Minimum Wage Increase Not Enough, Says Opposition in Croatian Parliament

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ZAGREB, December 10, 2018 – Labour and Pension System Minister Marko Pavić said on Monday that the government had made a significant step by increasing the minimum wage, bringing it to 3,000 kuna as take-home pay and that the extra money people on a minimum wage will earn will be additional funds for a decent life. The opposition however, retorted that surviving on 3,000 kuna was a “mission impossible,” with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Let’s Change Croatia party recommending that the net minimum wage be 4,000 kuna.

“The government has decided that the minimum wage in 2019 be increased to 3,000 kuna as the net amount or 3,750 kuna as the gross amount. That increase of 248 kuna is the biggest increase since the institute of the minimum wage was introduced in 2008. Before that, during the term of this government, the minimum wage was increased twice by 5% each time and with the latest amendments to the Law on the Minimum Wage, where we excluded Saturday, Sunday, public holiday and overtime work, there was an additional increase of 3.3%,” Minister Pavić said presenting a bill on the minimum wage.

During the incumbent government’s term, the minimum wage increased by 504 kuna or 23.9%.

“The minimum wage as of 1 January 2019 will be higher than in nine other EU countries, it already is higher than in Bulgaria, Lithuania, Romania, Latvia and Hungary and as of 1 January we will have a higher minimum wage than in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Estonia,” Pavić underscored.

The government has sent an important message with the proposed increase and that is that it wants a decent life for its citizens, 37,000 of whom receive the minimum salary. “However, this increase won’t be without compensating measures to retain employment in labour intensive industries, primarily the leather, textile, timber and metal industries,” he underlined.

Last year already the law defined reliefs on contributions of 50%, which will remain in force next year too.

As of 1 January, subsidies will be available for employers who retain their workers and new measures will be introduced in 2020 for employers who create new jobs, Pavić added.

A minimum wage of 3,000 kuna for a decent life. That’s a ‘mission impossible’. Slovenia’s minimum salary is double that of Croatia’s, Ivan Lovrinović (Let’s Change Croatia) said. He recalled that his party recommended that the minimum wage be 4,000 kuna as the net amount.

Pavić however said that the government was trying to balance its policy, being aware of the fact that that amount isn’t a lot.

Independent MP Vlaho Orepić, objected to the fact that the bill had been put on fast track to which Pavić answered that people on the minimum salary didn’t have time to wait.

MP Gordan Maras (SDP) said that any change for the better is good however, SDP too recommends that the minimum salary be 4,000 kuna.

MP Branimir Bunjac (Živi Zid) suggested that Pavić write a book about how to have a decent life earning 3,000 kuna. The book could have several chapters – how to survive with 3,000 kuna if you are single, if you have a family, if you have a loan, if your bank account is blocked, he said.

More news on the minimum wage in Croatia can be found in our Politics section.


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