Latvia: Working conditions of young entrants to the labour market

  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Job quality,
  • Published on: 19 December 2013



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Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.

Special studies, surveys and official registers on working conditions of the target group of this study are not available. The group itself is not identified and sufficiently investigated. Young entrants are not specifically targeted by employment policy measures and even less by policies focused on improvement of their working conditions. On the basis of their experience, social partners report that great part of the group of young people starting their employment is hidden for observation and hidden employment among young entrants occurs more often. The opposite is also mentioned - educated young entrants are able to find qualitative jobs.

Introduction

This EWCO CAR is specifically focused on the group of “young entrants to the labour market”. This group includes all young people (between 15 and 30 years old) who have recently entered into the labour market (i.e., people with a work experience shorter than 1-2 years in the labour market), with relative independence of their age and for whom work is their main and core activity. This definition excludes young people for whom studies are their main activity but who combine their studies with some remunerated activity as part of their training programmes (e.g. apprenticeships in dual systems), as well as unemployed young people, even if they are actively looking for a job (see Background note for more detailed information on the concept of young entrants to be considered in the research).

The CAR coordinating team is conscious that such as “narrow” definition of “young entrants to the labour market” can make difficult the identification and collection of relevant information on the topic. Therefore, and in the case no national information is available using this “narrow” definition, National Correspondents can use a “proxy” definition of “young entrant to the labour market” as any young person (i.e. between 15 and 30 years old) who is in employment, irrespectively of the number of years of experience that he/she has in the labour market (again, unemployed young people are excluded from the analysis).

The questionnaire focuses on the following topics:

  • General description and characterisation of the main current working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in your country in comparison to other age groups (around 700 words)

  • Identification and characterisation of existing differences in working conditions within the group of young entrants to the labour market in your country (around 600 words)

  • Evolution of working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in the last five years. Effects of the economic crisis (around 500 words)

  • Initiatives taken by national governments/social partners in order to improve employment levels and working conditions of young entrants to the labour market (around 500 words)

  • Final commentary on the main results (around 100 words)

General note

Latvian labour statistics identify young workers in the following age groups: 15-19 years old, 20-24 years old and 25-29 years old.

Latvian labour statistics does not identify workers according to their work experience and whether work is their main and core activity. In compliance with data from the Ministry of Welfare in Q4 2012 out of 255 thousand people in total in the group of 15 – 24 years old, 153 thousand people were in education, 80 thousand worked and 22 thousand people were unemployed. The study of the Ministry of Welfare conducted in 2006-07 (available at: http://www.lm.gov.lv/upload/darba_tirgus/darba_tirgus/petijumi/3._graduates_en.pdf) showed that 78% of students in higher education institutions worked during their studies, and the share of working students increased from 2002 to 2005. The share varied from 38% (in agriculture) to 88% (in legal sciences), and from 67% for those attending academic bachelor studies to 92% for those acquiring masters’ degree. 21% of vocational education institutions’ graduates have worked (without including short-term work) during their studies. The share varies from 9% in agriculture to 66% in health care and social work, and from 18% for those in vocational training to 35% for those in vocational education (2nd or 3rd level) after secondary education or vocational training (see more in LV0802029Q).

It is not possible to identify young people for whom studies are their main activity but who combine their studies with some remunerated activity as part of their training programmes (e.g. apprenticeships in dual systems), as well as those who have work experience shorter than 1 - 2 years.

The study does not include unemployed young people, even if they are actively looking for a job and young unemployed people who are involved in active employment measures with working contracts within the State Employment Agency (Nodarbinātības Valsts aģentūra, NVA) assistance programs.

National surveys, ad-hoc national research and administrative registers are not available regarding traget group as it is specified in this study. Such target group has never been identified in existing surveys, registers, policy planning documents, covering youth employment.

The survey Working conditions and risks in Latvia 2009 – 2010, conducted by the LDDK in 2010 includes data on young people in age groups 18 – 24 and 25 – 34. Unfortunately, only some aspects are specified by age. The survey compares results of similar studies in 2006 and 2020.

Block 1: General description and characterisation of the main current working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in your country in comparison to other age groups

1.1 Career and employment security issues

Satisfaction at work is not investigated specifically regarding the target group. Working conditions survey does not distinguish young workers according to length of their employment and whether work is their main activity.

The labour legislation does not establish specifications for young entrants, except some norms regarding employment status and time of employment for people under 15 and under 18 years of age. These norms do not apply specifically to the target group of this report because such target group is distinguished neither in Latvian legislation, nor in studies on working conditions. However these norms automatically fit for young entrants due to their age and years passed from the beginning of working life.

In compliance with the Labour law it is prohibited to employ a person who is under 15 years of age (a child) and who until reaching the age of 18 continues to acquire a basic education in permanent work. In exceptional cases children from the age of 13, if one of the parents (guardian) has given written consent, may be employed outside of school hours. Such employment should not interfere with the education of the child.

In exceptional cases if one of the parents (guardian) has given written consent and a permit from the State Labour Inspectorate (Valsts Darba inspekcija, VDI) has been received, a child as a performer may be employed in cultural, artistic, sporting and advertising activities if such employment is not harmful to the safety, health, morals and development of the child. Such employment should not interfere with the education of the child.

Working week for persons under 18 years of age is five days. Children who have reached the age of 13 years may not be employed:

  1. for more than two hours a day and more than 10 hours a week if the work is performed during the school year; and

  2. for more than four hours a day and more than 20 hours a week if the work is performed during a period when there are holidays at educational institutions.

Adolescents may not be employed for more than seven hours a day and more than 35 hours a week.

If persons who are under 18 years of age continue to, in addition to work, acquire primary education, secondary education or an occupational education, the time spent on studies and work shall be summed and may not exceed seven hours a day and 35 hours a week. If persons who are under 18 years of age are employed by several employers, the working time shall be summed.

A person under 18 years of age may be sent on official travel or a work trip if one of the parents (guardian) has given his or her written consent.

All other rights regarding employment status are equal to workers in age older than 18 years.

Data on presence of precarious and/or atypical forms of employment (temporary workers, part-time, agency work) among young entrants, except shorter working time for employed younger than 18 years old, is not available.

Special pay systems are not introduced regarding the target group of this study, unless the norm, that regardless shorter working day and working week, young employers should receive at least minimum salary. Minimum hourly pay is calculated from the full minimum wage that is divided by less number of working hours. In result, compared to adults pay, hourly minimum pay is higher for workers under 18.

1.2 Skills development

Latvian legislation does not provide special norms for young entrants regarding their skills development. Data on training activities for the target group of this study is not available.

1.3 Health and well being

Real data on health and well being issues for young entrants is not available.

The labour legislation does not establish specifications for young entrants regarding health and well being, except some norms general for workers under 15 and under 18 years of age.

In compliance with the Labour law, a person who is under 15 years of age may be employed in doing light work not harmful to the safety, health, morals and development of the child. Work in which children may be employed from the age of 13 is determined by the Cabinet of Ministers.

A child as a performer may be employed in cultural, artistic, sporting and advertising activities if such employment is not harmful to the safety, health, morals and development of the child.

It is prohibited to employ a person between the ages of 15 and 18 (adolescent) in jobs in special conditions which are associated with increased risk to their safety, health, morals and development. Work in which the employment of adolescents is prohibited and exceptions when employment in such jobs is permitted in connection with occupational training of the adolescent are determined by the Cabinet of Ministers.

An employer has a duty, prior to entering into an employment contract, to inform one of the parents (guardian) of the child or adolescent regarding the assessed risk of the working environment and the labour protection measures at the relevant workplace.

Persons under 18 years of age may be hired only after a prior medical examination and they have, until reaching the age of 18, to undergo a mandatory medical examination once a year.

1.4 Reconciliation of working and non-working life

Data on reconciliation of working and nonworking life regarding target group of this study is not available.

Block 2: Identification and characterisation of existing differences in working conditions within the group of young entrants to the labour market in your country

NCs are kindly requested to provide the most updated information (coming from national surveys, administrative registers or ad-hoc national researches/studies) on differences of working conditions within the group of young entrants to the labour market, for a series of variables. Please provide the information only for those variables where significant/important differences, either positive or negative, can be identified, stressing the causes and rationale of these differences

2.1 Personal characteristics of young entrants

National surveys, ad-hoc national research and administrative registers are not available regarding target group as it is specified in this study.

2.2 Occupational characteristics

National surveys, ad-hoc national research and administrative registers are not available regarding target group as it is specified in this study.

Block 3: Evolution of working conditions of young entrants to the labour market in the last five years. Effects of the economic crisis

National surveys, ad-hoc national research and administrative registers are not available regarding target group as it is specified in this study. Such target group has never been identified in existing surveys and registers, covering youth employment.

It is not possible to identify young people with work experience shorter than 1-2 years within 5 years period.

3.1 Please provide information on the evolution of working conditions of young labour entrants in the last five years. Have working conditions of this group improved/deteriorated in comparison to the existing situation five years ago (before the economic crisis began)? What are the reasons for these changes

Working conditions of young entrants are not regularly monitored. National surveys and ad-hoc national studies are not conducted on working conditions of young entrants and administrative registers regarding working conditions of young entrants do not exist.

Some data on working conditions in age groups 18-24 and 25-35 may be obtained from the Working conditions and risks in Latvia 2009 – 2010.

It reports that young workers in age group 18-24 were the most satisfied with their current employment (81.3% of all answers in 2010, 81.4% in 2006). In age group 25–34 years old 71.8% were satisfied with their current work in 2010, and 74.2% in 2006).

Regarding working conditions also the most satisfied were young workers in age group 18-24 (89.4% in 2010) and evenly satisfied were respondents in other age groups (82.2-83.5% in 2010, 76.4-78.3% in 2006).

Regarding observation of normative requirements on working conditions in enterprise, the estimation was the lowest in young age groups – in age group 18–24 it was marked by 7.8 (of max 10) in 2006 and 8 in 2010, in age group 25-34 years old it was 8.1 in 2006 and 8.2 in 2010. No differences by age were observed in answers regarding occurrence of risk assessment in undertakings.

No differences by age were observed in answers regarding change regarding labour protection in undertakings.

Less than in other age groups respondents confirm that they were involved in assessment of working risks (14.8% in age group 18–24 compared with 18.8 – 19.9 in other groups). No differences by age were observed in answers regarding occurrence of risk assessment in undertakings.

In 2006 in age group 18-25 more often than in other groups respondents reported working without written employment contracts but this was not observed in 2010, when such condition was most often observed in age group 45–54 years old (2.6% of these working in single job, 20.1 of those working in two or more jobs) and workers in age group 25–35 (relevant figures were 5,9% and 21,7%). Moreover, working with written employment contract was less important in younger age groups (86.1% for those in age group 18–24, 89,4% for those in age group 25–34, compared with 91.7% in age group 35-44, 90.6% in age group 45-54 and 90.8% in age group 55-74).

In 2006 younger respondents less than others have reported health problems (18-24 years old – 12.7%, 25-34 years old – 18.5%, 21.8 – 25.3 in other groups). The same trend was observed in 2010 – 18-24 years old – 10.7%, 25-34 years old – 15.5%, 16.5 – 20.5 in other groups.

Respondents in age group 25 – 34 years old have been the most active in submitting proposals within the social dialogue (31.4% in 2006 and 30.8% in 2010).

Young workers are less informed on working environment risk factors. In 2006, 51.4% in age group 18–24 compared to 55.1 – 58.7% in other groups reported that they are informed about risk factors, 53.1% in age group 18–24 compared to 58.5 – 65.5% in other groups reported that they are informed about eventual impact of working conditions on their health. In 2010, 41.4% in age group 18–24 compared to 51.3 – 55.5% in other groups reported that they are informed about risk factors, 49.5% in age group 18–24 compared to 53.3 – 61.5% in other groups reported that they are informed about impact on health.

3.2 Based on possible existing prospective studies, please provide information on the expected evolution of employment levels and working conditions of young labour market entrants in your country in the near future (coming 2-3 years)

Prospective studies on working conditions of young entrants do not exist.

Block 4: Initiatives taken by national governments/social partners in order to improve employment levels and working conditions of young entrants to the labour market

4.1 Identify main recent national measures/initiatives (1-2) put in place in your country by public authorities in order to improve employment opportunities and working conditions for young entrants to the labour market.

Specific measures for improving employment opportunities and working conditions of target group as it is specified in this study are not introduced by public authorities. Moreover, working conditions of young workers in general are not considered important, because working conditions are regulated by strict legislation, norms should be equally applied and working conditions are controlled.

More attention is paid to improving employment opportunities, but these measures also are focused on young people without distinguishing whether they have work experience shorter than 1-2 years and whether the work is their main and core activity.

All major public programmes and policies have chapters dealing with youth employment including the issue how to improve entry into employment for young workers. The most important are: National development plans (planning periods 2004 - 2006, 2007 - 2013), National employment plans, Regional employment plans, Concept of the career development system, Concept of life-long learning, Strategies and National programs of the Ministry of Education and Science.

Public authorities or agencies responsible for such programmes are: Ministry of Welfare, Ministry of Economics, Ministry of education and science, NVA, Professional Career Counselling State Agency (Profesionālās Karjeras izvēles Valsts aģentūra, PKIVA), and social partners.

Main tools and measures activated to achieve the policy goals are: facilitating access to professional education and improving quality of education; assistance in career development; and information and consultation.

Specifically for young unemployed people (young persons who are registered with the NVA), the NVA has introduced three measures, however target group of these measures are young unemployed persons (excluded from the target group of this study).

The Ministry of Welfare is developing the EU initiative Youth Guarantee. This initiative also is focused on youth employment (integration into labour market) rather than on working conditions of young people. It includes six groups of measures for different groups of unemployed young people.

4.2 Identify main recent initiatives (1-2) put in place in your country by social partners (either at national, sector or company level) in order to improve working conditions amongst young entrants to the labour market.

Interactive internet site Prakse.lv

General information: The portal was established in 2007 and is currently run by the association “Jauniešu konsultācijas” (Biedrība „Jauniešu konsultācijas”) in framework of the project Experience for the future. The founders of the project are the Chancellery of the President of Latvia (Latvijas Valsts prezidenta kanceleja), State Chancellery (Valsts Kanceleja, VK), Latvian Employers’ Confederation (Latvijas Darba Devēju konfederācija, LDDK), the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments (Latvijas Pašvaldību savienība, LPS) and the association Jauniešu konsultācijas. It is a joint public-private incentive.

On 19 July 2013 the LDDK announced an internet game “Virtual Practice” (www.virtualaprakse.lv) within the “Prakse.lv” project. Young people may virtualy get experience in working in more than 100 undertakings and 90 professions. The project is implemented by joint efforts of LDDK and „Statoil Fuel & Retail Latvia”.

It serves all territory of Latvia and all sectors of national economy.

Objectives pursued: to assist young workers to find job and employers to find workers by providing virtual meeting place for employers, job seekers, education institutions and other parties.

Support offered, activities carried out: provides information on job vacancies, available professions, assessment of education institutions (collects reviews and comments on education institutions), information and excursions in employee friendly enterprises, education and state governance institutions, career consultancies and profession test, and computer game where young people are invited to visit seven real enterprises and to involve in real employment situations: decision making, competition, representation of her/his enterprise.

Target groups: young job-seekers, among them young entrants (is not specifically targeted to the group of people as identified in this study).

Outcomes (major results/consequences on employment levels and working conditions of young labour market entrants): registered users – active participants: 1651 enterprises, 1321 education institutions, 56033 young people (source: http://www.prakse.lv/). Enterprises, education institutions and state institutions participate on voluntary basis.

Statistical evidence of consequences on employment levels and working conditions of young labour market entrants is not recorded.

Informative measures and competition in educational institutions SMARTS – the game for those in education (general education)

General information: Preventative measure, focused on acquiring knowledge on legislation and employment practice regarding employment and working conditions.

Active for several years, responsible agents: the Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia (Latvijas Brīvo Arodbiedrību savienība, LBAS) and education institutions, supported by the Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Welfare, VDI, covers all territory of Latvia and all sectors of national economy. The competition is supported by EU Social Fund.

Objectives: to promote understanding about skills and knowledge necessary for successful starting of employment and career among students in general education; to promote understanding on employment rights and working conditions before starting employment; to represent trade unions in student’s audience.

Support offered, activities carried out: students in higher classes of general education institutions (10 – 12 grade) are invited to prepare themselves for competition on targeted issues during the school year, the learning period is finished by the competition between classes within education institution and between education institutions of one region and among the best in regions while national winner is established, awarding of the best education institutions at all levels.

Target groups: students in general education (is not specifically targeted to the group of people as identified in this study).

Outcomes: In 2000 more than 2,000 students participated in the measure.

Consequences on employment levels and working conditions of young labour market entrants are not reported.

Commentary

The working conditions of the “first” job are not specifically identified and monitored and are not a concern of the authorities. Strict legislation on working conditions, as well as sufficient control is one reason for low attention to physical working conditions issues in general. The group of new entrants is not investigated and their problems are not identified, therefore the instruments and mechanisms are not put in place to support young people in physical working conditions issues. More attention is paid to assistance for young workers in the labour market to find good better jobs.

Interviews:

  • Imants Lipskis, Head of the Labour Department of Ministry of Welfare;

  • Egils Baldzens, vice president of LBAS;

  • Ieva Freiborne, coordinator of the LBAS Youth Council;

  • Eduards Filipovs, former vice general director of LDDK.

Raita Karnite, EPC Ltd.

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