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Croatian PM announces continuation of liquidity, job-keeping support

Andrej Plenkovic (Photo: HINA/ Edvard ŠUŠAK)

ZAGREB, Sept 3 (Hina) – Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has said that the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) will on Monday adopt decisions to continue measures designed to help the economic sector hit by the coronavirus crisis, including those designed to keep jobs and ensure liquidity and COVID-19 loans.

He recalled on Thursday that the government had so far enabled job-keeping, maintained liquidity and prevented a more significant increase in the number of people out of work, for which HRK 6.3 billion had been spent.

Plenkovic announced the continuation of the measure to co-finance a shorter working week with a maximum HRK 2,000 per worker plus contributions, as well as the continuation of assistance to micro businesses until December 31, also in the amount of HRK 2,000 per worker, if the employer has suffered a drop in turnover of more than 50%.

This measure, he said, refers to all sectors of the economy and includes the write-off of the related contributions.

As for activities that are particularly at risk, support in the amount of HRK 4,000 per employee will continue until December 31, he said, noting that this particularly refers to the transport of passengers, hospitality, travel agencies and recreation-related businesses, as well as cultural, business and sports events, if their drop in turnover exceeds 60%. This aid also includes the write-off of contributions on wages.

The aid in the amount of HRK 4,000 per employee will also be given to businesses and activities which will have to be closed down in line with decisions by local or national COVID-19 response teams, he said.

All these measures will cost by the end of the year around HRK 800 million and will be financed from the state budget, but some of the funding will be obtained from EU funds, both from the current financial perspective and from future loans to be granted under the SURE programme, as well as from future programmes such as the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

Plenkovic also announced that COVID-19 loans would continue to be issued through the HAMAG-BICRO agency and the Croatian Reconstruction and Development Bank.

“Croatia introduced the measures (to fight the coronavirus crisis) in a timely manner… we reacted on time and that is why we did not experience a bigger increase in unemployment and why we have made it possible for many businesses to survive the crisis,” he said, adding that the new activities were in line with that and that a thorough discussion would be held with the unions and employers.

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