Topic 1 Terminology and legal frameworks of the national labour market

Non-EU citizens can enter and stay in Lithuania only for purposes established by the law. Foreigners (apart from EU nationals) that wish to work in Lithuania have to meet certain conditions. Those arriving from non-EU countries must go through certain procedures, where most important ones are to first find an employer and get a work permit or a decision on compliance with labour market needs.

Foreigners granted asylum in Lithuania can get a job without restrictions and do not need a work permit or a decision on compliance with labour market needs. There can be distinguished 3 forms of asylum in Lithuania: refugee status (permanent), subsidiary protection (granted for two years with the possibility to be prolonged) and temporary protection (can be granted by the government if there is an increased number of people asking for asylum). Lithuania usually grants subsidiary protection.

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The Law on Employment applies to asylum seekers, according to which employment support for asylum seekers is provided on the same basis as for citizens of the Republic of Lithuania. Article 25(10) of the Employment Act stipulates that persons granted refugee status or persons granted subsidiary or temporary protection are also considered to be additionally supported in the labour market.

The Law on the Legal Status of Aliens states that both aliens granted refugee status and aliens granted subsidiary protection are exempt from the obligation to obtain a work permit. Therefore, these persons can start working under an employment contract once they obtain a residence permit. Asylum seekers, i.e. foreigners whose asylum applications have not yet been decided, are not entitled to work in Lithuania.

There are two stages of refugees’ integration in Lithuania that serve as resources for refugees to integrate into the labour market and society:

Stage I. Support at the Refugee Reception Center

First assistance is provided to refugees at the Refugee Reception Center in Rukla which provides support for a period of up to 8 months. During this period, social workers from the Refugee Reception Centre, in collaboration with the Labour Exchange Office, assess refugees’ skills and qualifications, check their health, perform an assessment of any health problems, disabilities and others. Refugees are intensively taught Lithuanian language and Lithuanian culture so that they are properly prepared to integrate into the Lithuanian society and labour market.

Stage II. Integration support at a municipal territory level

Once first stage of integration is complete at the Refugee Reception Centre, further integration support is provided at local municipality territory and lasts for up to 12 months. Non-governmental organizations provide mentor services. Mentors help an alien to buy essential supplies, rent an apartment, pay cash benefits, organize a Lithuanian language training for an alien, organize a kindergarten visit, school education for children, advise foreigners on all matters, ensure an alien’s visit to the Employment Service, help fill in and prepare the necessary documents, etc.

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The Constitution lays down a certain number of labour rights:

  • Right to freely form societies, political parties and associations, provided that the aims and activities thereof do not contradict the Constitution and laws (Art.35 (3));
  • Right to freely choose an occupation or business (Art.48 (1));
  • Right to adequate, safe and healthy working conditions (Art.48 (1);
  • Right to adequate remuneration for work (Art.48 (1));
  • Right to social security in the event of unemployment (Art.48 (1));
  • Prohibition of forced labour, except military service or alternative service, as well as labour which is executed during war, natural calamity, epidemic or other urgent circumstances, or labour performed in places of confinement (Art.48 (3) – 48 (5));
  • Right to rest and leisure as well as to annual paid holidays (Art.49 (1));
  • Right to organise a trade union (Art.50 (1));
  • Right of trade unions to function independently (Art.50 (1));
  • Equality of the trade unions rights (Art.50 (1));
  • Right of the employees to strike in order to protect their economic and social interests under conditions and procedures established by law (Art.51).

The Lithuanian Labour Code is the main legal act that defines labour relations, wage, work, and leisure-time conditions. The Labour Code as a unified act regulates collective as well as individual labour relations, in particular, the scope, tasks and principles of the application of labour laws, the rights of trade unions and representatives of employees in the sphere of labour, the conclusion and implementation of collective agreements as well as the liability of the parties, the solution of collective labour disputes including strikes, legal grounds of employment, conclusion, terms and termination of contract of employment, minimum wage as well as the conditions of remuneration for work, working time and rest periods, safety and health of employees, vocational training and in-service training, labour discipline, conditions and limits of pecuniary liability, supervision of and control over compliance with the main labour laws.

Labour Code

Labour Code Amendments as of 1 August 2022

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