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Latvia: Working Too Hard?


Author Info

  • Mihails Hazans

    (University of Latvia & BICEPS)


This paper provides an assessment of employment and working conditions in Latvia before and immediately after the EU accession. The issues addressed include self-employment, multiple jobs, fixed-term contracts, unreported wages, overtime, unsocial working hours, health and safety at work, social dialogue. The study combines different methods: statistical and econometric analysis of recent Labour Force Surveys and enterprise surveys (Earning Structure Survey and Survey of Occupations); firm level case studies; interviews with experts. Findings indicate that despite recent improvements in legal and institutional environment, as well as some progress in working conditions, significant proportions of workers are exposed to serious risks; health and safety conditions are slow to improve (several bottlenecks are identified). 15 percent of employees in 2003 were usually working 50 or more hours per week, and often this overtime was involuntary and/or unpaid. The analysis suggest that, other things equal, unpaid overtime is more likely to be found in small firms, for temporary workers, for workers with short tenure. Presence of a trade union improves workers’ prospect to be paid for eventual overtime work.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Labor and Demography with number 0506008.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 25 Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0506008

Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 37. Based on the paper published under the same title in the volume (edited by Daniel Vaughan- Whitehead) 'Working and Employment Conditions in New EU Member States - Convergence or Diversity?' ILO-EC, Geneva: ILO, 2005, pp. 161-212.
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Keywords: employment contract; working conditions; overtime; transition;

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  1. Hazans, Mihails, 2005. "Unemployment and the earnings structure in Latvia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3504, The World Bank.
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Cited by:
  1. Abbi M Kedir & Meryem Duygun Fethi & Colin C Williams, 2011. "Evaluating tax evasion in the European Union: a case study of the prevalence and character of ‘envelope wage’ payments," Discussion Papers in Economics 11/33, Department of Economics, University of Leicester, revised Jun 2011.


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