Employment of Researchers

Working in Europe | Career Development | Latvia

The specificity of employment of the teaching staff and researchers in the institutions of higher education and research centres in Latvia is regulated mainly by the “Law on Scientific Activity” (2005) and the “Law on Institutions of Higher Education” (1995), while common regulation of labour relations is regulated by the “Labour Law” (2001) and other legislative acts.

Further sections:

  • gives an insight into the matters of employment of academic and scientific personnel;
  • highlights the main differences in various forms of employment.

  

        Legal framework and the Status of scientist 

        Academic positions and the employment of the academic staff:

                in the institutions of higher education

                in a scientific institute and a commercial company

        Researcher’s duties

        Researcher’s responsibilities

        Intellectual property rights

        Issues, if the academic or scientific staff is not elected

        Institutions

 

Legal framework and the Status of scientist

[1.] The specificity of employment of the academic staff and researchers in the institutions of higher education and research centers in Latvia is regulated by the “Law on Institutions of Higher Education” and “Law on Scientific Activity” Common regulation of labor relations is regulated by the “Labour Law” and also “Civil code”.

[2.] According to "Law on Scientific Activity", a scientist is a natural person who performs scientific activity and who has acquired scientific qualification (a doctoral degree). The status of a scientist shall be determined by his or her scientific qualification, individual achievements in science, and an expert evaluation.

 

Academic positions and the employment of the academic staff in the institutions of higher education

[1.] University academic staff carries out scientific research and participates in educating the undergraduates. The university determines the scope for each of these activities. The contract of employment for an academic post is concluded by the rector for the period of election - six years.

[2.] An institution of higher education shall have the following academic positions:

  • professor;
  • associate professor;
  • docent;
  • senior research scientist;
  • lecturer;
  • research scientist;
  • assistant;

[3.] A person may be elected to only one academic position and only in one institution of higher education or college. A person elected to such position may perform academic work in another institution of higher education or college in the position of visiting professor, visiting docent or visiting lecturer. A person elected to such position may be at the same time elected also to the position of a senior researcher or researcher.

[4.] A Professor is an internationally recognized expert in his/ her field who performs scientific research or artistic creation at a contemporary level and ensures high-quality studies in the field of science or art. A person elected in the post of a professor shall have a doctoral degree and at least three years of experience as an Associate Professor. The number of Associate Professor positions is determined by the university itself.

[5.] A person who may be elected as a Docent must have a doctoral degree. The number of Assistant Professor positions is determined by the university itself. The main tasks of Assistant Professors are:

  1. research work in the respective scientific field or artistic creation;
  2. lecturing, leading training sessions, organization of exams and tests.

[6.] A person with a doctorate or master’s degree may be elected as a lecturer. The tasks of lecturers are determined by the constitution of the university.

[7.] A person with a doctorate or master’s degree may be elected as an assistant. If an assistant does not have a doctoral degree, the assistant may only be elected not more than successive two times.

[8.] Practical skills and knowledge in vocational study. To obtain practical skills and knowledge in vocational study courses the post of a docent, lecturer and assistant may be taken by an individual with a higher education without a degree:

  1. docent post requires at least seven years of practical work experience;
  2. lecturers and assistants must have at least five years of practical work experience.

[9.] Vacation: the academic staff of a university receives annual paid eight-week leave and every six years - paid six-month academic leave for scientific research or carrying out scientific work outside their place of work. Academic staff is entitled to receive a single, paid three-month study leave for the preparation of doctoral thesis.

[10.] Visiting Professors, Visiting Docents and Visiting Lecturers. If there is a academic position vacancy or a temporary vacancy in an institution of higher education or college, the institution may hire a visiting professor, a visiting docent or a visiting lecturer for a time period of up to two years. Visiting professors, visiting docents and visiting lecturers have the same rights, duties and remuneration as professors, associate professors, docents and lecturers, but they may not participate in the activities of the elected management bodies.

The open competitions shall be announced by publishing an announcement in the newspaper “Latvijas Vēstnesis” (in Latvian !).

The foreign scholars invited by the university pay taxes in Latvia, are exempt from state fees for the visas and receive a residence and work permission in Latvia for the period set out in the employment contract (see Entry, Visas, Residence and Work Permits). 

 

Academic Positions and the employment of the academic staff in a scientific institute and a commercial company

[1]. Shall have the following academic positions:

  • senior researcher (persons with a doctoral degree);
  • researcher (persons with a doctoral or a master degree);
  • research assistant.

[2.] Persons shall be elected for six years to academic positions as a result of an open competition in accordance with the procedures specified in the by-law of a scientific institute or the articles of association of a commercial company.

[3.] Participation of Foreign Researchers in Scientific Research Projects Implemented by a Latvian Scientific Institution. Scientific institutions registered in the Register of Scientific Institutions are entitled to invite third-country nationals to participate in the scientific research projects implemented by them, who are not citizens of the European Union if he or she has a doctor of science degree or a higher education degree necessary for the acquisition of a doctor of science degree. In such case, the scientific institution shall enter into an employment contract with the foreign researcher in which the conditions for the implementation of the research project are provided for. The employment contract shall be signed by an authorised person of the scientific institution and the foreign researcher. The employment contract shall entered into for the time of the implementation of the scientific research project and may not exceed the term of validity of the temporary residence permit issued to the foreign researcher. The employment contract shall be terminated if the foreign researcher has been refused a renewal of the residence permit in Latvia or also it is cancelled (see Entry, Visas, Residence and Work Permits).

[4.] The equation of a foreign degree is carried out pursuant to international agreements binding to Latvia (see Recognition of Diploma and Qualification).

[5.] A scientific institution may host leading visiting researchers and visiting researchers. Such researchers are recruited without election and the employment contract is concluded for a period of not more than two years.

  

Researcher’s duties

  1. to ensure the objectivity of scientific research;
  2. to inform the public about the results of the research, to provide consultations and expert opinions;
  3. to promote scientific breakthroughs and insights;
  4. to improve her scientific qualifications and participate in the education of new scientists;
  5. to terminate scientific research that, in the opinion of the scientist, may cause threat to human kind, society or nature and inform the public accordingly;
  6. to participate in the improvement and development of the of the educational system.

 

Researcher’s responsibilities

  1. a scientist is responsible for the objectivity of the research results and the conclusions drawn on the basis of these results;
  2. a scientist is liable for exceeding her competence if, as a consequence, the public is given recommendations that do not arise from the specific results of scientific research;
  3. a scientist is liable for fair use of the materials, financial means and information for achieving the set targets;
  4. the scientist is not liable for the consequences of further use of the scientific research, except in the following cases:
    - the scientist herself has used the research results or prepared such for use;
    - there is an agreement between the scientist and the user of the research results regarding the liability of the researcher.

  

Intellectual property rights

The researcher shall have exclusive intellectual property rights resulting from her scientific activity, unless the contract provides otherwise. A state scientific institution shall have the material rights to an invention or plant variety if it is fully created as a result of a state-funded research pursuant to the procedures set out in the operational rules (see Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)).

  

If the academic or scientific staff is not elected, the following issues must be notes:

  1. an employee may receive a time wage or piecework pay. The time wage is calculated based on the actual working hours regardless of the volume of the work done. Piecework pay is calculated based on the volume of the work carried out regardless of the time period;
  2. any claims related to the labour disputes are subject to statute of limitations within two years. Meanwhile, the employee may bring a court action for the invalidation of the employer’s notice within one month from the receipt of the notice;
  3. in the case of commercial research and in some cases in case of lecturing agreements, a service (company) contract may be concluded. The main differences between an employment and service (company) contract are the following: (a) a specific result must be submitted under the company contract; (b) the performer of the company contract is obliged to provide for their own social guarantees. The client is not obliged to ensure, for example, payment of vacation or sick-leave benefits.

 

Institutions:

Ministry of Education and Science

Ministry of Welfare

State Labour Inspectorate - a state supervisory and control institution to carry out the activities in order to ensure an effective implementation of the government policy in the field of labour legal relationship, labour protection, as well as the technical supervision of the dangerous equipment.

Latvian Focal point of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work - to inform the people about occupational safety and health.

Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia (LBAS) - protects the interests of professional trade union members and employees on the branch and inter-branch level.

Education and Science Workers Trade Union – protects the interests of professional trade union members and employees.