22:03 / 14.07.2021.

Author: Katja Miličić

Social partners reach tentative agreement on COVID relief and vaccinations

Damir Zorić and Krešimir Sever

Damir Zorić and Krešimir Sever

Foto: HTV / HRT

Representatives of the government, employers, and unions reached an initial agreement on Wednesday on a new scheme for distributing salary subsidies that are meant to save as many jobs as possible during the pandemic. 

The government wants to link the subsidies to vaccinations and the sides have tentatively agreed that the subsidies will go to companies where at least 70% of all employees have been vaccinated. Companies with a lower share of vaccinated employees will receive subsidies proportional to the number of vaccinated workers.

"Today we talked about introducing an additional criterion: the number of employees who have a Covid-certificate. We set this criterion at 70 percent as a target value. We want to encourage those who will be most responsible," said Labor Minister Josip Aladrović following a second round of negotiations between the sides on Wednesday.

The head of the Croatian Employers' Association, Damir Zorić, stressed that companies would continue to receive COVID relief according to the old model for the time being.

"We opposed the condition that everyone be vaccinated in order for a company to receive subsidies. We have arrived at a qualification threshold, so to speak, of 70 percent vaccinated workers.

Representatives of one such company, from a sector that has been hard-hit, were at the meeting today and they said that they could reach this goal quite easily, "Zorić pointed out.

He said that the coronavirus pandemic must be stopped and that we need to achieve collective immunity as a society in order to protect public health and the economy.

The President of the Association of Independent Trade Unions of Croatia, Mladen Novosel, said that his union could not accept a proposal under which subsidies are doled out selectively.

"If this will really save the budget and encourage all other citizens to get vaccinated, more power to them. We rear that this will further deepen divisions in society, in interpersonal relationships, where people will have to be identified in some way as vaccinated or not vaccinated, "Novosel said.

The sides are expected to work out the details of the deal tomorrow.

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