Overview of policies, strategies and programmes in relation to the occupational health and safety of older workers - Croatia

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Initiatives from government/government-affiliated organisations

Occupational health and safety

In December 2008 the Ministry in charge of labour adopted the National Programme on Health Protection and Safety at Work for the period 2009-2013[1]. According to this document the main goals to be achieved are the following:

  • reducing the quantity of occupational injuries,
  • reducing the quantity of occupational illness and work related illnesses,
  • prevention related to health of the workers, and
  • reducing economic loss caused by the inability to work as a result of occupational injuries and sickness and resulting in sick leaves, invalidity pensions and early retirements.

In order to achieve the goals set up by this Programme, all relevant stakeholders in Croatia should implement a number of measures including improving protection of special categories of workers such as, inter alia, older workers and workers with disabilities. Apart from this brief mention, no specific measures are foreseen for the health and safety of older workers.

The State Directorate adopted in May 2012 the Strategic Plan for State Directorate for the period 2013-2015. This document sets the objective to improve OSH measures with the aim of reducing mortality caused by work. The Plan has not elaborated or envisaged any specific measures or activities related to the issue of older workers.

No other relevant documents on occupational health and safety have been identified in Croatia at the moment.

Employment

Currently in Croatia, several initiatives/measures at governmental level have been identified, which relate primarily to the employment of older workers, gathered in one framework package of measures that is called in general ‘Experience is important’ (Važno je iskustvo).The Ministry of Labour and Pension System is the main responsible body, whereas the Croatian Employment Fund (CEF) is the competent authority for approving, implementing and financing all measures within this package. This package of measures has been created in order to reduce and/or prevent unemployment of special groups of workers, i.e. groups usually targeted as ‘more sensitive’ including aged 50 and over employed and unemployed workers and long-term unemployed persons with disabilities. According to the CEF, these measures are easily communicated, well known to Croatian employers and frequently and effectively implemented.

Measures focusing on encouraging the employment of older workers include, inter alia:

  • The employment subsidy for persons over 50 ‘Half-half’ (Pola- Pola)46, in place since 15 January 2013, amounting to up to 50% of the annual gross salary amount, is awarded to employers who employ persons over 50 years old and who have been registered as unemployed for a period of 12 months.
  • The self-employment subsidy for persons over 50 years old ‘Your initiative – your workplace’ (Tvoja inicijativa – tvoje radno mjesto)[2] also in place since 15 January 2013, is similar to the ‘Half-Half’ subsidy as it consists of a subsidy amounting to up to 50% of the annual gross salary amount awarded to older unemployed persons who decide to start their own business for a period of 12 months.

No specific measures in this framework package relate to the occupational health and safety of older workers. However, one measure can be seen as a measure for transition between employment and permanent unemployment or retirement:

  • The ‘Shared workplace subsidy’ (Dijeljeno radno mjesto), amounting to up to 75% of the annual gross salary, is awarded to an employer for employing a part-time older worker for a period of 12 months (four hours daily). This measure does not have an OSH perspective; however it is designed to promote half-time employment, especially of older workers and workers with disabilities, likely to become permanently unemployed and/or socially excluded.

One provision in the Law on the Encouragement of Employment regulates temporary work in agriculture (seasonal work). In that respect, employers can employ a worker via daily vouchers that would pay for workers benefits and taxes on a daily basis, up to 90 days per year (working days do not have to be executed in continuum). Article 11 of this Act specifically prescribes that if a worker is registered either as retired or is employed under the above mentioned conditions, this type of temporary employment will not interrupt in any way their rights and benefits arising from the status of retired worker. In practice this promotes the unretirement of older workers who are able to work temporarily without losing their retirement benefits. However, it is noteworthy that no specific provision is foreseen for the health and safety or working conditions of retired workers taking advantage of this possibility.

Along the same lines, the Ministry of Labour and Pension System is planning a draft of the new Act on Temporary Jobs in order to, among others, improve and promote employment of older and retired workers in temporary jobs[3].

Initiatives from social partners

At the moment, in Croatia, the social partners, individually or together within the National Council for the Protection of Work or the Economic and Social Council, have not developed any initiatives (in the recent past, ongoing or in the pipeline) related to the occupational health and safety of older workers.

Initiatives from other organisations

At the moment, in Croatia, there are no initiatives (ongoing or in the pipeline) relating to the occupational health and safety of older workers at the non-governmental level.

References

  1. Available in Croatian at: http://socijalno-partnerstvo.hr/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/NACIONALNI_PROGRAM_171.pdf (Accessed December 2014)
  2. Internal procedures for the implementation of measures of active employment policy from the National Employment Promotion Plan, official website of CEF (www.hzz.hr), official website of the Ministry of Social Policy and Youth (www.mrms.hr) (Accessed December 2014)
  3. Information provided by the Ministry of Labour and Pension System