Estonia

  • The state of emergency ended on 8 May 2020 and the restrictions imposed during the emergency have been gradually eased. At the moment there are no plans to require any nationwide lock-downs or declare a state of emergency as was done in spring. The government’s intention is to keep society as open as possible, considering the situation with the spread of the virus.
  • The unemployment rate is currently the highest in the past seven years. In spring, for the first time since 2013, the number of unemployed exceeded 50,000, with the unemployment rate rising up to 7.8%. As of the beginning of September the number of registered unemployed persons appears to have slightly decreased and the current unemployment rate is 7.6%. However, numerous collective redundancies are already under way or are expected in the tourism-related sector to come in autumn since travel is still heavily restricted. So the decrease in unemployment rates might be temporary and may soon be on the rise again.
  • For the time being there are no available salary subsidies, although there are discussions over creating a subsidy for the tourism sector. As the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases is again on the rise, there are also discussions over whether the Medical Insurance Fund could start to compensate the first three days of sick leave as was done in spring in order to prevent employees with light symptoms coming to work.
  • The social partners have also recommended freezing the current minimum salary of EUR 584 and not to increase it for the next year as had previously been agreed upon.

Latvia

  • The state of emergency ended on 9 June 2020.
  • As of July 2020, the actual unemployment rate in Latvia is 8.9%, which is 0.2 percentage points higher compared to June 2020.
  • In June 2020 the Ministry of Economy issued general guidelines on how to organise work during Covid-19 and also more specific guidelines for various industries, for example, tourism, agriculture, production and retail.
  • The Latvian State Employment Agency is entitled to reduce the 30 days’ period for notifying collective redundancies.
  • Until 31 December 2020 companies working in the tourism industry or exporting goods or services subject to certain criteria can apply for state partly-subsidised salaries for their employees.
  • Until 31 December 2020 employers who conform to the criteria specified for participants in the tax related In-depth Cooperation Programme administered by the Latvian tax authority and who have been adversely affected by the crisis caused by Covid-19 may:
    • pay for idle time only 70% of an employee’s remuneration (in all other cases idle time must be compensated in full);
    • unilaterally decide when employees should take their annual paid leave.

Lithuania

  • At present, quarantine is no longer in place in Lithuania, but the country is still under the state of emergency regulation.
  • The unemployment rate for August 2020 was 12.8% and compared to the unemployment rate in August 2019 (which was 8.2%) it increased by 4.6%.
  • Special post-quarantine measures have been introduced, allowing employers to receive subsidies for up to six months after the end of quarantine (but no later than until 31 December 2020). Subsidies for employees’ salaries will be available to employers belonging to at least one of these groups, i.e. employers who:
    • declared idle time for employees during the quarantine, received subsidies to compensate employees’ salaries during idle time and maintained their jobs; or
    • are on the list of companies affected by Covid-19 compiled by the State Tax Inspectorate (a subsidy for these employers is available for no more than 10 employees if the company has up to 20 employees and for no more than 50% of employees if the company has 21 or more employees); or
    • before the quarantine, received subsidies to compensate for the salaries of supported employees (eg, employees with disabilities), declared idle time during the quarantine, received subsidies to compensate for salaries of employees during idle time, and maintained these jobs.

Amounts of subsidies

Subsidy amounts awarded for the 1st and 2nd months:

  • Normally: 100% of the employee’s salary, from which social security contributions must be paid, but not more than 1 state-prescribed minimum monthly salary, i.e. EUR 607.
  • If the employer is included in a special list due to its activities (the list of activities oriented to production of advanced technology and, knowledge-intensive services reaching the goal of the green course of the European Union, as well as the social dialogue jointly adopted by the Ministers of Social Security and Work and Economy and Innovations can be found here), at the employer’s choice:
    • 70% of salary but not more than 2 state-prescribed minimum monthly salaries, i.e. EUR 1,214, or
    • 100% of salary, but not more than 1 state-prescribed minimum monthly salary, i.e. EUR 607.
  • If an employee has a fixed-term or seasonal employment contract: 100% of salary, but not more than 0.5 of the state-prescribed minimum monthly salary, i.e. EUR 303.50.

Subsidy amounts awarded for 3rd and 4th months:

  • Normally: 50% of salary, but not more than 1 state-prescribed minimum monthly salary, i.e. EUR 607.
  • If the employer is included in a special list for its activities: 50% of salary, but not more than 2 state-prescribed minimum monthly salaries, i.e. EUR 1,214.
  • If the employee has a fixed-term or seasonal employment contract: 50% of salary, but not more than 0.5 of the state-prescribed minimum monthly salary, i.e. EUR 303.50.

Subsidy amounts awarded for the 5th and 6th months:

  • Normally: 30% of salary, but not more than 1 state-prescribed minimum monthly salary, i.e. EUR 607.
  • If the employer is included in a special list for its activities: 30% of salary, but not more than 2 state-prescribed minimum monthly salaries, i.e. EUR 1,214;
  • If the employee has a fixed-term or seasonal employment contract, the employer is not entitled to a subsidy.

Additionally, from 1 September 2020 private sector companies are advised to take special necessary health, hygiene and personal safety measures (e.g. organise work in separate shifts to reduce contact among employees).

Belarus

  • No state of emergency has been declared in Belarus.
  • To date there have been no major changes in regulation of the situation: no major quarantine and support measures are in place. Quite a lot of private companies still allow their employees to work remotely, and for now it is hard to predict when reopening plans will be brought into action.
  • According to recent official data (as of 1 July 2020), the unemployment rate is 0.2% (a decrease compared to 0.3% on 1 July 2019). This indicator reflects official unemployment, i.e. based on the number of unemployed registered with the labour authorities. As for the actual unemployment rate, this slightly increased in the second quarter of 2020 (according to the results of a sample survey based on the methodology of the International Labour Organisation) – from 4.1% to 4.2%, compared to the end of the first quarter of 2020.
  • On 28 May 2020 the President signed an Edict enabling employers to obtain a grant from the budget of the social security fund for making additional payments up to the minimum amount of salary to employees in the case of forced part-time employment or downtime in the period from 1 May 2020 to 31 July 2020. Based on the law, in such situations the employer need not make such additional payments up to the minimum amount of salary.