How Croatian working time (hours) and schedule is defined

An ice cream seller in Starigrad on the island of Hvar
An ice cream seller in Starigrad on the island of Hvar

When looking for a job in Croatia, it’s important to inform yourself about your rights as a worker and expectations when discussing working hours. This knowledge could save you from bad working conditions and give an employer the impression that you are a serious candidate for the desired role.

Working in Croatia is defined by the Croatian Labor law called Zakon o radu. We’ve dug into this law and summarized the crucial things to know about Croatia’s working hours and working schedules. Keep your eyes open if you plan to work in Croatia.

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

How Croatian working time (hours) and schedule is defined

How working time is defined

According to the Zakon o radu (Labor law), working time called radno vrijeme is the time when the employee is obliged to perform work. During working time, employees are ready and available to perform work according to the instructions of their employers. The employee must perform work at the employer’s company or another location defined by the employer.

Working time is not considered the time during which the employee responds to the employer’s call to perform work if such a need arises. Work outside of the employer’s company or another location defined by the employer also doesn’t count as working time.

An employment contract or a collective agreement regulates the time of readiness and the amount of compensation.

[Read: Types of employment contracts in Croatia]

The time an employee spends on performing work at the employer’s invitation is considered working time, regardless of whether the work is performed at the location defined by the employer or employee.

Probation period, education, and internship

Trial work during the probation period

If you sign an employment agreement with a Croatian employer, they may demand a probation period called probni rad. This is very common in Croatia because it allows employers to test an employee’s work and results.

Probation is also helpful to employees since they can determine whether the job responsibilities and environment suit them or not. It mustn’t last longer than 6 months.

Dissatisfaction is a justified reason for the dismissal of an employee. If the employer is unsatisfied with your work, they can terminate your employment contract. The notice period for the probation in case of dismissal is at least seven days.

Education and training for work

According to the Labor law, the employer must provide their employees with education, training, and advanced training in accordance with their possibilities and needs of work. They must also do this when changing or introducing a new way of work or new organization of work.

On the other hand, the employee is obliged to educate and train in accordance with their abilities and needs of work.

Employment of a trainee

A person employed in the field of their finished education can be employed as an intern called pripravnik (or trainee called vježbenik). Their employment contract is concluded for a certain period of time, but no longer than a year. It can’t be concluded for an indefinite period.

After the internship period terminates, an intern may have to take a professional exam for certain occupations.

Vocational training without employment

A person must pass the professional exam for certain occupations. The employer has a possibility to take this person on vocational training for work without employing them. This is called stručno osposobljavanje za rad bez osnivanja radnog odnosa.

This period can count as an internship. It can last for up to a year.

What is a full-time work

Regular jobs in Croatia usually imply the term of full-time work or full working hours called puno radno vrijeme. Full-time work of an employee is 40 hours of weekly work.

If the working hours are not defined by the law, collective agreement, the agreement concluded between the workers’ council and the employer, or the employment contract, it is considered that an employee is employed full-time.

If you have a full-time job, you can also work for another employer under the employment contract. However, you can’t work for your second employer for more than 8 hours a week (180 hours a year). Before you start to work for another employer, your existing employers must give you written consent to do such work.

[Read: How to find a job in Croatia]

What is considered part-time work

Part-time work in Croatia is called nepuno radno vrijeme. It refers to any working time shorter than full-time work. A worker can’t work for multiple employers for more than 40 hours a week.

If an employee works for more than one employer for 40 hours a week in total, they can sign an employment contract with the second employer for up to 8 hours a week (180 hours a year). However, their primary employer must give them written consent for such work.

If a collective agreement, rulebook, or employment contract doesn’t define different rules, salary and other material rights of part-time employees are determined and paid according to the prescribed working hours. This also implies the jubilee awards, recourses, and Christmas holiday awards.

Employers must ensure the same working conditions for their part-time and full-time employees who perform the same or similar tasks with the same or similar professional knowledge and skills.

If there are no such full-time employees, employers must provide their part-time employees conditions defined by collective agreement or other regulations that bind them, which are determined for their full-time employees who perform similar tasks and have similar professional knowledge and skills.

When discussing professional training and education, employers must provide education to part-time and full-time employees under the same conditions.

[Read: How to apply for a work permit in Croatia]

What is an abbreviated work

Abbreviated working hours (called skraćeno radno vrijeme) are used in jobs where it is impossible to protect workers from harmful influences with the application of occupational health and safety measures.

Working hours are shortened in proportion to the harmful effects of working conditions on the worker’s health and working ability.

Employees with abbreviated working hours mustn’t work longer than defined working hours. They also cannot be employed by another employer in such jobs. However, if they don’t work full-time, they can work on some other jobs that are not considered harmful part of working time, longest to full time.

When talking about salary and other working rights, abbreviated working hours are equated with full-time work. This means that they have the same rights as full-time workers.

What is an overtime work

Employers shall work overtime called prekovremeno radno vrijeme on their employers’ written requests in case of force majeure, extraordinary increase in the scope of work, and other similar cases of urgent need. If the employer is prevented from writing a request for the overtime work, they must make an oral request and confirm it with a written request within 7 days.

Employees who work overtime must not work for more than 50 hours a week. Overtime work of an individual worker must not be longer than 180 hours a year. If other terms are defined by the collective agreement, overtime work must not be longer than 250 hours a year.

Overtime work of minors is not allowed.

Pregnant women, parents with children of age up to 3, single parents, and part-time workers who work for multiple employers are allowed to work overtime only if they give a written statement to the employer. A written statement is not needed in case of force majeure.

What is a seasonal work

Many jobs in Croatia are performed as seasonal work called sezonski posao.

Here is an example. The Croatian tourist season starts in April and lasts until October. There is always a greater need for tourist workers on the Adriatic coast and islands during the tourist season. Many people work as seasonal workers in hotels, restaurants, and tourist agencies (and this is their only job).

[Read: How to be a licensed tour guide in Croatia and open a tourist agency business]

Seasonal work is also typical in the construction industry, where many people work at construction sites. Working during the winter and bad weather conditions is impossible, so the ideal time for construction is spring, summer, and early autumn when there is less wind, rain, and snow.

Predominantly seasonal employers can conclude a fixed-term employment contract with their seasonal workers who perform permanent seasonal work.

Working hours schedule, night work, and shifts

Working hours schedule

Working hours can be distributed in equal or unequal duration by days, weeks, or months. The schedule must be defined by the regulation, collective agreement, an agreement between the worker’s council and the employer, rulebook, employment contract, or written decision of the employer.

If the working hours are distributed unequally, they may last longer during one period and shorter than full or part-time during another period. In this case, the employee is allowed to work up to 50 hours including overtime or up to 60 hours including overtime when defined by a collective agreement. However, it must not be longer than approximately 48 hours weekly within four consecutive months.

The employer must notify the employee about the working hours schedule or changes in the schedule at least one week in advance. However, if there is an urgent need for the employee, they don’t have to notice them a week earlier.

Minors are allowed to work no longer than 8 hours over a 24-hour period.

An employee who works part-time for two or more employers, a pregnant woman, a parent with a child of up to 3, or a single parent with a child of up to 6 may work by an unequal working hours schedule if they deliver a written statement on voluntary consent to the employer.

Night work

A night worker is an employee who works at least 3 hours during the night according to his work schedule. A night worker is also an employee who works at least ⅓ of their working hours during the night for consecutive 12 months. Night workers must not work longer than 8 hours in a 24-hour period during the night.

Night work is performed between 22:00 and 6:00. In agriculture, it is considered to be the period between 22:00 and 5:00. However, the night work period can be defined differently by another law, regulation, collective agreement, or agreement between the employer and workers’ council.

For minors who work in the industry, night work is considered to be between 19:00 and 7:00. For minors who work outside of the industry, it is between 20:00 and 6:00.

Working in shifts

Working in shifts implies the change of workers of the same job and place of work according to the working schedule. An employee who works in different shifts during the week or month according to the working schedule is considered a shift worker. Workers must not work longer than a week on a night shift.

The employer must provide safety and health care following the nature of the work to their night and shift workers.

[Read: Your rights as a worker in Croatia]

View our other work posts

Zakon o radu

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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