'Hockey holiday' in Latvia causes headache for employers

On Sunday, May 28, the Saeima decided shortly before midnight to declare Monday, May 29, as a holiday in honor of the bronze medals won by the Latvian hockey team at the world championship. For those institutions that still had to work, the decision brought extra challenges, Latvian Radio reported on May 30.

Hospitals and family doctors' practices mostly provided healthcare services according to the normal schedule. Ilze Aizsilniece, president of the Latvian Medical Association, said officials should also find funding for the health sector for work on May 29, because this is a holiday, which also means additional pay for employees.

"The main challenges both for hospital doctors and for colleagues who are family doctors [..] are if they have a small child or several children who cannot be taken to school or kindergarten today because of the holiday. Half a day the child is sitting with you in reception, and the other half you're trying to find them somewhere to stay. Due to the celebration, all of this is supposed to be accepted, but it must be noted that all colleagues who work a normal working day at Children's Hospital, East Hospital, Stradiņš Hospital today, by law, they all have to get paid double for this holiday, but hospitals don't have that money," said Aizsilniece.

According to the National Health Service (NVD), medical treatment institutions will be paid for this day as usual on a holiday, said the service representative Evija Štālberga.

“If hospital representatives have concerns that the state will not pay for the services provided, then it will not be so. There is no reason for concern that the state will pay less for the services provided today than normal for work on holiday,” the NVD representative said.

Universities and schools today did not work, except for central examination institutions and the participating school staff will be paid at a holiday rate or ensured an additional paid holiday. Kindergartens were mostly closed, but some private institutions decided to work, which also meant difficulties for working parents. 

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