Health and safety at work
You must ensure that your employees receive job safety training:
The State Labour Inspectorate is responsible for employment issues, in particular safety in the workplace.
Rights under a contract of employment
Employment in Latvia is given legal form by signing a written contract of employment. A contract of employment is deemed to be concluded from the moment the employee and the employer have reached an agreement on the scope of and remuneration for the work, and on the employee’s further observance of the conditions of employment and compliance with the employer’s instructions. The contract of employment is drawn up in duplicate, one copy of which is held by the employee and the other by the employer. The employer is responsible for ensuring that the contract is concluded in writing and for keeping records of the concluded contracts.
The minimum wage in Latvia in 2011 is LVL 200; the minimum hourly rate is LVL 1.189.
The minimum annual paid holidays entitlement is 4 calendar weeks (28 calendar days), excluding public holidays. Employees with three or more children aged up to 16 or with a disabled child aged up to 18, as well as employees engaged in work involving special risk, are entitled to an additional three days of annual paid holiday. Employees are also entitled to unpaid leave, provided it does not interfere with the functioning of the business.
Entitlement to social security benefits lies with Latvian citizens, non-citizens, foreign nationals and stateless persons whose habitual place of abode is in Latvia and who have been assigned an identity number. Persons with temporary residence permits are not entitled to certain types of benefits.
Employees and self-employed people with a social security contributions record are entitled to sickness benefits, which are subject to income tax.
Sickness benefits are paid for up to 26 weeks or up to 52 weeks in any three-year period where incapacity to work recurs at intervals. The benefit amounts to 80 % of the average wage.
Unemployment benefit are payable to persons covered by unemployment insurance and whose length of service totals at least one year or in respect of whom social security contributions have been made for at least 9 months within the previous 12-month period.
Maternity benefit is paid during pregnancy and maternity leave, lasting 112 calendar days. The benefit amounts to 80% of the average wage.
Paternity benefit is payable to individuals covered by social insurance and who are caring for a child aged up to one and are on maternity (paternity) leave. The benefit amounts to 80 % of the average wage. An individual is entitled to 10 days’ leave within 12 months of the birth.
Parent benefit is payable to individuals covered by social insurance and who are caring for a child aged up to one and are on maternity (paternity) leave. The benefit amounts to 70 % of the average wage.
Medical care is guaranteed to Latvian citizens and non-citizens, employed or self-employed persons; EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members, foreign nationals with permanent residence permits, refugees and those with alternative status, and to individuals who have been detained, arrested or incarcerated. There is also a mandatory state social insurance scheme in operation.
Retirement age for men and women in Latvia is 62. The Amount of the retirement pension depends on the length of service up to 1996, contributions from 1996 and retirement age.
Latvia is also implementing career guidance. The Ministry of Welfare is currently preparing a framework document regarding equal opportunities for all which addresses work, social care and other issues concerning people with special needs.
The treatment of employment disputes is regulated by the Employment Disputes Law
Health and safety at work
Under the Employment Protection Law the employer must carry out internal supervision of the work environment, including not less than once a year and in all cases where work equipment or the work process has changed, risk assessment, determining work environment risks that affect or can an employee's health and safety at work, and of hazardous conditions at work. Risk assessment of the work environment must be documented.
The State Labour Inspectorate monitors and controls legal employment relationships and employment protection.
Non-discrimination, equal treatment and gender equality
The right to equal pay in Latvia is prescribed by section 60 of the Labour Law. This means that employees regardless of their gender are entitled to equal pay for equal work or work of equal value, also regardless of their race, skin colour, age, disability, religion, political or other beliefs, national or social descent, financial or family status, sexual orientation or other circumstances.
Several sections of the Labour Law provide that employers must treat employees equally when hiring, promoting, sending them for training or providing work conditions.
The ban on discrimination on grounds of gender must already be observed when advertising a post, i.e. the advert may not specify that candidates of specific gender are preferred (section 32 of the Labour Law). During a job interview employers are not allowed to ask candidates any questions pertaining to their personal life, for example,marital status, pregnancy etc. (section 33 of the Labour Law).
When promoting employees employers are not allowed to take into account their gender (section 95 of the Labour Law).
Employers must ensure that both genders have equal rights to training (section 95 of the Labour Law).
Mandatory social rules complete the requirements related to managing staff.
Businesses are free to go beyond the minimum social legal requirements at their own initiative.
The State Social Insurance Agency is responsible for unemployment benefits.
The Ministry of Welfare provides information on general issues related to compliance with social standards.
The Ministry of Health provides information on issues related to health.
The State Revenue Service provides information on tax issues.
When hiring people at a social disadvantage, businesses may claim monthly financial assistance. Businesses are also entitled to other one-off grants and reimbursement of certain costs.
Since 2005 a national programme for implementing gender equality has been operating in Latvia.