Latvia - Labor

The 2001 labor force was estimated at 1.1 million workers. Unemployment in that year was officially reported at 7.6%. Approximately 60% of those employed were in the service sector, with 25% in industry and the remaining 15% in agriculture.

Latvian workers have the legal right to form and join labor unions. As of 2002, about 30% of the labor force was unionized. Unions are generally nonpolitical, have the right to strike (with some limits), are free to affiliate internationally, can bargain collectively, and are mostly free of government interference in their negotiations with employers.

The minimum employment age is 15, and the mandatory maximum workweek is set at 40 hours. Latvian labor regulations also provide workers with four weeks of annual vacation and special assistance to working mothers with small children. Certain minimum standards of labor conditions are defined by law, athough they are not effectively enforced. The legal minimum wage was $98 per month in 2002.

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