Employers publish vacancies on the website of the Croatian Employment Service, on private portals for job seekers, as well as on their own private websites. You can also find job advertisements on notice boards, in daily newspapers, professional journals and gazettes, as well as on the websites of professional organisations (chambers, associations). Advertisements for public sector jobs are always published in the Official Gazette (Narodne novine). In smaller towns, private employers advertise jobs on the radio as well.
Many large employers use online application forms on their own websites to create a database of potential candidates for future job openings. In addition to job advertisements, small private employers use private channels and recommendations to reach the best candidates.
Jobseekers can also register in the databases of candidates kept by private agencies for occasional and temporary employment. Workers sign an employment contract with the agency, which provides workers for employers who have a temporary need for additional workers.
Portal of the Croatian Employment Service
Moj posao (jobs portal)
Narodne novine (Official Gazette)
Agencies for temporary employment
How to apply is described in every job advertisement. A CV is compiled in a chronological order, and it must contain personal data, information about education, additional knowledge and skills, as well as information on work experience. It should be typed using a computer and in Croatian, unless otherwise requested. A photograph is not necessary, but you can always include one in your CV, such as a passport photo. The recommendations of former employers are usually not mandatory, but if you have some, it is a good idea to enclose them.
Public sector employers will require an application form to be complemented by a CV, proof of qualifications and skills (certificates, diplomas), certificate confirming the absence of any criminal record, proof of nationality and residence, and other documents, as necessary.
Private sector employers will usually request the application to be made via e-mail, which must contain a CV, and sometimes also other documents such as diplomas, certificates of passing professional exams and similar, depending on the nature of the job. Sometimes you will be expected to submit an online application on the employer’s website, in which case other forms of application will not be considered, while other employers, usually smaller ones, will only require an application by telephone.
Open applications to employers are usually well received. Since we cannot know what form of application an employer will consider the most acceptable, it is advisable to enclose with the CV and the cover letter a proof of qualifications and skills, as well as recommendations or contact information of persons who can provide recommendations, if any.
An application should be adapted to the employer you are contacting, and the CV should emphasise the knowledge and skills applicable to the job for which you are applying. Furthermore, it is usually not acceptable to contact an employer in a way other than the one specified in the job advertisement (by telephone instead of e-mail, by e-mail instead of regular mail, etc.).
Before an interview with the employer, it is a good idea to research the employer’s activity, workforce structure, dress code, and other information that may be useful in a job interview to make the best possible impression. Needless to say, showing a lack of interest, being late and having an untidy appearance will disqualify you from the selection procedure.
When selecting a candidate for the job (interviews, tests, questionnaires, etc.) and signing the employment contract, the employer may not request the worker to provide information that is not directly related to the employment relationship (family status, pregnancy, religious or national affiliation, etc.).
Writing a CV and application letter
Preparing for a job interview
Career Information and Counselling Centre – CISOK
In Croatia, there is no official definition of a traineeship period. Legislation that defines traineeship categories are the Labour Market Act (Official Gazette 118/18, 32/20, 18/22) and the Labour Act (Official Gazette 93/14, 127/17, 98/19, 151/22).
Active employment measures are taken to boost workers’ competitiveness in the labour market and increase employment.
In Croatia, traineeship is one of the most popular active employment policy measures that aim to increase employability of young unemployed persons.
The objective of the measure is to train such persons to work independently by stimulating employment through co-financing of the cost of gross salary (‘bruto 1’) and other expenses for employers.
The measure targets unemployed persons who are registered as unemployed with the Croatian Employment Service and who are being employed for the first time to work in the occupation for which they attended formal education.
As a rule, traineeships last no more than one year, unless special legislation prescribes otherwise in order to become eligible to take the end-of-traineeship or professional examination for the profession or trade, but in any case co-financing for the trainee under this measure may not last longer than 24 months.
Traineeship opportunities are directed towards the following groups:
- Traineeship – private sector
Unemployed persons who are registered as unemployed with the Croatian Employment Service, irrespective of the length of the periods of employment in respect of which contributions were paid (insurance period), and who are being employed for the first time to work in the occupation for which they attended formal education.
- Traineeship – public services
Unemployed persons who are registered as unemployed with the Croatian Employment Service, and who have a registered insurance period of no more than 6 months working in an occupation for which they have acquired a degree, specifically in the areas of education, health, early childhood education, welfare and culture.
- Traineeship – green/digital
Unemployed persons who are registered as unemployed with the Croatian Employment Service, irrespective of the length of the insurance period, and who are being employed for the first time to work in the occupation for which they attended formal education.
Employers applying for support measures aimed at green activities have to meet the business criteria for ‘green’ activities.
Participants have to be citizens of the Republic of Croatia or any other Member State of the European Economic Area, or fulfil the same conditions as described above. They must have a declared place of residence in the Republic of Croatia, and have free access to the labour market of the Republic of Croatia.
Legislation that defines traineeships are the Labour Market Act (Official Gazette 118/18, 32/20, 18/22) and the Labour Act (Official Gazette 93/14, 127/17, 98/19, 151/22).
The national legislation is in line with the March 2014 Council Recommendation on a Quality Framework for Traineeships, which defines minimum standards relating to the conclusion of a written traineeship agreement that indicates the learning and training objectives, working conditions, rights and obligations, reasonable duration, proper recognition of traineeship and transparency requirements.
Living and working conditions
All relevant information on traineeship as an active employment policy measure is available on the website of the Croatian Employment Service: https://mjere.hr
Where to find opportunities
Candidates can find information on traineeship as support measure on the website of the Croatian Employment Service: https://mjere.hr/katalog-mjera/
Funding and support
Information on funding and support is available at the following link: http://www.hzz.hr/default.aspx?id=11760
Where to advertise opportunities
Employers have the possibility to advertise job vacancies on the Labour Exchange portal of the Croatian Employment Service at the following link: https://www.hzz.hr/usluge-poslodavci-posloprimci/poslodavac-predaja-oglasa/
Funding and support
Information on funding and support is available at the following link: http://www.hzz.hr/default.aspx?id=11760
The Croatian act regulating apprenticeships, among other things, is the Crafts Act (Official Gazette Nos. 143/13, 127/19, 41/20).
The Vocational Education Act (Official Gazette Nos. 30/09, 24/10, 22/13, 25/18) regulates secondary vocational education, training and development (hereinafter: vocational education and training – VET) as an activity enabling the development and acquisition of competences required for obtaining vocational qualifications. Due to their complexity, dual education system programmes have been replaced by vocational education programmes for craft professions. The total number of programmes within the Unified Model of Education (JMO) for qualifications in craft professions is 61. Their main purpose is to prepare students for the labour market. Students in a VET programme for craft professions have the status of regular students pursuant to the Primary and Secondary School Education Act (Official Gazette Nos. 86/12, 94/13, 64/20).
Description of schemes
VET programmes for craft professions (JMO) are three-year programmes that end with students acquiring formal qualification. Students’ mentors in craft workshops or legal entities assess the students’ practical training and exercises and propose their grades, but the official grading is done by teachers working in VET schools. Students complete their education by producing and presenting their final practical assignments (Primary and Secondary School Education Act), and the school issues them with a certificate of completion. As of 2014, students graduating from a VET programme for craft professions or another three-year VET programme can continue their education free of charge, financed from the state budget, by enrolling in the fourth year in the same or different education sector or a general-education programme. Students have to take additional and supplementary examinations for the first, second and third year of the respective qualification programme to start their fourth year. A student can complete the equivalent of a four-year programme in a two-year period. Following a successful completion of a VET programme for craft professions, the student takes a vocational exam organised by the Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education and the National Centre for External Evaluation of Education, in accordance with the Crafts Act. The vocational exam includes an assessment of practical and professional competences required for performing craft occupations in accordance with the VET qualification standards.
The apprenticeship provider and the student, or his/her parents or guardians if the student is not of legal age, conclude a written apprenticeship contract, which is not an employment contract. The contract regulates the mutual rights, obligations and duties of the apprenticeship provider and the student throughout the duration of the apprenticeship scheme. The contract prescribes the obligation to pay monthly remuneration to the student. Remuneration is paid as a percentage of the average net salary in the Croatian economy in the previous year: 10% for the first year of apprenticeship, 20% for the second year of apprenticeship, and 25% for the third year of apprenticeship. Remuneration is paid to the student for the performed work as prescribed by the curriculum for the school year in which the remuneration is paid. In accordance with the VET curriculum for qualifications in craft professions, the student has to complete, in the practical part of education in a craft workshop or with a legal entity, at least 560 hours of practical training and exercises in the first year, at least 630 hours in the second year and at least 640 hours in the third year.
Based on this, the yearly apprenticeship remuneration amounts to HRK 2 144.80 (approximately EUR 285) in the first year, HRK 4 825.80 (approximately EUR 643) in the second year, and HRK 6 124.80 (approximately EUR 856) in the third year. The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development is competent for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications for master craftsman diplomas. Various stakeholders are involved in the implementation of the apprenticeship schemes:
- The Ministry of Science and Education, https://mzo.gov.hr , adopts programmes and schemes (after obtaining a favourable opinion from the ministry responsible for crafts).
- The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, https://mingor.gov.hr , issues the certificate of a passed vocational exam.
- The Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education, https://www.asoo.hr/ , is responsible for organising vocational exams.
- The Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts, https://www.hok.hr , issues licences to craft workshops allowing them to receive students, and publishes lists of licensed craft workshops.
- Employers receive students for the practical part of apprenticeship schemes.
- VET schools enrol students in three-year VET programmes for craft professions.
Pursuant to the Vocational Education Act (Official Gazette Nos. 30/09, 24/10, 22/13, 25/18, 69/22), citizens of EU Member States have the same right to vocational education and apprenticeship as Croatian citizens, and they enrol in VET institutions in the Republic of Croatia under the same conditions as Croatian citizens.
Living and working conditions
In Croatia, apprenticeship falls under the competence of the Ministry of Science and Education and the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.
Apprenticeship schemes are designed for young people entering VET right after primary school, at the age of 15. Every apprentice is obliged to conclude a contract with a licensed workshop. In order to be issued a licence, every workshop must comply with certain conditions: technical and material conditions (equipment, tools, machinery), and engage a master craftsman to mentor the apprentice. Apart from their expertise and qualifications, master craftsmen acting as VET mentors must prove their pedagogical competences.
Where to find opportunities
Detailed information for candidates are available at the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts at the following website: https://www.hok.hr/obrazovanje/mjesta_za_naukovanje_praksu
Funding and support
More information about programmes and schemes in Croatia is available at the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development https://enaukovanje.gov.hr
Where to advertise opportunities
Regarding apprentices arriving from abroad, employers can contact the Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes, https://ampeu.hr,responsible for implementing the Erasmus+ programme in Croatia https://ampeu.hr/programi and for funding apprentices arriving from abroad.
Funding and support
Regarding apprentices arriving from abroad, employers can contact the Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes,https://ampeu.hr,responsible for implementing the Erasmus+ programme in Croatia https://ampeu.hr/programi and for funding apprentices arriving from abroad.
The free movement of goods is one of the cornerstones of the European Single Market.
The removal of national barriers to the free movement of goods within the EU is one of the principles enshrined in the EU Treaties. From a traditionally protectionist starting point, the countries of the EU have continuously been lifting restrictions to form a ‘common’ or single market. This commitment to create a European trading area without frontiers has led to the creation of more wealth and new jobs, and has globally established the EU as a world trading player alongside the United States and Japan.
Despite Europe’s commitment to breaking down all internal trade barriers, not all sectors of the economy have been harmonised. The European Union decided to regulate at a European level sectors which might impose a higher risk for Europe’s citizens – such as pharmaceuticals or construction products. The majority of products (considered a ‘lower risk’) are subject to the application of the so-called principle of mutual recognition, which means that essentially every product legally manufactured or marketed in one of the Member States can be freely moved and traded within the EU internal market.
Limits to the free movement of goods
The EU Treaty gives Member States the right to set limits to the free movement of goods when there is a specific common interest such as protection of the environment, citizens’ health, or public policy, to name a few. This means for example that if the import of a product is seen by a Member State’s national authorities as a potential threat to public health, public morality or public policy, it can deny or restrict access to its market. Examples of such products are genetically modified food or certain energy drinks.
Even though there are generally no limitations for the purchase of goods in another Member State, as long as they are for personal use, there is a series of European restrictions for specific categories of products, such as alcohol and tobacco.
Free movement of capital
Another essential condition for the functioning of the internal market is the free movement of capital. It is one of the four basic freedoms guaranteed by EU legislation and represents the basis of the integration of European financial markets. Europeans can now manage and invest their money in any EU Member State.
The liberalisation of capital markets has marked a crucial point in the process of economic and monetary integration in the EU. It was the first step towards the establishment of our European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the common currency, the Euro.
The principle of the free movement of capital not only increases the efficiency of financial markets within the Union, it also brings a series of advantages to EU citizens. Individuals can carry out a broad number of financial operations within the EU without major restrictions. For instance, individuals with few restrictions can
- easily open a bank account,
- buy shares
- invest, or
- purchase real estate
in another Member State. EU Companies can invest in, own and manage other European enterprises.
Certain exceptions to this principle apply both within the Member States and with third countries. They are mainly related to taxation, prudential supervision, public policy considerations, money laundering and financial sanctions agreed under the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy.
The European Commission is continuing to work on the completion of the free market for financial services, by implementing new strategies for financial integration in order to make it even easier for citizens and companies to manage their money within the EU.
The most common way to find a property to rent or purchase is via public media (web portals, press), but a significant number of specialised agencies also mediate in the renting or purchasing of apartments. When renting a property, most landlords will request a deposit of one month’s rent, which is returned when moving out of the property. If you decide to use services of an estate agency when renting a property, the commission fee is usually the price of one month’s rent. When purchasing a property, a commission fee is usually paid to the agency mediating the purchase at around 3% of the price of the property.
Renting an apartment
Monthly rental rates, as well as purchase prices of apartments, vary in different parts of Croatia, with prices being the highest in Dubrovnik, Split and other tourist centres along the Adriatic coast as well as in Zagreb as the country’s capital, while in smaller continental areas it is possible to find much cheaper accommodation. Prices vary within cities as well, depending on the age of the apartment, the equipment in it, the location and additional amenities nearby. The average cost of rent for an apartment with a surface area of 50 m2 in Zagreb is about EUR 500–600 a month, but it is possible to find an apartment at a slightly lower as well as at a significantly higher price. The cost of rent does not include utilities, which also vary, and on average amount to about HRK 1 200.00 a month (app. EUR 158.00 a month). Utility bills are lower during the summer and higher during the winter.
Purchasing an apartment
The average price per square metre of an apartment is approximately EUR 1 630.00 per m2, but it may vary significantly in different regions. In the east of Croatia, and especially in rural areas, the price of an apartment is less than EUR 1 000.00 per m2, or even less than EUR 700.00 per m2 (the price is even lower for a house), while along the coast the price often reaches EUR 3 000.00 or even EUR 4 000.00 per m2, which is often the price demanded in Dubrovnik. In Zagreb, the average price per square metre of an apartment is approximately EUR 2 200.00 per m2, but there are large differences between the demanded price and the realised price.
Register of real estate brokers
Prices of real estate
Njuškalo (classified ads website)
Parents submit applications for enrolment in a kindergarten after the announcement is published, usually at the beginning of May, and eligible children are those who will celebrate their first birthday by 31 August of the current year (only some kindergartens admit younger children). The results are published in June, and kindergartens start in autumn.
Applications for enrolment in elementary school are submitted after the local self-government unit (city/town, municipality) publishes the announcement, which is usually in May. Parents may submit applications for children who will turn six by 1 April of the current year, while children who will turn six by 31 August may also be admitted at a special request of the parents. All children undergo a (physical and mental) health evaluation.
Secondary school enrolment is also carried out in response to an announcement in which the terms and criteria for enrolment are defined. Applications are submitted online, on the website Upisi.hr (https://www.upisi.hr/upisi/).
Announcements for enrolment in university study programmes are published at least six months before the beginning of classes. They contain information on the criteria for enrolment, number of candidates admitted, the procedure, documents to be submitted, and deadlines for submitting an application and completing the enrolment. Students who are citizens of EU Member States have the same rights and may enrol in study programmes under the same conditions as Croatian citizens. Enrolment may be restricted or denied in case the programme in question relates to military or police education or other studies related to national security.
Educational institutions in the Republic of Croatia
Private and religious kindergartens in Zagreb
School year calendar
Compiled information on all levels of education
E-enrolment in secondary schools
Compiled information on enrolment in secondary schools and universities
Recognition of foreign qualifications
Studying in Croatia
Applying for university
Study programmes in the Republic of Croatia
The implementation of the principle of free movement of people, is one of the cornerstones of our European construction, has meant the introduction a series of practical rules to ensure that citizens can travel freely and easily to any Member State of the European Union. Travelling across the EU with one’s car has become a lot less problematic. The European Commission has set a series of common regulations governing the mutual recognition of driving licences, the validity of car insurance, and the possibility of registering your car in a host country.
Your driving licence in the EU
The EU has introduced a harmonised licence model and further minimum requirements for obtaining a licence. This should help to keep unsafe drivers off Europe's roads - wherever they take their driving test.
Since 19 January 2013, all driving licences issued by EU countries have the same look and feel. The licences are printed on a piece of plastic that has the size and shape of a credit card.
Harmonised administrative validity periods for the driving licence document have been introduced which are between 10 and 15 years for motorcycles and passenger cars. This enables the authorities to regularly update the driving licence document with new security features that will make it harder to forge or tamper - so unqualified or banned drivers will find it harder to fool the authorities, in their own country or elsewhere in the EU.
The new European driving licence is also protecting vulnerable road users by introducing progressive access for motorbikes and other powered two-wheelers. The "progressive access" system means that riders will need experience with a less powerful bike before they go on to bigger machines. Mopeds will also constitute a separate category called AM.
You must apply for a licence in the country where you usually or regularly live. As a general rule, it is the country where you live for at least 185 days each calendar year because of personal or work-related ties.
If you have personal/work-related ties in 2 or more EU countries, your place of usual residence is the place where you have personal ties, as long as you go back regularly. You don't need to meet this last condition if you are living in an EU country to carry out a task for a fixed period of time.
If you move to another EU country to go to college or university, your place of usual residence doesn't change. However, you can apply for a driving licence in your host country if you can prove you have been studying there for at least 6 months.
Registering your car in the host country
If you move permanently to another EU country and take your car with you, you should register your car and pay car-related taxes in your new country.
There are no common EU rules on vehicle registration and related taxes. Some countries have tax-exemption rules for vehicle registration when moving with the car from one country to another permanently.
To benefit from a tax exemption, you must check the applicable deadlines and conditions in the country you wish to move to.
Check the exact rules and deadlines with the national authorities: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/vehicles/registration/registration-abroad/index_en.htm
EU citizens can insure their car in any EU country, as long as the chosen insurance company is licensed by the host national authority to issue the relevant insurance policies. A company based in another Member State is entitled sell a policy for compulsory civil liability only if certain conditions are met. Insurance will be valid throughout the Union, no matter where the accident takes place.
Value Added Tax or VAT on motor vehicles is ordinarily paid in the country where the car is purchased, although under certain conditions, VAT is paid in the country of destination.
More information on the rules which apply when a vehicle is acquired in one EU Member State and is intended to be registered in another EU Member State is available on this link https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/vehicles/registration/taxes-abroad/index_en.htm.
A national of an EEA Member State and Switzerland may stay in the Republic of Croatia for up to three months provided they have a valid travel document or identity card. In the event of a stay longer than three months, it is necessary to register a temporary residence to the police administration or station in the place of residence, which will immediately issue a temporary residence registration certificate. When registering residence, you will be issued a personal identification number (OIB). OIB may also be issued before residence is registered. In that case, a person may request an OIB directly from the relevant Tax Administration office: http://www.porezna-uprava.hr/en/Pages/PIN.aspx.
The right to permanent stay may be exercised after five years of uninterrupted legal stay in the Republic of Croatia.
Temporary residence is approved to third country nationals who intend to reside or already reside in the Republic of Croatia for one of the following purposes:
- family reunification,
- domestic partnership,
- secondary school and university education,
- humanitarian reasons,
- stay of a long-term resident of another EEA Member State,
- stay of digital nomads,
- other purposes.
Applications for temporary residence permits are submitted to the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Croatia when abroad, or to the local police administration/station based on the foreign national’s intended place of residence or work, or at the employer’s seat.
A highly qualified worker from a third country has to submit an application for a residence permit and a work permit to the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Croatia when abroad, or to the local police administration/station based on the of residence/work. A residence and work permit (‘the EU Blue Card’) is issued with a validity period of up to two years.
Ministry of the Interior (information for non-nationals)
Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs: stay and work of non-nationals, in English
Work and residence permits
Work and residence permits (in English)
Overview of the visa system
Croatian diplomatic missions worldwide
Issuance of a personal identification number (OIB)
Information for EU/EEA citizens (in English)
Information for third country/non-EU nationals (in English)
Information for EU/EEA citizens (in Croatian)
Information for third country/non-EU nationals (in Croatian)
Before arriving, it is a good idea to do some research on Croatia, the lifestyle, and the living and working conditions. You can do that on the EURES portal: http://ec.europa.eu/eures/.
At least a basic knowledge of Croatian and willingness to learn more are desirable, although a large number of Croatian citizens speak another language (most often English, and in some parts German and Italian are common). It is advisable to arrange at least temporary accommodation for the period after you arrive in Croatia.
Make sure that you have all the important documents: identity documents (an identity card and/or passport), a driver’s license, if applicable, and other official documents that you might need (birth certificate, marriage certificate, diplomas, certificates, etc.). If the documents are written in only one language, you can have them translated in your home country or you may request that a sworn translator translates them upon your arrival.
Bring your European Health Insurance Card (issued by the health insurance provider in your country: http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=559), and if you suffer from an illness or take prescribed medication, bring your medical documentation as well.
If you intend to exercise some of the transferable social security rights (e.g. unemployment benefit), make sure to bring the appropriate portable documents. Information on portable documents:
The national currency is the Croatian kuna. You can exchange money immediately upon arriving at the airport. Payment by credit or debit cards is common at most retail outlets.
After arriving in Croatia, if you intend to stay longer than three months, you have to register your temporary residence at the police administration or station in the place of residence, no later than eight days from the expiry of the three-month period. The police administration/station will immediately issue a temporary residence registration certificate. When registering residence, you will receive a personal identification number (OIB), if you have not previously received it. The OIB is necessary to interact with institutions, make payments, register activities, get a job, exercise various rights, etc. You will also need it to open a bank account and to register for telecommunication services.
Before you start working, you need to obtain a tax card from the Tax Administration in the place of residence: https://www.porezna-uprava.hr/baza_znanja/Stranice/PoreznaKartica.aspx.
You must deliver the tax card to your employer when you start working.
Exchange rate list
List of banks
Telecommunication services providers
Addresses of police administrations
Information for EU/EEA citizens (in English)
Information for third country/non-EU nationals (in English)
Information for EU/EEA citizens (in Croatian)
Information for third country/non-EU nationals (in Croatian)
Quality of work and employment - a vital issue, with a strong economic and humanitarian impact
Good working conditions are important for the well-being of European workers. They
- contribute to the physical and psychological welfare of Europeans, and
- contribute to the economic performance of the EU.
From a humanitarian point of view, the quality of working environment has a strong influence on the overall work and life satisfaction of European workers.
From an economic point of view, high-quality job conditions are a driving force of economic growth and a foundation for the competitive position of the European Union. A high level of work satisfaction is an important factor for achieving high productivity of the EU economy.
It is therefore a core issue for the European Union to promote the creation and maintenance of a sustainable and pleasant working environment – one that promotes health and well-being of European employees and creates a good balance between work and non-work time.
Improving working conditions in Europe: an important objective for the European Union.
Ensuring favourable working conditions for European citizens is a priority for the EU. The European Union is therefore working together with national governments to ensure a pleasant and secure workplace environment. Support to Member States is provided through:
- the exchange of experience between different countries and common actions
- the establishment of the minimum requirements on working conditions and health and safety at work, to be applied all over the European Union
Criteria for quality of work and employment
In order to achieve sustainable working conditions, it is important to determine the main characteristics of a favourable working environment and thus the criteria for the quality of working conditions.
The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) in Dublin, is an EU agency that provides information, advice and expertise on, as the name implies, living and working conditions. This agency has established several criteria for job and employment quality, which include:
- health and well-being at the workplace – this is a vital criteria, since good working conditions suppose the prevention of health problems at the work place, decreasing the exposure to risk and improving work organisation
- reconciliation of working and non-working life – citizens should be given the chance to find a balance between the time spent at work and at leisure
- skills development – a quality job is one that gives possibilities for training, improvement and career opportunities
The work of Eurofound contributes to the planning and design of better living and working conditions in Europe.
Health and safety at work
The European Commission has undertaken a wide scope of activities to promote a healthy working environment in the EU Member States. Amongst others, it developed a Community Strategy for Health and Safety at Work for the period 2021-2027. This strategy was set up with the help of national authorities, social partners and NGOs. It addresses the changing needs in worker’s protection brought by the digital and green transitions, new forms of work and the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, the framework will continue to address traditional occupational safety and health risks, such as risks of accidents at work or exposure to hazardous chemicals.
The Community policy on health and safety at work aims at a long-lasting improvement of well-being of EU workers. It takes into account the physical, moral and social dimensions of working conditions, as well as the new challenges brought up by the enlargement of the European Union towards countries from Central and Eastern Europe. The introduction of EU standards for health and safety at the workplace, has contributed a lot to the improvement of the situation of workers in these countries.
Improving working conditions by setting minimum requirements common to all EU countries
Improving living and working conditions in the EU Member States depends largely on the establishment of common labour standards. EU labour laws and regulations have set the minimum requirements for a sustainable working environment and are now applied in all Member States. The improvement of these standards has strengthened workers’ rights and is one of the main achievements of the EU’s social policy.
The importance of transparency and mutual recognition of diplomas as a crucial complement to the free movement of workers
The possibility of obtaining recognition of one’s qualifications and competences can play a vital role in the decision to take up work in another EU country. It is therefore necessary to develop a European system that will guarantee the mutual acceptance of professional competences in different Member States. Only such a system will ensure that a lack of recognition of professional qualifications will not become an obstacle to workers’ mobility within the EU.
Main principles for the recognition of professional qualifications in the EU
As a basic principle, any EU citizen should be able to freely practice their profession in any Member State. Unfortunately the practical implementation of this principle is often hindered by national requirements for access to certain professions in the host country.
For the purpose of overcoming these differences, the EU has set up a system for the recognition of professional qualifications. Within the terms of this system, a distinction is made between regulated professions (professions for which certain qualifications are legally required) and professions that are not legally regulated in the host Member State.
Steps towards a transparency of qualifications in Europe
The European Union has taken important steps towards the objective of achieving transparency of qualifications in Europe:
- An increased co-operation in vocational education and training, with the intention to combine all instruments for transparency of certificates and diplomas, in one single, user-friendly tool. This includes, for example, the European CV or Europass Trainings.
- The development of concrete actions in the field of recognition and quality in vocational education and training.
Going beyond the differences in education and training systems throughout the EU
Education and training systems in the EU Member States still show substantial differences. The last enlargements of the EU, with different educational traditions, have further increased this diversity. This calls for a need to set up common rules to guarantee recognition of competences.
In order to overcome this diversity of national qualification standards, educational methods and training structures, the European Commission has put forward a series of instruments, aimed at ensuring better transparency and recognition of qualifications both for academic and professional purposes.
The European Qualifications Framework is a key priority for the European Commission in the process of recognition of professional competences. The main objective of the framework is to create links between the different national qualification systems and guarantee a smooth transfer and recognition of diplomas.
A network of National Academic Recognition Information Centres was established in 1984 at the initiative of the European Commission. The NARICs provide advice on the academic recognition of periods of study abroad. Located in all EU Member States as well as in the countries of the European Economic Area, NARICs play a vital role the process of recognition of qualifications in the EU.
The European Credit Transfer System aims at facilitating the recognition of periods of study abroad. Introduced in 1989, it functions by describing an education programme and attaching credits to its components. It is a key complement to the highly acclaimed student mobility programme Erasmus.
Europass is an instrument for ensuring the transparency of professional skills. It is composed of five standardised documents
- a CV (Curriculum Vitae),
- a cover letter editor,
- certificate supplements,
- diploma supplements, and
- a Europass-Mobility document.
The Europass system makes skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in the different parts of Europe. In every country of the European Union and the European Economic Area, national Europass centres have been established as the primary contact points for people seeking for information about the Europass system.
Any person over the age of 15 and under the age of 18 may be employed, unless they are attending compulsory primary education. Minors may not be employed to perform jobs that could endanger their safety, health, morality or development.
Employment relationships are usually concluded for indefinite periods and on a full time basis. An employment contract may be concluded for a fixed period of time for the purpose of establishment of an employment relationship the duration and termination of which have been determined in advance on the basis of being related to completing a particular job or the occurrence a particular event. It is possible to agree on a probationary period, but only for a maximum of six months.
Employees can conclude employment contracts with several employers until they reach a full-time rate (40 hours a week). For hours exceeding the full-time rate, subject to a written consent of the employer(s), an employment contract may be concluded with another employer for up to a maximum of eight hours a week or 180 hours a year.
Seasonal employment is most common in the hospitality and tourism industry (mainly in the Adriatic region), agriculture, trade, and the food industry. If the employer’s activities are predominantly seasonal, a fixed-term employment contract may be concluded for the performance of permanent seasonal work. In this case, the employer is obliged pay pension contributions for the employee during the period of suspension of activities.
An employer may hire a person who is employed for the first time in the occupation for which they attended formal education while using the employment aid for first-time work experience or traineeship, which is one of the measures of the active employment policy.
Self-employment is taken to include craft activities, liberal professions (healthcare workers, veterinarians, lawyers, notaries public, auditors, engineers, architects, tax consultants, bankruptcy trustees, interpreters, translators, tourist workers, scientists, writers, inventors, journalists, artists, athletes, etc.), and agriculture and forestry activities.
Craftspeople may work as nannies if they have business or residential premises and equipment that fulfil the conditions for performing the activity of a nanny (unless the work is performed in the parents’ residence) and if they meet the other prescribed conditions:
In the event of temporary employment through an employment agency, workers conclude an employment contract with the agency for a definite or indefinite period of time, and the agency in turn concludes a contract on the assignment of the worker with the end user for a period of up to three years for the same jobs, and exceptionally for a longer period of time. If the agency has concluded an employment contract of indefinite duration with the worker, for the periods when the worker is not assigned, the agency is obliged pay them a salary in the amount of the average salary paid to them in the previous three months.
Definition of seasonal work
Seasonal work as a concept is not defined under the Labour Act (OG 93/14, 127/17, 98/19), but it is generally considered as work performed in a specific part of the year that recurs regularly from year to year, with periods of high workload and periods with little or no need to perform work (different intensity of business activities). The employer is obliged to provide the employee with a daily rest period of at least twelve consecutive hours within a twenty-four hour period. Exceptionally, the rest period may be shorter, e.g. eight consecutive hours for adult workers working seasonal jobs that are performed in two shifts during the working day. In that case, the worker must be afforded a compensatory rest period immediately after the end of the period spent at work due to which the worker used a shorter daily rest.
There is no difference between seasonal and any other form of temporary employment as regards rights and obligations, taxation or social contributions.
Temporary and casual employment in seasonal jobs in agriculture
Agricultural work is weather-dependent. Paying a whole month’s salary in situations when the workers could perform no more than a few days’ work was expensive for employers. Temporary and casual employment in seasonal jobs in agriculture puts a stop to the black labour market as employers are offered the possibility to legally hire workers in line with demands and weather conditions, without an administrative burden.
Under this regime, seasonal workers in agriculture can be:
- unemployed jobseekers that are not registered with the public employment service;
- unemployed jobseekers that are registered with the public employment service;
This type of employment does not automatically result in a loss of the status of an unemployed person registered with the public employment service.
Under this regime, seasonal workers cannot be:
- employed or self-employed persons in an employment relationship or with a social status based on which they have compulsory insurance pursuant to special regulations;
- persons working a permanent seasonal job under an employment contract;
- persons diagnosed with general incapacity for work, persons insured by extended insurance in accordance with a special regulation (e.g. seafarers);
- minors (under 15 years of age);
- persons exercising maternity or parental rights based on special regulations.
This type of employment cannot last for more than 90 days in total. The seasonal employment contract is concluded by recording the daily voucher at the start of the working day in the completed contract of seasonal employment in agriculture / employee record book (USP-1 form). The contract defines the duration of the employee’s working day (not exceeding 12 hours), breaks (30 minutes in a working day lasting at least 6 hours) and daily (12 consecutive hours) or weekly (24 consecutive hours) rest. Registered employers purchase daily vouchers, and unused vouchers can be returned.
Workers employed at seasonal jobs in agriculture are obliged to report details on their seasonal work in agriculture to the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute in the course of the year and no later than by the end of the year in order to determine the length of insurance accrued.
The minimum daily net compensation is decided by the minister of labour on an annual basis. In 2021, it amounted to HRK 101.73. There is no maximum limit.
Permanent seasonal employment
If the employer’s activities are predominantly seasonal, a fixed-term employment contract may be concluded for permanent seasonal jobs. If such a contract is concluded, the employer is responsible for the calculation and payment of contributions for extended pension insurance.
This type of employment contract also contains additional information on:
- conditions and period of time for which the employer will pay contributions for extended pension insurance (or the contract can refer to the relevant collective agreement or rules regulating these issues);
- period of time within which the employer is obliged to offer the worker to enter into an employment contract for the next season;
- period of time within which the employee has to respond to the offer, which may not be less than eight days.
If the employee unjustifiably rejects the offer to enter into an employment contract, the employer has the right to ask the employee to refund the contributions paid.
Labour laws and regulations
Employment aids for first-time work experience / traineeship
Seasonal agricultural work
Pension insurance obligations
An employment relationship is established by concluding an employment contract in writing. If an employer does not conclude an employment contract in writing with the worker or does not issue a written certificate of the conclusion of the contract to the worker before they start to work, it is considered that the employer concluded an employment contract of indefinite duration with the worker. The employer is obliged to provide to the worker a copy of the application for registration for compulsory pension and health insurance within eight days from the expiry of the deadline for submitting applications. The deadline for registration is not earlier than eight days before the beginning of the work with the employer, but not later than before the beginning of work.
An employment contract must contain all relevant conditions, and at least information on the following:
- contracting parties and their residence or seat;
- place of work;
- job title or a short list or description of tasks;
- date of the beginning of work;
- in the case of a fixed-term employment contract, the expected duration of the contract;
- duration of annual leave or the method of determining the duration of annual leave;
- notice periods or the method of determining notice periods;
- basic salary, supplements to the salary and payroll periods;
- duration of the regular working day or week.
Employment contracts for permanent seasonal jobs, for jobs performed at a place of work outside the company seat and for workers posted abroad, also contain other mandatory elements.
An employment contract may be concluded with a trainee as well, but for a fixed period of time. Once they complete the traineeship, trainees take the professional exam, if so required by law.
Labour: laws and regulations
Template of an employment contract
Content of an employment contract
Content of an employment contract (in English)
Disabled persons are employed in the open labour market (with or without the financial and expert support) under special conditions in integrative or sheltered workshops, and in self-employment. Employers who employ at least 20 workers are obliged to employ 3% of disabled persons relative to the total number of employees. When selecting employees, employers in the public sector must give priority to disabled persons, all other things being equal. In the event of violation of rights defined by laws, a disabled person may seek assistance from the Ombudsperson for Persons with Disabilities.
Pregnancy may not be the reason for refusing employment or losing employment, or for any changes to the employment contract if a new contract would be less favourable to the pregnant employee. Pregnant women are not obliged to work nights during pregnancy, until the child turns one, or while the child is breastfeeding.
Night work is prohibited for minors, except in exceptional cases, under clearly defined conditions and under the supervision of an adult.
Persons granted international and temporary protection in Croatia may work without a work permit, and employers can also benefit from aids for their employment.
One’s own business can be registered as a self-employed activity (craft, liberal profession, agricultural and forestry activities) or a company.
A craft may be free, professional or privileged. To set up as a professional craftsperson, you must have adequate professional qualifications or a certificate of having passed a master’s exam, or you must employ a person with the required qualifications or exams. Liberal professions comprise healthcare workers, veterinarians, lawyers, notaries public, auditors, engineers, architects, tax consultants, bankruptcy trustees, interpreters, translators, tourist workers, scientists, writers, inventors, journalists, artists, athletes, etc.
Self-employed activities are subject to income tax, and those with an annual revenue higher than HRK 300 000.00 must pay VAT.
Professional qualifications or special exams are not a requirement for establishing a company, and all companies are subject to corporate income tax of 10% or 18%, depending on the revenue generated during the tax period.
Domestic and foreign companies operate under the same conditions, and foreign investors may establish a company or participate in the establishment of a company and acquire rights and/or obligations in the same conditions as any Croatian investor.
Establishing a company
Establishing a company (in English)
Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development
Incentives calculator (in English)
Croatian Employers’ Association
Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts
Croatian Nursing Council
Croatian Medical Chamber
Croatian Council of Physiotherapists
Croatian Chamber of Civil Engineers
Croatian Chamber of Architects
Tax Administration: liberal professions
The minimum wage is the lowest monthly gross salary that shall be paid to a full-time worker; all workers working in the Republic of Croatia are entitled to it. The amount is determined once a year, and the Croatian Bureau of Statistics publishes it in the Official Gazette. The minimum gross salary in the Republic of Croatia in 2022 amounts to HRK 4 687.50 (approx. EUR 636).
The way of determining a salary can be defined by collective agreements, labour regulations and individual employment contracts. An employment contract may stipulate more favourable conditions, but not less favourable ones than those stipulated by the collective agreement or labour regulations. In any event, the employer is obliged pay the worker an appropriate salary, under the same conditions for both genders.
Salary is paid monthly after the work is completed, in cash, no later than on the fifteenth day of the following month, usually to the employee’s bank account. A worker is entitled to an increased salary for difficult working conditions, overtime and night work, as well as for work on Sundays, holidays or other days defined as non-working days by the law. It is common practice that employees receive an increase of 0.5% for each year of employment (usually defined by a collective agreement); some employers pay a transport allowance (non-taxable), while some employers also pay out a hot meal allowance in the non-taxable amount of HRK 5 000.00 per year. Non-taxable income for work achievements, salary supplements or similar may amount up to HRK 5 000.00, while bonuses for the employees (Christmas or holiday allowance, etc.) may amount up to HRK 3 000.00. From 2020, employers may also pay additional and supplementary health insurance policies to their workers up to the amount of HRK 2 500.00 per year, subject to compliance with legal requirements.
Income tax is paid at a rate of 20% and 30%; other contributions to be paid are the contribution for pension insurance (20%), health insurance (16.5%) and surtax from 0 to 18% (depending on the place of residence). The pension insurance contribution is a contribution paid from the salary (the liable person is the worker), and the health insurance contribution is a contribution to the salary (the liable person is the employer). Workers have compulsory insurance in case of unemployment and injury at work, paid from the State Budget.
The employer must provide the employee with a calculation indicating how these amounts have been determined no later than fifteen days from the day of payment of the salary, remuneration or severance allowance. Contributions from and to salaries are calculated by the employer, and the employee receives the net amount after all deductions.
Full-time work is eight hours a day or 40 hours a week.
A worker who works at least six hours a day is entitled to a break of at least thirty minutes every day, which is paid and counted as working time.
Daily rest must not be shorter than twelve consecutive hours. An exception are workers in seasonal jobs performed in two shifts during the working day, who must be afforded a daily rest of at least eight consecutive hours. Such workers must be afforded a compensatory daily rest.
Workers are entitled to a weekly rest of no less than twenty-four consecutive hours. It is usually used on Sundays and on the day that precedes it and the day that follows it.
If there are justified reasons for this, the worker is required to work overtime at the request of the employer, but total working hours must not exceed 50 hours a week. Overtime work may not amount to more than 180 hours a year, unless stipulated otherwise in a collective agreement (up to no more than 250 hours a year). Overtime work of underage workers is prohibited, whereas a pregnant woman, a parent with a child under three years of age, a single parent with a child under six years of age, and an employee working part-time may work overtime if they consent to such work in writing.
Overtime work must be paid at an increased rate; this also applies to work in difficult working conditions, night work, and work on Sundays, holidays or other days defined as non-working days by the law.
Working time (in English)
For each calendar year, a worker has the right to paid annual leave in the amount of no less than four weeks (for minors and persons working in difficult conditions no less than five weeks), and this right may be exercised six months after starting work. Depending on the difficult conditions a worker works in, the complexity of tasks, age, family status and work performance, additional days of annual leave may be added to the basic annual leave, with most employers allow for a maximum of 30 working days of annual leave. Holidays and non-working days laid down in the law do not count towards the duration of annual leave. Periods of temporary incapacity for work, established by an authorised physician, are not counted as annual leave.
During one calendar year, a worker is entitled to paid leave of no more than seven days for important personal needs (marriage, wife giving birth, severe illness or death of a member of the immediate family). A collective agreement, labour regulations or an employment contract may also define longer periods of paid leave. At the request of the worker, the employer may grant the worker unpaid leave, during which time the rights and obligations arising from the employment relationship are suspended.
Holidays in the Republic of Croatia are the following:
1 January (New Year’s Day)
6 January (Epiphany or Three Kings’ Day)
Easter (17 April 2022)
Easter Monday (second day of Easter, 18 April 2022)
1 May (Labour Day)
30 May (Statehood Day)
Corpus Christi (16 June 2022)
22 June (Anti-Fascist Struggle Day)
5 August (Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and Homeland Veterans’ Day)
15 August (Assumption Day)
1 November (All Saints’ Day)
18 November (Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Homeland War and Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Vukovar and Škabrnja)
25 December (Christmas)
26 December (first day after Christmas, Saint Stephen’s Day)
In the Republic of Croatia, public holidays are non-working days.
Rights arising from an employment relationship
Act on Holidays, Memorial Days and Non-Working Days in the Republic of Croatia
A fixed-term employment contract ends upon the expiry of the period for which it was concluded, and may be terminated before this time under certain conditions. The contract may be terminated by the worker or the employer, or they may conclude an agreement on the termination.
An agreement on the termination of an employment contract must be concluded in writing, as well as other forms of termination of an employment contract.
The employer may terminate the employment contract with a notice period (between two weeks and four months, depending on the duration of the employment relationship) if there is a justified reason to do so (termination due to business reasons, termination due to personal reasons, termination due to the employee’s misconduct and termination due to unsatisfactory performance during the probationary period). The employee may terminate the employment contract with a prescribed or agreed notice period without giving any reason. The notice period is defined by the Labour Act, and in practice the most common notice period is one month.
The employer and the employee have a justified reason for the termination of the employment contract without a notice period (extraordinary termination) if, due to a particularly serious breach of an employment obligation or some other particularly important fact, the continuation of the employment relationship is not possible. A party to the employment contract that terminates the employment contract extraordinarily has the right to claim damages for non-performance of the employment contract.
The employer is obliged to return to the worker all their documents, as well as a copy of the application for deregistration from compulsory pension and health insurance within fifteen days from the day of the termination of the employment relationship. At the worker’s request, the employer is obliged to issue a certificate on the type of work the worker performed and the duration of the employment relationship. The certificate may not contain anything that would make it difficult for the worker to conclude a new employment contract.
Types of pensions are old-age pension (early retirement pension or full pension) or disability pension (due to professional or total incapacity for work). The right to an old-age pension is acquired at the age of 65 with at least 15 years of pensionable service, and the right to early retirement pension is acquired by the insured person when they reach the age of 60 with 35 years of pensionable service. In the transitional period from 2020 to 2030, women are entitled to old-age pension under more favourable terms, at a lower age. As of 1 January 2030, the terms form women and men will be equal. In order to exercise the right to a disability pension, a person must meet the requirement of incapacity for work in addition to the length of service requirement (at least one third of the employee’s working life must be covered by the years of pensionable service), as defined by law in more detail. If the disability was caused by a work-related injury or occupational illness, the right to a disability pension is acquired irrespective of the length of pensionable service. Survivors’ pension may be used by family members of a deceased insured person if they meet the stipulated conditions.
Termination of an employment contract
Termination of an employment contract (in English)
Types of pensions
Transitional periods for old-age pension
Rights arising from an employment relationship
Workers have the right to establish a trade union (at least ten people are required) and to join a trade union. The trade union negotiates the collective agreement, it can represent members in labour disputes, and provide free legal advice to members. There is a possibility of providing loans or financial assistance to members in a difficult situation, and commemorative gifts are usually provided on the occasion of holidays.
The first level of organisation are trade union branches at company level, then trade unions, which represent all members in a particular sector, which in turn form trade union hubs in order to strengthen their negotiating position.
About 30% of employees are organised in trade unions, predominantly in the public sector and with large employers, while their number is negligible among the staff of small employers. A membership application may be obtained from a trade union representative within the company, if there is one, or online at the websites of most trade union hubs. Membership fee is paid as a certain percentage of the gross salary.
Workers may organise a workers’ council that protects and promotes the interests of employees of a particular employer, informs them about its work, receives their proposals, and cooperates with the union.
Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia
Independent Trade Unions of Croatia
Trade unions have the right to call a strike and enforce it in order to protect the interests of their members. The strike must be announced to the employer, indicating the reasons for the strike and the place and time of the beginning of the strike. The strike may not begin before the end of the mediation procedure. The mediation procedure can be terminated by agreement or submitted to arbitration.
Employers may exclude workers from work (lockout) only in response to a strike that has already begun. Lockout may not commence before the expiry of eight days from the beginning of the strike. The trade union and the employer jointly draft and adopt the rules on the indispensable tasks that cannot be interrupted during a strike or lockout. A worker may not be placed in a disadvantageous position due their participation in a strike and they may not be forced to participate in a strike, whereas the salary and supplements, except the allowance for children, of a worker who has participated in a strike may be reduced in proportion to the duration of participation in a strike.
Workers in Croatia usually start a strike after a prolonged and serious breach of employment rights, such as several months of unpaid wages.
Collective labour disputes
Mediation in labour disputes
Strike and collective labour disputes
The term Vocational Education and Training refers to practical activities and courses related to a specific occupation or vocation, aimed at preparing participants for their future careers. Vocational training is an essential means to achieve professional recognition and improve chances to get a job. It is therefore vital that vocational training systems in Europe respond to the needs of citizens and the labour market in order to facilitate access to employment.
Vocational education and training has been an essential part of EU policy since the very establishment of the European Community. It is also a crucial element of the so-called EU Lisbon Strategy, which aims at transforming Europe into the world’s most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based society. In 2002 the European Council reaffirmed this vital role, and established yet another ambitious goal – to make European education and training renowned globally by the year 2010 – by championing a number of world-class initiatives, and in particular by strengthening cooperation in the area of vocational training.
On 24 November 2020, the Council of the European Union adopted a Recommendation on vocational education and training for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience.
The Recommendation defines key principles for ensuring that vocational education and training is agile in that it adapts swiftly to labour market needs and provides quality learning opportunities for young people and adults alike.
It places a strong focus on the increased flexibility of vocational education and training, reinforced opportunities for work-based learning, apprenticeships and improved quality assurance.
The Recommendation also replaces the EQAVET – European Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training – Recommendation and includes an updated EQAVET Framework with quality indicators and descriptors. It repeals the former ECVET Recommendation.
To promote these reforms, the Commission supports Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) which bring together local partners to develop ‘skills ecosystems'. Skills ecosystems will contribute to regional, economic and social development, innovation and smart specialisation strategies.
Erasmus+ is the EU's programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe.
It has an estimated budget of €26.2 billion. This is nearly double the funding compared to its predecessor programme (2014-2020).
The 2021-2027 programme places a strong focus on social inclusion, the green and digital transitions, and promoting young people’s participation in democratic life.
It supports priorities and activities set out in the European Education Area, Digital Education Action Plan and the European Skills Agenda. The programme also
- supports the European Pillar of Social Rights
- implements the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027
- develops the European dimension in sport
Who can take part? Find out here.
Adult Education and Lifelong Learning in Europe
Lifelong learning is a process that involves all forms of education – formal, informal and non-formal – and lasts from the pre-school period until after retirement. It is meant to enable people to develop and maintain key competencies throughout their life as well as to empower citizens to move freely between jobs, regions and countries. Lifelong learning is also a core element of the previously mentioned Lisbon Strategy, as it is crucial for self-development and the raising of competitiveness and employability. The EU has adopted several instruments for the promotion of adult education in Europe.
In order to make lifelong learning a reality in Europe, the European Commission has set itself the objective of creating a European Area of Lifelong Learning. In this context, the Commission focuses on identifying the needs of both learners and the labour market in order to make education more accessible and subsequently create partnerships between public administrations, suppliers of educational services and civil society.
This EU initiative is based on the objective of providing basic skills – by strengthening counselling and information services at a European level, and by recognising all forms of learning, including formal education and informal and non-formal training.
EU organisations promoting vocational education in Europe
With the objective of facilitating cooperation and exchange in the field of vocational training, the EU has set up specialised bodies working in the field of VOCATIONAL TRAINING.
The European Centre for Vocational Training (CEDEFOP / Centre Européen pour le Développement de la Formation Professionnelle) was created in 1975 as a specialised EU agency for the promotion and development of vocational education and training in Europe. Based in Thessaloniki, Greece, it carries out research and analysis on vocational training and disseminates its expertise to various European partners, such as related research institutions, universities or training facilities.
The European Training Foundation was established in 1995 and works in close collaboration with CEDEFOP. Its mission is to support partner countries (from outside the EU) to modernise and develop their systems for vocational training.
Quality of life – on top of the EU social policy agenda
Favourable living conditions depend on a wide range of factors, such as quality healthcare services, education and training opportunities or good transport facilities, just to name a few aspects affecting citizens’ everyday life and work. The European Union has set for itself the aim to constantly improve the quality of life in all its Member States, and to take into account the new challenges of contemporary Europe, such as socially exclude people or an aging population.
Employment in Europe
Improving employment opportunities in Europe is a key priority for the European Commission. With the prospect of tackling the problem of unemployment and increasing the mobility between jobs and regions, a wide variety of initiatives at EU level are being developed and implemented to support the European Employment strategy. These include the European Employment Services network (EURES) and the EU Skills Panorama.
Health and healthcare in the European Union
Health is a cherished value, influencing people’s daily lives and therefore an important priority for all Europeans. A healthy environment is crucial for our individual and professional development, and EU citizens are ever more demanding about health and safety at work and the provision of high quality healthcare services. They require quick and easy access to medical treatment when travelling across the European Union. EU health policies are aimed at responding to these needs.
The European Commission has developed a coordinated approach to health policy, putting into practice a series of initiatives that complement the actions of national public authorities. The Union’s common actions and objectives are included in EU health programmes and strategies.
The current EU4Health Programme (2021-2027) is the EU’s ambitious response to COVID-19. The pandemic has a major impact on patients, medical and healthcare staff, and health systems in Europe. The new EU4Health programme will go beyond crisis response to address healthcare systems’ resilience.
EU4Health, established by Regulation (EU) 2021/522, will provide funding to eligible entities, health organisations and NGOs from EU countries, or non-EU countries associated to the programme.
With EU4Health, the EU will invest €5.3 billion in current prices in actions with an EU added value, complementing EU countries’ policies and pursuing one or several of EU4Health´s objectives:
- To improve and foster health in the Union
- disease prevention & health promotion
- international health initiatives & cooperation
- To tackle cross-border health threats
- prevention, preparedness & response to cross-border health threats
- complementing national stockpiling of essential crisis-relevant products
- establishing a reserve of medical, healthcare & support staff
- To improve medicinal products, medical devices and crisis-relevant products
- making medicinal products, medical devices and crisis-relevant products available and affordable
- To strengthen health systems, their resilience and resource efficiency
- strengthening health data, digital tools & services, digital transformation of healthcare
- improving access to healthcare
- developing and implementing EU health legislation and evidence-based decision making
- integrated work among national health systems
Education in the EU
Education in Europe has both deep roots and great diversity. Already in 1976, education ministers decided to set up an information network to better understand educational policies and systems in the then nine-nation European Community. This reflected the principle that the particular character of an educational system in any one Member State ought to be fully respected, while coordinated interaction between education, training and employment systems should be improved. Eurydice, the information network on education in Europe, was formally launched in 1980.
In 1986, attention turned from information exchanges to student exchanges with the launch of the Erasmus programme, now grown into the Erasmus+programme, often cited as one of the most successful initiatives of the EU.
Transport in the EU
Transport was one of the first common policies of the then European Community. Since 1958, when the Treaty of Rome entered into force, the EU’s transport policy has focused on removing border obstacles between Member States, thereby enabling people and goods to move quickly, efficiently and cheaply.
This principle is closely connected to the EU’s central goal of a dynamic economy and cohesive society. The transport sector generates 10% of EU wealth measured by gross domestic product (GDP), equivalent to about one trillion Euros a year. It also provides more than ten million jobs.
The Schengen area
The Schengen Convention, in effect since March 1995, abolished border controls within the area of the signatory States and created a single external frontier, where checks have to be carried out in accordance with a common set of rules.
Today, the Schengen Area encompasses most EU countries, except for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania. However, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania are currently in the process of joining the Schengen Area and already applying the Schengen acquis to a large extent. Additionally, also the non-EU States Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein have joined the Schengen Area.
The creation of a single European market in air transport has meant lower fares and a wider choice of carriers and services for passengers. The EU has also created a set of rights to ensure air passengers are treated fairly.
As an air passenger, you have certain rights when it comes to information about flights and reservations, damage to baggage, delays and cancellations, denied boarding, compensation in the case of accident or difficulties with package holidays. These rights apply to scheduled and chartered flights, both domestic and international, from an EU airport or to an EU airport from one outside the EU, when operated by an EU airline.
Over the last 25 years the Commission has been very active in proposing restructuring the European rail transport market and in order to strengthen the position of railways vis-à-vis other transport modes. The Commission's efforts have concentrated on three major areas which are all crucial for developing a strong and competitive rail transport industry:
- opening the rail transport market to competition,
- improving the interoperability and safety of national networks and
- developing rail transport infrastructure.
The political system
The Republic of Croatia is a parliamentary democracy, and it has a tripartite separation of powers into the legislative, executive and judiciary branch. The president of the Republic of Croatia is elected in a direct election for a five-year mandate. The Croatian Parliament, the representative body of citizens and the legislative body of government, has a minimum of 100 and a maximum of 160 members, who are elected directly, by secret ballot, for a four-year mandate.
The administrative system
The Government of the Republic of Croatia is the supreme body of executive power in the country. It is composed of the Prime Minister and line ministers, and is responsible for the implementation of laws, adoption of legislative and state budget proposals, and the management of internal and foreign policy. Counties (20) are regional self-government units, while cities and towns (127) and municipalities (428) are local self-government units responsible for the needs of citizens at local level.
The legal system
The police is the public service primarily responsible for the safety of citizens and the protection of their rights and freedoms. Croatia has 20 police administrations, which operate police stations. Contacts: https://policija.gov.hr/policijske-uprave/104
Courts of general jurisdiction are municipal and county courts, and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia as the highest court. Courts of special jurisdiction are commercial courts, administrative courts, the High Commercial Court of the Republic of Croatia, the High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia, the High Misdemeanour Court of the Republic of Croatia and the High Criminal Court of the Republic of Croatia.
The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia is not a part of the judiciary; it decides on issues regarding the compliance of laws with the Constitution, on the compliance of other regulations with the Constitution and the laws, on constitutional complaints as well as on other issues stipulated by the Constitution. It is considered the fourth pillar of the organisation of the Croatian state.
The Ombudsperson is founded as an independent body protecting the constitutional and legal rights of citizens in proceedings before the state administration and bodies with public authority. The scope of work of special ombudsmen is limited to certain groups of citizens; there are special ombudsmen for gender equality, for children and for disabled persons.
The Croatian Employment Service is a key institution of the labour market, which is directly responsible to the Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy. It comprises a central office and five regional centres with 14 regional offices and 92 local offices.
The Labour Inspectorate supervises the enforcement of laws and other regulations governing the relations between employers and workers, and it operates within the State Inspectorate.
President of the Republic of Croatia
Government of the Republic of Croatia
Croatian County Association
Association of Cities in the Republic of Croatia
Croatian Union of Municipalities
Police administrations in the Republic of Croatia
Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia
Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia
Directory of judicial authorities in the Republic of Croatia
Ombudsperson for Gender Equality
Ombudsperson for Persons with Disabilities
Ombudsperson for Children
Croatian Employment Service
State Inspectorate of the Republic of Croatia
The applicable tax system of the Republic of Croatia provides for the following state taxes: income tax,
value added tax, special taxes and excise duties (special tax on motor vehicles, coffee and non-alcoholic beverages, motor vehicle liability insurance premiums and comprehensive road vehicle insurance premiums, excise tax system for alcohol, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, energy and electricity). There are also different types of county, city/town or municipality joint taxes (income tax), as well as gambling-related taxes.
The general VAT rate in Croatia is 25%, while for certain products and services lower rates apply (13% and 5%).
Income tax is payable at a rate of 20% or 30% on the tax base, depending on the level of income. There are also contributions for pension insurance (20%), health insurance (16.5%) and surtax from 0 to 18% (depending on the place of residence). Workers have compulsory insurance in case of unemployment and injury at work, paid from the State Budget.
Example of calculation: http://www.rrif.hr/kalkulator_placa.html
Information on tax exemptions and benefits for citizens is available on https://www.porezna-uprava.hr/pozivni_centar/Stranice/dohodak.aspx
The average monthly salary in Croatia for December 2021 was HRK 9 835.00 (net HRK 7 280.00). Above-average salaries are paid in sectors of air transport, computer programming, consulting and related practices, crude oil and natural gas extraction, production of basic pharmaceutical products and preparations, production of refined petroleum products and financial services.
The lowest salaries are paid in clothing manufacturing, building management and maintenance services, landscaping and conservation, protective and exploration activities, other personal service activities, and the production of leather and related products.
Tax and customs system
Tax and customs system (in English)
Within the structure of household expenditures in Croatia, food and drink expenses (excluding alcoholic beverages) account for one third of total expenditure, and with housing costs (15.7%), they amount to more than half of the total costs of living. Next are transport costs (15.5%) and clothing and footwear (6%).
Gasoline: about HRK 12 per litre (varies depending on the price on the world market)
Electricity: HRK 0.84 per kWh on average
Food prices vary depending on the seasonal offer, the place of purchase (market, supermarket or smaller shops) and special sales. There is a significant difference in prices in different areas. Clothing stores have seasonal discounts from 20 to 70%; and products and services portals may be bought for up to 90% lower prices on group buying portals. Shopping malls are open seven days a week, most often from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., while other stores are open from Monday to Saturday, less frequently also on Sundays (usually shorter hours).
Average food prices
Bread (loaf, around 500 g): HRK 7–12
Milk (litre): HRK 5–9
Eggs (10): HRK 13–20
Potatoes (kilogramme): HRK 2–10
Apples (kilogramme): HRK 7–15
Pizza in a pizzeria: HRK 30–70
Hamburger: HRK 20–50
Croatian Consumer Protection Society
The share of private property in Croatia is among the highest in the Member States of the European Economic Area. Renting an apartment is mostly a temporary solution. Along with tradition, the reason for this is the unregulated housing market. Apartments for rent are rarely built for this purpose, and landlords are typically natural persons who have a surplus of real estate that they put on the market and thus generate income.
After several years of steady decline in prices, the real estate market has recovered significantly, especially on the coast. Split is the most expensive regional centre (around EUR 3 000 per m2 on average), followed by Zagreb (around EUR 2 300 per m2), Rijeka (around EUR 1 800 per m2) and Osijek (around EUR 1 100 per m2). It is difficult to discuss real estate prices since there are significant differences even within the same city, and particularly on the national level. In rural and eastern parts of Croatia, the prices are extremely low, but the real estate offer is substantial, while in Dubrovnik, for example, the prices may exceed EUR 4 000 per m2 due to the lack of real estate available.
When renting an apartment, the rental agreement defines the rights and obligations of the parties and the period for which the agreement is concluded. The agreement must be notarised, and the tax is paid by the landlord. Utility costs are usually not included in the rent.
When purchasing an apartment, the real estate transfer tax at a rate of 3% is paid by the purchaser. Before purchasing the property, it is important to check if all the documents relating to the property are in due form, whether the property is entered in the land register, etc. Such services are offered by real estate agencies and lawyers.
Real estate price index
First property Croatia
Plavi oglasnik (classified ads website)
Njuškalo (classified ads website)
Real estate transfer tax
Access to the land register
The Croatian health system is based on patients’ rights.
Healthcare covered by compulsory health insurance (three levels)
Primary level: exercised at the chosen primary healthcare physician, family (general) medicine practitioner, gynaecologist, dentist and paediatrician.
Secondary level: specialist-expert healthcare and hospital healthcare.
Tertiary level: most complex forms of healthcare from specialist-expert and hospital services.
A referral for hospital treatment at the nearest contractual hospital according to the place of residence of the patient is issued by the patient’s chosen primary healthcare physician or an emergency medicine physician. In the event of emergency medical assistance, such treatment is possible without a referral. Emergency telephone number is 112.
As part of the compulsory health insurance, patients can use medicines from the Basic list of medicines of the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO). Insured persons participate in the cost of some medicines, while other medicines are paid in full. Medicines prescribed by a doctor (prescription medicines), as well as those that can be used without a prescription, can be purchased at a pharmacy.
Citizens of the European Economic Area and Switzerland who are travelling in Croatia or who are temporarily staying in Croatia for any reason, and who have compulsory health insurance in one of the European Union Member States, have the right to necessary healthcare on the basis of the European Health Insurance Card.
Preschool education and care for children are part of the educational system of the Republic of Croatia and are intended for children aged from six months until the time they start primary school.
Primary education lasts for eight years; it begins by enrolment in the first grade of primary school, it is compulsory for all children, usually between the ages of six and fifteen. This applies to all children residing in the Republic of Croatia regardless of their nationality.
Secondary education allows everyone, under equal terms and according to their abilities, to gain knowledge and skills to work and continue their education after primary education. Programmes for acquiring general secondary education or secondary and lower vocational qualifications provide knowledge and skills required for work and continued education. Training and specialisation programmes complement the acquired knowledge, qualifications and skills for working in a profession. Secondary education usually covers the ages from the completion of primary school to reaching adulthood (between 13–15 and 17–19 years of age).
Depending on the type of curriculum they provide, secondary schools are called: grammar schools (general or specialised); vocational schools (technical, industrial, craft and other, determined by type of the curriculum), art schools (music, dance, visual arts and other, determined by the type of the curriculum). Secondary education of adults includes special programmes for obtaining secondary school diplomas or secondary or lower vocational qualifications, retraining programmes, and training and upskilling programmes.
Higher education activities are carried out by higher education institutions. Higher education institutions are universities and faculties and art academies they comprise, universities of applied science and colleges of higher education.
University study programmes prepare students for working in science and higher education, in the business world, in the public sector and in society in general. University study programmes have three levels: undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate studies.
Universities of applied science and colleges of higher education are established for the purpose of providing higher education through organisation and performance of professional studies and may carry out professional, scientific and artistic activities in accordance with the Scientific Activity and Higher Education Act and their statutes.
Professional study programmes provide students with an appropriate level of knowledge and skills that enable them to work in professional occupations and prepare them for direct employment. Professional study programmes cover two levels: professional study programme and specialist graduate professional study programme.
Institute for the Development of Education
Ministry of Science and Education
Types of study programmes
Studying in Croatia
Higher education institutions
Many Croatians spend their leisure time in associations and clubs, as well as in informal socialising. On weekends, they visit relatives and friends or go on excursions. The sea is only hour and a half away from the capital, and inhabitants of Adriatic Croatia visit nearby mountain areas. Evening outings that last well into the night are inevitable for young people, both in clubs and bars, as well as private parties at home or spontaneous outdoor parties, especially during the summer.
Sports facilities and a wide range of cultural events are available in larger cities. Over the recent years, summer festivals have become internationally recognised. In smaller cities and towns, the offer of organised facilities and events is significantly smaller, but even the smallest towns and villages have active choirs, tamburitza ensembles, klapas (a cappella singing groups), carnival associations, volunteer fire brigades, etc.
Croatia’s regional diversity is also reflected in leisure time. Social life in rural areas contributes to the preservation of the rich heritage of the Croatian people through traditional costumes, music, customs and competitions in old sports. The Adriatic coast and islands are famous for water sports and traditional games such as boccé, while hiking and winter sports are more common in the continental Croatia. Hunting and fishing are equally popular on the coast and on the mainland.
Gastronomy is an important part of Croatian culture and identity. Climatic diversity, clean environment and historical influences have resulted in a rich offer, from fish delicacies along the coast, to spicy dishes in Pannonian Croatia, simple but tasty dishes typical for mountain areas, to numerous desserts, wines and home-made brandy (rakija). The coffee culture is one of the most recognisable features. Cafés open their terraces with the first rays of sunshine. Over coffee, we spend time together, make business deals, or simply read the newspaper in silence. Saturday’s morning coffee in the city centre is typical for the entire Croatia.
Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs
National parks and nature parks
Croatian National Tourist Board
Croatian National Tourist Board (in English)
Taste of Croatia
Croatia: country and people
Birth: all births occurring in the Republic of Croatia and the births of Croatian citizens abroad are entered in the register of births. The birth of a child in a healthcare institution is registered by the institution. The birth of a child outside a healthcare institution may be registered by the father of the child, the person in whose residence the child was born, the mother (when she becomes capable of doing so), the midwife or the doctor who participated in the birth, or any person who has learned of the child’s birth. The birth of a child must be registered within 15 days from the birth. See more at: https://mpu.gov.hr/gradjani-21417/iz-djelokruga/drzavne-matice-24504/matica-rodjenih-24508/24508
Marriage: in the Republic of Croatia, a marriage is entered into based on a consensual statement of a woman and a man.
A marriage may be civil (entered into before a registrar) or religious with the effects of a civil marriage (entered into before an official of the religious community which has a regulated legal relationship with the Republic of Croatia). Any person over the age of 18 (an adult with legal capacity) may enter into a marriage. Exceptionally, a marriage may be entered into by a person of at least 16 years of age, subject to prior authorisation of a court. Non-nationals must meet the same requirements for entering into a marriage as Croatian citizens. See more at: https://mpu.gov.hr/o-ministarstvu/ustrojstvo/uprava-za-politicki-sustav-i-opcu-upravu/drzavne-matice/matica-vjencanih/22258
Rights and obligations in a domestic same-sex partnership are regulated by a special law.
Death: a death is registered with a registrar competent for the place where the death occurred or where the deceased person was found within three days from the day of death or the day the deceased person was found. See more at: https://mpu.gov.hr/gradjani-21417/iz-djelokruga/drzavne-matice-24504/matica-umrlih-24509/24509
Access to state registers and the issuance of necessary documents are possible via the e-Građani (e-Citizens) system.
Register offices in Croatia
Entering into a domestic partnership
The shape of the Republic of Croatia and its territorial ‘leaning’, on one side, on the northern lowland roads and, on the other side, on the Adriatic coast, clearly give some clue about the vital importance of the transport infrastructure for the country’s development, as well as about the need for mainland and coastal connections with countries in south-eastern and the central Europe across the whole Croatian territory. The Croatian territory has excellent transitory possibilities in transport terms, as indicated by the passage of three Pan-European corridors (V, VII and X) through the Republic of Croatia.
Croatia has the following network of transport infrastructure: roads: 26 958.5 km (of which 1 416.5 km are highways and semi-highways); railways: 2 722 km of total track length; sea ports: of national interest, three mainly freight ports – Rijeka, Ploče and Šibenik, and three mainly passenger ports: Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik; river waterways: total length of 804.1 km on the rivers of Dunav (Danube), Sava, Drava, Kupa and Una with the following ports: Osijek, Sisak, Slavonski Brod and Vukovar. Airports in Croatia are: Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, Pula, Rijeka and Osijek airports, and two smaller airports: Mali Lošinj and Brač.
Transport prices in Zagreb
Transport prices in Split
Transport prices in Osijek
Transport prices in Rijeka
Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure
Croatian Motorways (Hrvatske autoceste)
Croatian Auto Club
Croatian Railways (Hrvatske željeznice)
Franjo Tuđman Airport Zagreb