VILNIUS - Lithuania's parliament has approved for discussion amendments which allow the postponement of the enforcement of several social model laws, which includes the new Labour Code, until July 1, 2017.
The proposal to push the enforcement forward from Jan. 2017 to July 2017 was backed by 64 of Lithuania's 141 parliamentarians, while 14 were against and 19 abstained.
The parliament will revisit the amendments on Dec. 13 after receiving conclusions from parliamentary committees. Seimas also opted against requesting the government's conclusion on the suggested changes.
Ruling Peasant and Green Union MP Tomas Tomilinas, vice-chairman of the Social Affairs and Labour Committee, said in the presentation of the amendments that they were necessary to avoid implementing a reform with a social conflict. In his words, "liberalisation of labour relations will be kept" in the alterations of the Labour Code.
“It is our goal to include as many social partners as possible in the process. We want to hold further discussions to categorise the reform as a structural reform. This is to avoid starting a reform with a social conflict," Tomilinas stated.
He underscored that the laws which have already been approved will remain in effect even if the social model amendments are stuck in the Trilateral Council.
Lithuania has asked the European Commission to recognise the social model as a structural reform and apply a reservation on related costs when calculating the 2017 deficit of public finances. Spending now stands at 243 million euros, which accounts for 0.6 per cent of the estimated gross domestic product (GDP).
The postponement would save around 80 million euros.