Remuneration of medical personnel for prolonged working hours does not comply with the Constitution

On 15th of May Constitutional Court adopted decision in the case No. 2017-15-01“On Compliance of Section 531 (7) of Medical Treatment Law with the First Sentence of Article 91 and Article 107 of the Satversme (Constitution) of the Republic of Latvia” or so-called case on remuneration of medical personnel.

Since 2009, to provide the required human resources in health care, working time of medical personnel had been prolonged up to 60 hours per week or 240 hours per month (normal working time – 40 hours per week). Medical practitioners do not get paid raised remuneration for the overtime work, neither did they get additional rest periods (as provided for by Labour Law).

The case was initiated based on an application submitted by the Ombudsman. Medical practitioners, who work extended normal working hours, are in similar and comparable circumstances with employees, who do overtime work pursuant to the Labour Law. The contested norm is said to envisage differential treatment of medical practitioners and to be incompatible with the principle of proportionality, because remuneration to medical practitioners for overtime work is not equal to the amount of remuneration set in the Labour Law and the law On Remuneration of Officials and Employees of State and Local Government Authorities. Thus, the contested norm is said to violate the principle of equality enshrined in the first sentence of Article 91 of the Satversme (Constitution).

The Constitutional Court adjudicated that Article 31 of transitional provisions for the Medical Treatment Law do not conform with the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia and ceases to apply.