President promulgates much disputed amendments to Labor Law

  • 2019-04-17
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - President Raimonds Vejonis on Wednesday promulgated amendments to the Labor Law which Saeima passed on March 28 to provide a new regulation for overtime pay, LETA was told at the president’s office.

At the same time, the president has sent Saeima Speaker Inara Murniece (National Alliance) a letter calling on the parliament to pay closer attention to compliance with the Constitution and principles of good legislation, especially compliance with the Constitutional Court’s previous rulings.

In his letter, the president notes that in passing this bill, the majority of lawmakers have failed to provide a reasoning behind the approved decisions and an analysis of the regulation’s possible non-compliance with the Constitution. “This causes doubts about compliance with the principle of good legislation and the conclusions formulated in the Constitutional Court’s rulings,” the president said, adding that this weakens public trust in the parliament and state authority in general and does not strengthen the rule of law in Latvia.

Although during the bill’s revision Saeima has made some improvements to the draft amendments, the amended law still ignores objections raised by the Saeima Legal Office and President Vejonis about an unfair treatment of employees in relation to overtime pay, the president’s spokespeople said.

As reported, Saeima on March 28 passed in the final reading updated amendments to the Labor Law, which stipulate setting overtime pay at no less than 50 percent of the employee's wage if collective agreement has been signed in the given industry.

At the same time, the amendments specify that such collective agreements will also have to stipulate a substantial increase in the minimum wage across the industry, which will have to be at least 50 percent higher than the official minimum hourly or monthly wage.

Under the current regulation, the extra pay for each hour of overtime work is 100 percent of the standard hourly wage.

According to the Labor Law, a collective agreement in a sector is entered into by employers that employ more than 50 percent of the sector's workforce or whose turnover exceeds 50 percent of the industry's total turnover. The collective agreement then becomes binding to all employers and employees in that sector. The main objective of collective agreements is to improve protection of the interests of employees, encourage competition and development, and reduce the shadow economy.

The new overtime pay procedure has also been approved by representatives of employers and trade unions.

President Raimonds Vejonis last November nevertheless sent the amended Labor Law back to Saeima for a revision. “The state has to guarantee by law equal opportunities for everyone. As we combat shadow economy in one sector, we must not put employers and employees in other sectors in disadvantage,” the president said.