Working in Croatia – types, contracts, rights, annual/sick leave, hours

 The most usual type of employment in Croatia is to have an employment contract, which can be:

  • permanent employment, which is not time limited and you are employed until further notice;
  • temporary employment, for a definite period of time. 

The employment can be full time or less than full time. Full time employment means that you work 40 hours per week. Overtime work hours – hours you work above the full time – are payed more than regular working hours, and can reach maximally 50 per week.

Your working hours can be distributed evenly (for example 8 hours per day, 5 days a week), or unevenly. If you work in shifts, the employer is obligated to distribute your work time in accordance with the Labor Law.

Your worker rights are protected by Labor Law and should be part of a contract you are making with the employer. Minimally, you have the right on:

  • Regular payment of salary, usually monthly. If the employer wants to change your salary, he needs to offer you a new contract, which you have the right to refuse;
  • Daily rest of usually 12 hours between two working days; for seasonal work (for example in tourism and agriculture), daily rest can be minimally 8 hours;
  • Weekly rest of minimum 24 hours; usual non-working day is Sunday;
  • Payed annual holiday of minimum 4 working weeks per year, which you can use after you worked 6 months consecutively. You can use your holiday time all at once, or distribute it across the year;
  • Payed sick leave.

You have the right to safe and healthy working environment, and to be protected against discrimination and ill-treatment.

Right to work

If you are granted international protection you have the same employment rights as Croatian nationals. This means you do not need a work permit. You can register with Croatian Employment Service and use services and benefits it offers to unemployed. For signing the employment contract, you need to have valid ID card (issued by the Croatian Ministry of Interior), bank account and a tax card (issued by the Tax Administration office according to your address).

If you are a family member of a person granted international protection you have the same rights as that person: free access to the labor market, meaning you don’t need a work permit.

Asylum seekers can’t work without a work permit. You can get a work permit as an asylum seeker if you didn’t get the decision regarding your asylum request nine months since you applied, and you are not responsible for the delay. 

Employment Services

Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) provides the list of job vacancies, job search counselling and information regarding the labor market. When you are granted international protection, you can register with Croatian employment service according to your place of residence. To register, you need to have ID and the certificate of completed education or diploma (if you have it). To remain registered, you need to be an active job seeker and comply with the requirements (e.g. regularly contact your employment counselor and apply to job offers).

Other welfare benefits depend on you being registered with HZZ and you may be asked to prove it with official certificate HZZ issues to its registered users. Many organizations who support and assist refugees offer assistance in job search as well.

Earnings and Tax

As an employed person you will receive a monthly (for the previous month) net salary, which must always be paid in money to your bank account.

The average monthly net salary in Croatia is cca 843€ (April 2019). The minimum guaranteed salary is cca 404€ for full time employment.

What you will receive on your bank account (net salary) is different from your gross salary. Gross salary includes taxes and social security contributions which are compulsory:

  • pension and disability insurance (compulsory and voluntary, from which pensions are payed once you retire),
  • basic compulsory health insurance, and
  • unemployment insurance (for cases of work-related disability and unemployment benefit – if your work contract is cancelled without your fault).

Working for Yourself

In addition to being employed with employer, you can also start your own business in Croatia and be self-employed. There are several types of legal entities you could establish for purpose of doing business:

  • Company
  • Craft business
  • Cooperative
  • Association

Establishing your own business entails various costs. You will have to pay taxes to the state and local government, depending on the type of legal entity and the scope of the business. All this may be complicated and risky. If you have a business idea and entrepreneurial experience and skills, you may consider visiting one of the Entrepreneurial centers or Business incubators in Croatia.

Further Information and Links

Croatian Employment Service HZZ – information for non-EU/EEA citizens

NGO’s that can help you:

Private employment services:

There are websites where you can register and search for a job: