Pregnancy, maternity, and leave related to work-life balance for workers (Directive 92/85, relevant provisions of Directives 2006/54, 2010/18 and 2019/1158)

AuthorKristīne Dupate
5 Pregnancy, maternity, and leave related to work-life balance for workers
(Directive 92/85, relevant provisio ns of D irectives 2006/54, 2010/18 and
5.1 General (legal) context
5.1.1 Surveys and reports on the practical difficulties lin ked to work-life balance
There are no specific surveys and reports carried out in recent years about general
difficulties linked with work-life balance. However, the main issues are under discussion
and there are several projects in place trying to eliminate obstacles. In 2018, the Ministry
of Welfare carried out a project on the provision of flexible childcare facilities fo r parents
employed under non-standard working time conditions. Specific res earch was carried out
to identify problems of parents in n on-standard working time employment and the need
for specific childca re arrangements, as well as proposals for legislative amendments and
policy measures t o be undertaken.103 The main finding is that access to such childcare
facilities allows better organisation of family life and in the long term, higher satisfaction
with life. At the same time, it was i dentified th at private employers are very willing to
implement and support such childcare services.
As already mentioned (Section 4.1.2), there is also a national level survey on the
compliance with the principle of non-discrimination with regard to employed pa rents of
young children, carried out by the Ombudsperson in 2017.104 The main conclusions ar e
that the employers in general do not choose the employees accordin g to their sex and
they tend to provide all the rights connected with pregnancy/maternity and parenthood.
However, the employees still point out the fact that they are asked in job interviews about
family status, and that employers are not satisf ied with too frequent a use of sick leave
due to the illness of a child.
5.1.2 Other issues
In general, in comparison to other EU Member States, Latvia provides longer parental
leave and allowance in the amount of average pay. The access to kindergartens is also
considered to be good. The only problem which requires solutions is the relatively low
involvement of men in childcare and household work for example, the right to parental
leave is still predominantly used by women.
5.1.3 Overview of national acts on work-life balance issues
The main legal act in the field of employment implementing rights relating to work-life
balance is the Labour Law. It provides specific protection during pregnancy/maternity and
with regard to the right to paternity leave, as well as with regard to parental leave.
Guarantees of safe and heal thy working conditions during pregnancy and maternity are
102 See Masselot, A. (2018), Family leave: enforcement of the protection against dismissal and unfavourable
treatment, European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination, available at:
dismissal-and-unfavourable-treatment-pdf-962-kb and McColgan, A. (2015), Measures to address the
challenges of work-life balance in the EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, European
network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination, available at:
103 Projektu un kvalittes vadba, gala ziojums ‘Elastga brnu uzraudzbas pakalpojuma nodrošinšana
darbiniekiem, kas strd nestandarta darba laiku’, 2018, available in Latvian at:
104 LR Tiesbsargs, ptjums ‘Diskrimincijas aizlieguma ievrošana pret mazu brnu veckiem’, 2017 available
in Latvian at:
provided also by the Labour Pr otection Law.105 The right to statut ory social insurance
allowances during pregna ncy/maternity, paternity and parental leave is regulated by the
Law on Maternity and Sicknes s Insurance.106 The guarantees of retention of statutory
social insurance status and acquisition of rights (particularly to the old-age pension) during
such periods of leave are regulated by the Law on Statutory Social Insu rance.107
5.1.4 Political and societal debate and pending legislative proposals
Currently there are no pending political, societal debates or pending legislative proposals
on the work-life balance issues, although politicians keep talking on an almost daily basis
about the urgent n eed to increase the birth rate. It seems that politicians refuse to see
the direct link between improvement of work-life balance and an increase in the birth rate.
5.2 Pregnancy and maternity protection
5.2.1 Definition in national law
There is a formal definition in national law on the conditions under which a pregnant
worker, or a worker during the maternity period, is entitled to specific rights. For the
purposes of Directive 92/85, Article 37(7) of the Labour Law defines what a pregnant
worker has to do in order to obtain protection under the Directive, and what period shall
be considered for the maternity protection:
‘An employer, after receipt of a doctor’s opinion, is prohibited from employing
pregnant women and women for a period following childbirth not exceeding one year,
but if the woman is breastfe eding, during the whole period of breastfeeding, if it is
considered that performance of the relevant wo rk poses a threat to th e safety and
health of the woman or her child.’
In principle, the Latvian definition complies with the definition provided by Directive
92/85/EEC. However, the lack of an explicit link between pregnancy/maternity protection
and non-discrimination provisions may ‘cause’ a problem, i.e. t he definition provided by
Article 37(7) does not demonstrate an explicit link with other provisions of the Labour Law
stipulating other obligations with regard to p rotection of workers during pregnancy and
5.2.2 Obligation to inform employer
The law doe s not formally oblige a pregnant worker, or a worker during the mate rnity
period, to inform the employer about her condition. However, if she wants to enjoy specific
rights, then the obligation to inform an employer follows from Article 37(7) of the Labour
5.2.3 Case law on the definition of a pr egnant worker, a worker who has recently given
birth and/or a worker who is breastfeeding
There is no case law dealing with t he definition of a pregnant worker, a worke r who has
recently given birth and/or a worker who is breastfeeding.
5.2.4 Implementation of protective measures (Articles 4-6 of Directive 92/85)
Articles 4-6 of Directive 92/85/EEC are implemented by the followin g provisions:
105 Darba aizsardzbas likums, Official Gazette No. 105, 6 July 2001.
106 The Law on Maternity and Sickness Insurance (Likums Par maternitates un slimbas apdrošinšanu), Official
Gazette No. 182, 23 November 1995.
107 Likums par valsts socilo apdrošinšanu, No. 274/276, 21 October 1997.

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