Latvia: Passes law allowing companies to fire unvaccinated people

Latvia was the first European bloc to return to lockdown status this autumn

letonia flag 18 10 2021 unvaccinated, DISMISSALS, vaccine, LATVIA, law

The Latvian parliament on Thursday approved a law that allows companies to lay off employees who refuse or be vaccinated against Covid-19, or work remotely as the country battles one of the worst pandemic waves in the European Union.

About this 61% of adults in the country are fully vaccinated, a rate much lower than the EU average of close to 75%.

Latvia was the first European bloc to returned to lockdown mode this fall as coronavirus cases were rising rapidly and sought medical help from other EU Member States as well as makeshift facilities Covid-19 are set up in corridors and garages of hospitals in the country.

The new law allows companies to put unpaid unpaid workers on leave if they refuse or receive a vaccine against the disease or, if possible, put them to work remotely. They can then fire workers if they are not vaccinated after the three-month suspension.

"There is sufficient justification to believe that such a person is not suitable for the position," the government said in a statement to parliament, explaining the reasoning. The new legislation will take effect on November 15 as the country emerges from the lockdown. The new rules exclude those who have medical reasons not to be vaccinated and those who have recently contracted Covid.

Previously, the vaccination order only applied to workers in the healthcare, education and social care sectors, according to the country's state television network.