Parliament passes bill to phase out unpaid overtime for medics

Saeima on June 8 adopted legislative amendments that will by 2020 phase out the so-called extended regular working hours for medical personnel essentially amounting to unpaid overtime, reported LETA newswire.

During the transition period, the extended regular working hours for medical personnel and non-medical members of ambulance brigades will be reduced to 55 hours a week from July 1 to December 31, to 50 hours a week in 2018 and 45 hours a week in 2019, LETA was told at the Saeima press office.

During the transition period pay for the extra working hours will be calculated based on a special rate, which will be 1.1 in 2018, 1.2 in 2018 and 1.35 in 2019.

The financing required to phase out unpaid overtime will be taken from the contingency funds in the Latvian national budget.

Until now, medical personnel could be required to do overtime of up to 60 hours a week or 240 hours a month for their regular monthly salary.

In April medics submitted a claim for 8 years of overtime work to the Constitutional Court, meaning the Latvian state could face the prospect of paying a huge retrospective bill. 

As reported, the council of the Latvian Health and Social Care Workers' Trade Union (LVSADA) on May 16 decided to call on healthcare workers to start a warning protest campaign in a way of refusing to work the so-called extended regular working hours or overtime for which they are not paid extra during July.

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