Croatia's social security system provides health, pension, and unemployment insurance, as well as maternity leave and assistance to families, for all Croatian citizens. Foreign nationals who work in Croatia for Croatian employers may also be eligible to receive social security benefits.
Social security is based on contributions paid by employees, employers, those who are self-employed, and the state.
For pension insurance, the insured person pays 20% of their earnings if insured under social insurance only and 15% of their earnings if insured under the social insurance and mandatory individual account system. For more details, see the "Pensions" section. These contributions also finance disability and survivors' benefits and work injury and occupational disease benefits.
For sickness and maternity leave, self-employed persons contribute 15% of their income, employers contribute 15% of covered payroll, and the state covers the cost of parental leave, maternity leave for the unemployed, and newborn childcare.
Both employers and the state contribute to unemployment funds, and the state covers the total cost of family allowances.
There is no minimum qualifying period for sickness benefits; instead, a designated doctor in a primary health care institution will determine entitlement and duration of sick pay for the first period of incapacity. The Croatian Institute for Health Insurance determines additional periods of eligibility.
Benefits are provided for up to 6 months. After that, the disability commission of the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute decides if the insured is eligible for disability pension.
Benefits range between 70% and 100% of the insured's average salary. The employer is responsible for the first 42 days of sick leave (except for pregnancy, maternity leave, or participation in Homeland War), and the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance pays thereafter.
Maternity leave in Croatia is very generous. Mothers are granted 28 days before the expected date of birth and six months after the date of birth at full pay.
Expectant mothers are required to take leave 28 days before the expected date of birth and at least 42 days after the birth without interruption. After this compulsory period, the mother may return to work part-time if she wishes, or she can grant her unused leave to the father.
Parental leave provides extra time off from work to care for young children and can be used by either the father or mother in consecutive or nonconsecutive periods until the child reaches eight years of age.
It is also possible to take an unpaid career break until the child turns three years of age, during which time professional obligations are suspended, but health insurance and retirement insurance are maintained.
A family allowance is also available parents and guardians who are Croatian citizens, who hold a permanent residence permit and who have resided in Croatia for at least 3 years, and to foreign nationals with temporary residence whose home countries have a bilateral international social security agreement with Croatia. The allowance amount is based on income, but is at least 199 to 299 kunas a month per child.
The Osobni identifikacijski broj (OIB) is a permanent identification number assigned to every legal person residing in Croatia. It consists of 11 random digits and does not contain any personal information.
An OIB is required to pay taxes, open a bank account, register a vehicle, and purchase property.
Foreign nationals who obtain a temporary stay visa will automatically be assigned an OIB. Otherwise, applying for an OIB is fairly straightforward, however, the application form (Zahtjev za odredivanjem i dodjeljivanjem osobnoga identifikacijskog broja) is in Croatian. It can be downloaded from the official OIB website. After filling out the form, submit it to the local tax office.
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