The Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) on Wednesday published on its website a list of beneficiaries of a government aid scheme designed to save jobs, which shows that 83,955 employers had taken grants for March in the net amount of HRK 3,250 per employee.
The financial aid, amounting to the minimum wage, refer to 484,992 employees and the government has paid out a total of HRK 1.55 billion for that purpose.
Most of the grants, 77,057 or 40% of the total amount, were paid to micro businesses with up to 10 employees. A total of 5,876 grants (25%) were paid to small businesses, 899 (19%) were paid to medium-sized enterprises (51-250 workers) and 147 (16%) to big companies, who employ more than 250 people.
Most of the subsidy seekers, 92%, were micro-businesses, small businesses accounted for 7% of all grant requests, medium businesses for 1% and big businesses for 0.03% of the requests.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković told reporters after a session of the inner cabinet that the government’s measures were generous, fast and easy to implement.
The competent institutions, notably the HZZ and the Tax Administration, will take care there is no misuse of aid, Plenkovic said, adding that the processing of requests for the April allowance, in the amount of HRK 4,000 per employee, would be fast.
Significant increase of unemployed
But, there is also another side of the coin. The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) has said that, at the end of April, there were 158,795 unemployed persons in Croatia, which is 15,300 more than in March and 27,700 more than at the end of April 2019.
HGK recalled that April was the first whole month in which business and consumption had taken place in restricted conditions and that most of the month had been spent in quarantine, with restrictions being partially lifted only in its last week.
“In the first few days of the month, increased pressure on the employment office was evident, with the trend of the daily growth of unemployment being somewhat relieved after the government’s second set of measures designed to help save jobs”, HGK said in a statement.
HGK believes that as restrictions are gradually lifted, the number of people registering as unemployed will decline.
However, a higher level of unemployment will probably remain due to the absence of seasonal employment this year./ibna