Effective 1 January 2023, important changes were made to the Labour Act in Croatia. To summarise the key changes, under the revised Act:
- Probationary periods: are subject to new rules. Where an employee is absent from work during the probationary period for objective reasons (such as sick or parental leave), the probationary period can be extended. Also, an employee can request that a permanent contract is concluded if they have at least six months’ continuous employment with their employer and they have passed their probationary period. An employer can refuse the request, but they must comply with certain procedural requirements.
- Additional work: can be carried out for other employers without the main employer’s consent. Subject to certain exceptions, an employee working 40 hours per week can now work for an additional eight hours for another employer (16 hours in certain circumstances). There is no need for the main employer to approve the additional work, but the employee must notify them. The main employer can request that the employee discontinue additional work if they have an objective reason to do so.
- Fixed-term contracts: can only be used if there is an objective reason, namely: the replacement of a worker on a period of temporary absence; and/or the temporary requirement for work for a specific duration, or by reference to a specific event. There is also a cap on the number of fixed-term contracts (up to three) and the maximum total duration of such contracts (three years).
- Flexible working: can be requested by employees in certain circumstances. Employees with six months’ continuous service can request part-time working or to adjust their working schedule, if they have a child under 8 years old or care for a close family member. Where an employer rejects a request, they must comply with certain procedural requirements.
- Remote working: is more flexible under the new Act. In addition to the existing model of working from a specific location outside of the employer’s premises, there is now a possibility for employees to freely choose their place of work, under a new remote working model. In the former case, the employer must reimburse costs associated with that way of working, if the employee works from the specific location for more than seven days per month. Employees can also now request to work temporarily outside of the employer’s premises as a result of certain personal/care needs.
- The right to disconnect: has been introduced. While there is currently no monetary fine for non-compliance, under the Act, employers must not contact employees outside of working hours unless: there is an urgent matter; contact is required due to the nature of the work; or the collective agreement or employment contract allows such contact.
- Enhanced family leave: is now available to employees. Employees can take up to one day’s paid leave per year for important and urgent family matters and five days’ unpaid leave per year to provide care to close family members.
What should employers do now?
It is recommended that employers familiarise themselves with the new rules, and review and update their employment documents and practices for compliance. Please get in touch with a member of the MDR ONE team if you have any questions about this or require any support with updating any documentation to reflect the new rules.