Employment and Labour Law

In general

Employment in the Republic of Croatia is regulated by the Constitution, international conventions, treaties, Labour Act, collective contracts and employment agreements.

Labour Act, as a main act regulating labour law, provides general rules of labour law, prohibits direct and indirect discrimination, regulates employment agreements, age for employment, leaves, maternity leaves, salaries, strikes, etc.

Employment agreement

Employment is established by an employment agreement, which must be concluded in written form. However, if it is not concluded in written form, the employee is protected by the Law. Failure on the part of the contractual parties to conclude a employment agreement in written form does not affect the existence and validity of this contract.

The agreement may be concluded for an indefinite period or, as exception, for a definitive period (in case of employment the termination of which is previously determined by objective terms, i.e. by a specific time limit, performance of a specific task or occurrence of a specific event). The employer must not conclude one or more consecutive fixed-duration employment agreements on the basis of which employment commences with respect to the same work for a continuous period exceeding three years, except in order to substitute a temporarily absent worker or if this is permitted by the law or collective agreement.

Minimum age for employment

Minimum age for employment in Croatia is 15 years, meaning that person under fifteen years of age can not be employed. Also, person of age from 15 to 18 which attends obligatory primary school, cannot be employed. As an exception and upon previously obtained approval of a labour inspector, a person under fifteen years of age may for remuneration participate in film making, the preparation and giving artistic, theatrical or other similar performances in a manner, to an extent and on assignments which do not threaten his or her health, morals, schooling or development..


On concluding a employment agreement, a trial period may be stipulated, not longer than 1 year.

A person employed for the first time in the occupation for which he/she received schooling may be employed as a trainee. A employment agreement may be concluded with a trainee for a definite period.

If a law or another regulation provides that an occupational exam or work experience is a prerequisite for the performance of jobs within a certain occupation, the employer may admit a person who completed schooling for such an occupation to occupational training without commencing employment with him or her (which represents "unpaid internship").

Working hours, breaks and leaves

Full-time working hours can not exceed 40 hours a week.

A employment agreement may also be concluded for part-time working hours.

Working hours are shortened in proportion to the harmful effects of working conditions on the worker's health and working ability in jobs in which, despite the application of occupational safety and health measures, it is impossible to protect the worker from harmful effects.

In the case of force majeure, an extraordinary increase in the scope of work and in other similar cases of a pressing need, the worker shall, at the employer's request, work longer than the full-time working hours ("overtime work"), but for at most 8 hours a week.

Overtime work by minor workers is prohibited.

A worker who works at least six hours a day is entitled to a rest period ("break") lasting at least 30 minutes each working day, unless otherwise specified by a special law.

As to holidays, a worker is entitled to paid annual leave for a minimum of four weeks, for each calendar year.

Protection of motherhood

A woman must not perform very difficult physical labour, underground or underwater works and other works that exceptionally endanger the woman's life and health, in view of her psychological and physical characteristics.

Night work of women in industry is prohibited, unless this kind of work is approved by the minister responsible for labour, as an exception, in cases of grave danger for the protection of national interests.

Maternity leave

A female worker has the right to maternity leave during her pregnancy, childbirth and care for her child. Furthermore, female worker must take maternity leave 28 days before the expected date of childbirth and must remain on such leave at least 42 days after the delivery. Maternity leave may last up to 6 months. Father of the child also has the possibility to take the parental leave.


Salary is paid after the work has been performed, in money. It must be paid at intervals not longer than one month. It is determined in a gross amount.

Termination of employment agreement

The employment agreement terminates upon the death of the worker, upon expiration of the period for which a fixed-duration employment agreement has been concluded, when the worker has turned 65 years of age and 15 years of employment service, unless otherwise agreed by the employer and the worker, upon the submission of a legally effective decision on retirement due to general inability to work, under an agreement between the worker and the employer, by cancellation (notice), and by a decision of the court having jurisdiction.

Termination can be regular (by notice or employer or worker) or extraordinary.

An employer and a worker may give notice that they wish to cancel a employment agreement.

An employer may give notice that he or she wishes to cancel a employment agreement, subject to a prescribed or agreed notice period ("regular notice") if he or she has a legitimate reason for doing so, in the following cases:

  • if the need for performing certain work ceases due to economic, technological or organizational reasons ("notice due to business reasons"),
  • if the worker is not capable of fulfilling his or her employment-related duties because of some permanent characteristics or abilities ("notice due to personal reasons"), or
  • if the worker violates obligations employment obligations ("notice due to the worker's misconduct").

Employers and workers have just cause to cancel an open-ended or fixed-duration employment agreement, without having an obligation to comply with a prescribed or agreed notice period ("extraordinary notice") if, due to an extremely grave violation of an employment obligation or due to any other highly important fact and recognizing all the circumstances or interests of both contracting parties, continuation of the employment is not possible.

Participation of workers in decision-making

Workers employed with an employer, who employs at least 20 workers, with the exception of workers employed at state administration bodies, have the right to take part in decision-making on issues related to their economic and social rights and interests, in the manner and under the conditions prescribed by this Act.

Attorneys at law
Vukić, Jelušić, Šulina, Stanković, Jurcan & Jabuka

Nikole Tesle 9/V-VI
51000 Rijeka

Phone: 051/211-600
Fax: 051/336-884

E-mail: info@vukic-lawfirm.hr