RIGA - Solutions will be sought so that companies could materially incentivize their employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19, Saeima Social and Labor Affairs Committee members agreed during a meeting today.
The State Labor Inspectorate's Deputy Director Andra Auzina said that, under the Labor Law, there were two components of remuneration - a monthly salary with different bonuses, and other rewards that do not count toward the remuneration. Bonuses that have an impact on an employee's average earnings should not be used to provide material incentives for employees to get vaccinated, said Auzina. She recommended using other types of motivational measures, such as health insurance, a day off after vaccination, and suchlike.
Ineta Rezevska from the Ombudsman's Office expressed a similar opinion. It is important that pay for work is not used as a motivating measure encouraging employees to get vaccinated. A one-time reward not related to the employee's job could be used to promote vaccination, said Rezevska.
The Latvian Employers Confederation's social security and healthcare expert Peteris Leiskalns said that companies should be given the opportunity to promote collective vaccination with the help of material incentives, as it is employers who are responsible for ensuring safe working environment.
Saeima member Anda Caksa (New Unity) objected to material motivation of employees as she believes that money is a motivation for only small part of people.
Social and Employment Matters Committee's Chairmran Andris Skride (For Development/For) and MP Andrejs Klemetjevs (Harmony) emphasized that employers should not be penalized for contributing to public health at their own expense. "Instead, we need to look for a legal framework so that entrepreneurs can provide material incentives for workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19, which is also important for the economic development," said Skride.
The National Health Service's representative Eva Juhnevica informed the committee that companies still could apply for collective vaccination of employees, and a company no longer had to have at least 25 employees willing to be vaccinated. The same goes for service providers, and collective vaccination at a company can also be organized even if there as few as three employees willing to be inoculated, she said.