Lithuania: New forms of traineeships introduced
After lengthy discussions the Lithuanian government has amended employment law to help young people to improve their skills, and has changed the rules on voluntary internship agreements. Both measures cover people aged 16–29. Although there is no assessment yet of their success, the measures are expected to be popular.
Measures to increase the skills of young people
Learning 'on the job'
The government has acted because of growing concerns that a lack of practical skills among young people is stopping them from getting a job.
New measures came into effect from 1 September 2014. They allow unemployed people under the age of 29 and registered with the Lithuanian Labour Exchange (LDB) to work for employers (whether a company or sole trader) for up to four months to learn practical skills 'on the job', and yet still retain their unemployed status. During this period they are also covered by compulsory state health insurance. Neither the employer nor the young person gets any additional income for this arrangement. As this form of traineeship has been in force for only seven months, there is, as yet, no information on how it is working.
Before this measure came into force, unemployed people (of any age) could participate only in vocational training organised by the LDB. However, they could get training placements with employers if these were agreed between themselves, the LDB and the employer.
From 1 January 2015, the new measures also include a new voluntary traineeship agreement. This is a form of internship for people under the age of 29 who may agree to work unpaid for a company for a maximum of two months to see if they are suitable for a particular job. One person may try a maximum of three such agreements in one 12-month period. Again, such voluntary trainees are covered by compulsory state health insurance and social insurance for accidents at work and occupational diseases during their internships. There is no additional income for the employer or young trainee. As yet there are no data to show how the measure is working, although it provides both parties with an opportunity to find out at no cost, whether a young employee suits the job. The measure is expected to be quite popular and may be useful in increasing youth employment if it is adequately publicised.