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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure HR-2020-14/518 Updated – measures in Croatia

Tourism company Valamar sets up the employment retention programme 'Pause, Restart'

Valamar pokrenuo program „PAUZA, RESTART“

Country Croatia , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 April 2020 – 30 June 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Company practices
Category Employment protection and retention
– Income support for people in employment (e.g., short-time work)
Author Predrag Bejalovic (IJF) and Eurofound
Measure added 12 April 2020 (updated 01 December 2021)

Background information

Valamar Riviera is the largest tourism company in Croatia. Since the beginning of the global pandemic crisis, the company actively monitors the situation and continuously takes the necessary action to preserve employees’ and customers’ health, jobs and insure the business continuity. Following the tightening of general prevention measures by the competent authorities, Valamar closed in March 2020 all hotels and restaurants. With the aim of preserving jobs and business continuity in the conditions where touristic activities were completely suspended, Valamar made the decision to launch the "PAUSE, RESTART" program. It started on 1 April and will last at least 30 to possible 90 days.

Content of measure

The program covers all employees, therefore there will be no layoffs for about 2,800 workers in Valamar. Government support will be used. All employees who cannot work due to the situation will be referred to PAUSE from April 1. During the PAUSE, employees will be provided with a salary compensation in the amount of minimum 60% of regular salary, but not less than HRK 4,250 net (€567). This measure will apply equally to employees and management including permanent and seasonal workers. During the PAUSE, a part of employees and management in charge of the crisis will work primarily on maintenance, conservation and facility security duties, while a part of the staff will communicate with guests and partners. The wages of management will be reduced by up to 30% until all employees return to work. Other employees who will work full-time will continue to receive their regular full pay.

The Management Board cancelled the General Assembly and with the consent of the Supervisory Board proposed to the General Assembly a withdrawal of dividend payment and to direct these sources into funds for increase liquidity and support measures for the preservation of all jobs. Until the situation improves, Valamar Riviera cannot provide regular services but the company’s goal is not to lose any employee. To prepare on time for RESTART, the company directs its efforts to the development of a new business plan and the preparation of facilities for the start of touristic season.

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

17 September 2021

Valamar rewarded all its employees for an extremely demanding season with an additional prize of up to HRK 1,600 (€212). Through special reward programs for season 2021, Valamar paid a total of around HRK 24 million (€3.19 million), which amounts to HRK 4,100 (€545) per employee. In order to keep employees in tourism, the social partners and Valamar have launched a program for year-round employment until the tourist season 2022. In agreement with the unions, an employment program was launched which would make the 400 most loyal seasonal workers permanent workers during the autumn and ensure year-round work in tourism. "Good job at Valamar" invites all those interested in developing a career in tourism to apply for a job.

24 June 2021

Through the crisis period from the spring of 2020, Valamar managed to preserve jobs through the program "Pause, Restart”, with the support of trade unions, the Government and state aid. In order to help employees who worked on preparing for the season in difficult conditions and waiting for a job during the spring with reduced incomes, in agreement with the unions, Valamar decided to open the season with a cash prize of HRK 1,300 (€172) net to be paid in July for permanent employees, permanent seasonal workers and seasonal workers employed until 31 May 2021. All other seasonal employees who will be employed during June and July 2021 and successfully complete the summer season, were paid a reward for seasonal work in September in the amount of HRK 1.000 (€132) net. In addition, Valamar has launched a program to reward employees during July and August in the amount of up to HRK 1000 net (€132), which will be paid based on performance and tourist traffic. During the summer season, Valamar has guaranteed a minimum net income of HRK 5,000 (€664). As in previous years, all seasonal workers who come to work in Valamar destinations are provided with quality accommodation in the Valamar House, food and other benefits. The touristic season was much better than expected and hotel capacity were full.

Use of measure

Targeted at the whole company, 2,800 employees.

Contents

  • Employment retention

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Seasonal workers
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Company / Companies
Companies
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Company level

Involvement

Trade unions were very actively in the preparation of the program for preservation of employment in the company. The management of the company always praises the positive and active role of the trade unions.

Views and reactions

Social partners actively participated in the preparation of the measure. Without them, the destiny of Valamar as a very big company would be under question mark.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      I - Accommodation And Food Service Activities I55 Accommodation
      I56 Food and beverage service activities

This case is not occupation-specific.

Sources

  • 25 March 2019: Valamar pokrenuo program „PAUZA, RESTART“ (valamar-riviera.com)
  • 24 June 2021: Valamar isplaćuje nagrade svojim radnicima (Valamar pays out prizes to its employees) (hrturizam.hr)
  • 17 September 2021: Valamar nagrađuje sve svoje radnike (Valamar rewarded all its employees) (hrturizam.hr)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Tourism company Valamar sets up the employment retention programme 'Pause, Restart', measure HR-2020-14/518 (measures in Croatia), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/HR-2020-14_518.html

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