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Recent Changes to the Labour Code in Lithuania. What novelties to be faced by employees and employers?

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As of  1 August 2022, the amendments to the Labour Code of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter  – the "Labour Code") have introduced more flexible working options to employees and, respectively, dedicated additional obligations to employers. As a result, both sides   –  employees and employers   –  have to get acquainted with the changes properly in order to ensure the smooth working process without additional disruptions. We hope that an overview of the amendments will help employees to ensure a proper understanding of their rights as well as enable employers to appropriately enforce employees rights.


Mother's day-off and Father's day-off

From now on, Mother's day-off and Father's day-off also applies to parents raising an only child. Mothers and fathers with one child under 12 years old are entitled to the additional rest time ("Mother's day-off" and "Father's day-off") once every 3 months, or a reduction of 8 hours of work per 3 months. Two days per month are designated to parents raising two children under 12 years old, where one or both of kids has got a disability. By 1 August 2022, employees with an only child under 12 years have not been granted with an extra day-off or a reduction of working time. Prior to this date, employees, raising two children under 12 years, if one or both kids has got a disability, used to be granted with only one day-off on a monthly basis or with a reduction of two hours per week.

Part-time work

The new amendments supplemented a list of employees whose requests for a part-time work must be granted by their employer. Part-time work will now also be applied for employees, caring for a sick family member or a sick together residing relative, as well as for employees having children under 8 years.

Remote work and flexible working hours. 

If the following employees submit a request for remote work, the employer in such a case must comply with the request, unless the employer proves that remote work would be excessively costly due to industrial necessity or the specificities of work organisation:

  • A pregnant woman;
  • An employee who has recently given a birth or is still breastfeeding;
  • An employee raising a child under 8 years;
  • An employee raising a kid alone under 14 years or a disabled child under 18 years.

The same provision shall apply in such cases when an employee submits a request based on a medical certificate on his state of health or on the need to care for or look after a family member or a sick together residing person. The listed employees have the possibility to choose preferred working hours. Thus, the amendment itself adjusted a list of employees whose requests for remote work must be accepted by the employer. In addition, the restriction, defining that such employees are only guaranteed for remote work rights for at least one-fifth of their working time, has been removed.

Unpaid leave

The possibility of unpaid leave has been introduced not only for employees caring for a sick family member, but also when caring for a person living together with an employee.

Unpaid time-off

The employer must grant unpaid time-off to an employee whose submitted request is related to a sort of  respective family emergencies in the event of illness or accident, which requires employee's direct participation. Until now, the Labour Code did not provide such an opportunity.

“No” to discrimination

As of 1 August 2022, new provisions have entered into force prohibiting discrimination on the basis of an employee's enjoyment of the guarantees of the Labour Code, such as flexible working hours, requesting additional leave, as well as on the basis of marital status.

 “No” to psychological violence

The employer is obliged to announce information on the measures taken to prevent psychological violence in the workplace and to initiate active steps in the provision of assistance to persons who have experienced psychological violence in the workplace. It should be noted that as of 1 November 2022, further changes will come into force in relation to the prevention of psychological violence against employees in the workplace and beyond.

Termination of employment agreement at the initiative of the employee without significant reasons

It is clarified that an employee has a right to withdraw the notice of termination within three working days of the date on which it is given, only if the contract has not yet been terminated. If the employment contract is terminated within 3 working days, the employee may withdraw his/her notice of termination only with the consent of the employer.

Termination of the employment contract at the initiative of the employee for important reasons

Employees caring for a person living together with them and who has a special need for permanent nursing care or special need for permanent care (assistance), will now also be able to terminate their contract on the mentioned grounds. Thus, this ground for termination of employment will not only apply to employees caring for a family member, but also for a person living with them.

Termination of the employment contract at the employer's initiative without the fault of the employee

It has been added that in the event of termination of the employment contract on the grounds mentioned above, the notice periods will be tripled for those employees who will provide a certificate for an illness included in the list of serious illnesses approved by the order of the Minister of Health of the Republic of Lithuania.

Notice of working conditions

Information provided by the employer to the employees before starting their work has been supplemented by the following items: the right to receive trainings, if the employer is able to provide them; the titles of social security institutions that receive social security contributions in connection with the employment relationship; and, if the employer is responsible for it, information on other social security cover provided by the employer. The employment contract has been amended on the basis of this amendment to this Article of the Labour Code.

Probationary period

The amendments to the Labour Code stipulate that if a fixed-term contract of employment is being concluded for a period of less than six months, the probationary period must be proportionate to the duration of the contract (i.e. less than three months). Thus, in the case of a fixed-term employment contract, a probationary period of 3 months can only be imposed if the contract is being fixed for a period of 6 months or more.

Employer‘s obligation to provide more information to employees staying on secondment over 28 days

From now on, the employer will be obliged to inform his employees in advance of the country (-ies) to be visited, in addition to the other information referred to in Article 44(1) of the Labour Code. In the case of a temporary secondment to another EU or EEA State, the worker is being seconded to work under a contract for the provision of services or the execution of works concluded by the employer with a client in another country, or to work in a branch, representative office, group undertaking or other workplace of the employer's legal entity, or to work as a temporary employee,  he or she must be informed, before leaving for the secondment of the daily subsistence allowances and benefits intended to cover the actual travel, accommodation and meal expenses incurred in connection with the secondment (if applicable). In addition, the employer must provide with he links to the host State's official national website providing information on seconded employees.

Temporary employment undertakings

New amendments also refer to an obligation for temporary employment undertakings to provide the State Labour Inspectorate of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter - the State Labour Inspectorate) or an institution authorised by it with information on employment through temporary employment undertakings and the number of temporary employees on a monthly basis, in accordance with the procedure laid down by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania. In addition, temporary employment undertakings will be obliged to have temporary employees for at least 3 consecutive calendar months. Importantly, if temporary employment undertakings do not fulfil the above mentioned new obligations, the State Labour Inspectorate will have the right to adopt a decision stating that the employer does not meet the criteria and remove it from the list of temporary employment undertakings.

Conclusion

It is obvious that recent amendments broaden a protection of  employees interests, particularly, family interests, and place a strong emphasis on ensuring the psychological wellbeing of employees in the workplace. However, although at first glance it may appear that the amendments to the Labour Code discussed are largely focused exclusively on the interests of employees, there is no doubt that all of them will be beneficial to employers  in the long run. Unsurprisingly, if employees feel comfortable and safe at work, their performance is getting improved and their loyalty to the employer is getting increased.

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Laima Nevarauskaitė

Assistant Attorney-at-Law

+370 5 212 35 90

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