Amendments to the Labour Act

On the 1 January 2023 amendments to the Labour Act will come into force, which will introduce certain changes to the regulation of labour relations in the Republic of Croatia for the purpose of harmonization with European Union directives. In relation to numerous changes, it is particularly important to highlight the changes related to the mandatory content of employment contracts, fixed-term work and the possibility of the worker to request the conclusion of an indefinite-term employment contract, the regulation of work at a separate workplace and remote work, as well as innovations such as the right to be absent from work and unpaid leave for the purpose of providing personal care. 

Namely, amendments to the Labour Act stipulate, among other things, that the mandatory content of the employment contract is the amount of the gross salary, PIN of the contractual parties, the procedure in case of cancellation of the employment contract and notice periods, and the right to education and specialization if it exists. If the trial work has been contracted, it is necessary to provide information about the duration and conditions of the trial work, with the fact that the regulation of the trial work determines how the duration of such work can be extended if during the trial work the worker was temporarily absent from work, especially due to temporary inability to work, use of maternity and parental rights and the right to paid leave. 

A fixed-term employment contract can only be concluded exceptionally for the establishment of an employment relationship whose termination has been determined in advance when, due to an objective reason, the need to perform the work is temporary and for a maximum duration of 3 years. Exceptionally, it can be extended if necessary due to a replacement of a temporarily absent worker, due to completion of work on a project financed from the European Union or if for other objective reasons this is permitted by a special law or collective agreement. An employee who has been working for the same employer for at least 6 months on the basis of a fixed-term contract has the right to request the conclusion of an employment contract for an indefinite period, and the employer is obliged to make a reasoned decision in case of refusal within 30 or 60 days, with the possibility of the employee to make a subsequent similar request. Restrictions regarding fixed-term employment contracts do not apply to jobs performed seasonally or additional work. Regarding the regulation of additional work, the obligation of the worker to inform the first employer of the conclusion of such a contract is prescribed, whereby the worker no longer needs the written consent of the first employer. 

Amendments to the Labour Act additionally define work at a separate workplace and remote work, whereby regulations on occupational health and safety are applied to work at a separate workplace. It also regulates the right of the employer, without changing the employment contract, in the event of extraordinary circumstances, to agree with the employee to work from home if such work lasts less than 30 days. Also, a worker who works on the employer’s premises is authorized to propose to the employer an amendment to the employment contract, which would contract work from home for a certain period of time, in order to harmonize work and family obligations and personal needs in cases prescribed by law. 

Also, a new institute of absence from work is introduced, according to which a worker has the right to be absent from work once in a calendar year due to an important and urgent family reason caused by illness or accident. Also, the institute of unpaid leave was introduced for the purpose of providing personal care for up to 5 working days a year, whereby the worker is not deregistered from compulsory insurances. 

Regarding other changes, it is important to point out the amendments related to the definition of the right to severance pay, the possibility to negotiate a greater scope of rights for workers who are members of the trade union and who participated in the negotiations on the collective agreement, provisions aimed at the greater protection of minor workers and the news regarding the definition of salary and the distinction in relation to the receipts that the worker receives on the basis of the employment relationship. 

Also, it is important to note that the transitional and final provisions give employers a period of 6 months in which they are obliged to harmonize their Work regulations with the legal changes.