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Latvia: Employers can suspend, dismiss unvaccinated workers

November 5, 2021 GMT

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The Latvian parliament has given employers the go-ahead to dismiss employees who are required to get vaccinated against the coronavirus but refuse to do so.

The Seimas assembly voted 52 -27, with two abstentions and 60 lawmakers absent, to authorize employers to suspend workers without required vaccination certificates for whom they are unable to make accommodations.

Employers must first determine if there is another suitable position or if the staff member can fulfill their responsibilities while working from home.

The Thursday night vote means that employees who do not have a vaccination certificate by Nov. 15 can be transferred to another appropriate job until the certificate has been obtained. Citing the Latvian Justice Ministry, the Baltic News Service said that not obtaining a certificate is a sufficient reason to determine workers are not fit for their jobs.

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Latvian television said the certificates previously were required for workers in the health care, education, and social care sectors, but the requirement was extended to all positions that involve contact with customers or where the employer deems a certificate to be necessary for other reasons.

Last month, Latvia introduced an 8 p.m.-5 a.m., curfew due to the worsening coronavirus situation in the Baltic country of 1.9 million. Most stores are closed, and indoor and outdoor gatherings, including entertainment, sports and cultural events aren’t allowed.

The partial lockdown ends Nov. 15.

Latvia on Thursday reported 2,347 new daily cases and 47 COVID-19 deaths. Of the new cases, 69.2% were in people who are unvaccinated or had not completed their vaccination course.

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Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic