Last updated on: December 28th, 2023
The main source of employment law in Croatia is the Croatian Labor Law (last amended January 2023). The Act governs the terms and conditions of employment such as working hours, holidays and rest periods, wages, overtime, and employment relationships. Another important source of employment law is the Law on Maternity and Parental Benefits and the Constitution of Croatia, which protects the basic rights of employers and employees, as well as International conventions and Treaties.
Hours & Pay Regulations
Employees shall be entitled to 4 weeks of paid annual leave in a calendar year.
An employee who is employed for the first time or who has a break between two employment relationships longer than 8 days, acquires the right to annual leave, after six months of uninterrupted employment with that employer.
Employers and employees can agree to longer vacations through employment agreements, collective bargaining agreements, or agreements between an employer and a works council. Employees with less than 6 months of employment are entitled to a proportion of annual leave, which is calculated as 1/12th of 4 weeks of annual leave multiplied by the number of months of employment.
The annual leave shall be determined by the number of working days depending on the employee’s weekly schedule of working hours for the employee.
Holidays and non-working days, the period of temporary incapacity for work, and the days of paid leave shall not be included in the duration of annual leave.
As an exception to the above, where the employee works on the day of the holiday or a non-working day, but instead upon his request uses annual leave, that day shall be counted in the period of annual leave.
When calculating the duration of annual leave in the case where the employees with less than 6 months of employment are entitled to a proportion of annual leave, wherein at least half of the annual leave days shall be rounded to the whole day of annual leave, and at least half of the month of work shall be rounded to the whole month.
Use of Vacation in Parts
If the employee uses the annual leave in parts, the employee shall use at least 2 consecutive weeks of annual leave, unless the employee and the employer agree otherwise provided that the duration agreed is more than 2 weeks.
Transfer of annual leave to the next calendar year
The unused part of the annual leave lasting longer than 2 weeks may be accumulated and used by the employee no later than 30th June of the following calendar year. If such unused leave is shorter than 2 weeks, the remaining leave shall also be transferred to the following calendar year and should be used by 30th June of that year.
Any duration of the annual leave, that is interrupted or not used in the calendar year in which it was acquired, due to illness and use of the right to maternity, parental and adoptive leave and leave for the care of a child with severe disabilities, can be used after the employee returns to work, and no later than June 30 of the following calendar year. In retrospect the duration of annual leave, that an employee could not use due to the use of the right to leave (maternity, paternity, adoptions, disabilities of child) or if his employer did not enable the right to use the leave until 30 June of the following calendar year, in such case the employee can use the leave until the end of the calendar year in which he returned to work.
Holiday Use Schedule
The schedule for the use of annual leave shall be determined by the employer, in accordance with the collective agreement, the rulebook, the employment contract, no later than 30th June of the current year. The employer shall inform the employee at least fifteen days before the use of the annual leave about the duration of the annual leave and the period of its use.
Employees are allowed to take one vacation day any time they want, provided they inform the employer at least three days in advance and the employer has no credible reason for refusing the request.
During the use of annual leave, the employee is entitled to salary compensation in the amount which shall be at least equal to the amount of the employee’s average monthly salary in the previous 3 months (including all cash and in-kind benefits).
Termination of Employment
An employee whose employment is terminated shall be entitled to a proportionate part of the remuneration for annual leave for that calendar year.
An employer who, before the termination of employment, enabled the employee to use a proportionate part of the annual leave for a period longer than he would have been entitled to, shall not have the right to demand reimbursement of salary compensation for annual leave.
When an employee’s employment is terminated exactly in the middle of a month that has an even number of days, he is entitled to 1/12th of the remuneration for the annual leave for that month with the employer with whom his employment is terminated.
In the event of termination of the employment contract, the employer is obliged to pay the employee who did not use the annual leave compensation instead of using the annual leave. The compensation shall be determined in proportion to the number of days of unused annual leave. Labor Act, 2014, arts. 76-85.
There is no defined period of entitlement for sick leave per year. During the first 42 days of sick leave in a year, the employer is obligated to pay a remuneration equal to 70 percent of the employee’s average wage in the preceding six months. The compensation is reimbursed by the Institute for Health Insurance. Law on Compulsory Health Insurance, 2013, arts. 8, 40, 58.
An employed mother is entitled to maternity leave up until when the child reaches 6 months of age during the pregnancy, childbirth, and care of a newborn child. A pregnant employee is obligated to take 98 days of uninterrupted leave (28 days before the expected date of birth and 70 days after the birth).
In case of complications resulting from pregnancy, as assessed by a medical doctor, the uninterrupted leave period can commence earlier and be taken 45 days before the birth. In cases of premature birth (before 37 weeks or the 259th day of pregnancy), the leave is extended for as long as the child is considered premature.
Additional maternity leave begins on the 71st day after childbirth and lasts up to six months. An employed mother may also use the right to additional maternity leave in the form of part-time work up till the time the child is 9 months old. The mother can return to work in this period and transfer it, in full or partially, to the father.
After the end of maternity leave, or the right to part-time work (in case of additional maternity leave), one of the employed parents (mother or father) has the right to work half-time till the child is not 3 years old.
Pay – The maternity & additional maternity leave entitlement amounts to 100% of the average monthly earnings of the insured person in the last six months prior to the month in which the maternity leave began and is paid by the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance; the employer bears no cost. Law on Maternity and Parental Benefits, 2008, arts. 12-14, 22.
Leave for Prenatal Examination
An employee shall be entitled to 1 day of paid leave for prenatal examination. The employee may use the 1 day of paid leave in such a way that the employee may allocate and use the 1 day of leave several times during several days in a month. Law on Maternity and Parental Benefits, 2008, arts. 20A,
An employed mother, who after maternity leave continues to breastfeed during full-time employment, has the right to break for up to two hours a day for breastfeeding. The break may be used once or twice a day.
An employed mother is entitled to break for breastfeeding until the newborn child reaches one year of age. The associated time must be counted as hours worked, and the mother is entitled to full remuneration. Law on Maternity and Parental Benefits, 2008, art. 19.
Parental leave begins after the completion of maternity leave or after the child is 6 months old. Parental leave shall be used till the child is 8 years of age. This leave is available to both parents. An employee has the right to parental leave for a period of 8 or 30 months depending on the number of children. Employees are entitled to parental leave for a period of 8 months for the first and second-born child and 30 months for twin children and subsequent children.
The right of parental leave shall be used by both parents for a period of 4 months each for the first and second child and 15 months each for twins or subsequent children.
If the parental leave is being taken by one parent it shall be used for a duration of 6 months for the first and second-born children and 30 months for twins, third or subsequent child.
In a year, parental leave may be granted twice, and each period should be of 30 days.
Parental leave is applicable to a stillborn child, adopted child, deceased child, minor for whom there are designated guardians, etc. After the expiration of the parental leave, one of the employed parents (mother or father) shall be entitled to work half-time until the child reaches the age of 3. When one of the parents dies, the right to work half-time shall be transferred to the other parent.
The right for half-time work can be exercised by only one of the parents, provided that both parents have the status of a full-time employed and self-employed parent, i.e. an employed and self-employed parent who takes care of and nurtures the child alone, i.e. provided that the other a parent who does not have the status of an employed or self-employed person is unable, due to his psychophysical condition, to provide enhanced care and care to the child, which is determined by the competent expert body of the Institute.
Pay – During the exercise of the right to parental leave, the salary compensation for the first six months if one parent uses this right, or the first eight months if both parents use this right, amounts to 100% of the salary compensation base, which cannot amount to more than 225.5% of the budget base per month for a full-time employee.
During the use of the right to parental leave in half of the full-time working time, the salary compensation amounts to 110% of the budget base per month. Law on Maternity and Parental Benefits, 2008, art. 13 – 16, 18.
An employed or self-employed father has the right, after the birth of a child, to continuous paternity leave, depending on the number of children born:
- of 1 working day for one child.
- from 15 working days in case of the birth of twins, triplets, or simultaneous birth of several children.
An employed or self-employed father may use the right until the child reaches 6 months of age, provided that he does not use one of the other leave at the same time. An employed or self-employed father may use the right regardless of the employment status of the mother. The right to paternity leave is non-transferable.
During the exercise of the right to paternity leave the salary compensation is 100% of the salary compensation base determined according to the regulations on mandatory health insurance. Law on Maternity and Parental Benefits, 2008, art. 16.
Employees shall be entitled to paid leave for 7 working days per year for important personal needs, especially in connection with marriage, the birth of a child, serious illness, or the death of a close family member unless otherwise regulated by a collective agreement, rulebook, or employment contract.
An employee has the right to paid leave during education or professional training and education and training for the needs of the employees ‘council or trade union work, under the conditions, duration, and with compensation determined by a collective agreement, the agreement concluded between the employees’ council and the employer.
An employee will be entitled to 1 day of paid leave for blood donation unless otherwise stipulated by a collective agreement, an agreement concluded between the employees’ council and the employer, or an employment contract. Labor Act, 2014, art. 86.
An employed parent of a child with a serious developmental disorder, after the right to maternity leave expires, has the right to a child care leave or the right to have the work shortened until the child reaches 8 years of age on the basis of opinions of the competent medical commission of the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance. Parental leave which is unused shall be put on hold while exercising this right.
During the leave, the employee is entitled to a monetary benefit of 70% of the monthly basis for full-time working hours. Law on Maternity and Parental Benefits, 2008, art. 23.
The employed adoptive parents shall be entitled to a period of adoption leave for a period of 6 months, for a child up to the age of 18. In the case of the adoption of twins or simultaneous adoption of two or more children or a third child, subsequent child, or in the case of a child with disabilities, the leave shall be extended to 60 days.
Pay– Salary compensation for the leave shall be paid from the state’s budget. Law on Maternity and Parental Benefits, 2008, art. 36
An employer may grant unpaid leave to an employee at his request. During unpaid leave, the rights and obligations arising from the employment relationship shall be suspended, unless otherwise provided by law. Labor Act, 2014, art. 87.
If an employed or self-employed mother gives birth to a stillborn child before using maternity leave, i.e. if the child dies before the maternity or parental leave has expired, she has the right to maternity leave, i.e. she has the right to continue using the right to maternity or parental leave 3 months counting from the day following the birth of the dead child, i.e. from the day of the child’s death.
An employed or self-employed father who has not started using paternity leave in the event of the birth of a stillborn child, or if the child dies before paternity leave has expired, has the right to paternity leave, i.e. has the right to continue using the right to paternity leave for the remaining duration.
Pay – During the use of leave in the event of the death of a child the full-time salary compensation amounts to 100% of the salary compensation base, which cannot amount to full-time more than 225.5% of the budget base per month. Law on Maternity and Parental Benefits, 2008, art. 17.
The employee is entitled to paid leave due to an important and urgent family reason caused by illness or an accident, his immediate presence is absolutely necessary, for 1 working day per year. The employee is entitled to use unpaid leave to provide personal care to a close family member, for 5 working days per year. Labor Act, 2014, art. 87, 87a.