Lithuania Work Culture
To succeed in business in Lithuania, it is vital to have a strong understanding of the country’s business culture. Lithuanian business culture is modern and reflects ongoing changes in Western society. However, there are still hierarchical elements reflected in some companies, although this varies according to the company.
As a global PEO (Professional Employment Organization) it is our goal to be familiar and updated with the business culture in the country we work with and in. By sharing our knowledge about the Latvian work culture, we want to support your global expansion plans. Therefore, we will address all the aspects of the work culture in Latvia to start your expansion well-informed.
Lithuania places great significance on relationships, and local businessmen often treat their business relationships as the foundation of friendships. Thus, it is important to both you and your local business partners to treat business dealings with respect and great care.
Like other countries, there has been an increasing awareness in the importance of work-life balance and flexible working times, but Lithuania still places significant importance on business etiquette for the smooth operation of businesses. Here are some tips and tricks to use during your first few months:
- Punctuality: In Lithuania, it is considered common courtesy to arrive on time for meetings. It is best practice to arrive about 10 minutes before the appointment; and if you know you are going to be late, call ahead and apologize for the delay. However, in social situations, punctuality is not as strict. Meetings are generally arranged in advance in Lithuania, so scheduling 2-3 weeks prior to the meeting date is required.
- Languages: English is the language of business in Lithuania, but an effort to speak Lithuanian goes a long way. Other common languages in Lithuania include Russian and Polish.
- Business Relationships: The business community in Lithuania is close-knit; they are business partners as well as friends. The best way to open communications with a Lithuanian businessperson is through a trusted mutual contact. Once contact is made, it is important to solidify the relationship with regular calls or visits to Lithuania. If hospitality is given, accept and reciprocate. Once a friendship has been formed, they are willing to discuss business. Critical business issues require face-to-face discussions. It is preferred to have all agreements on paper, signed and sealed by both sides and in both English and Lithuanian. Verbal agreements are also practiced, but they are not legally binding.
- Introductions/Greetings: It is common practice in Lithuania to greet someone with a handshake, holding direct eye contact and with a smile, both before and after a business meeting. It is also customary to exchange business cards at the start of a meeting. Once a relationship has been formed, greetings may become more open and can include a hug – however, it is important to wait for your Lithuanian associates to determine when you have reached that level.
- Gift-giving: In Lithuania, small gifts upon first meeting with business associates are acceptable, and the first gift should be a souvenir – something small that represents your country or your company. Business meeting gifts include items for the office. While developing the business relationship, gift-giving is standard practice – favorable options include wine, high-quality chocolates or a basket of tea and biscuits. When visiting a Lithuanian home for the first time, it is traditional to bring something for the host such as a bottle of wine/liquor and a box of sweets or chocolate. Any family gifts should also be accompanied with small gifts for the children and/or grandparents. Avoid giving white flowers (reserved for weddings) or chrysanthemums (typical flowers for funerals). Gifts are normally opened in front of the guest upon receiving them.
- Dress code: Conservative/classical clothing is common business attire in Lithuania – men tend to wear dark suits, and women tend to wear trouser suits, or jackets and skirts. It is expected of foreign business associates to be well-dressed in the appropriate business attire for most formal occasions. During normal business hours, the dress code is less formal – and in small and medium-sized companies, there is often no dress code. However, the general dress-code is business casual, unless a business meeting or formal event is taking place.
- Formality: In Lithuania, people are first addressed by their honorific title and their surname. Colleagues and supervisors are referred to as “Ponas” (Mr.), “Panele” (Ms.), or “Ponia” (Mrs.) and their first name, or by their title (Doctor, Professor, Director etc.), sometimes including last names. It is important not to address a person by their first name until invited to do so.
- Personal Space: Personal space is very important to Lithuanians. An arm’s length is the norm, although this does not apply to people they are comfortable with. Lithuanians are generally affectionate with their family, friends, and colleagues.
- Hierarchy: The business culture of Lithuania is hierarchical, so it is important to show respect to people of authority and senior business members. In some cases, senior-level business members only speak with fellow senior members. Junior members should not address a senior member directly.
- Communication: Lithuanians prefer face-to-face meetings, as it is important to them to build relationships of mutual understanding and like to turn business relationships into friendships. Lithuanians generally speak softly, are good listeners, and are not very emotive speakers. They do not touch others whilst speaking and can appear reserved upon the first meeting. They are modest, and do not take well to bragging. It is important not to show any anger or frustration. Any topic of discussion can be used to start a conversation – let your business associates get to know you and talk about your family, work, hobbies, and sports.
Lithuania Minimum Wage
In October 2020, the Tripartite Council (which brings together the government, employers, and trade unions) announced a new national minimum wage of EUR 642 per month in 2021, which increased from EUR 607 in 2020.
Probation Periods in Lithuania
According to the Labor Code, the probation period can be established in employment contract. The maximum period is 3 months, but if requested by the employer, this limit can be increased to 6 months. This could also be decreased if both parties agree.
If the probationary period ends with both parties willing to continue the employment, the contract will continue to have effect with no additional actions needed.
However, if the results of the probation period are proving unsatisfactory, the employer can dismiss the employee with a written 3 business days’ notice and is not entitled to severance pay. The employer should, however, verify the reasons for an employee’s dismissal.
Working Hours in Lithuania
In Lithuania, a typical working day is 8 hours, 5 days a week. The working day starts at 8 or 8:30am and ends at about 5:30/6pm. Office hours can vary, and Friday is often a short day with people leaving at about 4pm or earlier. In some cases, the working day is extended to 6 days and/or 48 hours. Workers in the private sector commonly stay late at work and may also work on weekends.
Daily lunch breaks can last between 30-60 minutes.
Overtime in Lithuania
Overtime work for employees generally does not exceed 8 hours in 7 executive working days and must give written consent work up to 12 overtime hours per week. Employees also cannot exceed 180 hours per year in overtime, unless established under the respective collective agreement.