Region: Europe

Disability Definition

The Social Welfare Act defines persons with disabilities in line with the definition in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: a person with disabilities is a person having long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with persons without disabilities. A child with developmental disabilities is a child who, due to physical, sensory, communication, speech and language, or intellectual disabilities, should receive more support in learning and development, so as to achieve the best possible developmental outcome and social inclusion.


By adopting the National Strategy of the Unique Policy for the Disabled 2003 – 2006 and the National Strategy for Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities 2007 – 2015, the Government of the Republic of Croatia has shown its commitment to ongoing efforts when creating a multi-sectoral policy on promoting the rights of persons with disabilities.

In the eight-year period of conducting the most important national document for persons with disabilities – the National Strategy for Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities 2007 — 2015, in the area of protection of rights of people with disabilities, significant results were achieved, which was recognized by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and it praised the Republic of Croatia on numerous achievements. Legislative regulations have been continuously improved, and we emphasize as significant the following legal amendments for persons with disabilities:

  • By changing the electoral legislation and by adopting a new Act on the Voter Registry (2012), persons deprived of legal capacity have been allowed to enrol in the voter registry and to exercise their right to vote, which enables them to participate in political life.
  • The new Social Welfare Act (2013) has laid the foundations for transformation of institutions and deinstitutionalisation of users, more effective control of the quality of services provided and faster development of various community services networks in cooperation with other stakeholders.
  • The Family Act adopted in 20141 prescribed for the first time the obligation of partial deprivation of legal capacity as a rule, and only in areas in which it is necessary to protect the rights of the wards, and the institute of complete deprivation of legal capacity has been entirely abandoned. It was also made possible to appoint more than one person as a guardian, as well as appointing a deputy guardian to prevent “delays” in performing the guardian work in cases of the guardian’s absence. The legal obligation to respect the wishes of the ward has been introduced and every person is enabled to, at the time of existence of legal capacity, to nominate a person they prefer as guardian. In the five-year period from the adoption of the Act, an audit of all existing solutions on the complete deprivation of the person with disabilities’ legal capacity to function shall be carried out, as well as the abolition of the complete deprivation of legal capacity and enabling persons with disabilities to be equally recognized as persons before the law. The same provisions have been laid down in the Family Act of 2015 (Official Gazette No. 103/15).
  • The new Act on the Protection of Persons with Mental Disorders (2014) increased the supervision over the process of forced accomodation of a person with mental disorders and strengthened the powers of the ombudswoman for persons with disabilities in the process.
  • The Unique Body of Expertise Act (2013) made the process of expertise more transparent and efficient. By introducing of a new expert evaluation system, a major step forward has been made in the efforts to equalize the criteria in the expert evaluation procedure and to facilitate the exercise of rights to beneficiaries on grounds of disability, by using a single finding and opinion to exercize their rights in almost all systems.
  • The new Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Disabled Persons Act (2013) introduced a unique framework for the implementation of professional rehabilitation in a systematic manner, following a model ensuring uniform standards, benchmarks and methodologies for the implementation of vocational rehabilitation in the Republic of Croatia, and it also introduced employment quotas for persons with disabilities for all employers.
  • By adopting the Law on the Croatian Sign Language and Other Communication Systems of Deaf and Deafblind Persons in the Republic of Croatia (2015), the mentioned persons’ right to use sign language in all areas of life was recognized.
  • By-laws were adopted in the area of education, in order to increase the availability of regular education for children with disabilities, and a significant number of teaching assistants was introduced.
  • The Strategy for Lifelong Vocational Guidance and Career Development in the Republic of Croatia 2016-2020 was adopted, which, among other things, aims to improve the vocational guidance system for disadvantaged students and people with disabilities.
  • In order to intensify the process of deinstitutionalisation and transformation of social welfare homes, the Operational Plan for the Deinstitutionalisation and Transformation of Social Welfare Homes and Other Legal Entities Performing Social Welfare Activities in the Republic of Croatia 2014-2016 was adopted in June 2014.
  • A variety of community services was developed, which are extremely important for the process of deinstitutionalisation and transformation of social welfare homes: assisted living support services, personal assistant services, sign language interpreters and seeing assistants for blind persons, teaching assistants service, and early intervention services for children with disabilities.

Croatia ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the United Nations2 , which was the foundation for adopting the National Strategy for Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities 2007 – 2015, in 2008.

Reference: Croatia National Strategy of Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities

Employer Legal Requirements

The Act on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities (157/13, 152/14, 2/15) and the Regulation on Establishing Quotas for the Employment of Persons with Disabilities (44/14, 2/15) are the main pieces of legislation regulating legal obligation to employ workers with disabilities.

Both private companies and public offices with a workforce of more than 20 employees must hire a number of persons with disabilities, depending on the total number of employees and activities they perform.

The quota may be different, but cannot be less than 2% and shall not exceed 6% of the total number of employees of an employer who is subject to quota system.

Subcontracting workers from sheltered and integrated workshops, self-employed disabled workers or outsourcing goods or services from a company that hires disabled employees (more than half of workforce) is considered to meet the requirements of the quota system.

Employers that do not comply with the quota system are liable to monetary compensation by paying 30% of minimum wage monthly for each person with disability they were obliged to employ in order to meet the quota.


Accessibility Requirements

Croatia, Article 9 CRPD:

To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia: a. Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces; b. Information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services.

States Parties shall also take appropriate measures to: a. Develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public; b. Ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities; c. Provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons with disabilities; d. Provide in buildings and other facilities open to the public signage in Braille and in easy to read and understand forms; e. Provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guides, readers and professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public; f. Promote other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons with disabilities to ensure their access to information; g. Promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet; h. Promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost.

Cultural Norms

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Business Practices/Examples

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In the Republic of Croatia, in February 2016, according to the data of the Croatian Registry for Persons with Disabilities, data was collected for 511 194 persons with disabilities, accounting for 11.9% of the total population. 203 606 were female (39.8%) and 307 588 (60.2%) were male. Data on 35 367 children with more severe disabilities (6.9%) was recorded in the Registry, of which 13 334 (38%) were girls and 22 033 were boys (62%).

Reference: Croatia National Strategy of Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities

Supplier Diversity

Not available at this time.

Talent Sourcing Resources

Not available at this time.

Additional Resources

Croation Association of People with Disabilities – an umbrella non-governmental non-profit organization to help and improve the quality of life of persons with intellectual disabilities and their families, which brings together 31 basic organization from all over the Croatian and 40 clubs for people with intellectual disabilities, a population of about 10 000 Members. Alliance formed 1957.

Croatian Organization of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing


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