Croatian Economy: Banning Work on Sundays Would Cause Confusion

Lauren Simmonds

As Novac writes on the 26th of February, 2020, banning shops operating on Sundays would have a negative effect on the growth and competitiveness of the Croatian economy. A far more constructive solution is an amendment to the Labour Law, which would prescribe a minimum increase in wages for those doing work on Sundays, holidays or any other day which would otherwise not be a working day.

Of course, this should be done within the framework of a thoroughly conducted social dialogue with trade unions and employers in the trade sector and other related sectors,” said Kristijan Kotarski, a professor of political economy at the Faculty of Political Science at the presentation of the Lipa Association’s ”competitiveness barometer”.

According to his calculations, using the methodology of the World Economic Forum, if the ban were introduced, Croatia would fall from 63rd to 64th in the 2019 global competitiveness ladder, in which case the Philippines would climb one step ahead of the Croatian economy, which is concerning to say the least.

The ban on work on Sundays could, in practice, help boost foreign economies by “diverting spending to online platforms (mostly foreign ones)” and “spillovers of traffic to neighbouring countries” in border areas, Kotarski warned.

He also recalled that in Croatia, despite the opposite opinion, there is a much smaller percentage of employees working on Sundays compared to other European Union countries, and that comparable countries like Poland and Hungary have already repealed similar laws, or are under pressure to abolish them because they’re deemed a bad influence to their respective economies.

Although we have not yet been able to see a detailed proposal for a new version of the Trade Act, it is certain, he argues, that its application in the announced model of 8 to 12 working Sundays a year will create confusion in the eyes of both domestic and foreign consumers. It would also see an increase in the monitoring of the competent authorities. In addition, one might expect a problem with the distribution of printed matter, which could adversely affect the publishing business.

Additionally, in border areas along the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and Hungary, part of the traffic to neighbouring countries can be expected to spill over, resulting in a hit to the Croatian economy and the possible effect of redirecting consumption to online platforms (mostly foreign ones) thus helping to boost overseas economies as opposed to the Croatian economy.

Calling for a ban on work on Sundays ignores comparisons with the situation in other EU member states and does not sufficiently take into account the experience of comparable countries like Hungary and Poland.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for more on the Croatian economy.


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