Engage In Latvia

Table of Contents

About Latvia

Capital City

Riga

Population

As of March 2024, the estimated population of Latvia is 1,830,211.

Currency

The currency in Latvia is the Euro (EUR). The currency symbol is €.

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Overview

Latvia, located in the Baltic region of Northern Europe, is a country with a rich cultural heritage and a fascinating history. Bordered by Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, Belarus, and the Baltic Sea, Latvia is known for its picturesque landscapes, charming architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. The country operates under a parliamentary republic system, with the president as the chief of state and the prime minister as the head of government. Latvia has transitioned to a market-oriented economy, where the prices of goods and services are determined through a free price system. It is a member of various international organizations, including the European Union and the World Trade Organization. The Latvian literature, although relatively young in terms of history, has made remarkable achievements. Figures like Rūdolfs Blaumanis, Rainis, and Aspazija are considered the forebears of Latvian literature, whose contributions have had a significant impact. With a deep appreciation for poetry and a love for books, Latvia’s cultural heritage is rooted in its extensive collection of folk songs and a thriving literary scene. From its natural beauty to its rich traditions, Latvia offers a captivating experience for both locals and visitors alike.

Employment Relationship

Permanent Employment

The Labor Law of Latvia dictates that all employment contracts are made for an unspecified duration or permanent employment, except the ones explicitly concluded for a fixed term or seasonal, casual work. If the employment contract does not mention a specific duration, it is deemed as entered into for an unspecified period or permanent work.  Permanent agreements can be terminated by either party with a notice period. 

Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

An employment contract entered into for a specified period must include the expiry date or conditions that determine the completion of work. If a fixed-term agreement does not have these conditions, it is deemed a contract for an unspecified duration. The same provisions apply to fixed-term employees as those to permanent employees in the same organization.  Fixed-term contracts cannot exceed 5 years, including renewals. If upon the expiry of the term, the contract continues, it is regarded as entered into for an unspecified period. Employment contracts made for fixed duration terminate on the day when the term expires. If an employment contract for a specified period does not include a final date, the employer has an obligation to notify the employee in writing of the expected termination at least 2 weeks in advance.

Temporary Employment Contratcs

Temporary employment contracts are allowed for casual and short-term work related to an expansion of the scope of work, an increase in production, or emergency work under exceptional circumstances. Employers are allowed to hire temporary employees through temporary work agencies (work placement services). Temporary employees are hired under a 3-way agreement between the agency, employee, and hiring employer. The agency must ensure the same working conditions and employment provisions are provided to a temporary employee as those provided to permanent employees hired directly. They must also ensure safe and harmless working conditions during the posting period. 

Probationary Period

Employment contracts can include a probationary period not exceeding 3 months in duration. Employees under 18 years of age cannot be employed with probation. An employment contract must explicitly state the duration of the probationary period. Without reducing the overall protection level of employees, a probationary period exceeding 3 months but not exceeding 6 months may be agreed upon in a collective agreement concluded with an employee trade union. In case of termination of a contract during the probationary period, it is not mandatory to give a reason for termination; however, a notice of at least 3 days must be provided. If the employer, when giving a notice of termination of an employment contract during the probationary period, has violated the prohibition of differential treatment, the employee has the right to bring an action to a court within 1 month from the date of the termination notice receipt.

Working Hours

The standard working hours are 8 hours per day or 40 per week. If the daily working time on any weekday is shorter than the regular daily working time, the length of some other weekday may be extended, but not more than by 1 hour.  For employees working in high-risk jobs, as well as young employees over the age of 15 but under 18, working hours cannot exceed 7 per day or 35 per week. Employees between 13 and 15 years of age may not work for more than 10 hours a week. A workday is reduced by an hour before public holidays unless a shorter working time has been specified by a collective agreement, working procedure regulations, or an employment contract.

Holidays / PTO

Statutory Holidays

Paid Annual Leave

Employees in Latvia are entitled to annual paid leave of at least 4 weeks, excluding public holidays. The right to full leave starts after 6 months of continuous work in the first year. Employees who have taken maternity leave can use their annual leave in the same year irrespective of service duration with the employer.  Supplementary annual leave is granted to employees taking care of a child with a disability under 18 years of age or children under 16 (the duration of leave depends on the number of children). Persons who work in jobs associated with special risks are also eligible for supplementary annual leave. Annual leave can be transferred to the next year under certain circumstances.

Sick Leave

Employees who have paid at least 3 monthly contributions within the last 6 months or 6 contributions in the last 24 months are entitled to sickness benefits. Sick leave is paid as follows: The first 10 days are paid by the employer at the rate of 75% of the employee's average earnings for the second and third day, and 80% from the fourth to the tenth day. The first day of sickness is not paid. From the 11th day, benefits are paid by the State Social Insurance Agency at the rate of 80% of the average earnings of the employee for a maximum of 26 weeks continuously or 52 weeks in a 3-year period. In case of occupational sickness, the benefit is paid from the first day. The employee must present a medical certificate to the employer. 

Maternity Leave

Pregnant employees are entitled to 112 days of maternity leave: 56 days before birth and 56 days after birth, each of which can be increased to 70 days in case of any complications. Employers must also provide appropriate leave for medical checkups if it is not possible to undergo such an examination outside of working time. It is prohibited to employ pregnant women in harmful jobs that pose a risk to their or their child's health or to force them to work overtime. A pregnant woman can request to work part-time during the period following childbirth for up to 1 year.  Employees have the right to return to their previous position after maternity leave. Employers are prohibited from giving a notice of termination of an employment contract to women during pregnancy and the period following childbirth for up to 1 year. Maternity benefits are paid by the State Social Insurance Agency as 80% of the average salary of the employee for 112 days or a maximum of 140 days in case of complications. The benefit must be requested within 6 months from the first day of the maternity leave.

Paternity Leave

Latvia's labor law grants employees paternity leave of 10 calendar days. This leave must be taken within 2 months from the birth of the child. If a mother has died in childbirth or during the first 42 days following delivery, the father is entitled to a leave of 70 days from the date the child was born. Same-sex couples are also entitled to paternity leave. The benefits for paternity leave are paid by the State Social Insurance Agency as 80% of the average salary of the applicant. The benefit must be requested within 6 months from the first day of the leave.

Termination of Employment

Notice Period

When terminating an employment contract, an employer must give a notice period to employees based on the reason for termination as follows: In case of gross misconduct (illegal activities, showing up to work in a state of intoxication) or inability to work due to health issues – no notice period  In case of violation of employment contract, acting contrary to moral principles, violation of health and safety provisions, or temporary disability for more than 6 months – 10 days of notice.  In case of lack of adequate occupational competence, reinstatement of an employee who previously performed the respective work, reduction in the number of employees, or liquidation of business – 1 month. The notice must be given in writing and include the reason for termination.  Persons hired for temporary work have the right to 1 day's notice. Fixed-term contracts without a final date can be terminated by giving 2 weeks' notice.

Severance Benefits

Employees who have been dismissed for lack of occupational competence, temporary disability, liquidation of the business, or reduction in the workforce are entitled to severance pay. Severance benefits are paid as follows, depending on the years of service: Less than 5 years of service – 1 month's average earnings 5 to 10 years of service – 2 months of average earnings 10 to 20 years of service – 3 months of average earnings More than 20 years of service – 4 months of average earnings.

Social Security

Pension

The social security insurance scheme in Latvia covers benefits for retirement pensions. The legal retirement age is 64 years and 3 months, increasing by 3 months every year till it reaches 65 years in 2025. The insured person must make social insurance contributions for at least 20 years to be eligible for a pension.  The monthly retirement pension is calculated based on the insured's accumulated pension capital, average salary, insurance period, and average life expectancy.  Latvia also provides a state social security old-age allowance of EUR 109 per month to residents who stay in Latvia permanently and are not eligible to receive the state pension. 

Dependents/Survivors Benefit

The State Social Insurance Agency provides survivors pension to children, siblings, and grandchildren under 18 years, as a percentage of the old-age pension the deceased received or would have been entitled to receive, ranging from 50% to 90%. The minimum monthly pension is EUR 136 (euros) for children under 6 years of age and EUR 163 for children 7 or above. A deceased person's spouse is eligible for benefits if the deceased received an old-age, invalidity, or work record related pension and died after January 1, 2019. The spouse is entitled to 50% of the pension received by the deceased person.  If an insured employee dies due to a work-related accident or occupational disease, their survivors receive insurance indemnity, calculated based on the deceased person's average monthly insurance contribution salary. A funeral allowance is also paid.  Latvia also provides State social security allowance to permanent residents under 18 in case of the loss of a supporter. The benefit is paid as a minimum monthly pension of EUR 136 for children under 6 years of age and EUR 163 for children 7 or above.

Invalidity Benefit

Insured persons are entitled to a disability pension if they have not reached the retirement age and have been assessed with a disability. The pension amount depends on the type of disability and average insurance contribution salary, contribution period, and years left for retirement. The minimum amount of invalidity pension is granted if the person has not been subject to invalidity insurance for 5 years before becoming eligible for this benefit.  In case of disability caused by a work-related accident or occupational disease, employees are entitled to indemnity for loss of ability to work, depending on the type and degree of disability.  Latvia provides state social security disability allowance to disabled persons over 18 years of age who reside in Latvia permanently and are not eligible for state pensions.

Taxation of Compensation and Benefits

Personal Income Tax

Personal income tax is imposed on the income of a natural person in Latvia. Residents are taxed on income from worldwide sources. Non-residents are taxed on their income from sources in Latvia. The following persons are considered residents: Those who have a permanent place of residence in Latvia Those who stay in Latvia for at least 183 days in a 12-month period Those who are Latvian citizens employed in a foreign country by the Government of Latvia. The taxation period in Latvia runs the same as the calendar year, from January 1 through December 31. Non-residents are taxed at the same rates as residents. Personal income tax rates are progressive, running from 20% to 31%. 

Immigration

Types of Visas

Latvia is a Schengen member, and foreign nationals wishing to enter the country must apply for a Schengen visa. The following visa types are issued depending on the purpose and duration of the visit: Type A (airport transit visa) – issued to foreign nationals to cross the airport transit zone. It is valid for a maximum of 6 months. Type C (short-term stay visa) – issued to foreign nationals for a maximum of 90 days. It can also be granted as a limited territory visa, allowing its holders to stay only in Latvia. Type D (long-stay visa) – valid for a maximum of 1 year; stay cannot exceed 90 days in a 6-month period. All three types can be issued as individual single-entry, double-entry or multiple-entry visas.

Work Permit

Foreign nationals are allowed to work in Latvia under the following categories of residence permits: With restrictions upon entering into an employment contract with a specific employer in a particular specialty (profession), part-time work, or concluding another civil legal contract For conducting commercial activities, if the person is an individual economic operator, a member of the board or the council, a proctor, an administrator, a liquidator or a member of a partnership, or self-employed Without restrictions. Effective June 13, 2022, Latvia temporarily suspended temporary residence permits to Russian and Belarusian citizens. The limitation on the issuance of temporary residence permits is in force until June 30, 2023.  As of September 2023, Latvian consular posts are now issuing long-stay (D) visas to Russian citizens with Latvian temporary residence permits. Foreign nationals employed with a specific employer in a particular profession require a work permit and a residence permit for their stay in Latvia. A work permit is issued together with a visa or a temporary residence permit after a Latvian employer has demonstrated a necessity for a specific specialist. A short-term work permit is valid for 6 months, and long-term permits are issued in accordance with the residence permit (up to 4 years for temporary residence and indefinitely for permanent residence). Foreign nationals who have received a permanent residence permit for certain categories are allowed to work in Latvia without restrictions.

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