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Reform of regulation of individual labour disputes

EcovisAfter a long consideration, the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania, by the law No. XI-2127, on June 26, 2012, adopted the amendments of XIX Chapter of the Labour Code, which reforms the procedure of individual labour dispute settlement. The new amendments will be useful to protect violated rights of employees more efficiently and faster, also will be useful to solve disputes between them, to reduce workload of the courts and administrative burden of business. The amendments will come into force from January 1, 2013.

Currently, individual labour disputes are analyzed by the Labour Disputes Commission, which is formed in each enterprise, establishment or organisation ( Article 288 of Labour Code ). The Labour Disputes Commission shall be formed from an equal number of  representatives of the employees and the employer. The representatives of the employees are selected on the meeting of the employees, the representatives of the employer shall be appointed by the employer's order (directive). If a Labour Disputes Commission has not been formed in an enterprise, establishment or organisation, the employer, upon receiving the application addressed to the Labour Disputes Commission, must within the time limits set in paragraph 1 of Article 291 of Labour Code appoint the clerk of the Labour Disputes Commission and initiate the formation of the Labour Disputes Commission.

It is not effective, because there is possibility for the employer to avoid by forming such commissions, and when they are formed, conclusion may be useful to the employer. Therefore, the majority of cases extendes on the court, and due high workload of the court such cases continue a significant period of time. Due these reasons the Parliament adopted the amendments of the section XIX in Labour Code.

Since January 1, 2013, the principle of labour dispute operation will be changed. According Article 287 part 2 of the Labour Code there will be established permanently Labour Disputes Commission under the State Labour Inspectorate (SLI). The Labour Disputes Commision will remain as a mandatory pretrial body, which resolves individual labour disputes. Without appealing to the Labour Disputes Commission, there is few cases when the court will directly examine the case without procedure on the Labour Disputes Commission:

  • suspension of the employee from the work by the initiative of the employer;
  • suspension of the employee from the work by the initiative of the official or bodies, who have the right to suspend an employee from work;
  • the legality of termination of an employment contract on the initiative of an employer;
  • other cases prescribed by laws.

According current regulation of the Labour Code (Article 295 of Labour Code), the following disputes shall be heard directly in courts without applying to the Labour Disputes Commission:

  • disputes arising in relation to the employment contract in the cases specified in paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 297 of this Code (disputes relating to the employment contract);
  • disputes regarding the rewarding of the reasons for dismissal from work;
  • disputes between trade unions or other employees’ representatives and the employer regarding non-performance of the duties and obligations established in laws or in the contract;
  • disputes on the basis of claims filed by trade unions if the employer fails to timely consider or meet the demands of the trade union to revoke the employer's decisions which have violated the employment, economic and social rights of the members of trade unions established by laws;
  • in the event of termination of employment relationships between the employer and the employee;
  • in other cases prescribed by laws.

According Article 285 of the Labour Code, an individual labour dispute shall mean a disagreement between the employee and the employer regarding the exercise of the rights and the fulfilment of the duties established in labour laws, other regulatory acts, the employment contract or collective agreement, which shall be heard in accordance with the procedure laid on the Chapter XIX of the Labour Code.

Since January 1th 2013 not only employees, but also employer is able to appeal to the Labour Disputes Commission. According to the current version of the Labour Code (Article 293 part 2 of Labour code) the decision of the Labour Disputes Commission shall not be subject to appeal by the employer. Since January 1th 2013 the dispute party which disagrees with the decision of the Labour Disputes Commision, will be able to plead the district court within one month from the date when the decision of the Labour Disputes Commission was made. The decision of the Labour Disputes Commission comes into force after the deadline when the parties are able to appeal to a court and no one from the parties presented the claim to the court.

The current version of the Labor Code (Article 296) determines that an employee may apply to the Labour Disputes Commission within three months from the day when he learned or ought to have learned about the violation of his rights. The term is not renewed. Since January 1th 2013 the provision of the Labour Code (Article 289 part 1) determines that this term may be renewed by the Labour Disputes Commission if the reasons of the missing are important (importance of the reason is measured by the Labour Disputes Commission).

The new Labour Disputes Commission will consist of three members - the representative of employer, the representative of employees and the chairman of the Labour Disputes Commision. The chairman of the Labour Disputes Commission is appointed by the State Labour Inspectorate.

The appointment of these representatives will not depend on the dispute participants or their involvement in employers’ organization or trade unions. Therefore, there is an opportunity to hear the opinion of social partners in all disputes.

Both dispute parties will be invited to participate in examination of the application. Absence of one of the party will not obstruct to resolve the dispute if they were notified in a proper manner. It makes a possibility to resolve the dispute faster, regardless of the parties’ passivity. The Labour Disputes Commission makes a decision on the day of the meeting, only members of the Labour Disputes Commission participate on decision making. The decision is made according to the majority of votes. If the opinion of employers’ and trade union representatives will contrast, the decision will be made by the chairman of the Labour Disputes Commission. The parties also will be able to close the procedure by making settlement agreement.

New amendment (Chapter XIX of the Labour Code) makes possibility to investigate the disputes between the employee and the employer more economically and expeditiously. At this moment the person tries to avoid court procedure due high cost, long term of court procedure and the Labour Disputes Commision often are loyal to the employer. Hoping, the new amendment should solve all inconveniences pointed before and will be useful for both parties.  


Donata Pundinaite
Assistant to the Attorney at Law

ECOVIS Miškinis, Kvainauskas ir partneriai advokatų kontora
Mesiniu str. 5/2, LT-01133 Vilnius, Lithuania

Phone: +370 (5) 212-40-84 - Fax: +370 (5) 212-27-41

E-Mail: donata.pundinaite@ecovis.lt - Internet: www.ecovis.lt