Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic Discusses Refined Labour Law

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the president of the Independent Croatian Trade Unions, Kresimir Sever, said on a recent HRT show that employees aren’t in the center of attention, as was the case in previous years, because the coronavirus crisis has become a much more important topic. He added that workers’ problems have been set aside, but they exist and they are very much still there.

”What’s worse is that because of the coronavirus crisis, they’ve even intensified, the government has managed to stop most layoffs with its measures. However, a lot of other things were swept under the carpet. People are being forced to work from home, but without the addition of what’s stipulated in an employment contract. Nobody asked them if they had the conditions for carrying out such work from home at all or not,” Sever pointed out.

Sever also said some employers have taken workers from their annual leave in order to work from home, and some workers have been forced into annual leave. He said that the government paid four thousand kuna in wages for their job preservation measure, and some employers put their workers on the minimum wage, keeping the difference to themselves.

Sever emphasised that things were exceptionally difficult for people back during that time, especially because people lacked much needed social contact. The president of the Independent Croatian Trade Unions also pointed out that back at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, some workers worked even without protective equipment. The workers also had a fear of losing their jobs, become unwell, and even death.

”Only now can people see how important a worker is, without a worker… there’s nothing,” he added.

Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic said when he listened to the president of the Independent Croatian Trade Unions, Kresimir Sever, who noted that the situation looked quite negative, and that he thought he was exaggerating. Sever replied to Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic that these were not exaggerations, but that people truly are afraid.

He said that the formal phase of the adoption of the Labour Law is beginning, and that it will minimise the problems that Sever had been talking about.

”The situation isn’t all that black, but yes, the situation could be made better,” the Minister emphasised.

The director general of the Croatian Employers’ Association, Damir Zoric, disagreed with Sever. He said if an employer is doing something wrong, that it is on them and not all employers should be generalised by those taking advantage of government measures.

”I’d rather say that the situation is as Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic said it was – there are negative phenomena everywhere, but in most cases in this pandemic, good work has been done together,” he added.

He stressed that employers, not just workers, also have many fears. Zoric said that there are also issues with employees and not only employers, but fortunately such people aren’t in the majority. He added that certain problems need to be solved, such as those surrounding the Croatian attitude towards teleworking, because it hasn’t been included in the Labour Law. He pointed out that more than thirty percent of people in Croatia have been working remotely ever since the pandemic struck.

Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic then said that the new Labour Law would include the proper regulation of telework, and that the framework of that law had already been set out.

”This act will be a proposal for a new Labour Law, which should define the roles of employers and the role of workers, as well as their protection, in a much better way,” Aladrovic emphasised.

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