Amendments of employement contracts
Once a fixed-term employment contract has expired, a new employment contract will be concluded with the agreement of the employer and employee.
When concluding an employment contract, both parties can agree to a trial period. The conditions of the trial period must be defined in the employment contract. The trial period cannot be longer than three months. In certain cases defined by law where the employer wishes to ascertain whether the worker is suitable for the job in question, a longer trial period may be agreed, though it may not exceed six months.
If an employer decides that an employee’s performance was unsatisfactory during the latter’s trial period, he may dismiss the worker before the end of the trial period by giving three days’ notice in writing, without having to pay any severance pay. An employer can terminate an employment contract by giving the employee two months’ notice in writing.
The employer can amend the terms of the employment contract if the production situation so justifies. To do so, the employer must have the prior written consent of the employee, except for temporary changes in working conditions under special circumstances.
Employers cannot alter the terms of pay without the employee’s written consent, unless payment for certain sectors of industry, companies or categories of workers are changed by law, Government resolution or under a collective agreement. The terms of pay cannot be altered, or the amount of pay reduced, without the employee’s written consent.
Lithuanian legislation – www.lrs.lt .
Non-standard types of employment
Employment contracts can be:
- fixed-term, i.e. concluded for a limited period or for the duration of a particular job, but not longer than five years;
- temporary - concluded for no more than two months;
- seasonal - concluded to carry out seasonal work, i.e. work which, due to natural or climatic conditions, does not last the entire year, only a particular season, but no longer than eight months;
- for additional work - legislation permitting, a worker in a second job can agree to take on extra duties in the same workplace or to do additional work at another workplace;
- for home workers - it can be stated in the employment contract that the worker will do the job agreed in the contract at home;
- for house-keeping - a contract is concluded whereby the worker pledges to provide the employer with personal house-keeping services;
- other, e.g. probationary, employee exchange, author contracts.
Lithuanian legislation – www.lrs.lt .
Remuneration covers the main salary and any additional earnings, paid in various ways directly by an employer to an employee for the work performed.
Men and women receive equal pay for the same job or a job of equal value.
On the advice of the Tripartite Council, the Government sets a minimum hourly rate and a minimum monthly salary. On the advice of the Tripartite Council, the Government can set the minimum hourly rates and minimum monthly salaries at different levels for separate branches of the economy, regions or groups of workers. An employee’s hourly rate or monthly salary cannot be lower than the minimum levels established. In collective agreements, the minimum remuneration can be set at a higher level.
For overtime and night shifts, employees are paid at least one and a half times the hourly rate or monthly salary. For unscheduled work on a day off or holiday, employees are paid at least double or, if they prefer, compensated by receiving another day off that month, or an extra day’s annual leave. For scheduled work on a holiday, employees are paid at least twice the hourly or daily rate.
Lithuanian legislation – www.lrs.lt .
In Lithuania, working time cannot exceed 40 hours per week. Working time includes the following:
- time spent actually working, being on duty at work or at home;
- time spent on official business trips or official trips to another location;
- time needed to prepare and organise the workplace, work equipment and security measures;
- breaks at work which standard laws count as part of working time;
- time spent undergoing compulsory medical examinations;
- probation, enhancing qualifications in the workplace or at learning centres;
- time spent suspended from work, if the employee who is suspended has to observe the rules of the workplace;
- idle time;
- other periods defined in standard laws.
Working hours should not exceed eight hours per day. The maximum number of working hours over seven days, including overtime, should not exceed 48 hours.
For certain categories of workers, including doctors, nurses, carers, workers in children’s homes, energy and other services who are on duty without a break, working hours can be up to 24 hours a day. The average working time of such workers over seven days cannot exceed 48 hours, and the time off between working days cannot be shorter than 24 hours.
For workers employed in more than one workplace or doing two or more jobs in the same workplace, a working day, including breaks, cannot exceed 12 hours.
For workers whose job involves significant mental or emotional stress, the procedure for the shortening of working time is determined by the Government.
It is illegal for an employee to be allocated two consecutive shifts. Where possible, employees raising a child under the age of 14 have priority when it comes to choosing shifts.
Overtime is usually illegal. An employer can only assign overtime in exceptional circumstances. An employee’s overtime should not exceed four hours over two days and 120 hours over an entire year.
Lithuanian legislation – www.lrs.lt .
The structure and governing of the vocational training system, the organisation of vocational training and rules on the founding of vocational training institutions are all regulated by the Vocational Training Act. According to the Act, vocational training is defined as training which aims to give people a profession or the opportunity to retrain. There are four types of vocational training:
Type I - primary vocational education. This is for pupils no younger than 14 years of age who have not completed their main education, but who aim to gain a basic profession. Studies last from two to three years. Pupils who so wish can gain main education.
Type II - secondary vocational education. This is for pupils who have completed their main education. Studies last three years. On completing the course, they gain a vocational qualification. Pupils are between 15 and 18 years of age.
Type III - secondary vocational education. This training is for those who have completed their main education and who wish to gain both a vocational qualification and pass the maturity examination. Studies last four years. Pupils are between 16 and 20 years of age. In this third type of main vocational training, pupils gain a vocational qualification and a general secondary education. Technological gymnasium classes are at the heart of this process. The aim is to guarantee the harmonisation and quality of general education and vocational training, creating the preconditions required to attain a vocational qualification and to continue technological studies at institutions of higher or further education.
Type IV - post-secondary vocational training. This is for those who have graduated from secondary school, but who wish to gain a vocational qualification. Pupils are aged 18. The length of studies depends on the complexity of the chosen trade and can last between one and two years. Most graduate at the age of 20.
The same vocational qualification is gained following programme types II, III and IV.
Lithuanian Education and Science department - www.smm.lt.
The minimum duration of annual leave is 28 calendar days. Annual leave may be of minimum,
extended or additional duration. Minimum annual leave of 35 calendar days is granted to:
● Employees under 18;
● Single parents caring for a child under 14 or a child with disabilities under 18;
● Employees with disabilities.
Employees whose work involves greater nervous, emotional or intellectual stress, occupational risk or specific working conditions are entitled to an annual leave of up to 58 calendar days. Additional annual leave may be granted to the employees for the conditions of work which are not in conformity with the normal work conditions or for a long uninterrupted employment at thesame work place or for a special character of work.
An employee must be granted annual leave for each year of employment within that year. Annual leave for the first year of employment is usually granted after six months of continuous work for the company. Annual leave for the second and all subsequent years of employment may be granted at any time within the year concerned, subject to the company’s general schedule of annual leave.
All employees are guaranteed average pay for their annual leave.
Individuals covered by the sickness and maternity social insurance are entitled to receive sickness benefit.
The sickness benefit for the first 2 calendar days of sickness overlapping with the work schedule of an employee (except for the benefit for nursing a family member) is covered by the employer. The sickness benefit covered by the employer may not be lower than 80% and higher than 100% of the average salary. From the third day sickness benefit equal to 80% of the reimbursed salary and is paid from the State Social Insurance Fund Budget.
Pregnancy and childbirth (maternity) leave
Mothers are entitled to 70 calendar days' pregnancy and childbirth leave before delivery and 56 calendar days after delivery. Pregnancy and childbirth (maternity) leave is calculated accumulating entitlements, and is given to the woman in its entirety irrespective of the leave days taken before delivery. Employees designated as guardians of new-born children are granted leave for a period running from the day of designation as guardian until the infant reaches the age of 70 days. For this period of leave, the benefit provided for in the Law on social insurance for sick leave and maternity leave is paid.
Men may take paternity leave during the period from the birth of the baby until the baby is one month old.
Parental (Child-care) leave
As chosen by the family, the mother (adoptive mother), father (adoptive father), grandmother, grandfather or other relative actually raising the child, or an employee designated as a child's guardian, shall be granted child-care leave until the child reaches the age of three years.
One of the child’s parents (adoptive parents or guardians) qualifies for a parental allowance if he/she has been covered by sickness and maternity social insurance for at least 12 of the previous 24 months. The amount of the parental allowance depends on the duration of the leave chosen by the beneficiary. If the beneficiary prefers to receive the allowance for a year, the amount is equal to 100% of the beneficiary’s wages; if the beneficiary prefers to take two-years of paid parental leave, the benefit in the first year is equal to 70% and in the second year to 40% of his/her wages.
End of employment
An employment contract ends if it has been terminated in accordance with the law, if an employer has gone into liquidation without a legal successor and if an employee has retired or died.
One party in the employment contract may make a written proposal to the other party to terminate the contract with the agreement of both parties. If the latter agrees with the proposal, it has seven days to inform the proposing party to terminate the contract.
An employee can terminate an open-ended employment contract, as well as a fixed-term employment contract before its expiry date, by giving his employer at least 14 days’ written notice. The notice period may differ for a collective agreement, but cannot exceed one month.
An employee can terminate an open-ended employment contract, as well as a fixed-term employment contract before its expiry date, by giving his employer at least three days’ written notice, if the request to terminate the contract is due to an illness or disability suffered by the employee which makes it difficult for him to do his job properly, or other important causes defined in the collective agreement, or if his employer has not met the obligations of the employment contract, or has infringed laws or a collective agreement.
An employee can terminate an open-ended employment contract by giving his employer at least three days’ notice if he is already entitled to receive, or is receiving, a full old-age pension.
An employee can terminate an open-ended employment contract, as well as a fixed-term employment contract concluded for longer than six months, if the time spent idle during working hours at the employee’s workplace and through no fault of the employee lasts for more than 30 consecutive days or if it totals more than 60 days over the last 12 months, similarly if for more than two consecutive months, he has not been paid in full.
Regulations governing employment of women
The law on equal opportunities for men and women safeguards equal rights. Employment law provides that a pregnant woman, or one who has recently given birth or is breast feeding, can ask her employer to allot her a portion of the working time in a working day or working week. By agreement, part-time work can be arranged by reducing the number of working days in a week or shortening the working day or a combination of the two.
A pregnant woman, or one who has recently given birth or is breast-feeding, cannot be forced to work in conditions or be exposed to factors that could have a negative impact on the health of the mother or baby.
Unemployed people who have, or may experience, difficulty finding work through a lack of qualifications or work experience, long-term unemployment or loss of the capacity to work can be given extra support. Those given extra support in the labour market include the disabled, the 16-25 age group, those starting work for the first time, long-term unemployed people who have been registered at their local employment office as out of work for over two years, those with less than five years to retirement, a mother or father raising a child under the age of eight, those returning from prison if the period of incarceration was longer than six months, graduates of vocational, higher and further schools of education who are starting to work, depending on their specialisation.
Each year, councils set employers a quota for employing or creating extra vacancies for group I and II disabled people. Disabled people are employed according to the provisions of the law on the social integration of the disabled.
Work must be organised in line with the demands of standard employees’ health and safety laws. Specific health and safety acts for company employees which are confirmed by the employer, and standard health and safety acts, are compulsory. These must be signed by employees.
Employees who may be exposed to occupational hazards at work must check their state of health before taking up employment and undergo periodic medicals while in employment, according to the employees’ health check schedule at the company. Employees whose work involves occupational hazards or who use dangerous carcinogenic materials at work undergo health checks when they first start the job and have further periodic check-ups while they are working and if they change job or workplace.
All employees are insured against accidents at work and occupational illnesses through social insurance. This insurance indemnifies the insured against loss of earnings following an accident at work or an occupational illness.
An insured party who has been injured at work or has an occupational illness is entitled to sickness benefit regardless of the amount he has contributed to State social insurance. An insured party who has been injured at work or has an occupational illness is paid sickness benefit equal to 100% of compensated earnings.
If the insured party has lost up to 20% of his working capacity, he is paid a one-off compensation for loss of capacity equal to 10% of his 24 month compensated earnings. If he loses between 20% and 30% of his working capacity, he receives a one-off compensation for capacity loss which is 20% of his 24 month compensated earnings. When permanent incapacity is established, the one-off compensation for loss of capacity is three times greater than those mentioned above.
Representation of workers
The professional, work, economic and social rights and interests of workers are represented and defended by trade unions. The Lithuanian Constitution and the Trade Union Act recognise the right of workers and employees to form and join trade unions. The Trade Union Act extends this right to members of the police and armed forces. However, the Collective Agreements Act does not allow State employees responsible for the promulgation of laws and security to conclude collective agreements.
The main trade union organisations active in the Tripartite Council, which also includes government representatives and employers’ organisations, are the Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation, the Lithuanian Workers’ Union, now called the Lithuanian Trade Union ‘Solidarity’, and the Lithuanian Labour Federation.
Work disputes – Strikes
Article 51 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania provides that employees protecting their economic and social interests have the right to go on strike.
A trade union may decide to call a strike or threaten to do so, depending on its established rules.
The decision to call a strike must be approved by secret ballot. To call a strike in a company, two thirds of its employees must approve. To call a strike in a section of a company, it must be approved by two thirds of employees in that section and more than half of all employees in the company.
An employer must be given written warning of the strike at least seven calendar days before it is due to begin. The decision to strike must be reached according to the rules in this article.
The following are not allowed to call strikes: those working in internal affairs, national defence and national security, as well as employees of electricity, heating and gas supply companies and medical emergency staff. The demands of workers in these services and companies are considered by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania. Special laws can also impose strike restrictions on other services. Strikes are forbidden in natural disaster zones and regions where a state of emergency has been declared.
For striking employees, the implementation of the employment contract is suspended during the strike, safeguarding their service record, place of work, social maintenance and ensuring they are protected from accidents at work.
Striking employees are not paid a salary and they are freed from their work duties. During negotiations to end the strike, it can be agreed that the strikers will be paid all or part of their earnings.
Employees who did not take part in the strike, but who were unable to do their jobs because of it, are paid as they would be for idle time.