Personal Assistance Act to increase the number of beneficiaries and the salaries of personal assistants
ZAGREB, 25 June 2022 – The Personal Assistance Act, which is expected to be enacted in Croatia in 2023, will most likely increase the salaries of personal assistants (PAs) by 50% and it is also estimated that 15,000 people with disabilities will be entitled to use personal assistant services.
“The new law will improve the quality of life of the most disabled people, because they will be entitled to more hours of personal assistance services and thus they will manage their time better,” said Marica Mirić, vice-president of the Croatian Union of Associations of Persons with Disabilities (SOIH), Marica Mirić.
In addition, personal assistance services also ease the burden on families, she said in an interview with Hina.
The new legislation will pave the way for higher employment rates among people with disabilities.
According to a timetable for the adoption of the law, the bill must be transmitted to the government this autumn, and the parliament should adopt it until the end of the year, according to information provided by the Commission of Labour, family affairs. and Ministry of Social Policy.
Awareness has been building for years on the need for personal assistance legislation, and the issue recently came to the public’s attention when a former Member of Parliament, who is a wheelchair user, went public with her unfortunate experience when her personal assistant attacked and robbed her in her apartment.
There are several types of personal support services: services for the physically, mentally and intellectually disabled, personal assistants for the visually impaired, communication assistants for the deaf and deafblind service assistants (DBS) .
So far, personal assistance services have been organized through programs and projects of civil society associations, financed by the European Social Fund and the state budget.
The adoption of the law will better regulate this area and will define the models and content of services, the rights to services, the qualifications for the employment of personal assistants, the monitoring and supervision of the provision of services, the possibilities of damage compensation and financing.
In March this year, Croatia had 612,212 registered people with various types and degrees of disability.
According to the Ministry of Social Policy, 2,312 people with physical or mental disabilities used the services of 2,292 personal assistants, according to an inventory registered in May.
In addition, 3,654 beneficiaries used the services of a total of 99 communication assistants.
There were 67 guides for 1,537 visually impaired beneficiaries.
According to the ministry, the annual allocation allocated to all of these services is 148 million HRK (about 20 million euros).
The ministry estimates that the potential number of users of personal assistance services may rise to 15,000 when the law is passed.