Get Vaccinated Or Risk Dismissal: Latvia's New Rules For On-site Work

Published date06 December 2021
Subject MatterEmployment and HR, Coronavirus (COVID-19), Health & Safety, Employment and Workforce Wellbeing
Law Firmlus Laboris
AuthorSabīne Zaula (COBALT)

Tough new workplace access rules in Latvia mean employers can suspend and even dismiss on-site employees considered at risk of COVID-19 exposure if they are not vaccinated. From 15 December the vaccination obligation will be extended to all on-site employees.

Autumn in many European countries began with new and more stringent restrictions as legislators across the continent tried their best to limit the spread of COVID-19. The situation in Latvia is no different. In fact, in mid to late October, Latvia had one of the highest COVID-19 case rates in the world. As a result of this, Latvia has been forced to introduce even stricter control measures, including in the field of employment relations. These restrictions concern matters relating to the organisation of work, employers' right to require an employee to obtain a vaccination certificate to perform his or her duties and even to suspend or dismiss an employee (in accordance with legal principles).

First of all, in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, employers must provide employees with the possibility of working remotely, if the specific nature of the work allows it. Only employees who ensure continuity of work and cannot work remotely from home are allowed to perform their work duties in person.

In addition to that, the regulatory framework obliges employers to assess the work duties and working conditions of each employee working in person to determine the risk of infection and the potential risk to the health of others. The employer must ask the employee to obtain a vaccination certificate (or certificate of recovery) if this assessment concludes that:

  • during the performance of his or her work duties, the employee is in direct contact with customers, comes into physical contact with, or is continuously closer than two metres to customers, or several employees work in constant mutual communication, come into physical contact with each other, or are continuously closer than two metres together;
  • the employee has an increased possibility of becoming infected by being in direct communication and contact with a large number of people whose state of health is unknown; or
  • the employee's duties are of critical importance to the organisation or for ensuring the continuity of operation of the organisation.

On the basis of the employer's evaluation, the employee has an obligation to get vaccinated.

If the employee commenced vaccination by 15 November 2021 (a date set by law), s/he may...

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