Most of Europe and the world is undergoing a tough time, a health crisis quickly pulling behind an economic one. And countries whose livelihood depends on tourism are suffering to an even higher degree. The pandemic hit the tourism industry hard, as their main season is over before it even began. All hotels, restaurants, museums, and any other leisure places for public gathering were shut down until further notice.

Croatia is one such tourism-dependent country and its current situation is alarming. With all the hotels now closed, the staff has been put on hold or worse, let go. But the Valamar Riviera hotel company in Poreč, Croatia, has decided to stay optimistic and uniquely counter the crisis.

Retaining employees for a better restart

At Valamar Riviera a special sequence of measures has been installed to battle the dreadful time of the pandemic. What was deemed the Pauzza program plans to keep all 2.500 workers and the company’s liquidity. Starting with April 1, 2020, all Valamar Riviera company activities will be put on hold, but all the workers will be retained, staying on hold for the duration of the hotel’s suspension. They wish to remain financially stable and fully staffed after the end of the crisis period caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and they will be the first company in tourism to deal with the crisis this way. Their plan incorporates pausing everything for now and being ready to restart operations when the time comes.

More specifically, this signifies that all Valamar employees, who are unable to perform their jobs due to the current situation will be on hold from April 1. During this period the company will provide them with a salary compensation of at least 60 % of their regular salary, but no less than HRK 4.250 net (€ 557). The Pauzza program is planned to last for a minimum of 30 to a maximum of 90 days until the Croatian government accepts and implements measurements to preserve jobs, interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Valamar Imperial Hotel in Rab, Croatia will follow suit, implementing the Pauzza program to retain approximately 2.800 employees and avoid layoffs during the crisis. The measure, pertaining to the Pauzza program will equally apply to all employees, including management, seasonal and permanent seasonal workers who are already permanently employed and they will all receive a net salary compensation of HRK 4.250 (€ 557) during the break.

Management waives 30 % of regular pay

As per the Pauzza program, the company’s management team will forgo 30 % of their regular salaries to help keep the entire staff in employment. However, all the employees who will continue to work full-time during the pause will be compensated completely. This structure will stay in place until all employees will be able to return to work. It is a great example of the importance of standing together and acting collegially in the face of a disaster, such as the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be. Only if everyone bares their share of the burden can operations resume normally after the crisis has passed.

To further their solidarity the Valamar Resort Management Board called off the company’s General Assembly and with the consent of the Supervisory Board, waived Valamar’s major shareholders of dividends this year. This measure was taken to increase liquidity and support the measure regarding job preservation.

"Temporarily, until the situation calms down, we cannot proceed with
business as usual. We are proud of our employees and our goal is that
no employee loses their job because of this crisis.”
- Željko Kukurin, President and CEO of Valamar

According to Željko Kukurin, Valamar will do its best to return all its employees to work as soon as possible. He adds “The current situation is temporary, and when business will resume, we will all need to be ready to restart our business. Valamar is a strong and stable company and I believe that with the support of the public sector, our shareholders, investors, partners and employees, we will survive this period and prepare for a quality business continuation.”

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