Work life balance

Lithuania flagLithuanians are ready to work long hours including overtime, so that they can provide a good standard of living for their families. Loyalty and the ability to work long hours are often considered by employers as necessary characteristics of a good employee. Because of the difficulties in finding a good job and fear of losing it to someone else, young people in particular have to be willing to work hard for long hours. The desire for career development is a major impediment to achieving a better work-life balance, especially for younger people and citizens of the bigger Lithuanian cities. Rather than ask for a promotion or better working conditions, employees are more likely to increase their efforts in the hope that they will be noticed and rewarded. More flexible working hours are considered as the second most important factor for choosing a job.

Gender equality in Lithuania is growing, with men and women being considered to a greater extent as equal “breadwinners”. Work-family issues are being considered less of a “women’s problem” among college graduates and the urban population. However, Lithuanian society as a whole is still conservative when it comes to the sharing of parental obligations between women and men and few men would take parental leave. The primary reason is that men don’t want to interrupt their careers and there are still strong beliefs shared by both women and men that housework and raising children is better done by women.

On the 16th June 2012, the European Institute for Gender Equality was officially launched in Lithuania as an autonomous institution with full financial and administrative independence.

National Holidays

Lithuanian statutory holidays are as follows:

Date and name of the Holiday:

  • 1 January New Year’s Day
  • 16 February Independence Day (Re-establishment of the State of Lithuania)
  • 11 March Re-establishment of Lithuania’s Independence Moveable Easter Sunday and Easter Monday
  • 1 May International Labour Day
  • First Sunday in May Mother‘s Day
  • First Sunday in June Father‘s Day
  • 24 June Rasos (Midsummer Festival) and Joninës (St John’s Day)
  • 6 July Statehood Day (Coronation of King Mindaugas)
  • 15 August Assumption Day
  • 1 November All Saints’ Day
  • 24 December Christmas Eve
  • 25 and 26 December Christmas

Some national holidays take place on the same dates as significant festivals and cultural celebrations. St John’s Night, on the 24th June, celebrates the shortest night of the year and people stay up by bonfires all night. For Palm Sunday traditional “palm bouquets (called ‘verbos’) are made of colourful dried flowers and herbs. Shrove Tuesday is a moveable feast held between February 3rd and March 9th as folk celebration to bid farewell to the winter and welcome spring. People chase away winter with all its “evils” by wearing various costumes and burning special statues made from hay.

In Lithuania, employees are entitled to four calendar weeks paid holiday per annum, including weekends. Most Lithuanians tend to take their vacation in the summer months of June, July and August and also around Christmas time. Some categories of employees are entitled to extended annual leave of 35 days. These are employees under 18 years of age, single parents raising a child under 14 years of age, single parents raising a disabled child under 18 years of age. Employees working night shifts, or in extremely dangerous conditions, also have additional holiday entitlements. Generally, employees are entitled to annual paid holidays after six months of employment.

Working Hours

A typical working week is 8 hours a day, 5 days a week starting at 8 or 8.30am. In some cases, the working week might be extended to 6 days or 48 hours. Part-time work is not well established and people working in private business commonly stay late at work, even on weekends. As office hours may vary, you should check before contacting your business partner. Friday is often a short day and business people may leave at about 4 pm or earlier.

Banks generally open at 8am and close early, while shops are open until 6pm from Monday to Friday. Daily lunch breaks are usually short (30 to 60 minutes), although business lunches can turn into long discussions.

Employees are entitled to annual vacation of 28 calendar days, including weekends. In general overtime is not allowed, but an employer may demand that employees work overtime hours in exceptional cases that are described in the Labour Code of the Republic of Lithuania. In any case an employee’s overtime hours must not exceed four hours in each 48 hour period or 120 hours per annum.

Health Insurance

According to Health Insurance Law, every permanent resident in the country regardless of citizenship must have health insurance. When employees begin work, employers have to register them with the company health insurance fund. In the case of self-employment, individuals have to make their own contributions. The state fund pays for most medical services including treatment by specialists, prescriptions, hospitalisation, pregnancy, childbirth and rehabilitation.

There are two types of public hospitals in Lithuania. Firstly, the Vilnius University Hospital and Santariskes Clinics, which is a combination of hospitals and clinics controlled by the Ministry of Health and the University. Other hospitals are controlled by the counties and municipalities. Most of the specialized hospitals are situated in the capital and larger cities. The national emergency telephone number for the ambulance service is 112.

Although there is a private health care system in Lithuania, the insurance is too expensive for most people and there are not many private practices. However, the government has encouraged religious groups to open medical and welfare facilities; the Roman Catholic Church and the charitable organisation Caritas have already done so.

Dental care in Lithuania is very good and on a par with Western Europe. Most dentists have private practices. Check-ups are free of charge; however patients must pay for any treatment they receive.

Prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines are available at local pharmacies, known as “Vaistinė”, which are normally open from 8am to 6pm, Monday through Friday. Some designated pharmacies stay open 24 hours a day including holidays.

The social insurance system in Lithuania guarantees income for people in cases where they are unable to work, due to illness, old-age, maternity, disability, or other circumstances that are set out in the Law on State Social Insurance. Social insurance is funded through the pay-as-you-earn system and relevant contributions by the employer and employee are based on a percentage of the employee’s salary.

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