The main source of employment law in Croatia is the Croatian Labor Law. The Act governs the terms and conditions of employment such as working hours, holidays and rest periods, wages, overtime, employment relationships. Another important source of law is the Constitution of Croatia, which protects the basic rights of employers and employees, as well as international conventions and Treaties.
Hours & Pay Regulations
Working hours shall not exceed 40 hours per week unless otherwise agreed by an agreement between the employer and employee. Labor Law, 2014, art. 61.
Part-time work of an employee is any working time shorter than full working time. An employee may not work for several employers with a total working time of more than 40 hours per week.
An employee, whose total working time is 40 hours per week, may enter into an employment contract with another employer for a maximum of 80 hours per week, or up to 180 hours per year, only if the employers with whom the employee has already concluded an employment contract, the employee has given written consent for such work.
A full-time employee may enter into an employment contract with another employer for a maximum period of up to 8 hours per week, or up to 180 hours per year, only if the employer, or if the employers with whom the employee has already previously concluded an employment contract, have given the employee written consent for such work. Labor Law, 2014, art. 62.
The employer is obliged to keep records of the employees employed. The records must contain information on employees like name, age, pay, address, etc., and working hours of the employee. Labor Law, 2014, art. 5.
Working Hours Timetable
The working hours of employees can be scheduled in equal or unequal duration per day, week, or month. If an employee’s working hours are allocated in an unequal duration, it may last longer over one period and shorter than full-time or part-time working hours during the second period.
The schedule of working hours shall be determined by regulation, collective agreement, the agreement concluded between the works council and the employer, labor regulations, or an employment contract.
If the working hours of the employee are unevenly distributed, the period of such a schedule may not be for less than one month or more than one year, and during the schedule thus established, the working hours shall correspond to the employee’s contracted full or part-time work.
The employer must notify the employee of their schedule or change in their working hours schedule at least one week in advance, except in case of an urgent need for the employee’s work.
Uneven distribution of working hours
If the employee’s working hours are unevenly distributed, the employee may work up to 50 hours a week, including overtime work.
If an employee whose employment is terminated due to the expiration of a fixed-term employment contract has worked longer than the average contracted full-time or part-time work, the number of hours higher than the average contracted full-time or part-time work shall be considered overtime.
If the working hours of the employee are unequally distributed, the employee may work up to 60 hours per week, if so agreed by the collective agreement, including overtime work.
If the working hours of an employee are unevenly distributed, the employee in each period of 4 consecutive months may not work longer than an average of 48 hours per week, including overtime work.
Unequal working hours may be regulated by a collective agreement in such a way that the total working hours including overtime during the period of unequal schedules, without restriction, may not exceed an average of 45 hours per week over a period of 4 months. This reference period can be extended to 6 months via a collective agreement.
Periods of annual leave and temporary incapacity for work shall not be included in the period of 4 months (reference period )or 6 months (reference period).
The employer shall order the employee to work overtime, if, even before the expiration of the established period of unequal working hours, the working hours of the employee already correspond to his agreed full-time or part-time work. Labor Law, 2014, art. 66.
Redistribution of Working Time
Full-time or part-time work may be redistributed due to the nature of work, so that the work hour may be longer during one period and shorter than full-time work during another period, but in a period of 12 consecutive months, the average hours shall not exceed 40 hours.
Redistributed working hours shall not be considered overtime work. If working hours are redistributed, they may not exceed 52 hours per week. The collective agreement may stipulate that the redistributed working hours may be longer than 52 hours per week, but not longer than 60 hours per week for seasonal work. Labor Law, 2014, art. 67.
A shift employee is an employee who works in organized shifts, during one week or one month on the basis of the schedule of working hours and performs work in different shifts.
Employees shall work a maximum of 1 week in the night shift if the work is organized in shifts which include night work. Labor Law, 2014, art. 71-72.
Employers can require employees to perform overtime work only in situations of absolute necessity.
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).
Employees are entitled to an increased wage in cases of overtime work, although the law does not prescribe the exact amount and it shall be determined by a collective agreement between employer and employees. Labor Law, 2014, art. 65.
Night work generally means work performed between the hours of 10:00 PM 6:00 AM.
An employee is a night employee who, according to the daily working hours, regularly works at least 3 hours during the night or works at least one-third of the working time during the night in a consecutive period of 12 months.
Normal working hours for night employees shall not, in the period of 4 months, exceed an average of 8 hours in any 24-hour period. Special restrictions apply to night employees exposed to special hazards or heavy physical or mental strain.
Night employees are generally entitled to increased remuneration, although the law does not prescribe the rate for increased remuneration. Premium is set via an employment contract, working regulations, or collective agreement. Labor Law, 2014, arts. 69, 94.
Every employee who works at least 6 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, in such cases, 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 Law, 2014, art. 73.
Employees are entitled to minimum daily rest periods of 12 consecutive hours.
The employer is obliged to ensure the right to a daily rest for at least 8 hours continuously for an employee working on seasonal jobs, which is performed twice during the working day.
Employees who work in seasonal jobs shall be entitled to a compensatory daily rest after the end of working hours. Labor Law, 2014, art. 74.
An employee shall be entitled to a weekly rest period of at least 24 hours, which is added to the daily rest, which the employee is entitled to.
The rest shall be used by the employee on Sundays, and on the day preceding or following the Sunday (i.e. Saturday or Monday). If the employees cannot use the leave, they must be allowed to use a compensatory weekly rest for each working week immediately after the end of the period spent at work, due to which they did not use the weekly rest or they used it for a shorter time.
Exceptionally, if an employee works in different shifts, or due to technical difficulties cannot use the entire duration of weekly rest which includes the daily rest of 12 hours, in such a scenario an employee will be provided with at least 24 hours of weekly rest, which would not include the daily rest. Labor Law, 2014, arts. 74-75.
There are 15 national non-working holidays in Croatia:
- Jan. 1: New Year’s Day
- Jan. 6: Epiphany
- Easter Monday
- May 1: Labor Day
- May 30: Statehood Day
- Corpus Christi
- June 22: Fascist Resistance Day
- June 25: National Day
- Aug. 5: Homeland Thanksgiving Day, Victory Day, Croatian Veteran Day
- Aug. 15: Assumption
- Nov. 1: All Saints’ Day
- Nov 18: Remembrance Day for victims of Homeland War and victims of Vukovar and Škabrnja
- Dec. 25: Christmas
- Dec. 26: St. Stephen’s Day
Employees of a certain religion are also entitled to the below listed holidays –
- Christian Employees who celebrate Christmas on July 7th
- Christian Employees who celebrate Easter according to the Julian calendar on Easter Monday
- Muslim Employees who celebrate Eid-Al-Fitr and Eid-Al-Adha enjoy 1 day of their choice as a non-working holiday.
- Jewish Employees who celebrate Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah enjoy 1 day of their choice as a non-working holiday.
If a public holiday falls on a Sunday or during an annual holiday or a non-working day, such a public holiday shall not be carried over to the next day.
Pay – Employees who are required to work on a public holiday are entitled to extra pay, which is typically negotiated in the bargaining agreement. Art 1, 3,4 of Law on Holidays, Memorials and Non – Working Days.
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.
The current minimum wage in Croatia is HRK 4,250 per month effective January 1, 2021.
The minimum wage given above is subject to change and may not be up to date. Kindly access the link to get the current wage rates.
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 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 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 child.
If the parental leave is being taken by one parent it shall be used for a duration of 6 months for first and second-born child 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.
Pay – The parental 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 parental leave began and is paid by the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance; the employer bears no cost. Law on Maternity and Parental Benefits, 2008, art. 13 – 16, 18.
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 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 the 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 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 employee gives birth to a stillborn child before maternity leave begins or if the child dies in between maternity or parental leave, she shall be entitled to maternity leave or parental leave, counted from the day the child dies. During the leave, the employee is entitled to a monetary benefit of 70% of the monthly basis for the full-time working hours by Social Insurance. Law on Maternity and Parental Benefits, 2008, art. 17.
Last updated on: June 24th, 2021