Labour relations in Croatia are regulated by laws, collective and individual contracts, and regulations adopted by employers.
The Labour Act (in force since 1996) is in harmony with the employment systems of Western European countries. The provisions of this Act respect the conventions of the International Labour Organisation and other international standards.
The main issues regulated by this Act are:
• the legal basis of labour relations is made through a work contract; the Act dictates the form and obligatory contents of the contract;
• working hours (maximum of 42 hrs per week if not otherwise stipulated), vacations and other leave (at least 18 working days), forms of protection in case of maternity leave or for employees who are temporarily or permanently disabled;
• wages: the employer must not pay less than stated in the collective contract, discrimination of payment is prohibited; protection of the employee in case of bankruptcy;
• the procedure for the termination of the work contract, i.e. the reasons for a regular or irregular notice of dismissal. The Act also stipulates an obligatory programme in cases of redundancy due to different changes in the organisation or due to some economic or technical changes if they result in the dismissal of more than 10% of the labour force. It also has to be applied if the employer intends to dismiss more than 20 work contracts within a month.
• the employees have the right to participate in decision-making regarding their economic and social rights and interests through their representatives on their employee council.
The employers (or their associations) and the trade unions (or their associations) sign collective contracts which regulate the rights and obligations of the employers and employees. These contracts can also contain regulations for employment, the termination of labour relations, matters regarding the employee council, social insurance or other matters in connection with labour relations.
In order to protect and promote the economic and social interests of the employees, trade unions (or their associations) have the right to organise strikes. They have to inform the employers, or the association of employers, in advance about the place and time, and stipulate the reasons for the strike.