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Latvian Saeima committee supports changes to overtime pay

Photo: pixabay.com
Saeima’s Social and Employment Matters Committee supported in the final reading amendments to the Labour Law, providing for paying 50% for overtime work if a general agreement on wages is signed in the industry.

This regulation applies to signing of general agreement regarding the size of bonus pay for overtime work, setting it no lower than 50% of employees’ set hourly rate.

At the same time, amendments clarify that the general agreement document should provide a section on an increase of minimal wage or hourly rate in an industry – at least 50% of the country’s set minimal wage or hourly rate.

A representative of Saeima’s Legal Affairs Office pointed to the risk of new regulations not complying with the Constitution during the meeting, saying the office would not be able to represent the Saeima in this matter at the Constitutional Court if need be.

During the meeting of the committee, State President Raimonda Vējonis’ constitutional rights advisor Jānis Pleps said that, considering constitutional risks in regards to the legislative process, review of the proposal could be started anew. He referenced the conclusions published by the Constitutional Court regarding the importance of compliance with appropriate law approval process.

Authors of the approved proposal provided their arguments why their proposal complies with the Constitution and not the other way around.

As it is known, overtime pay in all cases in Latvia is rewarded with 100% bonus to wage. By approving aforementioned amendments, industries that lack a general agreement will preserve the current overtime pay regime.

In accordance with the Labour Law, industry general agreement is signed by employers who provide more than 50% of jobs or whose goods or service volume forms more than 50% of the industry’s total turnover. The general agreement is binding for all of the industry’s employers and employees. The general agreement is primarily aimed at protection of interests of employees and to ensure social guarantees. It also assists with development and competition, as well as limitation of grey economy, according to authors of the legislative draft.

Social partners – organizations representing employees and employers – also agreed on the new overtime pay model.

Last year, president Vējonis sent amendments back to the Saeima for a repeated viewing. He believed the country should guarantee equal opportunities for all in accordance with the law, as well as avoid putting in an inconvenient position other employers and employees while combating grey economy.

«Ignoring objections regarding potential breaches of the Constitution during the legislative process does not contribute to residents’ trust in Latvia and its laws – it weakens their trust and the rule of law,» said the president.


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