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Employee Rights and Protections

Explore workers' rights and legal protections in Croatia


In Croatia, the Labor Act provides the legal framework for the termination of an employment contract. There are several valid reasons for an employer to terminate a contract, including economic, technological, or organizational reasons leading to redundancy. If an employee is unable to perform their duties due to a lack of qualifications or health reasons, or if they commit gross misconduct such as severe breaches of contractual obligations, these are also grounds for dismissal. Additionally, unsatisfactory performance during a probation period can lead to termination.

Notice Periods

The law in Croatia stipulates specific notice periods for termination, which are based on the length of service of the employee. For those with less than a year of employment, a 2 weeks' notice is required. For 1-2 years of employment, the notice period is 1 month. For 2-5 years of employment, it's 2 months. For 5-20 years of employment, it's 3 months. For those with over 20 years of employment, the notice period is 3 months, with an additional 2 weeks if the employee is over 50, or one month if they are over 55 (with at least 20 years of service). These notice periods can be extended if specified in the employment contract or a collective bargaining agreement.

Severance Pay

In cases where the employer terminates the contract (except in cases of misconduct), the employee is entitled to severance pay. The amount of this pay is dependent on the length of service. For 2-5 years of employment, the severance pay is 1/3 of the average monthly salary for each year worked. For 5-10 years of employment, it's 1/2 of the average monthly salary for each year worked. For 10-20 years of employment, it's 2/3 of the average monthly salary for each year worked. For over 20 years of employment, it's the full average monthly salary for each year worked.

Other Considerations

Employers and employees can mutually agree to terminate the employment contract, often with negotiated terms regarding notice and severance. Employees also have the right to challenge a dismissal they believe is unlawful.


Croatia has a robust legal framework in place to combat discrimination. The primary legislation addressing this issue is the Anti-Discrimination Act, which is supplemented by additional laws focusing on areas such as labor and gender equality.

Protected Characteristics

The Anti-Discrimination Act (ADA) offers comprehensive protection against discrimination based on a variety of characteristics:

  • Race or ethnic affiliation or color
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Religion or belief
  • Political or other opinion
  • National or social origin
  • Property status
  • Membership in unions or other associations
  • Education
  • Age
  • Health status
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity and gender expression
  • Family status
  • Any other personal characteristics

Redress Mechanisms

Individuals who believe they have been subjected to discrimination can seek redress through several mechanisms:

  • Ombudsman for Equality: Filing a complaint with the Ombudsman for Equality is a recommended first step. The Ombudsman can investigate, attempt to mediate solutions, and issue recommendations with potential fines in cases of violation.
  • Labor Inspectorate: For discrimination in the workplace, complaints can be filed with the Labor Inspectorate, which has the power to conduct investigations and impose sanctions.
  • Civil Courts: Individuals can file lawsuits in civil courts to seek compensation for damages and other remedies for discrimination.
  • Criminal Courts: Certain acts of discrimination may lead to criminal charges, particularly those involving hate speech or violence.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers have a crucial role in preventing and addressing discrimination in the workplace. Croatian law outlines specific responsibilities for employers:

  • Non-discrimination Policies: Employers must adopt and implement policies that promote equality and prohibit discrimination in hiring, promotions, and compensation. These policies should include procedures for reporting and investigating complaints.
  • Training: Employers should provide training for staff on anti-discrimination law, company policies, and recognizing and preventing discrimination.
  • Positive Measures: Employers are encouraged to take 'positive measures' to promote equality for groups that may be underrepresented or face disadvantages.
  • Reasonable Accommodation: Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities to ensure they can participate fully in the workplace.

Working conditions

Croatia adheres to a set of regulations that ensure minimum working conditions for employees. These regulations cover aspects such as working hours, rest periods, and ergonomic requirements.

Working Hours

In Croatia, the typical workweek is Monday to Friday with working hours falling between 8:30 AM to 9:00 AM and 4:30 PM to 5:00 PM. This translates to a 40-hour workweek. Overtime work is permitted, but regulations are in place to prevent excessive hours. Overtime cannot surpass 10 hours per week and 180 hours per year, with exceptions granted under specific circumstances outlined in collective agreements or with employee consent. Employers are increasingly offering flexible work arrangements, including part-time work, flexitime, and remote work options, although these are not mandated by law.

Rest Periods

Croatian law mandates a minimum 30-minute paid break during the workday for meals and rest. Employees are entitled to a minimum of 24 consecutive hours of rest per week, typically falling on Sundays.

Ergonomic Requirements

Croatian legislation emphasizes the importance of workplace safety and ergonomics to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses. Key requirements include ergonomic design, risk assessments, and employee training. Employers have a responsibility to provide workstations, tools, and equipment that are ergonomically designed to suit the specific tasks performed by employees, minimizing risks of musculoskeletal disorders. Employers are also required to conduct regular risk assessments to identify potential ergonomic hazards in the workplace and implement corrective measures. Employees should receive training on proper posture, safe lifting techniques, and how to adjust workstations to promote ergonomic practices.

Health and safety

Croatia prioritizes worker well-being through a robust framework of health and safety regulations. This includes employer obligations, employee rights, and the enforcing bodies.

Employer Obligations

Croatian employers hold significant responsibility in ensuring a safe and healthy work environment. Key obligations include:

  • Risk Assessments: Employers must conduct regular risk assessments to identify potential hazards in the workplace. These assessments should encompass various aspects like machinery, chemical substances, ergonomics, and psychosocial risks.
  • Preventive Measures: Based on the risk assessments, employers must implement effective preventive measures to eliminate or minimize risks. This could involve providing personal protective equipment (PPE), establishing safe work procedures, and offering proper training to employees.
  • Safe Work Environment: Employers are obligated to provide a safe work environment that minimizes the risk of accidents and illnesses. This includes maintaining equipment, ensuring proper ventilation, and promoting cleanliness.
  • Information and Training: Employees must be informed about potential risks in their workplace, provided with appropriate health and safety training, and instructed on how to use personal protective equipment effectively.
  • Accident Reporting: Employers are required to report work-related accidents, injuries, and occupational diseases to the Croatian Institute for Occupational Safety (CIOP).

Employee Rights

Employees in Croatia have a number of fundamental rights regarding health and safety in the workplace:

  • Right to a Safe Work Environment: Employees have the right to work in an environment free from foreseeable risks to their health and safety.
  • Right to Information and Training: Employees have the right to be informed about potential hazards, receive adequate health and safety training, and participate in consultations on health and safety matters.
  • Right to Refuse Unsafe Work: Employees have the right to refuse work they believe is unsafe or poses a risk to their health, provided they have reasonable justification for their concern.

Enforcement Agencies

The Croatian government entrusts several agencies with enforcing health and safety regulations:

  • Croatian Institute for Occupational Safety (CIOP): CIOP plays a vital role in research, training, and monitoring workplace health and safety. They conduct inspections, investigate accidents, and advise employers and employees on preventative measures.
  • Labour Inspectorate: The Labour Inspectorate conducts workplace inspections to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations. They can issue warnings, impose fines, and even order the closure of workplaces with severe safety issues.
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