The main objective of the amendments to the Latvian Labour Law is to ensure that the requirements of Directive (EU) 2019/1152 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union and Directive (EU) 2019/1158 of 20 June 2019 on work-life balance for parents and carers are applied, as well as to ensure compliance with the Constitutional Court's decision of 12 November 2020 in Case No. 2019-33-01 envisaging leave for the female partner of the child's mother.
The amendments to the Labour Law will mainly improve the legal framework for work-life balance, predictable working conditions, and the involvement of both parents in caring for children and other family members.
Information to be specified in the employment contract and notification of changes in terms of employment
Employers will now be obliged to inform all employees of amendments to the collective agreement and the rules of procedure before they enter into force, but no later than on the day they enter into force.
The employment contract or the relevant employer's rules will have to specify:
- that an employee is free to determine their place of work if an employee does not have a fixed place of work;
- where part-time work is agreed and the working time is entirely or mostly unpredictable, that:
- the working time is variable by including information about the amount of agreed guaranteed paid working time within 1 (one) month;
- the time during which an employee can or should carry out the work;
- information about the minimum notice period for the start or stop of work;
- the length of the probationary period;
- the employee's right to training;
- the social security institutions if the employer is responsible for social security protection.
Where this information is replaced by a reference to the relevant provisions in laws and regulations, in the collective agreement, or by a reference to working procedure regulations, the employer must ensure that the information is available to the undertaking's employees free of charge, is comprehensible and complete and is easily accessible, including by electronic means, online portals, or information systems.
In a collective agreement, the parties will now be able to agree on a probationary period of more than 3 (three) months but no more than 6 (six) months without reducing the overall level of protection of employees.
In the employment contract is made for a certain period, it will now be possible to provide for a probationary period of:
- up to 1 (one) month for employment contracts for up to 6 (six) months;
- up to 2 (two) months for employment contracts for up to 1 (one) year.
Work schedule – reference hours and days
The amendments to the Labour Law define the working time, i.e. the exact time when an employee starts and finishes work. Reference hours and days are a period of fixed days during which work may be performed at the request of the employer.
Where the employee's work schedule is entirely or mostly unpredictable, the employee may be employed only if the work takes place during certain reference hours and days determined in advance and the employer has duly notified the employee of the exact time when the work shall be carried out. If the employer fails to comply with this obligation, the employees will be entitled not to perform the work but will be entitled to the remuneration they would have received if they had performed the work.
Specific rules on the organization of working time
Employees who have a child under the age of 8 (eight) or need personal care for a spouse, parent, child, or another close family member, or a person living in the same household as the employee and who, for a serious medical reason, need substantial care or support, will have the right to ask the employer to adjust their working time arrangements. The employer is obliged to assess such a request and to inform the employee within 1 (one) month of the possibilities for adjusting working time arrangements in the undertaking. In such cases, the employee has the right to request the opportunity to work remotely.
Employers are now obliged to grant leave without pay if it is requested by an employee who needs personal care for a spouse, parent, child, or another close family member, or a person living in the same household as the employee and who, for a serious medical reason, requires substantial care or support. Such leave shall be granted for a maximum of 5 (five) working days in any one year and may be taken in parts.
Leave for the father of the child or another person
The child's father will now be entitled to a 10 (ten) working day leave, which can be taken immediately after the child's birth, but no later than 6 (six) months after the birth.
If the paternity of the child has not been recognised (established), the child's father has died, or the child's father has had his custody rights terminated, a person other than the child's mother is entitled to a 10 (ten) working day leave to take care of the child at the request of the child's mother. This leave will also be granted immediately after the birth of the child, but no later than 6 (six) months after the birth.
To avoid the excessive fragmentation of parental leave, no part of parental leave can be shorter than 1 (one) continuous calendar week. Having considered the above, the employee will have the right to request flexible use of parental leave. The employer will have to assess the request and inform the employee within 1 (one) month of the possibilities for flexible use of parental leave within the company.