The state allocated 61 million euros for the new labour measures this year.
By Kruno Kartus for Southeast European Times in Osijek -- 02/02/13
New labour measures are expected to reduce the high unemployment rate in Croatia. [AFP]
New labour market measures launched by the Croatian government at the beginning of this year aim to reduce the country's 21 percent unemployment rate, its highest since 2003.
The measures include employer subsidies, tax relief and self-employment support. They focus on raising employment opportunities for special social groups including the disabled, the elderly, war veterans and Roma.
Under the new programme, unemployed youth receive health and pension insurance as well as 220 euros monthly.
Employers are subsidised to provide professional training. When hiring people older than 50, the employer will receive 50 percent of the worker's gross wages from the state. The 2013 budget will also provide the salaries for public workers.
The state allocated 61 million euros for the new labour measures, about 12 million euros more than in 2012.
There are currently 370,000 unemployed people in Croatia, and the figure is rapidly growing. Since January 1st, 12,000 have lost their jobs.
But some analysts said the measures are not enough.
"These measures cannot significantly increase employment. The measures do not contribute to skill increase, or new knowledge for long-term employment," Iva Tomic, a researcher at the Zagreb institute of economics, told SETimes.
Teo Matkovic, professor at the Zagreb law faculty, however, said he thinks the new labour measures can help the unemployed ensure a job. "If the measures are well targeted, organised, monitored and integrated with other activities, they can moderately increase job-finding chances or a better salary. But it's not a magic wand that can help all unemployed …," Matkovic told SETimes.
Tomic said closer co-operation between the state and the labour market is needed in Croatia.
"The state cannot create jobs … it should reduce the number of employees, but allow the private sector to easily and quickly create jobs, through reducing bureaucracy and administrative barriers, review tax policy, encourage innovation," Tomic said.
But Labour Minister Mirando Mrsic said he sees a light at the end of the tunnel.
Unemployment growth will continue through spring and will gradually decline in the summer and after the country's EU accession mid-year. "By year end, we expect more job openings than job losses," Mrsic said.