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Social Security

Updated: August 2011

1.Social security system
Every researcher with a permanent or temporary
residence must be affiliated to the Croatian social
security system. The social security system is
organized and implemented at the national level by
state bodies/public institutions.

There are three main insurancebased schemes:
Pension insurance – covers risks of old age, invalidity,
employment injury and occupational disease, and death.
Health insurance – covers the risk of temporary
incapacity for work due to sickness or maternity and health care.
Unemployment insurance – covers the risk of unemployment and also promotes
employment and the rehabilitation process of unemployed persons disabled at work.

The main principles of these social security branches are that these are public, general and
compulsory. They cover the insured persons and are based on contributions paid by employees, employers, self-employed persons, and are partly financed by the State budget. They are based upon solidarity of members, except for the second pillar of funded pension insurance.

There is no special insurance for work injuries and occupational diseases. They are regulated under general programmes for pension and disability insurance and under general health insurance and medical care programmes.

Ministry of Health and Social Care (in Croatian)
Croatian Pension Insurance Institute (in Croatian)
Croatian Employment Service >English/German
Croatian Institute for Health Insurance (in Croatian)
Central Register of Insured Persons (REGOS) >English


2. Pension insurance

Pension scheme
An insured person is entitled to old-age pension upon reaching 65 years of age and having completed 15 years of qualifying periods. An exception to this rule is that during the transitional period from 1 November 2010 until 31 December 2029 women who have completed 15 years of qualifying periods are entitled to old-age pension subject to special provisions.

Insured persons who are 60 years of age and have completed 35 years of qualifying periods can be awarded anticipatory pension. An exception to this rule is that during the transitional period from 1 November 2010 until 31 December 2029 women can be granted anticipatory pension subject to the special provisions.

Depending on the degree of reduction of the work ability, the insured person is entitled to invalidity pension due to general incapacity for work or occupational incapacity for work.

Entitlement to survivors’ pension is granted to a widow i.e. widower, an extramarital partner who has lived with the insured person in the same household for at least three years prior to his death, a divorced spouse who is entitled to alimony, children (marital, extramarital, adopted, step-children who were supported by the insured person) and parents who were supported by the insured person.

Overview of pension qualifying conditions in Croatia (in English)

Foreign researchers and contributions for pension insurance
The application process for foreigners in the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute is the same as the application procedure for workers who are Croatian citizens. Foreigners who establish regular working relationship with the Croatian employers pay contributions for compulsory insurance in the same way as workers who are Croatian citizens.

The pension system in Croatia is reformed into the mixed - public/private system which is based on the three pillars scheme.

1st Pillar: Pay as you go (PAYGO) system fi nanced by contributions and state budget revenues.

The first pillar mandatory pension fund is the responsibility of the Croatian Institute for Pension Insurance. All employees are obliged to pay 15% of their total monthly income into the fund. The protection of the beneficiaries is provided in the form of minimum pension (guaranteed right), and restriction in the form of maximum pension.
The acquisition of all first pillar pensions depends, in addition to age conditions, on the length of qualifying (mostly insurance) periods completed.

2nd Pillar: Compulsory pension insurance based on individual capitalized savings.

The second pillar is mandatory for persons who were under the age of 40 in 2002 and is additional to the first pillar. Persons who were aged between 40 and 50 in 2002 were able to opt out. Those who did, as well as people older than 50 in 2002 remained insured only under the fi rst pillar, but their contribution equals 20% of gross salary, thus insuring equality. For those insured under both pillars, the extra 5% of total contribution (additional to 15% paid under the fi rst pillar) is directed to the second pillar funds (a private pension fund).

3rd Pillar: Voluntary pension insurance based on individual capitalized savings.

Open to all citizens since March 2002. Every person residing in Croatia can be insured under the 3rd pillar. There are few Voluntary Funds in Croatia, because the development of the capital market is rather slow.

Recognition of pension rights
If the country where the researcher lives and works has signed the Agreement on social security with Croatia, under certain conditions their benefits in the Croatian pension insurance can be transferred and added to the rights they realize by paying contributions to their state. If they have dependent family members, that status must be proven. Problems can arise when family members do not have a residence permit.

Bilateral international agreements on social security
In order to establish their right to pension, the time spent in another country is aggregated for the benefit of the foreign researcher. Croatian Social funds cooperate with other countries on the principle of reciprocity. A foreign researcher will keep their pension rights during mobility to Croatia, and the period during which they worked in Croatia, if not otherwise stipulated by the Agreement on Social Security between Croatia and their home country.

List of international agreements between Croatia and other countries (in Croatian only)
The Republic of Croatia co-ordinates the social security system with 24 countries in total:
Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia,
Czech Republic, the Netherlands,
Luxemburg, Italy, Belgium, Hungary,
France, Poland, UK, Denmark, Sweden,
Macedonia, Switzerland, Canada, Bosnia
and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro,
Australia, Norway, Bulgaria.

An Agreement has been signed and published but is not yet in force with Turkey. The negotiations on bilateral agreements are under way with Argentina, Romania, New Zealand and Chile. Finally agreed, but not yet signed, are the texts of agreements with France and the UK. Croatia is currently negotiating bilateral Agreements with France, Poland, UK, Sweden and Norway; however, until their completion, the Agreements those countries signed with the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia are still in force by rule of succession.

Principles applied in all agreements are:
- Equal treatment
- Aggregation of completed insurance and residence periods
- Pro rata temporis
- Export of benefits
- Equivalence of territories to avoid overlapping of benefits
- Maintenance of acquired rights and rights in course of acquisition


3. Health insurance

For more information about the medical care and health insurance system i Croatia folow this link: Health Insurance


4. International protection of social rights
The European Convention on Human Rights guarantees civil and political human rights. The European Social Charter, its natural complement, guarantees social and economic human rights. It was adopted in 1961 and revised in 1996.
The rights guaranteed by the Charter concern all individuals in their daily lives:
• Housing
• Health
• Education
• Employment
• Legal and social protection
• Free movement of persons
• Non-discrimination

Croatia ratified the European Social Charter as well as the 1988 Additional Protocol which adds new rights on 26/02/2003. Croatia has accepted 40 of the Charter’s 72 paragraphs, and 3 of the 4 articles of the Protocol.  Croatia has not signed nor ratified the Revised Charter.


Disclaimer: The descriptions of administrative procedures in the Republic of Croatia given on this website are to be used for informational purposes only. Recommendations on this website do not substitute official information sources and information given by the official administration should be taken into account in all cases. The information provided on this website gives no right for claims of legal expectations of any kind. EURAXESS Croatia takes no resposibility for the content of external pages.


Pension system