chapter  5
Social welfare
Pages 26

The constitution of the new Croatia declared the country to be a welfare state. But provision of social welfare had also been a key element of the communist regime in former Yugoslavia, and had to some extent substituted for weak political rights. The social welfare system provided for an extensive system of income transfers, including pensions and family benefits such as child and maternity benefits. Unemployment benefits were relatively weakly developed though, since unemployment was not seen as a typical outcome of the socialist system. In fact, unemployment had reached high levels considering that Croatia was part of a socialist country – in 1989 it was around 8 per cent of the labour force.1

But it was mostly concentrated among young people who had not found their first job – over three-fifths of the unemployed were less than twenty-four years old. Once in a job, it was very unlikely that a worker would be dismissed or made redundant. The social welfare system also provided extensive in-kind benefits in the form of free and universal health services, and free education. There was limited provision of social care services, which although more developed than in the East European socialist states were less developed than in the West. However, the social welfare system as a whole had come under increasing strain due to the economic crisis of the 1980s.