Croatia - Article 27

Article 27

Measures to support employers
Measures to support workers with disabilities
Discrimination
Employment on the open labour market
Employment in the supported / sheltered sector
Employment in the public sector
Employment of blind and partially sighted women
Self-employment
Vocational rehabilitation and training
Incentive measures to employ workers with disabilities
Legal obligation to employ workers with disabilities
Vocational counselling
Main occupations performed by workers with a visual impairment
Looking for a job
Legal recognition of disabled worker status
Trade unions and workers with disabilities
 

Measures to support employers

The Act on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities (Official Gazette 157/13, 152/14, 2/15) which entered into force on 30 December 2014 and Act on Promotion of Employment (Official Gazette 57/12, 120/12) are the main pieces of legislation regarding measures to support employers in Croatia.

Employers who hire a person with disabilities and self-employed persons with disabilities are entitled to financial support in several aspects:

1.    Wage subsidy and tax deductions;

2.    Co-financing the costs of education people with disabilities;

3.    Co-financing the costs of workplace adjustment;

4.    Co-financing the costs of adjusting working conditions for persons with disabilities;

5.    Co-financing of interest on loans for the procurement of machinery, equipment, tools and assistive technologies required for hiring persons with disabilities,

6.    Co-financing the costs of expert support;

7.    Special funds for innovative programs of employment of people with disabilities.

Public funding is also available for employers who want to operate as a sheltered workplace and hire disabled workers:

  1. Wage subsidy and tax deductions;
  2. Co-financing of interest on loans for the procurement of machinery, equipment, tools and assistive technologies required for hiring persons with disabilities;
  3. Special funds for the development of new technologies and business processes to recruit and maintain employment in sheltered workshops and integrative workshops.

Also, under the priorities set out in the Guidelines for Development and Implementation of Active Labor Market Policy in the Republic of Croatia 2015 - 2017, employers can use a number of so called package measures through Croatian Employment Service, with one specific measure for persons with disabilities called “Included”

(www.hzz.hr/default.aspx?id=18012 ; www.hzz.hr/default.aspx?id=11744).

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Measures to support workers with disabilities

The Act on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities (Official Gazette 157/13, 152/14, 2/15), Act on Promotion of Employment (57/12, 120/12) and Labor Law (93/14) are the main pieces of legislation regarding measures to support workers with disabilities in Croatia.

Workers with disabilities are entitled to adjustments in their working hours and shifts, as well as technical and architectural adjustments. In case of redundancy, the minimum notice period prescribed by general labor regulations, is increased for 1 month for workers with disabilities, unless the work contract cancellation is due to their culpability.

In addition, disabled workers are entitled to reduced health insurance fees as part of the Health Insurance Act (85/06). They also have the possibility to realize 30 vacation days per year. Workers with disabilities are entitled to early retirement, as every 12 working months count as 15 months, and 1 year of retirement age is deducted for every 5 working years.

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Discrimination

The Labor Law (93/14) forbids disability-based discrimination in Croatia.

The legislation brings forward the principle of equal treatment. Equal treatment must be facilitated in recruitment procedures, employment relations, work conditions, promotions and wages, access to vocational training etc.

Disability Ombudsman Act

(107/07) is the main legislation regarding measures to mitigate disability-based discrimination in Croatia. Disability ombudsman office has the responsibility and powers to act upon discrimination claims.

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Employment on the open labour market

The Act on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities (157/13, 152/14, 2/15) is the main legislation regarding employment in the open labor market.

People with disabilities can be employed in the open labor market with the obligation to provide reasonable workplace accommodation by the employer.

Reasonable workplace accommodation means necessary and appropriate adjustment and setting, which does not represent a disproportionate or undue burden in order to ensure employment and work of persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.

On the open labor market person with disability can be employed:

  • without financial or technical support because he/she is fully qualified to work at specific workplace in relation to his/her disability and deemed fit for work (employment without support);
  • with the use of financial support, to overcome disability related difficulties, as determined by the findings and opinion of the Center for Vocational Rehabilitation (employment with incentives);
  • with the use of specific professional support, to overcome disability related difficulties, as determined by the findings and opinion of the Center for Vocational Rehabilitation (supported employment);
  • with the use of certain grants and professional support, to overcome disability related difficulties, as determined by the findings and opinion of the Center for Vocational Rehabilitation (supported employment with incentives).

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Employment in the supported / sheltered sector

The Act on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities (157/13, 152/14, 2/15) and the Regulation on Sheltered Workshops and Integrative Workshops for Employment of Persons with Disabilities (44/14, 2/15) are the main pieces of legislation regarding employment in supported sector.

Employment of persons with disabilities under special conditions is approved based on the findings and opinions of the Centre for Vocational Rehabilitation:

  • In an institution or company established for employment of people with disabilities who cannot be employed on the open labor market - integrative workshop
  • In an institution or company established for employment of people with disabilities who cannot be employed in integrative workshop - sheltered workshop

Public funding is available for employers who are willing to run a sheltered workplace and hire disabled workers. Social enterprises operate on specific conditions.

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Employment in the public sector

The Act on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities (157/13, 152/14, 2/15) is the main legislation regarding employment in public sector.

The state administration bodies, judicial bodies, government bodies and other state bodies, local and regional self-governing bodies and public services, public institutions, non-budgetary and budgetary funds, legal persons owned or predominantly owned by the Republic of Croatia, legal entities owned or predominantly-owned by local and regional self-governing bodies and legal persons with public authorities are obliged to give priority under the same conditions when hiring a person with disabilities.

If a person with disability considers that its right of priority in employment was violated, he or she has the right to appeal the decision.

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Employment of blind and partially sighted women.

Both the Labor Law (93/14) and the Law on Gender Equality (116/03), forbid gender-based and disability-based discrimination in Croatia. In theory, therefore, female workers with disability should be in a position to enjoy the same opportunity level as their male peers.

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Self Employment

The Act on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities (Official Gazette 157/13, 152/14, 2/15) is the main legislation regarding self-employment in Croatia.

In terms of this legislation, self-employment is considered to be:

  • establishing a company, co-operative or association and employment in company, co-operative or association;
  • working in a trade;
  • performance of domestic industries or secondary occupation on the basis of which the person receives pension insurance;
  • performance of activities of free professions (professional services) and
  • work in agriculture and forestry.

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Vocational rehabilitation and training

The Act on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities (Official Gazette 157/13, 152/14, 2/15) and the Regulation on Vocational Rehabilitation and Vocational Rehabilitation Centers for Persons with Disabilities (44/14, 2/15) are the main pieces of legislation regarding vocational rehabilitation and training in Croatia.

Persons with disabilities are entitled to vocational rehabilitation in line with remaining ability to work assessed by the competent expertise body.

Vocational rehabilitation includes the following measures and activities:

  • determining remaining work and general capabilities;
  • vocational information, counseling and evaluation of professional opportunities;
  • analysis of the labor market, employment opportunities and involvement in work;
  • assessment of implementation, development and improvement of vocational training programs;
  • vocational training, re-training and programs for maintaining and improving working and social skills and abilities in the period preceding employment;
  • information and counseling on assistive technology in learning and work;
  • individual and group programs to improve the working and social inclusion;
  • advisory proposals on the application of different technologies and techniques in learning and work with the assessment of possible applications;
  • pre-vocational learning, planning and implementation of selected technologies;
  • motivating and training of persons with disabilities in the use of selected technologies;
  • technical assistance, support, monitoring and evaluation of the results;
  • information and support in the sources of financing.

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Incentive measures to employ workers with disabilities.

The Act on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities (157/13, 152/14, 2/15) and the Regulation on Incentives for Employment of Persons with Disabilities (44/14, 2/15), are the main pieces of legislation regarding incentive measures.

The Regulation prescribes the type, amount, conditions and manner of exercising Incentives for Employment of Disabled Persons, which are provided and covered by the Institute for expertise, vocational rehabilitation and employment of persons with disabilities (http://www.zosi.hr/).

Incentive measures are:

  • Wage subsidies for disabled workers
  • Co-financing costs of education
  • Co-financing costs for adjustments to the workplace - architectural adaptation
  • Co-financing costs for adjustment of work conditions - technical adaptation
  • Co-financing of interest on loans for the procurement of machinery, equipment, tools and assistive technologies required for hiring persons with disabilities,
  • Co-financing the costs of expert support;
  • Special funds for innovative programs of employment of people with disabilities.
  • Special funds for job creation and maintenance of employment in integrative workshops and sheltered workshops

Employers who are not legally obliged by the quota of employment of persons with disabilities and have employed persons with disabilities, as well as employers who employ more persons with disabilities than the prescribed quota are entitled to a cash prize.

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Legal obligation to employ workers with disabilities

The Act on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities (157/13, 152/14, 2/15) and the Regulation on Establishing Quotas for the Employment of Persons with Disabilities (44/14, 2/15) are the main pieces of legislation regulating legal obligation to employ workers with disabilities.

Both private companies and public offices with a workforce of more than 20 employees must hire a number of persons with disabilities, depending on the total number of employees and activities they perform.

The quota may be different, but cannot be less than 2% and shall not exceed 6% of the total number of employees of an employer who is subject to quota system.

Subcontracting workers from sheltered and integrated workshops, self-employed disabled workers or outsourcing goods or services from a company that hires disabled employees (more than half of workforce) is considered to meet the requirements of the quota system.

Employers that do not comply with the quota system are liable to monetary compensation by paying 30% of minimum wage monthly for each person with disability they were obliged to employ in order to meet the quota.

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Vocational counselling.

Currently, vocational counselling and guidance for all registered unemployed citizens is provided by the Croatian Employment Service through Job Centers. These centers offer information and counselling services to all job seekers including those with disabilities. A Job Centre Counsellor helps to design and implement an individual action plan to move into employment.

The Strategy for Lifelong Vocational Guidance and Career Development in Croatia 2016 to 2020, provides a formal framework for the promotion of lifelong vocational guidance and the provision of quality career information, advice, guidance and education, and brings together key stakeholders in the development of service delivery by defining their roles and responsibilities, with services covering lifelong vocational guidance in primary and secondary schools, in the field of higher education and in the context of lifelong learning and employability.

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Main occupations performed by workers with a visual impairment.

Workers with visual impairment are found in a wide range of occupations. The occupations range from call operators, receptionists, masseurs, teachers (in elementary schools, high schools or special schools) to lawyers, journalists, music teachers and information technology experts.

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Looking for a job

Law on Employment Mediation and Unemployment Rights (80/08, 153/13) is the main legislation concerning this matter.

Croatian Employment Service acts as a mediator in job search and offers information and counselling services to all job seekers including those with disabilities. A Job Centre Counsellor helps to design and implement an individual action plan to move into employment.

Supported Employment Agencies may also offer guidance.

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Legal recognition of disabled worker status

The Social Security Act (157/13, 152/14, 99/15, 52/16), the Pension Insurance Act (157/13, 151/14, 33/15, 93/15) and the Regulation on Medical Assessment in Pension Insurance (Official Gazette 12/13) are the main pieces of legislation in regard to disabled worker status in Croatia.

The procedure for exercising rights on the basis of disability and immediate danger of disability during employment is initiated on the proposal of the selected medical doctor in primary health care, which refers the person to the assessment of working capacity and gives an opinion on the state of health and working ability under health insurance regulations. The procedure may also be initiated at the request of an individual.

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Trade unions and workers with disabilities.

Croatian trade unions offer assistance to disabled workers under the same conditions as any other trade union members.

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