Žilvinas Šilėnas. The Labor Code: Stagnation and Hypocrisy

Despite numerous suggestions from the business sector and the European Commission to amend Lithuania’s labour regulations, the Labour Code has been an example of a complete stagnation for 25 years now.

The need for reforming the Labour Code is indisputable, but even minor proposals, such as setting the working time at an average of 40 hours per week instead of the current 8 hours per day, have been rejected. What is more, the current debate on the modernization of the Labour Code has reached the heights of absurdity. According to the Verslo Žinios business daily, the evolving draft of the Labour Code stipulates that in exchange of setting the working time at  40 hours per week all employees will have to pay taxes to trade unions, even if they do not belong to any. This cannot be regarded as balance seeking, not even negotiation. This reminds me trading in someone else‘s property or influence peddling.

Similarly, several years ago law-makers declined a proposal to apply more flexible labor regulations to earners of more than 6,500 Litas (1,882,53 EUR), including easier and faster lay-off regulations and lower lay-off benefits. Logically, the Labour Code should protect workers from being exploited, but why oppose more flexible regulations for those who cannot be regarded as oppressed? It is hard to believe that a specialist who earns a solid salary would be exploited under flexible labor regulations.

Although politicians oppose changes to the Labour Code, most working people, especially in the private sector, have long been measuring their performance in terms of work outcomes rather than the amount of time spent at work. It is high time Lithuania modernized its labour market regulation.

The full article in Lithuanian can be found at http://www.llri.lt/naujienos/ekonomine-politika/darbo-santykiai/z-silenas-darbo-kodeksas-stagnacija-ir-veidmainyste/zilvinas-silenas