Employment in Croatia is governed by the Croatian Labor Act, the constitution, collective bargaining agreements and individual employment agreements, as well as international conventions and treaties.
Hours & Pay Regulations
Unless otherwise provided for in law, the collective agreement between the employees’ council and employer or in a contract of employment, the number of weekly working hours are limited by statute to 40.
The only exception is when an employee who works full time enters into an employment agreement with another employer for additional work up to eight hours a week (180 hours a year), in which case both employers need to provide their written consent.
Labor Act, 2014, art. 61
Employers can require employees to perform overtime work only in situations of absolute necessity. In such cases, employers must provide employees with a prior written request unless objective circumstances prevent the employer from doing so, in which case the employer must confirm the verbal request in writing within seven days after the overtime work has been ordered.
Overtime work cannot exceed 50 hours a week or 180 hours a year unless stipulated in a collective bargaining agreement (in which case the maximum duration of overtime work is 250 hours a year).
Minors are not allowed to work overtime, while other categories of employees such as pregnant women, parents with a child younger than 3 years old, single parents with a child younger than 6 years old and employees working part-time with several employers must give their written consent to the employer except in extraordinary circumstances.
Employees are entitled to an increased wage in cases of overtime work, although the law does not prescribe the exact amount. Labor Act, 2014, art. 64.
Night work generally applies to work between the hours of 10:00 PM 6:00 AM. For agricultural employees, work between 10:00 PM and 5:00 AM.
Exceptions to night work hours may exist through another regulation, a collective agreement or an agreement made between the employer and the employees’ council. Night worker means any worker who regularly works at least three hours of his daily working time as a normal course during night time and any worker who works at least one-third of his working time during the period of twelve successive months during night time.
Normal working hours for night workers shall not, in the period of four months, exceed an average of 8 hours in any 24-hour period. Special restrictions apply to night workers exposed to special hazards or heavy physical or mental strain. Minors are generally prohibited from performing night work unless such a work is a pressing need in business activities regulated by special legislation and where it may not be performed by adult workers. In cases where an exception exists, minors may not work between midnight and 4:00 AM.
Night workers are generally entitled to increased remuneration, although the law does not envisage the rate for increased remuneration – it is usually set by virtue of employment contract, working regulations or collective agreement. Labor Act, 2014, arts. 69, 94.
Every employee who works at least six hours a day (or in the case of minor employees 4.5 hours a day) is entitled to a rest break of at least 30 minutes, which is to be counted as working time.
If the nature of employment prevents the interruption of work, the time and procedure for using a rest break are regulated by the employment contract, the agreement entered into between an employer and a works council or a collective bargaining agreement. Labor Act, 2014, art. 73.
Employees are also entitled to minimum daily rest periods of 12 consecutive hours and weekly rest periods of 24 uninterrupted hours. For minor employees, weekly rest amounts to 48 hours.
Employees normally use their weekly rest on Sunday and on Saturday or Monday. If this is impossible due to the organization’s work schedule, employers need to ensure the use of alternative weekly rest. Labor Act, 2014, arts. 74-75.
There are 14 national holidays in Croatia:
- Jan. 1: New Year’s Day
- Jan. 6: Epiphany
- Easter Monday
- May 1: International Workers’ Day
- Corpus Christi
- June 22: Fascist Resistance Day
- June 25: National Day
- Aug. 5: Homeland Thanksgiving Day
- Aug. 15: Assumption
- Oct. 8: Independence Day
- Nov. 1: All Saints’ Day
- Dec. 25: Christmas
- Dec. 26: St. Stephen’s Day
Croatia also observes several unofficial holidays and observances including the Carnival celebrations held on Shrove Tuesday, the day before the beginning of Lent. Employees who are required to work on a national holiday are entitled to extra pay, which is typically negotiated in the bargaining agreement. Memorial Days and Non-Working Days Act, arts. 1-5.
Employees are eligible for their full vacation entitlements if they have been employed for at least six months and cannot waive their vacation rights or agree to compensation in exchange for time off. Employees with less than 6 months of employment are entitled to a proportion of annual leave, which is calculated as 1/12th of annual leave multiplied by the number of months of employment.
Employees who work five days a week is entitled to at least 20 vacation days annually, while employees who work six days a week must receive at least 24 days. Employers and employees can agree to longer vacations through employment agreements, collective bargaining agreements or agreements entered into between an employer and a works council.
By no later than June 30th of the current year, employers must prepare a schedule for taking annual leave and inform the employees about the schedule. An employee must be informed about the duration and schedule of annual leave at least 15 days before annual leave is to be used. Employees are allowed to take one vacation day any time of their choosing, provided they inform the employer at least three days in advance and no credible reason exists for refusing the request.
During vacation, employees are entitled to their remuneration in the minimum amount of their average monthly wage during the previous three months. The unused portion of annual vacation can be carried over to the following year but must be used at the latest by June 30 (some exceptions are allowed in instances such as sickness and maternity leave).
Upon termination of employment, an employee is entitled to compensation for unused vacation days. Where an employer grants workers annual leave in a period longer than the period to which the employee would have been entitled to otherwise use prior to the termination, the employer shall not have right to claim any refund of remuneration paid for the use of annual leave.
Minors and employees who work in jobs that pose safety risks have larger entitlements. Labor Act, 2014, arts. 76-85.
In Croatia, the minimum wage is defined by the following regulations:
- The Minimum Wage Act requires that the minimum wage be set annually and establishes the procedure for calculating it;
- The Minimum Wage Collective Bargaining Agreement sets the lowest allowable rate of minimum wage;
- The Minimum Wage Regulation annually prescribes the exact amount of the minimum wage, which currently is 3,750 kuna per month; and
- Collective bargaining agreements set the minimum wage for particular employers, which must be at least equal to that set by the government.
Wages must be paid by the 15th of the month following the month in which the work was performed. Employers are not allowed to unilaterally make deductions from wages, meaning that every deduction is subject to the employee’s approval. Men and women are entitled to the same wage for the same work.
Employees are entitled to paid sick leave for a single illness of a maximum of three years. After six months’ sick leave, the employee is subject to sick leave review by the Institute for Health Insurance. During the first 42 days of sick leave, the employer is obligated to pay remuneration equal to 70 percent of the employee’s average wage in the preceding six months. After the 42nd day of sick leave, compensation is reimbursed by the Institute for Health Insurance. Law on Compulsory Health Insurance, 2013, arts. 8, 41, 58.
An employed mother during the pregnancy, childbirth, and care of a newborn child is entitled to maternity leave up until when the child reaches 6 months of age. 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, 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. The mother can return to work in this period and transfer it, in full or partially, to the father. The maternity 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 (last amended by Official Gazette No. 59/2017).
There is no statutory entitlement to paternity leave, but the father of a new-born is allowed to use any additional maternity leave beginning on the 71st day after childbirth and lasting up to six months, whereas the mother is not allowed. Law on Maternity and Parental Benefits, 2008, arts. 12-14 (last amended by Official Gazette No. 59/2017).
Parental leave begins after completion of maternity leave and lasts four months (for the first and second child) or 15 months (for twins, the third and every subsequent child) for each parent, provided that both parents use the right to parental leave. Parental leave can be used: 1) In one period; 2) In two periods a year of no less than 30 days each; or 3) Part-time. Parental leave is available until the child turns 8 years of age. During the leave, a parent is entitled to remuneration equal to 80 percent of the budget base for the first six months and 50 percent after that. Remuneration is paid from the Croatian state budget. Law on Maternity and Parental Benefits, 2008, art. 13 (last amended by Official Gazette No. 59/2017).
An employed mother, who after maternity leave continues to breastfeed during full-time employment, has the right to pause for up to two hours a day for breastfeeding. An employed mother is entitled to pause for breastfeeding until the new-born 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 (last amended by Official Gazette No. 59/2017).
Employees are entitled to paid leave for such major life events as a wedding, birth of a child, severe disease or death of a family member. Annual leave of up to seven working days is allowed, provided different rules have not been established in a collective bargaining agreement, employment bylaw or employment agreement. Labor Act, 2014, art. 86.
An employed parent of a child with a serious developmental disorder after the right to parental leave expires has the right to a child care leave or the right to work shortened to 8 years of age on the basis of opinions of the competent medical commission of the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance. Law on Maternity and Parental Benefits, 2008, art. 23 (last amended by Official Gazette No. 59/2017).
The employed adoptive parent shall have a period of maternity leave of:
- Six months for the adoption of a child under the age of 3 years;
- Five months the adoption of a child 3-5 years of age, and
- Four months for the adoption of a child 5-18 years of age.
In the case of adoption of a twin or child by adoption, the third or subsequent child in the family of the employed adoptive parent or self-employed or of a child with developmental difficulties, the adoptive leave shall be extended for 60 days. The adoptive parent leave may be used by the user for an uninterrupted period or in the manner prescribed for the use of the maternity leave or parental leave. Law on Maternity and Parental Benefits, 2008, art. 36 (last amended by Official Gazette No. 59/2017).
After the parental leave is used, one of the employed or self-employed parents has the right to be entitled until the third year of their child’s birth, if the child is diagnosed and evaluated by the selected primary health care doctor and the competent medical commission of the Croatian Health Insurance Fund due to his or her health and development care and care. During the exercise of the right, the user is entitled to a monetary benefit of 70% of the monthly basis for the full-time working hours.
A worker is entitled to a paid leave during the education or vocational training and upgrading of that education for the purposes of the workers ‘council or trade union work, under terms, duration and compensation provided for by a collective agreement, by an agreement concluded between the workers’ council and the employer or the rules of procedure. Labor Act, 2014, art. 86.
A worker donating blood is entitled to one paid free day on the day of giving of blood unless the collective agreement, the agreement concluded between the workers’ council and the employer or the contract of employment stipulates otherwise. Labor Act, 2014, art. 86.
Last updated on: July 6th, 2020