In Latvia, the Labor Code and the Constitution are the primary sources of employment law, regulating various aspects of
the employment relationship and guaranteeing certain rights and freedoms.
Hours & Pay Regulations
Regular daily working time for employees working a five-day schedule may not exceed eight hours a day or 40 hours per week. If a six-day week is scheduled, daily working time may generally not exceed seven hours.
A working day of fewer than eight hours in a five-day week may be offset by a day of more than eight but no more than nine hours.
The regular working time of employees in jobs associated with special risk may not exceed seven hours a day (six hours in a six-day week) and 35 hours a week. The Cabinet of Ministers may determine the regular shortened working time for other categories of employees.
Part-time working arrangements may be agreed to between employers and employees who (for example) are pregnant or breastfeeding or have a child under the age of 14 or a disabled child under the age of 18.
Averaging Working Hours
If due to the nature of work it is not possible to observe the normal daily or weekly working hours specified for the relevant employee, the employer may, after consultation with the employees’ representatives, determine the aggregated working hours so that the working hours do not exceed the normal working hours.
The reference period for aggregated working time is one month unless specified in the agreement . The employee and the employer may agree in the employment contract on the length of the reference period, but no more than 3 months. In case of a collective agreement – the length of the reference period should not be more than 12 months.
During the aggregated time the employer is not permitted to employ an employee for more than 24 consecutive hours and 56 hours per week. Rest time shall be granted to the employee immediately after the work is performed. Work performed by an employee above the normal working hours specified in the reporting period shall be deemed to be overtime work.
If the aggregated working time has been determined, the employer shall ensure that during the reporting period the daily rest period is not shorter than the average of 12 hours per day and the weekly rest period is not shorter than the average of 35 hours per week, including daily rest time.
An employer is not entitled to amend the work schedule specified for an employee during the temporary incapacity for work of the employee, as well as during the time when the employee does not perform work due to other justifiable reasons.
Work in excess of regular hours or on a public holiday must be compensated at no less than 200 VRegular daily working time for employees working a five-day schedule may not exceed eight hours a day or 40 hours per week. If a six-day week is scheduled, daily working time may generally not exceed seven hours.of an employee’s average rate. Overtime may not exceed 144 hours in any four-month period. Overtime work must generally be agreed to by the employer and the employee in writing, although an employer may require that an employee work overtime:
- If required by urgent public need;
- Under exceptional circumstances; or
- To complete the unexpected work.
Overtime of more than six consecutive days must be approved by the State Labor Inspectorate. In no case may overtime exceed 144 hours in any four-month period. Employees under 18 years of age cannot work overtime. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding or have given birth within the past year cannot be required to work overtime. Labor Law, 2002 (as amended), § 136.
Collective or individual employment contracts can specify other circumstances (e.g., night work, shift work) under which an employee can qualify for additional leave.
An employee is entitled to a break of 30 minutes (or two breaks of 15 minutes each) in a workday of six or more hours. This break must come no later than four hours into the workday. Labor Law, 2002 (as amended), §§ 131-133.
Under the Law on Holidays, Remembrance Days, and Celebrating Days, the following 15 days are official holidays:
- Jan. 1: New Year’s Day;
- Good Friday;
- Easter Monday;
- May 1: International Workers’ Day, the Annual Convening of the Latvian Constitutional Assembly;
- May 4: Restoration of Latvian Independence Day;
- Second Sunday in May: Mother’s Day;
- June 23-24: Mid-Summer Day;
- Latvian Song and Dance Festival Closing Day;
- Nov. 18: Latvian Independence Day;
- Dec. 24, 25, and 26: Christmas;
- Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve.
If May 4, the closing day of the Latvian Song and Dance Festival or Nov. 18 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the next working day is celebrated as the holiday. Employees who work on a public holiday are entitled to double pay. The day before a public holiday must be reduced by at least one hour. Labor Law, 2002 (as amended), §§ 68, 135; Law on Holidays, Remembrances and Observances, 2002 (as amended), §§ 1-5.
Every employee has the right to annual paid leave of not less than four calendar weeks, not counting public holidays. Persons under 18 years of age are entitled to a full month’s vacation. By agreement between an employee and the employer, annual paid leave in the current year may be granted in parts, although one part must be at least two uninterrupted calendar weeks.
The employer has a duty to take into consideration the wishes of employees when setting the annual leave schedule. In exceptional cases when the granting in the current year of the full annual paid leave to an employee may adversely affect the business, it is permitted with the written consent of the employee to transfer part of the leave to the subsequent year as long as at least two consecutive calendar weeks are taken in the current year. These provisions do not apply to persons under 18 years of age, pregnant women or women who have given birth within the past year.
Time taken as vacation leave must be compensated at an employee’s regular rate. Employees may not accept additional compensation in lieu of vacation except on termination of employment. Annual leave must count toward the accrual of seniority-related benefits. Vacation accrual is based on time actually worked and time during which the employee did not perform work for a justified cause, including periods of:
- Temporary incapacity;
- Pregnancy and maternity leave;
- Short-term absence;
- Forced absence if the employee was dismissed illegally and has been reinstated; or
- Paternal and adoption leave.
Labor Law, 2002 (as amended), §§ 149-152
Effective January 1, 2021, the minimum monthly wage for employees in Latvia is 500 € per month.
The minimum wage given above may not be up to date. Kindly access the link to get the current wage rates.
Pregnant employees are entitled to 112 calendar days of maternity leave, divided as evenly as possible between pre- and postnatal leave. A woman who has initiated pregnancy-related care at a medical facility by the 12th week of pregnancy and continued the care throughout her pregnancy and who suffers medical complications or gives birth to two or more children qualifies for 14 days’ additional maternity leave. On return from maternity leave, an employee is entitled to return to her previous or an equivalent position.
Labor Law, 2002 (as amended), § 154.
The father of a newborn child is entitled to 10 calendar days’ leave within the two months following the birth. Labor Law, 2002 (as amended), § 155 (Latvian).
Employers must pay employees on sick leave 75 percent of earnings for the first and second days and 80 percent for the fourth through the 10th. Employees are required to obtain a sick leave certificate from a certified medical practitioner. The State Social Insurance Agency pays benefits from the 11th day at 80 percent of salary for a maximum of 52 weeks if the leave is consecutive, 52 weeks within a three-year period if it is intermittent.
Following the adoption of a child, one of the parents is entitled to 10 calendar days’ leave. Additional unpaid leave must be granted if directed by the Orphan Court.
Every employee has the right to parental leave in connection with the birth or adoption of a child. Up to one and a half years’ leave may be taken up to the date of the child’s eighth birthday. Parental leave, upon the request of an employee, shall be granted as a single period or in parts. The employee has a duty to notify the employer in writing one month in advance of the beginning and the length of the parental leave or parts thereof. The time spent by an employee on parental leave shall be included in the total length of service. The previous job of an employee who makes use of parental leave shall be retained. If this is not possible, the employer shall ensure the employee similar or equivalent work with not less favorable conditions and employment provisions.
Employees who have three or more children under 16 years of age or a disabled child up to 18 years of age or who work under hazardous conditions can qualify for an additional three days’ annual leave.
Individual or collective employment agreements may provide for study leave with or without pay. An employee must be granted 20 working days’ leave, paid or unpaid, for taking a state examination or preparing and defending a diploma paper.
Labor Law, 2002 (as amended), §§ 151, 155-157.
Last updated on: April 28th, 2021