Sick leave (eligibility, obligations to pay, recovery from government)
- As of 19 March 2020, the following exceptional rules apply in the emergency situation, i.e. sick leave can be granted to an employee (and the government has to pay the percentage of the employee’s gross salary):
- who has become ill with COVID-19 or has become ill while performing his necessary functions (e.g. doctors) (58%);
- who is suffering from a severe chronic disease and has a higher risk to become ill while performing his work function and is unable to work remotely and has not been sent to idle time (06%);
- who needs to take care of his/her young or disabled child due to closed schools (94%);
- who needs to take care of disabled or old-age person if a respective institution has stopped taking care of the person due to the current situation (94%).
Government pay-outs are limited to the net amount of EUR 64.50 per workday, approx. EUR 1,300 per month.
Annual leave / use of holiday
- The employer can encourage, but cannot force, an employee to use his/her annual leave. Annual leave must be paid as the average salary of the employee.
- Unpaid leave can be provided on request of the employee; however, the employer cannot force employees to take unpaid leave.
Full or partial idle time (downtime)
- The employer can announce idle time if there is no work at a company due to an emergency situation or quarantine.
- The employer will have to pay a monthly minimum salary, currently EUR 607 gross (“MMS”), during the period of idle time.
- There is a possibility of announcing partial idle time (downtime), but a working week must be shortened not less than by 2 days or a working day must be shortened not less than by 3 hours.
- The Government must compensate 60% (for some entities, 90%) of amounts paid by the employer for idle time for the period up to 3 months; however, the employer must maintain the workplace for 3 months after the receipt of compensation.
- Detailed procedures on how to apply for and obtain compensation have not been approved yet.
Combination of remote work and partial idle time (downtime)
- The parties might want and are allowed to agree that the employee works remotely during the working hours, which are out of idle time (for example, administrative staff may be requested to work from home 1 or 2 days per week or 4-5 hours per working day).
Agreement on part time work
- This measure is addressed to saving employment costs mostly. The aim is to agree on a shorter working day/week by paying proportionally lower salary.
- Part time work may be introduced only by the agreement of the parties.
- In case of illegal dismissal, an employee would be awarded with compensation up to 18 monthly salaries, plus moral damages (usually around EUR 500 to EUR 3,000) and legal costs, therefore it is important to strictly follow termination procedures.
- The employer can terminate employment relations on the initiative of the employer without fault of the employee due to an excessive work function. The notice period would be from 2 weeks to 3 months and the severance payment would range from 0.5 to 2 months of the monthly salary; however, some employees cannot be dismissed (e.g. those who have children under 3 years of age). Additionally, information and consultation procedures are required prior to dismissals, also notification of the State Labour Exchange if the dismissal will include a group of dismissals.
- If the employer has 10 or more employees and the excessive function is performed by several employees and only part of them is dismissed, the selection criteria for dismissal must be approved by the employer, in agreement with the Works Council (trade union, if there is no works council at the employer).
- The employee, if dismissed on the initiative of the employer without fault of the employee, can also get an additional severance payment from a special state fund. The amount depends on the service length of the employee:
- 5-10 years of service length – 1 monthly average salary;
- 10-20 years of service length – 2 monthly average salaries;
- 20+ years of service length – 3 monthly average salaries.
- The employer can order the employee to work remotely if otherwise the employee would cause health risks to his/her colleagues at work.
- The parties should agree on, or the employer should regulate:
- the use of work means (i.e. whether these are to be provided by the employer or the employee is to be paid compensation for the use of personal means);
- reporting and timekeeping;
- working time;
- reminder to comply with occupational health and safety requirements even when working at home.
- Remote work should be paid on a regular basis.
Travel (business and personal)
- The Lithuanians are not allowed to leave Lithuania, except when returning to their place of residence, going to their place of work, are crew members who work in Lithuanian companies engaged in international commercial transport or works at commercial international transport of all types, also with the permission of the head of the State Border Guard Service.
- Foreigners are not allowed to enter Lithuania, except for crew members who work in Lithuanian companies engaged in international commercial transport or work in international commercial transport of all types, persons having the right to reside in Lithuania, diplomats and other persons under Vienna conventions of 1961 and 1963, NATO military units and their service personnel and family members.
- Transit of foreigners is allowed until the end of 20 March 2020 and without unnecessary stops. Later transit is allowed only by trains.
- For the time being, there is no restriction on movement within the country.
Preventive actions (reception policy, public interactions, management of infected employees)
- According to the applicable laws and recommendations, each employer should:
- inform the employees about the COVID-19 situation in Lithuania;
- issue, required under circumstances, personal preventive measures (disinfectants, masks, etc.);
- approve an action plan for managing the situation at the workplace.
- If there is a suspicion that a certain employee’s health status threatens the health of other employees, the employer must offer such employee to work from home or take a sick leave (if work from home is not possible). In case of the employee’s refusal, the employer should suspend the employee from work without payment of salary.
FINANCE and TAX
Grants and access to finance
- Compensation of 50 to 100 percent interest payable by SMEs to financial institutions (conditions indicated by INVEGA and the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Fund must be fulfilled, application must be filed to INVEGA or the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Fund directly; more details to be provided).
- Businesses are allowed to defer or postpone payments for electricity and natural gas provided by Ignitis UAB.
- Municipalities are recommended to exempt businesses from taxes payable for commercial real estate and land.
- Municipalities are recommended to allow for the business deferral or postponement of payments for utility and heating.
- Companies whose activities are directly restricted during quarantine will be able to apply and defer their tax obligations and social insurance payments in a simplified manner.
- The list of such taxpayers was announced on 19 March 2020 and includes 32,000 companies; however, the companies that were not listed can apply for their inclusion in the list as well.