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On Monday, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė vetoed the Labour Code proposed by the Seimas and offered potential changes that she believed might improve security for workers.

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Dalia Grybauskaitė
Dalia Grybauskaitė
© DELFI / Domantas Pipas

1. Return the bylaw indicating that the worker is the weaker party in a work relationship.

In the Labour Code passed by the Seimas, this bylaw was removed.

2. Compensation for workers who are forbidden from working with other employers to avoid a conflcit of interest. This restriction is only applied to workers with special information.

In the Labour Code passed by the Seimas, workers could be restricted from working with other employers while employed without paying additional compensation. This is called a non-compete clause.

3. Allow workers to individually negotiate more flexible work conditions without applying the Code's mandatory bylaws for workers making no less than 3 times the national average wage (currently, this sum is €2,244 before taxes).

In the Labour Code passed by the Seimas, these individual negotiations were allowed for workers earning no less than 2 times the national average wage (€1,496 before taxes) (except for rules related to maximum work and minimum rest time, the formation and ending of labour contracts, the minimum wage, worker health and safety, gender equality and non-discrimination for other reasons) if the labour contract formed reached a balance between the interests of the employer and the worker.

4. When firing a worker with a child of up to 14 years of age at the employer's initiative without fault on the worker's part, the notification period must be 3 months. The same 3-month period would apply to parents raising children of up to 18 years of age. Workers raising disabled children of up to 18 years of age would be offered a prioritized chance to stay in their position.

In the Labour Code passed by the Seimas, the notification period is 2 months for workers raising children of up to 14 years of age. When firing a worker at the employer's initiative without any fualt on the part of the worker, no special protections were offered for workers raising disabled children of up to 18 years of age.

5. In the event of a “rapid” firing process with 3 days' notice, the employer must pay the worker 8 average salaries.

In the Labour Code passed by the Seimas, the employer must pay 6 average salaries.

6. Severance pay must be paid to workers who end their contracts for important reasons – they've reached retirement age or they cannot work due to an illness or disability. This severance pay must be 2 times the worker's average salary.

In the Labour Code passed by the Seimas, these severance payments amount to 1 average salary.

7. Unlimited forfeitures for employers who fail to pay their worker after ending their contract without any fault on the worker's part.

In the Labour Code passed by the Seimas, forfeitures have a ceiling equal to 3 times the worker's average salary.

8. To remove the term “reasonable period.” The president believes that the period in the Code must be clearer, so she suggests the following change: “The worker must be notified about employment condition changes no less than 3 work days before the fact.”

In the Labour Code passed by the Seimas, the employer must notify the worker within a reasonable period of changes to their work conditions when the rules governing those conditions are changed.

9. To eliminate contracts with undefined work volumes. These are known as “empty” or “zero” contracts, which have a minimum of only 8 hours of work a month.

The Labour Code passed by the Seimas allows for such contracts (they are not currently allowed), but it has become clear that neither workers nor employers want such contracts. Such contracts only exist in the United Kingdom, Denmark and the Netherlands.

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