The Official Development Agency of the City of Vilnius

Employer/Employee Relations

What can be done after quarantine is announced?

We highly advise you not to sign a voluntary work termination request; in case of uncertainty all other options would be more beneficial for you.

This is the most recommended form of work during emergencies and quarantine if it’s objectively feasible for the business or institution. Remote work is ordered at the request of the employee or by agreement between the parties. Remote work shall be remunerated in accordance with the wages provided for in the employment contract.

The Labour Code already stipulates that an employer may impose a period of downtime on an employee or group of employees if, for objective reasons, they are unable to provide the employee with the work outlined in their contract and the employee does not agree to perform another available role for the company in question.

If downtime is announced for more than three working days or an indefinite period, the employee shall be paid 40% of their full salary from the fourth day. Employees are paid their full wage for the first day of downtime and two-thirds of their wage for the second and third days (unless required to be at work). Employees cannot be paid less than the minimum monthly wage in the month in which downtime is announced (provided they have signed a full-time employment contract). The minimum monthly salary in Lithuania is €607 on paper or €437 in hand.

If, for objective reasons, an employer is unable to provide the employee with the work laid out in the employment contract but the employee is still in need, employees can be offered partial downtime with reduced working hours or days.

When working hours are reduced per day, one workday can be reduced by no less than 3 hours – for example, from 8 to 5 working hours. When the number of workdays per week is reduced, one workweek can be reduced by no less than 2 workdays – for example, from 5 to 3 workdays.

When the government declares a state of emergency and quarantine, employees can request regular annual paid leave. We emphasise that employers cannot require or force employees to take annual paid leave and employers are strongly discouraged to ask employees to take unpaid leave. If this is the case, we recommend that employees contact the Labour dispute committee.

The employer should inform employees of their right to benefit from sick leave while educational institutions are closed and their children in pre-school or pre-primary education are currently staying at home. The sick leave period may be fixed at a maximum of 14 calendar days. In this case, a doctor, when issuing an electronic certificate, selects the classified reason as ‘Epidemic situation’. During this period, the State Social Insurance Fund will pay sickness benefits to an employee amounting to 65.94% of their regular wage, before tax.

In the case of reduced workloads, part-time work can be negotiated with the employee. According to the Labour Code, full-time work is defined as 40 hours per week. If the employee agrees, shorter work hours can be negotiated by reducing daily work hours, workweek or work month.

The condition relating to part-time work may be fixed or indefinite. Please note that it is more beneficial for the employee to enter into an agreement of this nature on a temporary basis; for example, until the government cancels the quarantine.

The employer cannot require or force the employee to agree to part-time work. If this occurs, the employee should contact the Labour dispute committee.

Part-time work is remunerated in proportion to the amount of time worked or completed in comparison to full-time work.

An employee may be removed from work only in special cases, like if they appear to be under the influence of alcohol or other substances at work, when required by law enforcement authorities, or when an employee’s workplace misconduct is under investigation. In no other case can an employee be dismissed.

This is relevant when workers return from states affected by coronavirus but still go to work and disregard the recommendations for self-isolation. Individuals returning from abroad must self-isolate for 14 days. It is forbidden to dismiss employees in a manner that does not comply with the requirements of the Labour Code.

As a reminder, when an employee is dismissed at the employer’s initiative without the fault of the employee, they must be given advance notice in writing: one month if the employment relationship lasted more than a year, and two weeks if the employment lasted less than a year.

If the employee in question is within five years of the age of retirement, the notice periods are longer. They must be given two months’ notice if they have been employed for more than a year, or one month’s notice if they have been employed for less than a year.

If the employee has a disability, has a child under the age of 14 or a disabled child under the age of 18, and if they are less than two years away from the age of retirement, they must be given three months’ notice, or 1.5 months’ notice if they were employed for less than a year.

The Labour Code also states that employees who are dismissed without fault are entitled to severance pay.

Benefits:

  • 2 months’ average salary if the individual has been employed for more than a year.
  • 5 months’ average salary if the individual has been employed for less than a year.
  • An individual who has been employed for more than 5 years and is dismissed at the employer’s initiative without fault is also subject to a long-term work allowance.
  • The longer the individual has been working, the higher the long-term pay, but this pay may not exceed 3 months’ average salary. It is paid if the former employee does not work for the same employer within three months and applies for compensation no later than half a year after being dismissed.
  • Where an individual works for a budgetary institution or the Bank of Lithuania, long-term benefits are paid by the dismissing employer, and from the Long-Term Benefits Fund in all other cases. You should contact Sodra for this.

The Labour Code provides protection against dismissal for some workers, and we recommend that employers strictly adhere to the code in these matters. For example, an employment contract may not be terminated without the fault of the employee if they are the parent of a child under the age of 3. Employers cannot initiate the termination of a pregnant employee’s contract or give them notice of dismissal before the baby reaches the age of four months.

If you are still in the process of recruitment:

On 16 March, Employment Services Under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania issued the following announcement:

“Please note that currently the service to employers for issuing work permits to foreigners and for making new decisions regarding the conformity of foreign work to the needs of the labour market of the Republic of Lithuania are temporarily unavailable.

Employers who wish to continue working with foreigners may apply for consideration of the compatibility of the work of a foreigner with the needs of the labour market of the Republic of Lithuania for foreigners currently working and residing in the country. Documents regarding decisions to employ foreigners will only be accepted remotely.

New applications for the issue of work permits to foreigners in the Republic of Lithuania or for decisions regarding the conformity of the foreigners’ work to the needs of the labour market will temporarily not be accepted.”

Original text in Lithuanian: uzt.lt/news/darbdaviu-demesiui-del-uzsienieciu-idarbinimo/

Information in English from the Sorainen Law Firm about support to employers and employees during the quarantine period in Lithuania: sorainen.com/publications/support-to-employers-and-employees-during-the-quarantine-period/

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