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Changes to new Labour Code

Lithuania: new Labour Code changes even before entering into force.

The new Lithuanian Labour Code (the “new LC”) due to come into force on 1 January 2017 has already been amended.

The Parliament decided to exclude from the new LC so called “zero hours” employment contracts, which had caused much discussion. Under these contracts an employee would have to work at least eight hours a month but the working time would not be set in the contract – the employee would have to come to work at the employer’s call.

Higher severance payments to employees who initiate termination of employment for important reasons (e. g. illness or retirement age). These employees will receive two average salaries from their employer instead of one. And if employment lasts less than one year, the severance payment will amount to one average salary (previously in this case, the new LC set a severance payment of half the employee’s average salary).

Longer termination notices are now foreseen when an employment contract is terminated at the employer’s initiative but without the employee’s fault when an employee has a child under 14 years of age or a disabled child under 18 years of age. These employees will have to be notified at least three months before termination. If the employment lasted less than one year, the employee will have to be notified at least six weeks before termination. The currently valid shorter working day before a public holiday, which was to be repealed under the new LC, is “brought back”. The Parliament decided that a working day which comes before a public holiday will be shortened by one hour for all employees except for those working under a shorter working time regime.

The Parliament has also “brought back” the provision on interpretation of employment contracts. In cases of doubt as to the terms of an employment contract, these are to be interpreted in favour of the employee.

It is still unclear whether this changed version of the new LC will come into force as of 1 January 2017. The aim is to postpone the new LC for another half a year and to have it considered once again by the Tripartite Council.