Contribution to EIRO thematic feature on Youth and work - case of Latvia

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1. Regulatory framework

Specific policy towards young workers

There are no specific policies towards young workers. Young workers are a constituent of a target group of policies towards better work (education, lifelong learning and career counselling policies) and better work conditions (work safety and others).

It must be admitted that activities towards young unemployed people are remarkable more than activities towards young workers.

Definition of young worker

The further explanation concerns age group young people. Specific definition of young worker is not used in Latvia.

The State employment plan refers to age group 15-24 years old, but there are also measures within the National Programs (EU Structural funds) that are applied to the age group 18-25 years old.

The Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia (Centrālā Statistikas pārvalde, CSP) reports age group 15-24 years old or two age groups - 15-19 years old and 20-24 years old in employment statistics that is based on Labour Force Surveys data (jobseekers) and the group juveniles under 18 in unemployment statistics, that is based on the the State Employment Agency (Nodarbinātības Valsts aģentūra, NVA) data (registered unemployment).

The labour legislation categorises special groups: children and teenager. Children are people less than 15 years old or less than 18 years old if a person is a student of a basic education institution. Teenagers are people in age group 15-18 years old who do not belong to children category.

Targeted policies for young people in general or for young workers specifically

The clearest division of policies towards age related target groups is in education (including lifelong education) and unemployment spheres, and in connective policy called Supporting lifelong learning through career counselling services. In this policy the Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for young population, and the Ministry of Welfare - for adults. In practice the Ministry of Welfare provides career counselling services also for young people.

Main regulatory acts dealing with youth employment / unemployment / working conditions

Regulatory acts are dealing with employment (national employment plans) and employment relations/ working conditions (labour legislation).

The general framework of the state employment policy is the EU Lisboan strategy and EU Employment guidelines (currently - for the time period 2003-2005). The next level documents are the Declaration on Priorities of Employment Policy in Latvia that was concluded between European Commission and Latvian government on 6 February 2003, and the Single Programming Document 2003-2006 dealing with application of EU Structural funds. Since 2000, Latvia prepares annual National Employment Plans. Since 2004, the National Employment Plan is named as the National Action Plan for Promoting Employment.

The National Action Plan for Promoting Employment 2004 (currently valid) includes measures aimed at better employment of young people in several guidelines (targeted divisions of measures):

  • Guideline 1. Active and preventive measures for jobseekers (unemployed) and non-active people: to provide effective help in finding jobs or active employment measures during the first six months of unemployment for young people (during the first twelve months for others), in order to prevent long term unemployment. The main institution responsible for implementation of this guideline is the Professional Career Counselling State Agency (Profesionālās Karjeras izvēles Valsts aģentūra, PKIVA). The main measures are active employment measures, of which the most popular are competitiveness raising measures, career guidance and counselling services and career education. The guideline concerns young people who are out of the labour market.
  • Guideline 4. Promotion of the development of the human capital and lifelong learning: to promote professional education, lifelong learning and higher education and science. In this also the career counselling services are seen as an important tool to increase efficiency of education at all of its levels, to eliminate drop outs from the education institutions, and to harmonise business needs for educated people and supply from the education institutions. This measure concerns young people either before they enter labour market, they are unemployed or employed but looking for another job.
  • Guideline 7. Promotion of integration into the labour market people who belong to the social exclusion risk groups and avoiding of all kinds of discrimination on the labour market.

Young unemployed is indicated as a special group being more seriously affected by unemployment that is considered as one of the social exclusion risks. The policy rely on the conception that main reason for unemployment among young people is inappropriate or/and defective education

Laws, national inter-professional collective agreements

Specific law that regulate employment of young people does not exist.

Collective agreements normally do not deal with this issue.

Specific protective legislation covering young people

Protective legislation concerns employment relations with children and teenagers (people less than 18 years old).

It is not allowed to employ children at the permanent jobs. As a state of exception and with written agreement from at least one of parents (custodian) children over the 13 year of age may be employed during the study holidays in some easy jobs. The RL Cabinet of Ministers sets the list of allowed jobs and conditions of such an employment.

It is not allowed to employ teenagers in dangerous works. Parents must be informed about work conditions before conclusion of work contract with children or teenagers. Health control of children and teenagers must be provided before starting of work and every year until workers reach 18 years age. Workers who are younger than 18 years are not eligible for trial period, and can not be employed overtime and in night time. These workers can not be sent for official missions outside their normal working place except condition when one of parents has given written acceptance of such a mission.

Salary of teenagers that are employed normal working time must not be less than national minimum salary related to the normal working time. Normal working time for workers younger than 18 is five working days per week, but not more than 7 hours per day (nominal is 8 hours per day) and not more than 35 hour per week (nominal is 40 hours per week). If a worker is also a student of general or professional education then actual working time is calculated as a sum of study time and working time, and this must not exceed normative allowed working time. Summary time is also used if a worker is employed with several employers. If a teenager works less than normal working time, then his/her salary must not be less than the national minimum salary, related to the actual working time.

Workers who are younger than 18 are eligible for one month paid holidays (nominal is four weeks) in summer (if worker do not wish other). In no case their holidays may be moved to the next year (nominal - it is allowed as a matter of exception). Students are eligible for paid or unpaid leave for studies and examinations (depending on norms of collective agreement).

Children are paid according with the actual work done. They cannot be employed more than 2 hours per day and 10 hours per week during the study period, and more than four hours per day and 20 hour per week during the study holidays


2. National Programmes on Youth employment

Youth unemployment as a political issue and concern for the social partners

Youth unemployed is not perceived as a major political issue and/or concern for the social partners, yet this issue is one of targets in activities of the social partners related to employment issues.

Major figures on youth employment/ unemployment / long term unemployment

Table 1 - Year 2004
Indicator, year Total Males Females
Rate of economically active population to the total population, country average* 62.6 68.7 57.2
Age group 15-19 13.7 16.1 11.2
Age group 20-24 63.1 73.1 52.7
Rate of employed population in the total population, country average* 56.1 61.5 51.3
Age group 15-19 9.4 12.0 6.8
Age group 20-24 53.6 63.1 43.7
Rate of jobseekers to the economically active population, country average* 10.4 10.6 10.3
Age group 15-19 31.2 25.5 39.7
Age group 20-24 15.1 13.6 17.2
Of the total number of the registered unemployed, persons aged (years) 15-24** 12.8    
Age group 15-19 1.9    
Age group 20-24 10.9    

*Labour Force Survey data

** State Employment Agency data

Source: Statistical Yearbook of Latvia, 2005, Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia, Riga, 2005, pp. 66, 67

Table 2 - Years 2000, 2003, 2004
Indicator 2000 2003 2004
  1000 % 1000 % 1000 %
Population. total (at beginning of year) 2424.2 100.0 2331.5 100.0 2319.2 100.0
Of which by age (years) 0-14 432.2 17.8 372.6 16.0 356.5 15.4
15-24 342.5 14.1 352.0 15.1 357.0 15.4
Males, total 1122.9 100.0 1073.1 100.0 1068.3 100.0
Of which by age (years) 0-14 221.3 19.7 190.6 17.8 182.3 17.1
15-24 188.6 16.8 179.1 16.7 182.0 17.0
Females, total 1301.3 100.0 1258.4 100.0 1250.9 100.0
Of which by age (years) 0-14 210.8 16.2 182.1 14.5 174.2 13.9
15-24 169.0 13.0 172.9 13.7 175.0 14.0
Employed population, total 966.8 100.0 1006.9 100.0 1017.7 100.0
Of which by age (years) 15-24 95.7 9.9 110.7 11.0 108.9 10.7
Males, total 492.0 100.0 516.6 100.0 521.8 100.0
Of which by age (years) 15-24 57.4 11.7 65.9 12.8 66.2 12.7
Females, total 474.8 100.0 490.2 100.0 495.9 100.0
Of which by age (years) 15-24 38.3 8.1 44.8 9.1 42.7 8.6
Jobseekers, total 165.1 100.0 119.2 100.0 118.6 100.0
Of which by age (years) 15-24 29.5 17.9 25.1 21.0 24.2 20.4
Males, total 91.2 100.0 61.7 100.0 61.7 100.0
Of which by age (years) 15-24 15.8 17.3 13.6 22.0 12.6 20.4
Females, total 73.9 100.0 57.5 100.0 56.9 100.0
Of which by age (years) 15-24 13.8 18.7 11.5 20.0 11.6 20.4
Share of jobseekers in the economically active population by age group and sex, country average   14.6   10.6   10.4
Aged (years) 15-24   23.6   18.5   18.2
Males, country average   15.6   10.7   10.6
Aged (years) 15-24   21.5   17.1   16.0
Females, country average   13.5   10.5   10.3
Aged (years) 15-24   26.4   20.4   21.4

Source: Labor Force Surveys: Main Indicators in 2001 and 2004, Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia, Riga, October 2001and May 2002.

Specific national programme dealing with youth employment

There is no specific national program dealing with youth employment.

There are several National programs within EU Structural funds towards employment and better education (EQUAL, ESF, EFRD), where young people is one of target groups. For instance the NVA participates in implementation of the ESF National Program Support to the implementation of active employment measures (2004-2006). In frameworks of this program the NVA has implemented a pilot project Acquisition of working skills during summer holidays for the persons studying at general secondary education of secondary professional education establishments.

This program and some other programs carried out by Ministry of Education and Science and Ministry of Economics support general policy related to the supporting of lifelong learning through the development of guidance services, which is a part of the Human resources development program. This program is currently being developed into the wider Conception for improvement of career development support system.

Within ESF, about EUR 10 million will be used for projects that provide first jobs for young people during the time period 2004-2006.

Specific comprehensive approach of youth social and professional inclusion through national programmes

Young people are one of target groups in employment policies and employment promoting measures. It must be admitted that young people are the most active users of provided services and resources.

How programmes have been evaluated? How results have been assessed?

Programs have been evaluated according with rules and principles regarding evaluation of EU funds.

In addition, Latvia has evaluated its policy Supporting of lifelong learning through the development of guidance services within the framework of the ES DG EMPL Mutual Learning programme of the European Employment Strategy - Latvia hosted Peer Review meeting discussing this policy on 24-25 November 2005.


3. Role and views of the social partners on Youth at work

Social partners role in youth employment policy shaping

Social partners participate mainly in measures aimed at better professional education.

Social partners also participate in discussions on employment and employment promotion policies, in which youth employment is one of issues.

Collaboration between social partners and Ministry of Welfare improves, while collaboration within social dialogue institutions is not active on these issues.

Social partner’s contribution to specifying qualification and initial training needs for the national economy

The social partners participate in discussions on education conceptions and in elaboration of profession standards.

Currently the social partners participate in elaboration of Conception for improvement of career development support system - they are members of the national level working group responsible for developing of given conception.

Main issues of collective agreements on youth employment

Concerning specifically employment of young people, collective agreements deal with leave for studies and examination.

Sectoral plan aimed at attracting young people

There were attempts to estimate demand for workforce in metal industry, but this was initiative of the Association of Mechanical Engineering and Metalworking Industries of Latvia (Mašīnbūves un Metālapstrādes Rūpniecības Uzņēmēju asociācija, MASOC). The results of the research paper were presented on 23 September 2005. Among other conclusions the need for young specialists in the sector was defined. To reach this goal the cooperation between Government, enterprises and educational institutions should be improved.


4. Discussions and research

Discussions about youth unemployment among social partners

Do not exist

Main recent research on that topic

Several research topics concerning labour market are opened in 2005 in frameworks of National programs that are supported by the EU Structural funds.

Short term policy

Special policy is not planned.


5. Commentary

The shares of economically active people and employed people are low for young people, but this might be explained by high rate of students in this age group. On other hand unemployment figures are high for economically active young people. No doubt, employment of young people, especially after graduating of education institutions, is a problem, and it is specifically indicated in employment promoting strategies and policies. In addition, lack of appropriate job is one of motivations to leave Latvia for work in other EU countries, Canada and USA.

There is not clear policy specifically towards youth employment in Latvia, but this problem is being specified in all employment related policies. In addition, young people are active users of employment promotion services, including career education, career information and career counseling. Availability of general services for young people partly compensates lack of special policies.

European funds play an important role in promoting youth employment.

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