• Employer's responsibilities in granting vacation

Employer's responsibilities in granting vacation

20 July 2021

During the warmer months of the year, employees plan vacations to take a break from their daily work for a while. In practice, however, there are often complaints that leave plans have not been implemented or that the employer does not agree with the employee's planned paid absence. To prevent disputes over the granting and use of leave in the company, employers should be kept informed of current issues related to the granting of leave. 

Rights for vacation 

Promoting employee productivity requires not only working hours but also time of leave. Leave is part of an employee's rest period, which allows him to recover and prepare for a new job, but its proper use must take into account the requirements of the Latvian Labor (LL) Law, including Chapter 35 "Leave". Under Paragraph 150 (3) of the LL, the right to leave or rest for the first year of employment arises when the employee has worked for the employer for at least six months. It should be noted that it is permissible in Labor Law to agree on a different period of use of leave, therefore, by mutual agreement, an employee may also use leave in advance. 

Company interests and employee rights 

By providing in Paragraph 149 (1) of the LL that the duration of paid leave may not be less than four calendar weeks, the legislator has ensured the protection of the social rights of an employee. The employee and the employer must agree on the granting of leave and the period of use. On the one hand, it is in the company's interest to ensure business continuity and to facilitate the fulfillment of obligations to customers or business partners, however, on the other hand, the employer must guarantee the employee's right to rest within a year. 

In addressing this issue, employers are advised to create a schedule for the use of leave, which not only allows to verify the intentions of employees but also to plan the work of the business. For example, the rules of procedure may stipulate that the employee must submit his or her leave plans at the beginning of the year, and the employer coordinates them with the common interests of other employees and the company. 

In the case of urgent projects or workload, the use of employee leave may adversely affect the normal course of work in the company. If it is not possible to replace the employee, the employer may encourage you to carry over part of the leave to another period or the following year. If the employee agrees and the parties agree, the part of the leave in the following year may not be shorter than two consecutive calendar weeks. It should be noted that leave can only be carried over for one year. 

There may be situations where the employee himself asks the employer to transfer the specific part of the leave, because, for example, he plans to go on a long trip abroad next year. In this case, the parties must agree in writing form, stating the circumstances in which the leave is not taken. 

Money compensation 

If the employee can't go on leave or due to other circumstances, an accrual of leave days is formed. The amendment to Article 149 (5) of the LL of 1 January 2015 stipulates that reimbursement of paid annual leave may be allowed in cash only in one exceptional case, namely if the employment relationship is terminated and the employee has not used the paid annual leave. 

The employer must pay compensation for the entire period for which the employee has not taken paid annual leave, and the calculation must take into account the amount of the employee's remuneration determined at the time when the leave was to be taken. 

Obligation to encourage 

Although planned vacation plans change more often due to work planning, employees sometimes do not take paid annual leave. When such behavior of an employee is established, the employer must find out the reason why the employee does not use or requests to carry over the leave to the next year, because the employer must provide the employee with the opportunity to go on leave. 

Thus, it can be concluded that the employer must inform employees about the right to take leave and to encourage them to do so by recording these activities in writing. In addition, the employee is not obliged to work in complete disregard of his right to rest, without taking or repeatedly taking leave, so if the employer creates obstacles to taking paid annual leave, the employee must record them. 

In the event of a dispute, if it is established that the employee has not abused the leave contrary to the employer's calls in the hope of receiving higher compensation, the company does not have to compensate for the accrued but unused leave. 

Extension of vacation 

Health problems can also occur during leave, so in the event of temporary incapacity for work, the employee may request either a transfer or an extension of sick leave. 

The expected event in the summer is Midsummer's Days, which according to the law are public holidays. If there are public holidays during the vacation, they must be extended accordingly. 

It should be noted that the issue of remuneration when an employee goes on leave is also controversial. In general, both the holiday pay and the salary for the time worked before the leave must be received by the employee no later than one day before they leave, however, this procedure may be changed by mutual agreement. 

Translated from Latvian. Source: "iTiesÄ«bas"