New laws set to come into force

January 1st brings the arrival of more than hangovers and weight loss programs - it also means a raft of new legislation passed over the previous 12 months becomes effective. Here is a rundown of some of the more significant new laws, as informed by the Saeima.

Higher minimum wage
The minimum permissable monthly salary is raised from €320 to €360 before tax.

Deregulated social benefits
Removal of restrictions imposed in 2009 austerity measures affecting illness, unemployment, maternity, paternity and parental benefits.

Reduced personal tax rate
Personal income tax is reduced from 24 to 23 percent.

Child benefits changed
Family allowance for a first child will be €11.38 per month, €22.76 for a second child and €34.14 for a third and all additional children.

Song Festival holiday
Workers will be entitled to a day off on the final day of the Latvian Song and Dance Festival. If the closing concert falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the next working day will be a holiday instead.

Micro-enterprise tax hike
In 2015 the tax rate for micro-businesses will increase form 9 percent of turnover to 11 percent.

Officials to fully declare assets
Public officials, including MPs will have to provide information on the ultimate beneficiary of any assets with which they are linked including shares, stocks and other financial instruments

Labour Law changes
There are various new obligations, responsibilities and rights for both workers and employers involving employment contracts and employment information to be included in advertisements, days off for blood donors, and reinforcing the rights of breast-feeding mothers.

Competition in electricity market
Household electricity from January 1 can be bought on the open market from competing firms.

Access to credit information
From January 1, members of the public will be able to check and correct information held about them with credit agencies. Credit checks can only be provided with the consent of the borrower.

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