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Latvia: Working Too Hard?


  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Mihails Hazans, 2005. "Latvia: Working Too Hard?," Labor and Demography 0506008, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • 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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    References listed on IDEAS

    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. Josip Franic, 2019. "Undeclared Economy in Croatia during the 2004–2017 Period: Quarterly Estimates Using the MIMIC Method," Croatian Economic Survey, The Institute of Economics, Zagreb, vol. 21(1), pages 5-46, June.
    2. Colin. C. Williams, 2008. "Illegitimate wage practices in Eastern Europe: - The case of 'envelope wages'," Journal of East European Management Studies, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, vol. 13(3), pages 253-270.
    3. Williams Colin, 2009. "Evaluating the Extent and Nature of ‘Envelope Wages’ in the European Union: A Geographical Analysis," European Spatial Research and Policy, Sciendo, vol. 16(1), pages 115-129, June.
    4. 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, Division of Economics, School of Business, University of Leicester, revised Jun 2011.
    5. Ludmila Fadejeva & Ieva Opmane, 2016. "Internal labour market mobility in 2005–2014 in Latvia: the micro data approach," Baltic Journal of Economics, Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies, vol. 16(2), pages 152-174.

    More about this item


    employment contract; working conditions; overtime; transition;

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • P23 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Factor and Product Markets; Industry Studies; Population

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