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Lithuania

Source: EURES The European Job Mobility Portal. For up-to-date information visit the Living and Working Conditions section about Lithuania on the EURES Portal.

How to find a job

EU Member State nationals and their family members intending to work in the Republic of Lithuania under an employment contract do not need a work permit. These people may take part in recruitment procedures and find jobs under the same conditions as Lithuanian nationals. However, please note that individuals wishing to work in the civil service, law enforcement institutions and in certain other areas must be citizens of the Republic of Lithuania.

Employers looking to hire suitable staff have a number of search options open to them, as do the unemployed and persons in work but looking to change jobs. Firstly, they can use the services of the Employment Service. The Employment Service is provided free of charge.

Another way of looking for suitable employees or a desired job is via private employment agencies. Since the ratification and entry into force of the Convention on private employment agencies (‘On the ratification of the Convention on private employment agencies’ (Valstybės žinios [Official Gazette] 2004, No 40-1291), the services of private employment agencies have been free of charge for job seekers. Infringements of the regulations on the provision of recruitment services are punishable by a fine (Article 173(13) of the Code of Administrative Infringements). Anyone who has witnessed such infringements, or who has been affected by them, should contact the police.

Job vacancy advertisements can also be found in the media. Ads are placed in job advertising publications, national dailies and the local press. Job seekers may also place their own ads in the press, indicating their qualifications, work experience and the type of job they are looking for.

The posting of vacancies and CVs on the internet is becoming increasingly popular, as are the services of professional personnel companies that help in searching for, selecting and assessing potential employees. In addition, personnel departments of large companies often maintain databases of potential employees, so you can send your CV directly to such companies.

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How to apply for a job

Generally speaking, job seekers must: submit a curriculum vitae (CV) and a covering letter, sit selection tests and go for an interview with the employer. These requirements obviously do not apply to those looking for manual work, for which a CV and an interview or just an interview generally suffice.

A curriculum vitae is one of the most important documents when presenting yourself to a prospective employer. Those who screen incoming CVs do not have much time to spend on each one, so it is very important that the CV is drawn up properly, that the information it contains is structured and clearly presented and that there are no grammatical errors. There are no hard-and-fast rules for writing a CV, though it must contain: personal data, contact details, a description of the applicant's work experience, education, skills and abilities, hobbies and references. The CV should also contain the contact details of the persons whose good references may help you get the job. It should be emphasised that the European CV, the single European form for a curriculum vitae known as the EUROPASS CV, is gaining popularity in Lithuania.

The covering letter should contain: a brief presentation of yourself, an explanation as to why you are interested in the job and the company, why you are the right person for the job and an indication as to how you might contribute to the success of the company. The covering letter should be convincing. List all the qualities and skills that make you right for the job, remembering to back up your claims with facts. Do not simply rehash what you have written in your CV. The covering letter should be used to expound on the facts mentioned in the CV and to provide more information about yourself. Finally, the covering letter should fit onto a single sheet of A4.

The job interview is a two-way dialogue allowing the employer to gauge whether the potential employee will be suitable and allowing the candidate to decide whether they want to pursue a career with that particular employer.

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Finding accommodation

In Lithuania you can stay at a hotel, rent a room, also rent or buy a house, an apartment or a semi-detached house. When buying or renting a home, it is important to complete the required legal paperwork. You can seek help from a real estate agency, a law firm or a notary’s office. Private contacts, help from friends, colleagues, acquaintances, relatives or business partners are just some of the ways of looking for accommodation.

Information on renting or buying residential property can be found in specialist advertising publications, national dailies and the local press. Alternatively, you can post your own ad stating what sort of accommodation you are looking for.

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Recognition of diplomas and qualifications

The importance of transparency and mutual recognition of diplomas as a crucial complement to the free movement of workers

The possibility of obtaining recognition of one’s qualifications and competences can play a vital role in the decision to take up work in another EU country. It is therefore necessary to develop a European system that will guarantee the mutual acceptance of professional competences in different Member States. Only such a system will ensure that a lack of recognition of professional qualifications will become an obstacle to workers’ mobility within the EU.

Main principles for the recognition of professional qualifications in the EU

As a basic principle, any EU citizen should be able to freely practice their profession in any Member State. Unfortunately the practical implementation of this principle is often hindered by national requirements for access to certain professions in the host country.

For the purpose of overcoming these differences, the EU has set up a system for the recognition of professional qualifications. Within the terms of this system, a distinction is made between regulated professions (professions for which certain qualifications are legally required) and professions that are not legally regulated in the host Member State.

Steps towards a transparency of qualifications in Europe

The European Union has taken important steps towards the objective of achieving transparency of qualifications in Europe:
- An increased co-operation in vocational education and training, with the intention to combine all instruments for transparency of certificates and diplomas, in one single, user-friendly tool. This includes, for example, the European CV or Europass Trainings.
- The development of concrete actions in the field of recognition and quality in vocational education and training.

Going beyond the differences in education and training systems throughout the EU

Education and training systems in the EU Member States still show substantial differences. The last enlargements of the EU, with different educational traditions, have further increased this diversity. This calls for a need to set up common rules to guarantee recognition of competences.

In order to overcome this diversity of national qualification standards, educational methods and training structures, the European Commission has put forward a series of instruments, aimed at ensuring better transparency and recognition of qualifications both for academic and professional purposes.

  1. The European Qualifications Framework

The European Qualifications Framework is a key priority for the European Commission in the process of recognition of professional competences. The main objective of the framework is to create links between the different national qualification systems and guarantee a smooth transfer and recognition of diplomas.

  1. The National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARICs)

A network of National Academic Recognition Information Centres was established in 1984 at the initiative of the European Commission. The NARICs provide advice on the academic recognition of periods of study abroad. Located in all EU Member States as well as in the countries of the European Economic Area, NARICs play a vital role the process of recognition of qualifications in the EU.

  1. The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)

The European Credit Transfer System aims at facilitating the recognition of periods of study abroad. Introduced in 1989, it functions by describing an education programme and attaching credits to its components. It is a key complement to the highly acclaimed student mobility programme Erasmus.

  1. Europass

Europass is an instrument for ensuring the transparency of professional skills. It is composed of five standardised documents

  • a CV (Curriculum Vitae),
  • a language passport,
  • certificate supplements,
  • diploma supplements, and
  • a Europass-Mobility document.

The Europass system makes skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in the different parts of Europe. In every country of the European Union and the European Economic Area, national Europass centres have been established as the primary contact points for people seeking for information about the Europass system.

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Types of employment

The minimum age for working in Lithuania is 14. Young people aged 14 to16 may undertake only light work which (owing to the nature of the tasks involved and the conditions under which they are carried out) does not jeopardise their safety, health or development, or prevent them from attending school or participating in compulsory educational and vocational training programmes or from receiving educational support. Young people aged 14 to 16 can be employed to carry out the following light work: work in vegetable and fruit gardens; herb gathering; caring for small pets and domestic birds; planting, staking, and watering of trees and shrubs; non-mechanised raking and turning of hay; placing of ads, newspapers and posters on billboards; delivery, courier and postal work; sale of newspapers and magazines; price labelling, sorting and packaging of goods; light ancillary work; toy dressing; toy cleaning; laundry sorting and packaging; table setting, provided that there is a written consent from one of the parents or another legal representative of the young person, a medical certificate from the young person’s doctor confirming the young person’s suitability for a particular job and, where work is to be carried out during the school year, written consent from the young person’s school.

Persons under 18 may not be employed to do:

  1. work which is physically or mentally too demanding;
  2. work involving exposure to toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic or other substances harmful to health;
  3. work involving exposure to ionising radiation or other factors harmful to health;
  4. work involving an increased risk of accidents or occupational diseases and work which young people are not able to do safely owing to a lack of experience or cautiousness.

Persons under 18 may not hold more than one job at the same time if the total working time exceeds the working time set in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Types of employment contract. Employment contracts may be:

  1. Open-ended employment contract
  2. Fixed-term employment contract
  3. Project-based employment contract
  4. Workplace-sharing employment contract
  5. Multiple-employer employment contract
  6. Temporary employment contract
  7. Apprenticeship employment contract
  8. Seasonal employment contract

An employment contract is usually signed for an indefinite period of time (open-ended).

Fixed-term employment contract

A fixed-term employment contract may be concluded for a certain period of time or for the period to carry out a certain job. The term of a fixed-term employment contract or consecutive employment contracts for the same job is 2 years (except for cases where the employee is recruited for temporary work to the workplace of a temporarily absent employee), and 5 years to do different jobs.

Project-based employment contract

A project-based employment contract means a fixed-term employment contract, under which an employee undertakes to work to achieve a specific project result while working in their established working time pattern at or outside the place of employment, and the employer undertakes to pay an agreed amount of compensation for that.

Workplace-sharing employment contract

Two employees may agree with an employer on the sharing of one workplace, without exceeding the maximum working time standard established for one employee. The working time of the employees is established and changed by agreement of the employees themselves.

Multiple-employer employment contract

An employment contract to be concluded with an employee may specify two or more employers instead of one employer for the same job. If the working time of the employee is not allocated to each employer separately, the employee carries out tasks of several employers simultaneously.

Temporary employment contract

This means an agreement between a temporary agency worker and a temporary work agency, in accordance with which the temporary agency worker undertakes to work, during a certain period of time, in favour of and under the authority of the person designated by the temporary work agency, i.e. the user undertaking, and the temporary work agency undertakes to compensate for that. The maximum duration of a temporary employment contract is 3 years.

Apprenticeship employment contract

An apprenticeship employment contract is concluded when a person is recruited who seeks to acquire a qualification or competences necessary for the profession in the form of an apprenticeship training. An apprenticeship employment contract is a fixed-term employment contract and its maximum term is 6 months, except for cases where a formal or non-formal training contract defines a longer duration of the training.

Seasonal employment contract

According to the Labour code, a seasonal employment contract is concluded for the performance of seasonal work. Seasonal jobs shall mean jobs that, due to the conditions of nature and the climate, are not performed year-round, but rather, during certain periods/seasons of no more than eight months over a period of 12 successive months, and which are included in the list of seasonal jobs. The list of seasonal jobs and the specifics of the conclusion, amendment and termination of a seasonal employment contract as well as of working and rest time and payment for work shall be established by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania in accordance with this Code.

There is no significant shortage of seasonal workers in Lithuania.  The greatest demand for seasonal workers is likely to be in the second half of the summer. For the moment employers do not yet plan to recruit jobseekers from another EU/EEA or foreign countries. 

During the four months of 2020, 64,204 vacancies were registered, which is 7.5 % less than during the same period last year.  8,3% (5306) of these vacancies were for fixed term work. Agriculture sector employers registered 3,699 vacancies, 12.5% of them were for fixed-term work. During January-April of this year, 10780 unemployed were registered, of which 4118 worked in the agricultural sector. Currently, 118 jobs are registered for seasonal work, 74 of them in agriculture.

In 2019, 1.5 thousand job vacancies were registered for seasonal job, which is 13 % less than in 2018. Figures show that the number of jobseekers in agriculture sector has also been steadily declining over the last few years.  In 2019, 667 persons were employed for seasonal or fixed-term job with the assistance of the specialists of the Employment Services.

In 2019 employers registered 9,3 thousand job vacancies in agriculture sector. 17% of all job offers were for seasonal and fixed-term work.

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Employment contracts

Both individual and collective employment relationships are important in the system of labour relations. Although bilateral (individual) employment relationships are more popular in the Republic of Lithuania, interest in collective employment relationships is growing. All jobs in an enterprise, institution or organisation undertaken by a natural person pursuant to an agreement with the employer or their authorised representative must be based on a formal employment contract. This provision does not apply to work carried out under contracts for copyrighted work. In each employment contract, the parties must agree on the obligatory terms and conditions of the contract, such as the employee’s place of work and duties, i.e. profession, specialisation, qualifications and specific functions.

For certain kinds of employment contract, labour laws and collective agreements may establish other obligatory terms and conditions on which the parties agree when concluding such an employment contract (contract duration, nature of seasonal work, etc.).

In every employment contract, the parties agree on the conditions of remuneration for work: system of remuneration, amount of wages, payment procedure, etc. Other conditions of an employment contract may also be accepted by agreement between the parties unless labour laws, other regulatory acts or the collective agreement prohibit doing so (probation, combination of professions, etc.). An employment contract must be drawn up in writing in accordance with a standard model. A written employment contract must be drawn up in duplicate. One signed copy of the employment contract goes to the employee, and the other is kept by the employer. The employer is responsible for the proper execution of the employment contract. On the expiry of the term of an employment contract, the employer or the employee is entitled to terminate the contract. If neither of the parties terminates the employment contract, it is deemed to have become indefinite.

By mutual agreement between the parties, the employment contract may provide for a probationary period. The conditions of the probationary period must be set out in the employment contract. The probationary period may not exceed 3 months. In the cases provided for by law, an employee may be asked to undergo a longer probationary period, if that is necessary to assess the employee’s suitability for the job, though this may not be longer than 6 months. If the employer sees that the performance of the employee during the probationary period is not satisfactory, they may dismiss the employee before the end of the probationary period by notifying the employee in writing 3 days in advance; in such a case, the employer is not obliged to pay severance pay. An employer may terminate an employment contract by giving the employee 2 months’ notice in writing. An employer may change the terms and conditions of remuneration without the written consent of the employee only if the wages of a certain category of employees, or wages in a certain industry or enterprise are changed by legislation, government resolutions or the collective agreement. No change in the terms of remuneration may be made without the written consent of the employee where such change leads to a wage reduction.

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Working time

Length of working time The standard working time of an employee is forty hours per week, unless provisions of labour law establish a reduced standard working hours for the employee or the parties agree on part-time work. Maximum working time, including overtime but excluding work under an agreement on additional work may not exceed forty-eight hours during each seven-day period. Working time, including overtime and work under an agreement on additional work, may not exceed twelve hours, excluding a lunch break, during a working day (shift) and sixty hours during each seven-day period. The number of working days may not exceed six during seven consecutive days.

Where an employee carries out their work on duty (active duty), the duration of a working day (shift) may not exceed 24 hours, but may not exceed the employee’s standard working time during a maximum accounting period of 3 months. Where an employee must be at a place specified by the employer and be prepared to carry out their work when necessary (stand-by duty), the duration of a working day (shift) may be up to 24 hours but may not exceed the employee’s standard working time during a maximum accounting period of 2 months. The employee must be able to have meals and rest both when on active and on stand-by duty.

Reduced working hours. The Government of the Republic of Lithuania fixes reduced standard working hours and payment procedures for persons whose work involves greater mental or emotional stress, and lists those jobs, professions and positions, and fixes reduced standard working hours for employees working in a working environment where the risk assessment has found that the levels of factors harmful to health exceed the permitted levels (quantities) of occupational safety and health legislation and it is not possible to reduce the amounts in the working environment by technical or other measures to levels that are not harmful to health.

‘Overtime’ means the time when an employee actually works over and above the total duration of the working time of a working day (shift) or accounting period established for them by the working time pattern. An employer may instruct overtime work only at the consent of the employee, except for such extraordinary cases when:

  1. unforeseen work necessary for the public is carried out or is sought to prevent disasters, dangers, accidents, or potential disasters, or to eliminate the immediate consequences thereof;
  2. it is necessary to complete work or eliminate a breakdown causing suspension of work by a large number of employees or deterioration of materials, products, or installations;
  3. it is provided for in the collective agreement.

The maximum number of overtime hours is 180 per year. More overtime may be agreed upon in the collective bargaining agreement.

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Leave (annual, parental, etc.)

Annual leave. Employees are granted annual leave of at least 20 working days (for 5 working days per week) or at least 24 working days (for 6 working days per week). Leave is calculated in working days. Public holidays are not included in the duration of the leave. Employment contracts, collective agreements, and provisions of labour law may provide for longer periods of leave.

Procedure for granting annual leave. Annual leave must be granted at least once during a working year. The duration of at least one of the parts of annual leave may not be less than 10 working days or less than 12 working days (for 6 working days per week). For the first full year of work, annual leave is normally given in respect of at least half the number of working days per year of employment.

Remuneration of annual leave. All employees are guaranteed average pay for their annual leave (leave allowance). Leave allowances are paid not later than on the last working day before the beginning of the annual leave.

Pregnancy and childbirth (maternity) leave. Women are entitled to 70 calendar days' pregnancy and childbirth leave before delivery, and 56 calendar days after delivery (70 calendar days in the case of a complicated delivery, twins or multiple births). Pregnancy and childbirth (maternity) leave is calculated accumulating entitlements, and is given to the woman in its entirety irrespective of the leave days taken before delivery. Employees designated as guardians of new-born babies are granted leave for a period running from the day of designation as guardian until the infant reaches the age of 70 days.

Paternity leave. On the birth of a child, employees are granted an uninterrupted paternity leave of thirty calendar days. This leave is granted at any time from the date of the child’s birth until the child reaches the age of 3 months (in the case of a complicated delivery, twins or multiple births, from the date of birth until the child reaches 6 months).

Parental (childcare) leave. As chosen by the family, the mother (adoptive mother), father (adoptive father), grandmother, grandfather or other relatives actually raising the child, or an employee designated as a child’s guardian, are granted parental (childcare) leave until the child reaches the age of 3 years. The leave may be taken all at once or in instalments. Employees entitled to this leave may take it alternately.

Public holidays. Businesses, offices and organisations are closed for the following holidays: 1 January (New Year’s Day); 16 February (Day of the Restoration of the State of Lithuania); 11 March (Day of the Restoration of Lithuania’s Independence); Easter Sunday and Easter Monday (according to Western tradition); 1 May (International Labour Day); the first Sunday in May (Mother’s Day); the first Sunday in June (Father’s Day); 24 June (Midsummer Day, Feast of St John); 6 July (Statehood Day – Coronation of King Mindaugas); 15 August (Assumption of the Virgin Mary); 1 November (All Saints’ Day); 2 November (All Souls' day); 24 December (Christmas Eve); 25 and 26 December (Christmas).

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Payment

Remuneration for work includes basic wages and any additional earnings paid directly by an employer in any form to an employee for the work carried out. Men and women receive equal pay for the same job or a job of equal value. On a proposal from the Tripartite Council, the government sets a minimum hourly pay rate and a minimum monthly salary. On a proposal from the Tripartite Council, the government may set different minimum hourly rates and different minimum monthly wages for individual branches of the economy, regions or employee groups. The hourly rate or the monthly wages of an employee may not be less than the prescribed minimum amounts. Collective agreements may set higher minimum rates than those established by the government. Work on days off or national holidays, if they are not included in the regular schedule, is paid at no less than double time or is compensated for, at the preference of the employee, by giving an additional day off in the relevant month or by adding a day to the employee’s annual leave. Work on national holidays which is part of a regular schedule is remunerated at least double the rate of the employee’s wages.

The current version of the Labour Code provides that salary/wage is to be paid in Lithuania twice a month, that is an advance and the salary/wage itself. If the employee requests it in writing, the employer may pay the salary/wage once a month. Most often, wages are paid into the employee's bank account. Payslips are not obligatory.

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Ending employment

Termination of an employment contract by mutual agreement. Either of the parties to an employment contract may propose to the other party to the employment contract to terminate the employment contract. The proposal to terminate the employment contract must be presented in writing. It sets out the terms for the termination of the employment contract (when the employment ends, the amount of compensation, the procedure for granting unused leave, the settlement procedure, etc.). If the other party to the employment contract agrees to the proposal, it must express its consent in writing. If the party to the employment contract does not reply to the proposal within five working days, it is considered that the proposal to terminate the employment contract has been rejected.

Termination of an employment contract on the initiative of the employee without substantial reason. An open-ended employment contract and a fixed-term employment contract concluded for a period of time longer than 1 month may be terminated by a written statement of the employee upon a notice to that effect to the employer at least 20 calendar days in advance.

Termination of an employment contract on the initiative of the employee for valid reasons.

An employment contract may be terminated by a written statement of the employee in a notice to that effect to the employer at least 5 calendar days in advance in the following cases:

  1. the employee is idle through no fault of their own for more than 30 consecutive days or if this time amounts to more than 45 days during the past 12 months;
  2. the employee has not been paid the full remuneration for work (monthly salary) due to for more than 2 months in a row, or if the employer fails to fulfil, for more than 2 months in a row, its obligations established by the provisions of the labour law governing occupational safety and health;
  3. the employee is unable to do their job due to an illness or disability or due to the fact that at home they are caring for a family member (child (adopted child), father (adoptive father), mother (adoptive mother), husband, or wife) for whom, in accordance with the procedure established by legislative acts, the special need for permanent care or special need for permanent attendance (assistance) is established;
  4. an employee with an open-ended employment contract has reached the statutory age of entitlement to an old-age pension and has become entitled to the full old-age pension when working for that employer.

Termination of an employment contract on the initiative of the employer without any fault on the part of the employee.

The employer has the right to terminate an open-ended or fixed-term employment contract early for the following reasons:

  1. the job done by the employee becomes redundant for the employer due to changes in work organisation or for other reasons related to the activities of the employer;
  2. the employee fails to attain agreed performance;
  3. the employee refuses to work under changed or supplementary conditions of the employment contract or to change the type of working time or the location of work;
  4. the employee does not agree to the continuity of the employment relationship in the case of the transfer of the business or part thereof;
  5. a court or a body of the employer takes a decision due to which the employer terminates.

Termination of an employment contract on the initiative of the employer due to the fault of the employee. The employer has the right to terminate an employment contract without any notice and without severance pay if the employee, through their culpable action or failure to act, breaches the obligations established by the provisions of the labour law or by the employment contract.

The notice of the termination of the employment contract is to be presented in writing. The notice of the termination of the employment contract must specify the reason for the termination of the employment contract and the legal provision specifying the grounds for termination of the employment contract as well as the day on which the employment ends. The employer, subject to the consent of the employee, has the right, at any time before the end of the notice period, to decide to terminate the employment contract, postponing the day on which the employment ends to the last day of the notice period and not allowing the employee to work the period of notice, but paying the remuneration for work due to the employee for the whole notice period.

Restrictions on the termination of an employment contract. An employment contract with an employee who is a pregnant woman may be terminated during her pregnancy and until the child reaches the age of 4 months by mutual agreement of the parties, on the initiative of the employee, on the initiative of the employee during the trial period, without the will of the parties, and upon expiry of a fixed-term employment contract at the end of its term.

The contract of employment may not be terminated with employees caring for a child (adopted child) under 3 if there is no fault on the part of the employee. Employment contracts with employees who are on pregnancy and childbirth (maternity) leave, paternity or parental leave may not be terminated at the discretion of the employer.

Dismissal on the initiative of the employer in the absence of fault on the part of the employee, or at the discretion of the employer of an employee called up for compulsory military service or alternative national defence service is prohibited.

Terms and conditions for claiming a retirement pension. A retirement pension is granted when the person has reached the statutory pension age and has paid social pension insurance contributions for at least 15 years. The retirement age has been increased every year since 2012 and will be 65 years for both men and women by 2026. In 2020, the retirement age is 63 years for women, and 64 years for men.

An advance retirement pension may be received by persons who have not more than 5 years before their age of entitlement to an old-age pension, have necessary length of service for entitlement to an old-age pension, do not receive any other periodical payments or income, are not employed and do not receive any other work-related or other insurable earnings (under an employment contract, on the grounds of membership or service, from independent activities, from farming activities, from abroad).

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Health system

The health system is basically financed by the National Health Insurance Fund, which cover all permanent residents with compulsory health insurance (CHI) funds.

Owing to the National Health Insurance Fund under the Ministry of Health (VLK), all Lithuanian residents who pay compulsory health insurance (CHI), or for whom such contributions are paid, are exempt from payment of fees for all medical treatment, medical advice, and other assistance in healthcare institutions. All these services are paid from the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund (CHIF). As a result, individuals pay contributions once a month and do not need to make any additional payments. All citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and non-nationals permanently residing in Lithuania as well as non-nationals legally working and temporarily residing in Lithuania must pay health insurance contributions. If there is an insured event, they are entitled to personal healthcare services which are covered by the CHIF.

Compulsory health insurance guarantees that necessary personal healthcare services, the costs of which are reimbursed by the budget of the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund, will be provided to the insured person as soon as they acquire the status of a person covered by compulsory health insurance. A person for whom, in accordance with the procedure established by the Law on Health Insurance, health insurance contributions at the established rate are paid or who pay such contributions themselves is considered an insured person.

The income of the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund includes:

  • compulsory health insurance contributions paid by or for insured persons;
  • state budget contributions for insured persons whose insurance is paid from public funds;
  • state budget appropriations to cover the costs of the manufacture and adaptation of orthopaedic technical means;
  • funds recovered from or returned by healthcare institutions or pharmacies for unlawfully provided or paid for personal healthcare services, unlawfully prescribed, dispensed or paid for medicines and medical aids;
  • funds recovered, in accordance with the procedure provided for by law, from natural and legal persons for damage caused to the health of the insured person when the costs of the healthcare services provided to them were paid from the budget of the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund.

If you are covered by CHI, payment for your treatment to the institution that has concluded an agreement with the territorial health insurance fund (TLK) will be made by the health insurance funds.

The healthcare institution must inform patients that they can receive services paid from the health insurance funds free of charge . If a person covered by CHI is asked to pay additionally for medical treatment services in a healthcare institution or to purchase medicines or medical aids at their own expense, the person must first of all ask why they are required to do so and request documents justifying the lawfulness of the additional payments. If the reason for additional payments cannot be clarified in communications between the patient and the doctor, then the administration of the healthcare institution should be contacted.

If you fall ill, seek the family doctor’s advice

In a person falls ill, they should first contact the family doctor working in the healthcare institution with which that person is registered. All persons covered by CHI may choose the family medical centre or polyclinic, including that located closest to their place of residence, and choose the family doctor. It is also possible to choose and register with a chosen mental health centre. The chosen institutions should be licensed to provide these services and have an agreement with the TLK, in which case the services provided by the family doctor do not have to be paid for.

Free dental services

Dental treatment should first be sought in the healthcare institution with which the person is registered. If the institution does not have a dentist, it should provide information about the dental practices that provide free dental services to people registered with that institution. Treatment might require paying for filling and other dental materials, medicines, single-use supplies. The exemption applies to children, full-time students in general education schools and full-time students in departments of vocational schools until they reach the age of 24 years, as well as to socially disadvantaged people (they need to submit a certificate issued by the municipal social assistance department of their place of residence). They are not required to pay for materials and single-use supplies used for dental treatment.

The family doctor will refer you to the required specialist

Patients who are insured with the CHI and are referred by the GP to other specialist doctors for examinations or consultations that cannot be performed by the GP can apply for free services regardless of their difficulty. This applies to both public and private healthcare institutions that have concluded an agreement with the TLK, under which they are paid for healthcare services provided to their residents. There is no need for a family doctor referral to a dermatovenerologist for skin and venereal diseases, as well as if the same specialist is referred to for the same reason repeatedly (i.e. the doctor has specified to return repeatedly, as the patient’s examination or treatment is to be continued) or the patient suffers from a chronic condition requiring long-term monitoring. If the patient wishes to receive a consultation from a specialist doctor without a referral from the family doctor, he or she will have to pay for it. In addition, payment will be required if a patient is referred to a specialist doctor by a doctor working in a healthcare institution that has not concluded an agreement with the TLK.

Exception – the list of services to be paid for

Procedures that are not directly related to the treatment of diseases or illnesses and are not reimbursed from the budget of the CHIF are provided by healthcare institutions on a paid for basis. The list of services for which recipients must pay is approved by the Minister for Health. The list includes acupuncture and manual therapy, health checks for travelling abroad, buying a civilian weapon, obtaining a driving and recreational aviation licence, additional individual patient care and nursing, abortion, cosmetic surgery operations and cosmetology procedures, dental implantation, and other services. The healthcare institutions themselves must adopt clear procedures for the provision of paid services and make it available to patients.

Further exceptions when payment may be required

If patients who are entitled to free healthcare services make their own choice of these, without a doctor’s recommendation, the actual price of those examinations is paid by the patients. In these cases, the patient’s choice should be justified and clearly specified (by documenting the chosen examinations) and certified by the patient's and doctor’s signatures in the medical records. The service is paid for to the cashier of the healthcare institution and the patient is issued a cash receipt. In this case, if the patient chooses more costly services at his/her own initiative, he/she pays the difference between the actual and basic prices at the medical institution’s cash register. In case of uncertainty, we advise that you first try to resolve all concerns at the medical institution.

Therefore, those who decide to come to Lithuania for medical treatment, should first of all inquire about the procedure for the compensation of healthcare costs in the country where they are insured and find out whether prior authorisation is required. This information is provided by the national contact point for cross-border healthcare (www.lncp.lt).

Insured people are reimbursed the cost of refundable medicines and medical devices prescribed for outpatient care. The costs of acquiring refundable medicines for outpatient care are calculated by the Ministry of Health according to the procedure established by the government or another institution authorised by the government (costs are reimbursed at retail prices).

There is no such thing as totally safe medicines. Some may cause slight side effects, and others more serious side effects. Accordingly, medicines are placed on two lists – prescription medicines and non-prescription medicines. Prescription medicines are sold strictly according to prescriptions written by doctors, while non-prescription medicines may be bought over the counter. Medicines are sold in pharmacies. General emergency phone number in Lithuania is 112.

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Income and taxation

The Lithuanian government sets the minimum hourly pay (EUR 3.72 per hour) and the minimum monthly wage (EUR 607 per month) in accordance with the Law on Wages. The hourly pay or monthly wages of an employee may not be lower than the minimum hourly pay or the minimum monthly wage set by the Lithuanian government. The minimum monthly wage for an employee can only be paid for manual work.

The average monthly wage before tax (excluding individual companies) in the third quarter of 2019 was EUR 1 317.6, according to Statistics Lithuania. In Lithuania, taxes must be paid only by permanent residents; non-permanent residents pay taxes in the cases provided for by law.

As of 2019, the following employee’ taxes are deducted from the agreed wage:

  • 20% or 32% personal income tax (applied only if the income exceeds the amount of 84 average wages);
  • 19.50% social insurance rates;
  • 2.1%–3% pension saving contributions (if selected by the employee);

the following ‘employer’ taxes will be added on to the agreed wage:

  • 1.45% social insurance rates;
  • 0.32% guarantee fund and long-term unemployment contributions.

Earnings received from employers under employment or equivalent relationships are subject to 20 % income tax. The income tax on wages is calculated and paid to the budget by employers. Pre-tax earnings are subject to a personal allowance. The higher the income, the smaller the personal allowance. A maximum personal allowance of EUR 350 is provided for residents whose income from employment or equivalent relationships (hereinafter referred to as ‘income from employment’) does not exceed the minimum wage as of 1 January 2020, i.e. EUR 607. Other residents are subject to a monthly personal allowance that is calculated according to the following formula: Monthly personal allowance = EUR 350 – 0.17 x (resident's monthly income from employment – EUR 607).

If the monthly income from employment reaches EUR 2 666 (before taxes), the monthly personal allowance is not applied (in 2019, it was no longer applied upon reaching EUR 2 555).

It should be noted that, for the purposes of calculating the annual personal allowance, maternity/paternity allowances, income from individual activities, income from the sale or other disposal of property not used for individual activities, income from the leasing of property, interest, income from distributed profits, income of a member of an unlimited liability entity received from the entity’s taxable profit, royalties, fees, annual payments (bonuses) to members of the management and supervisory board, pensions and rents, maintenance awarded by court or received under contract, benefits under life insurance contracts, pension annuities, lottery and gambling winnings as well as prizes in sporting competitions are counted as annual income of a permanent resident of Lithuania in addition to income from employment and equivalent relationships received during the income tax period.

The tax allowance is important, as this portion of income is not subject to individual income tax. An additional personal allowance, which applied to people raising children, was abolished in 2018. As of the beginning of 2018, it was replaced by child benefit which is calculated based on the size of the basic social benefit and equals 1.54 of the basic social benefit which is valid that month. At the moment, the basic social benefit amounts to EUR 39, hence the child benefit equals EUR 39 x 1.59 = EUR 60.06.

Compulsory health insurance (CHI) contributions must be paid by all permanent residents of Lithuania (unless the CHI contributions are paid for them by the employer or the state). Self-insured people are required to pay CHI contributions equal to 6.98% of the minimum monthly wage each month until the last day of the current month (as the minimum monthly wage has increased to EUR 607 as of 1 January 2020, the CHI contribution has also increased respectively to EUR 42.37 per month). All persons (both with and without CHI) are allowed to visit public and municipal as well as private health care institutions. The difference is that the uninsured have to cover all health care services in both private and state as well as municipal health care institutions out of their own pockets.

The income tax period is coincides with a calendar year. For income received by a non-permanent resident through a permanent establishment in Lithuania, the first income tax payment period is considered to be the calendar year in which the permanent establishment was or should have been registered. Each permanent resident of Lithuania is entitled to personal income tax relief and can recover some of their expenditure, e.g. life assurance premiums, voluntary pension saving contributions, tuition fees for vocational, higher university/non-university education.

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Education system

Pre-school education.

Pre-school education under a pre-school education programme is provided to children from their birth to the age of 6 years. Institutional pre-school education is not compulsory and is provided if the parents so wish. It may be mandatory in individual cases (for children from ‘social risk families’, etc.). Pre-school education is provided by state and non-state crèches, kindergartens, and nursery schools.

Pre-primary education

The duration of pre-primary education is 1 year. It is provided to 6-year-old (in exceptional cases, to 5-year-old) children and is intended to better prepare them for school. It is free of charge, public, but is not compulsory. Parents retain the right to decide whether to provide education to their 6-year-old child under a pre-primary education programme.

Pre-primary education groups are established at kindergartens or schools. In remote villages, municipalities can set up such groups in multifunctional community centres or provide free school bus rides to the closest school which has such a group. Municipalities are offered flexible models of pre-primary groups: several days a week, weekend, during school holidays, camp-type, etc.

In pre-primary groups, children learn new skills which will be useful to them at school: to communicate with peers and adult strangers, adapt to a new environment. Children’s social, health protection, world knowledge, and artistic competences are developed mostly through play. If a child receives education at home, their parents are informed about new developments in pre-primary education and advised on important issues for the child’s education. If the parents so wish, their child is provided with special pedagogical and psychological assistance free of charge.

Primary education is compulsory for all children who reach the age of 7 during that calendar year. A 6-year-old child may also be admitted to grade one if they have received education under a pre-primary education programme during the previous year. Conclusions of specialists of municipal pedagogical psychological services regarding the preparedness of a child are not mandatory. Primary education covers grades 1–4 (usually the ages of 7-11). Primary grades may be established in school kindergartens as well as in primary, basic schools, pro-gymnasiums (general education institutions for lower grades), and gymnasiums (general education institutions for higher grades).

Admission. In order to register a child with a primary school, one should contact the administration of the chosen school. Usually, a school admits children living within its catchment area (according to the declared place of residence). However, if there are vacant places in a class, the school may also admit children from other areas. Admission may take place during the whole school year. For the list of documents to be submitted, admission dates, need for registration of the place of residence, and other issues, the chosen school should be contacted.

Fees. Primary education, except for private education institutions, is free of charge. Parents pay for additional services such as catering and childcare after lessons. Fees in private schools differ significantly and may range from EUR 58 to EUR 14 999 per year.

Language. Usually, it is Lithuanian. There are institutions which provide education in other languages: English, Russian, Polish, French, German, Belarusian, etc.

Lower secondary education is compulsory and covers grades 5–10. Usually, these schools are attended by 11 to 16 year olds. They receive education in schools, pro-gymnasiums, and gymnasiums. Lower secondary education of grades 9–10 corresponds to gymnasium grades I–II . In Lithuania, education is compulsory until the age of 16 years. The purpose of this education programme is to provide basic moral, socio-cultural and civic education, general literacy, the basics of technological literacy as well as to cultivate national consciousness, to foster the ability to seek and make decisions and choices and to continue learning.

The content and process of teaching are defined at a national level in documents approved by the Minister for Education and Science. Lower secondary and secondary education programmes in general education plans define the guidelines for lower secondary education, the general scope of study subjects, target learning outcomes, recommendations for the organisation of the education process, etc. General programmes of primary and lower secondary education define the goals, structure, and expected learning outcomes. With reference to general plans and general programmes, school management and teachers draw up teaching plans at a school and class level as well as those adapted for individual school students, i.e. individualised plans.

The content of lower secondary education under general programmes covers the following areas of subjects:

  • moral education (ethics and different religions or cognitive programmes);
  • language (mother tongue, national language, and foreign languages);
  • mathematics;
  • natural sciences;
  • social education (history, geography, citizenship education, economics and entrepreneurship, psychology);
  • artistic education (art, dance, music, theatre, and contemporary arts);
  • information technology;
  • technology;
  • physical education;
  • development of general competences and life skills.

Admission. Usually, a school admits children living within its catchment area (according to the declared place of residence). However, if there are vacant places in a class, the school may also admit children from other areas. Admission may take place during the whole school year. For the list of documents to be submitted, admission dates, need for registration of the place of residence, and other issues, the chosen school should be contacted.

Fees. Education, except for private general education schools, is free of charge. Parents pay only for additional services.

Language. Usually, it is Lithuanian. There are institutions which provide education in other languages: English, French, Russian, Polish, etc.

Lower secondary education attainment Lower secondary education is attained upon completing grade 10 (or grade II in the gymnasium) and passing the compulsory basic education learning achievement test (PUPP).

Upper secondary education is not compulsory and lasts 2 years (grades III and IV of gymnasium or grades 11 and 12 of secondary school). School students learn according to individual education plans. The programme may include modules of the vocational education programme. The upper secondary education programme is available in secondary schools, gymnasiums, and vocational schools.

School students can also choose education that better meets their values, world view, religious beliefs, and philosophical views. Such education is provided in non-traditional schools. Non-traditional schools may operate according to programmes drawn up by themselves; however, the total number of study subjects and hours allocated to an individual study subject in grades 1–12 may not differ by more 25% from those provided for in state general education plans.

Vocational training programmes are intended for persons of various ages and levels of education,

who seek to acquire the qualifications or skills needed to carry out a legally-regulated job or profession. Initial vocational training programmes lead to the award of an initial qualification, whilst continued vocational training programmes top up existing qualifications or help with the acquisition of additional qualifications. Vocational training schools also allow individuals to acquire lower or upper secondary education in addition to a qualification. Initial vocational training is financed from the state budget and is available to persons aged at least 14. The top graduates from vocational training schools or graduates with work experience in line with their vocational qualifications are awarded additional points to attend institutes of higher education.

Studies at Lithuanian higher education institutions can be pursued under study programmes which award degrees or programmes that do not lead to a degree. Study programmes awarding a degree fall into two categories: those run by colleges and those run by universities. There are three levels of studies: the first leads to a professional bachelor’s degree or a bachelor’s degree; the second leads to a master’s degree, and the third leads to a doctorate. Professional bachelor degree programmes are run by colleges, and bachelor degree programmes by universities. Programmes leading to a second-level degree may only be run by universities, while third-level study programmes can only be offered by universities or universities together with research institutes. Students of Lithuanian schools of higher education either pay their tuition themselves or receive state funding. Priority for state scholarships for first-level programmes is given to students according to their performance in the final examinations, education, other results and special abilities.

Adult education is available to anyone aged 18 or above who select this type of education. If a person has not completed lower or upper secondary education, they can study at upper secondary colleges for adults, education centres or colleges of general education with classes for adults.

Persons holding an education diploma and/or qualifications awarded abroad and who wish to study or work in Lithuania may need to apply to the bodies responsible for the assessment and recognition of foreign diplomas and qualifications in Lithuania. Persons who have finished vocational education at an institution abroad and require the vocational qualification they have obtained to be recognised (assessed) in Lithuania should apply to the body for the assessment and recognition of qualifications in Lithuania. A vocational qualification can be recognised only if the profession is regulated in Lithuania. For the academic recognition of foreign higher education diplomas, holders must apply to the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education. Information on educational opportunities in Lithuania is provided by the AIKOS open information, advice and guidance system. This helps users (pupils, students, employees and other interested parties) to plan their studies or vocational careers by providing them with the information they need on professions, qualifications, study and training programmes, institutes of education and science, admission rules, training licences, Europass certificate supplements, statistics on training and job vacancies, etc.

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Cultural and social life

Lithuania is a flat, green country which has preserved much of its natural splendour – open countryside, forests, lakes and rivers. It also has a unique sea coast which consists not just of beautiful sandy beaches but also of the Curonian Spit, which separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic sea.

One of Lithuania’s main cultural fields is theatre. Lithuanian theatre dates back to ancient times. Performances used to be staged in one form or another in barns, farmyards and even churches. The appreciation of symbolism and theatrical spectacle remains alive and well today. Lithuania boasts a great number of excellent directors, actors, and professional and amateur theatrical groups; they are famous abroad, are very highly regarded and always draw large audiences. Lithuanian theatres are gaining international acclaim and generously share the talents of their directors with the major theatres of the world.

Lithuania hosts various folk festivals throughout the year. Shrove Tuesday is the day of bidding farewell to winter and ushering in spring. Soon after, the Kaziukas Fair in early March fills market places, squares and streets with a wealth of hand-made goods from local craftsmen, including items of wood, ceramics and linen. On Palm Sunday, sprays of grass and decorative shrubs are collected and tied into bundles (known as ‘verbos’). St John’s Night falls on the 24 June, the shortest night of the year. The Song Festival is held every 4 years in Vilnius in mid-summer. Overall, various festivals are held in Lithuania. Detailed information is available at www.renginiai.kasvyksta.lt.

Public holidays: The New Year on 1 January (New Year), 16 February (Day of the Restoration of the State of Lithuania), 11 March (Day of the Restoration of Lithuania’s Independence), Easter, 1 May (International Labour Day), the first Sunday in May (Mother’s Day), the first Sunday in June (Father’s Day), 24 June (Midsummer's Day, Feast of St. John), 6 July (Statehood Day – Coronation of King Mindaugas), 15 August (Assumption of the Virgin Mary), 1 November (All Saints’ Day), 24 December (Christmas Eve), 25 and 26 December (Christmas).

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