Refugees and persons under subsidiary protection have the same rights to employment and wages as other inhabitants of Latvia. Usually both men and women work in Latvia to support their families.
Work culture in Latvia
Employees and representatives of management must treat each other with respect, regardless of their respective positions, and strictly adhere to the employment contract concluded. Employees are responsible for the work performed according to the contract and must observe their managers’ instructions, the employer, on the other hand, must pay the employee the agreed remuneration and ensure fair and safe working conditions that are not detrimental to the employee’s health.
If you work in Latvia, it is important to keep the promises made, perform the tasks in a timely manner and arrive for scheduled meetings on time. Delays and breaches of promises are considered unacceptable and you may lose your job as a result of such behaviour.
Before the commencement of the employment relationship
Before the commencement of the employment relationship, learn more about the enterprise you intend to work at. You may do that by looking up its website on the internet or talking to people already working at the company. If you have the status of an unemployed person or a job seeker, take the opportunity to acquaint yourself with the enterprise on a visit to its premises accompanied by the State Employment Agency consultant.
Familiarise yourself with the legislation governing employment relationships in Latvia, especially the Labour Law and the Labour Protection Law. Before the commencement of work, inquire with the employer about the conditions of employment and work requirements.
If you have registered as an unemployed person or a job seeker, a SEA consultant otherwise a State Labour Inspectorate consultant can explain the basics of the labour law to you.
Sign an employment contract before the commencement of the employment relationship. Pay a particular attention to the content of the contract! The contract must indicate your place of work, position and responsibilities, working hours, remuneration and payment schedule. The contract must be signed by you and the employer. The contract must be signed in two copies. One copy remains with you. The employment contract must be concluded in Latvian. If your Latvian skills are insufficient, the employer has a duty to inform you in writing about the provisions of the contract in a language you understand. Do not sign the contract if you do not understand the provisions of the contract or do not agree with them!
Safety and health at work
When you take up a new job, the employer must provide you with instructions about the work you will perform, instructions approved by the employer and work safety requirements applicable to the particular type of job or profession at the workplace concerned. You must also be informed about the risks associated with the working environment and measures taken to mitigate them.
In case you find work through the State Employment Agency and are still unable to communicate with the employer independently in Latvian or in any other language you and your employer understands, you will be provided with an interpreter on the day the employment contract is concluded and on your first day of employment, so that you can better understand your responsibilities and labour safety requirements.
Before the commencement of work you have to undergo the mandatory medical examination to make sure that the state of your health corresponds to requirements of the job. Follow the labour safety requirements established by the employer to avoid any danger to your or any third parties’ health and safety!
Equality between genders and nationalities must be respected at the workplace. Women must be treated with the same respect as men. Women and men are paid equal wages for the same work. Foreigners and inhabitants of Latvia must be treated equally.
Giving different assignments to employees with different education levels, work experience and language skills is not considered discrimination.
Knowledge of Latvian is an advantage, when you seek employment, however, employers in Latvia often require employees also with the knowledge of English or Russian. Be active and open to various possibilities!
There are minimum wages set in Latvia that the employer must pay to the employee for normal working hours. The usual working hours are 40 hours per week, but they can vary slightly depending on your workplace. The minimum wages are usually paid for simple work that does not require a high level of skills and knowledge of languages. In 2018, the minimum wages in Latvia will amount to EUR 430 before taxes. A further increase in the minimum wages is planned also over the coming years.
Every inhabitant of Latvia, who is paid for his or her work, must pay taxes. Wages are subject to personal income tax (23% in 2017) and mandatory state social insurance contributions paid by the employer (10.5% in 2017).
If you have children, you can qualify for tax relief. It means than you will have to pay a smaller amount in taxes than people who have no children. The amount of the tax relief depends on the size of your salary and the number of children in your family. The tax relief is applied to only one of the parents.
A tax reform is planned in 2018 in Latvia, after which the size and number of taxes may change.
Every employee in Latvia is entitled to the paid annual vacation. The annual vacation may not be shorter than 4 calendar weeks.
The annual vacation can be divided into shorter spans, however, one of these parts must be at least 2 weeks.
You are entitled to a vacation after having worked with the employer for at least 6 consecutive months. You have to reconcile the time of your leave with the employer and colleagues. The vacation is granted taking into consideration your and your employer’s interests.
If you cannot got to work due to your own or your child’s (up to the age of 14) sickness, you must notify your employer thereof. You need a confirmation from a doctor that you or your child is sick to justify your absence from work. It is called a sick-leave certificate. You can obtain one either by visiting a doctor or requesting a home visit from the general practitioner you are registered with.
The doctor has to see the patient and make sure that he or she is unable to work. The first day of sickness is the day on which the doctor examined the patient, therefore it is important to contact a doctor immediately. If you fall sick on a weekend or public holiday, when the general practitioner you are registered with cannot be reached, you can obtain the sick-leave certificate from a doctor on duty.
If you have been hospitalised, the sick-leave certificate will be issued to you by the hospital at the end of your stay there.
A sick person is paid a sickness benefit to compensate the loss of income from work.
The employer will pay the sickness benefit for the first 10 days of your sick-leave. You will receive no compensation for the first day of your sick-leave. The employer calculates the amount of compensation for the following days of the sick-leave based on the average earnings of the employee.
Starting from the 11th day of the sick-leave until your return to work, you can receive the sickness benefit paid by the State Social Insurance Agency. This benefit is paid for a period up to 26 weeks from the first day of the sick-leave.
Disagreements at the workplace
If you have any problems with the work manager, problems related to the performance of the employment contract or working conditions that cannot be resolved by negotiations with the employer, contact the State Labour Inspectorate.
Telephone for enquiries: + 371 67186522, + 371 67186523
K. Valdemara iela 38 k-1, Riga