Just because you live in Croatia doesn’t mean you have the right to work in Croatia. The right to work is only granted in specific scenarios. Aside from who can work, there are strict definitions and restrictions surrounding work that anyone working in Croatia should know.
In this post, we cover:
- Croatian laws about the right to work
- Who has the right to work in Croatia
- Age limits for work
In Croatia, the right to work is defined by:
- Ustav Republike Hrvatske (Constitution of the Republic of Croatia) – View it here
- Zakon o radu (Labor Law) – View it here
The Constitution of the Republic of Croatia is a general legal act with the highest legal force in Croatia, higher than any act.
When talking about work, the Constitution says:
Svatko ima pravo na rad i slobodu rada.
Svatko slobodno bira poziv i zaposlenje i svakomu je pod jednakim uvjetima dostupno svako radno mjesto i dužnost.
Svaki zaposleni ima pravo na zaradu kojom može osigurati sebi i obitelji slobodan i dostojan život.
Najduže radno vrijeme određuje se zakonom.
Svaki zaposleni ima pravo na tjedni odmor i plaćeni godišnji odmor i ovih se prava ne može odreći.
Zaposleni mogu imati, u skladu sa zakonom, udjela pri odlučivanju u poduzeću.
Pravo zaposlenih i članova njihovih obitelji na socijalnu sigurnost i socijalno osiguranje uređuje se zakonom i kolektivnim ugovorom.
Prava u svezi s porođajem, materinstvom i njegom djece uređuju se zakonom.
Slabim, nemoćnima i drugim, zbog nezaposlenosti ili nesposobnosti za rad, nezbrinutim osobama država osigurava pravo na pomoć za podmirenje osnovnih životnih potreba.
Posebnu skrb država posvećuje zaštiti osoba s invaliditetom i njihovu uključivanju u društveni život.
Posebnu skrb država posvećuje zaštiti hrvatskih branitelja, hrvatskih ratnih vojnih invalida, udovica, roditelja i djece poginulih hrvatskih branitelja.
Ne može se zabraniti primanje humanitarne pomoći iz inozemstva.
Radi zaštite svojih gospodarskih i socijalnih interesa, svi zaposleni imaju pravo osnivati sindikate i slobodno u njih stupati i iz njih istupati.
Sindikati mogu osnivati svoje saveze i udruživati se u međunarodne sindikalne organizacije.
U oružanim snagama i redarstvu zakonom se može ograničiti sindikalno organiziranje.
Poslodavci imaju pravo osnivati udruge i slobodno u njih stupati i iz njih istupati.
Jamči se pravo na štrajk.
U oružanim snagama, redarstvu, državnoj upravi i javnim službama određenima zakonom može se ograničiti pravo na štrajk.
Dužnost je svih da štite djecu i nemoćne osobe.
Djeca ne mogu biti primljena na rad prije zakonom određene dobi niti smiju biti prisiljavana na rad koji štetno utječe na njihovo zdravlje ili ćudoređe, niti im se takav rad smije dopustiti.
Mladež, majke i osobe s invaliditetom imaju pravo na osobitu zaštitu na radu.
This translates as:
Everyone has the right to work and freedom to work.
Everyone is free to choose a vocation and employment, and everyone has access to every job and duty under equal conditions.
(Note from EIC: By “everyone”, they mean everyone that legally already has the right to work.)
Every employee has the right to an income that can ensure a free and dignified life for themselves and their family.
The longest working hours are determined by law.
Every employee is entitled to weekly leave and paid annual leave and these rights cannot be waived.
Employees may, in accordance with the law, have a stake in decision-making in the company.
The right of employees and members of their families to social security and social insurance is regulated by law and the collective agreement.
The rights related to childbirth, motherhood, and childcare are regulated by law.
Weak, helpless, and other, due to unemployment or incapacity for work, homeless people, the state provides the right to assistance to meet basic living needs.
The state pays special attention to the protection of persons with disabilities and their inclusion in social life.
The state pays special attention to the protection of Croatian veterans, Croatian war invalids, widows, parents, and children of killed Croatian veterans.
Receiving humanitarian aid from abroad cannot be prohibited.
In order to protect their economic and social interests, all employees have the right to form and join and withdraw from trade unions.
Trade unions can form their own unions and join international trade union organizations.
In the armed forces and police, trade union organizations may be restricted by law.
Employers have the right to form associations and to freely join and withdraw from them.
The right to strike is guaranteed.
The right to strike may be restricted in the armed forces, police, state administration, and public services determined by law.
It is everyone’s duty to protect children and the infirm.
Children may not be recruited before the legal age, nor may they be forced into work that adversely affects their health or morals, nor may they be allowed to do so.
Young people, mothers, and people with disabilities have the right to special protection at work.
Those with the right to work are free to choose a vocation and employment with access to every job and duty under equal conditions.
Forced and compulsory work is prohibited. Slavery is not allowed!
NO ONE shall be subjected to:
- Any form of abuse
- Medical experiments without consent
- Scientific experiments without consent
[Read: Rights of a worker]
Only certain groups of people are legally allowed to work in Croatia. It is important to note that “right to work” applies to working both within Croatia for a Croatian company as well as working in Croatia for a company abroad.
If you do not have the right to work in Croatia, that means you don’t have the right to work for anybody – even if it is a foreign company domiciled abroad.
The following groups can work freely, for any company in or outside Croatia:
- Croatian citizens
- Third-country nationals with temporary stay based on family reunification with Croatian citizens
- EU/EEA citizens
- Third-country nationals with temporary stay based on family reunification with EU/EEA citizens
- Third-country nationals with permanent residence (people granted a long-term stay or permanent stay)
- Third-country nationals with temporary stay based on asylum or subsidiary protection
- Third-country nationals with temporary stay based on family reunification or life partnership with third-country nationals who have been granted an EU Blue Card or residence and work permit for relocation within the company
- Third-country nationals with temporary stay based on the long-term stay in another EU/EEA Member State
- Third-country nationals with temporary stay based on family reunification or life partnership with third-country nationals who have been granted a long-term stay in another EU/EEA Member State
- Third-country nationals with an autonomous stay
- Third-country nationals with temporary stay as an instructed worker
- Third-country nationals with temporary stay for research purposes under a guest contract
- Third-country nationals with temporary stay based on family reunification or life partnership with a researcher who has a guest contract
- Third-country nationals with temporary stay based on study if they work or are self-employed for up to 20 hours per week, apart from when student internship is an integral part of the study program
- Third-country nationals with a status of a full-time student if they perform work through authorized intermediaries, without employment for up to 20 hours per week
- Seekers of international protection in accordance with the regulations governing international protection
- Those granted residence based on humanitarian reasons
The above-mentioned groups don’t need to apply for a work and residence permit. They have the right to work in Croatia without the need to request a work permit.
Some people need a work and residence permit to legally work in Croatia. This applies to third-country nationals who are not already granted the right to work freely.
A work and residence permit is required in two cases:
- Work for a Croatian company
- Work for a Croatian company that they own
For these cases, the third-country national is only granted the right to work for the company in which they are contracted.
To apply for a work permit for certain occupations, your company must first get approval from the Croatian Employment Service called HZZ. This approval is obtained through performing a labor market test. If the test result is positive, you can apply for a work permit.
However, some occupations don’t require performing a labor market test so that you can apply for a work permit immediately.
If you own your company and need a work and residence permit, that is a different process. You can read all about it here.
Those that are granted temporary residence based on being a digital nomad are only allowed to work for a company that is not registered in Croatia.
If your situation has not been defined above, then you do not have the right to work at all.
According to the Labor Law, the minimum age one can be employed is 15. People between 15 and 18 who attend compulsory primary education can’t be employed.
Minors 15 years of age or older can sign an employment contract, but their legal representatives must authorize them to do so. If this is the case, minors are legally capable of concluding and terminating the employment contract and taking legal actions to fulfill the rights and obligations of the contract. However, this option is not available for minors who still attend compulsory primary education.
Minors mustn’t perform work that may endanger their safety, health, morals, or development. They also mustn’t work for more than 8 hours within a 24-hour period.
View our other work posts
- All the coworking spaces in Croatia (perfect for remote workers and digital nomads)
- How to apply for the digital nomad residence permit in Croatia
- How to apply for a work permit in Croatia
- How to apply for the digital nomad residence permit in Croatia
- How to find a job in Croatia
- How to get an EU Blue Card in Croatia (EU plava karta)
- How to get residency by opening a Croatian business
- How to hire a foreign worker: Requesting a labor market test and work permit in Croatia
- How to hire or work as a freelancer in Croatia
- Types of employment contracts in Croatia
- What to do if your rights as a worker are violated by your employer
- Your rights as a worker in Croatia
Please note: All information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. For legal advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant. We can recommend one if you contact us.