The labor force of Latvia is 1,271,040 people, about 64% of the total population. This includes anyone between the ages of 15 and 64. Of these, 61%, i.e. 775,334 people, are employed. Total unemployment in Latvia is 9.5%.
Education and skills
Primary education is a general requirement (both social and professional) for the Latvian workforce, which is why the primary education rate is 98%. The Latvian primary education system consists of 4 grades of primary education, 5 years of lower/incomplete primary education and 3 grades of either primary education or vocational/technical education. About 40% choose to enroll in a vocational/technical institution and receive basic vocational/technical education. The other 60% opt for a normal primary education. Vocational/specialized primary education is available in cities with a developed specialized industry, e.g. Railway industry jobs in Daugavpils, a major railway junction between the EU and Russia.
Higher education is not a general requirement for the Latvian workforce, but is required to engage in specialized, skill-based and academic jobs. Higher education is achieved by 21% of Latvians. It is offered by 58 universities and vocational training institutions. Of the total working-age population, 40% have a high level of technical or academic skills, while 87% have intermediate qualifications.
The minimum wage in Latvia is EUR 370/month before taxes (gross salary). According to various estimates, the average gross salary is around EUR 800/month. The Latvian Central Statistical Office estimates the average gross salary at EUR 818/month. Statistics show that starting in 2012, average wages in Latvia will increase by about 3-7% every year.
Net salary generally accounts for about 55% of gross salary. That is, 45% of gross wages are paid by the employer as taxes, and the employee receives 55% of their wages “on paper”. This also means that a minimum wage of EUR 370 costs the employer EUR 457.64 and earns the employee EUR 272.24. However, these calculations do not take into account variables such as tax credits for dependents in the worker's family. For each family member supported, the assessment basis is reduced by EUR 175 (2016), e.g. The minimum wage of EUR 370 now generates EUR 312.49 for the worker who has 1 dependent, EUR 331.15 for 2 dependents, etc. To learn more about how wage taxes work in Latvia, please read this article on the Corporate Taxation in Latvia.
Latvian legislation provides for different types of working hours: normal working time, reduced normal working time, part-time work, shift work, night work and combined working time. A reduced working time is the one that is shorter than the standard working week. Day and night shifts and the summarized work schedule can be applied when the work process cannot be stopped or the rule schedule cannot be enforced. In any case, the working time must be mentioned in the employment contract and the working time should be calculated and documented by the employer.
Normal working hours in Latvia are 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week. The usual working week is Monday to Friday, but this is not mandatory as some companies, such as B. Shops are also open on Saturdays and Sundays. The total working hours cannot exceed 160 in 4 weeks - this allows for shifts of over 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week while ensuring that employees are not overworked.
Overtime is permitted under Latvian law, but must comply with the following principles. First of all, this must be agreed in writing between the employee and the employer. The agreement should include the amount of overtime and remuneration. According to the Labor Code, the number of overtime hours cannot exceed 144 hours in 4 months. In addition, Section 68 of the law stipulates that the employer must pay at least 100% of the regular hourly, weekly or piecework wage for overtime.
It should be noted that if an employee works more than contractually agreed but on a reduced schedule, such additional work does not count as overtime work. Nevertheless, in this case, the employee is entitled to claim compensation for more work, but the amount of compensation is not regulated by law.