tremendously. The Ministry of the Interior's infamously drawn out and draconian procedures often result in employers not getting work permits approved for their foreign staff in time, resulting in the dire need for a rethink.

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

Page 1 of 7

Search