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Information for Lithuanian workers

On 1 May 2004 Lithuania joined the European Union. As a Lithuanian citizen you therefore have the right to work in the United Kingdom. You should apply to register with the Home Office Worker Registration Scheme as soon as you have started a new job.

Under related documents you will find the leaflet about what your rights are in the UK. This also includes information on what you should do before leaving Lithuania, and important contact details in Lithuania and the UK.

The leaflet only covers the main points and you are advised to contact one of the EURES bureaux of the Lithuanian Labour Exchange (in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Panevezys, Siauliai, Utena, Taurage or Alytus) before you leave Lithuania. In the UK you can approach the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), or the Trades Union Congress (TUC) for advice – you do not have to be a member of a British trade union. Citizens Advice Bureaux (CABx) are another good source of help. You will find a list of useful contacts at the end of the leaflet.

The following issues are some of the details contained in the leaflet:

How do I register to work in the UK?

As soon as you start working in the UK you must complete application form WRS giving your name, address, date of birth, nationality and employment details. You can get an application form and more information by telephoning 08705 210 224 or visiting www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk or

www.workingintheuk.gov.uk.

With your first application you will need to send a letter from you employer confirming that you are working, two passport photos, your passport or ID card and a payment of £70. If you do not apply within one month of starting a job your employment will become illegal.

What are temporary work agencies?

One way of finding work in the UK is through a temporary work agency, either based in Lithuania or in the UK. Temporary work agencies provide workers to ‘user companies’. The agency recruits the workers, pays their wages and may provide accommodation and transport. The actual work, however, is done for the user company and that company decides how the work is carried out. So if you enter into a contract with a temporary agency it will pay your wages making any necessary deductions for tax and National Insurance. Meanwhile the agency has entered into a contract with a company to supply temporary workers to it. You will work for that company, and be subject to its control and direction.

How much will I be paid?

Nearly all workers aged 16 years or over, who have left school, are entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW). If you are 16 or 17 years old you must receive at least £3.40 an hour. If you are 18, 19, 20 or 21 years old you must receive at least £4.60 an hour and if you are aged 22 or over you must receive at least £5.52 an hour. These are the rates from 1 October 2007. The rates usually increase on 1 October each year.

If you are hired to do agricultural work you are entitled to the Agricultural Minimum Wage. In England and Wales you must be paid at least £5.52 an hour if you are a basic grade agricultural worker and are 16 years old or older. If you have specific qualifications, work with animals, or operate machinery you must be paid at least £6.00 an hour. If you work more than 39 hours a week on a farm, you are entitled to overtime pay which is one and a half times your basic hourly wage.

Agricultural Minimum Wage rates in England and Wales are revised each year, with new rates coming into force on 1 October. Different rates of Agricultural Minimum Wage apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you are in doubt, ring the contact numbers listed at the end of this leaflet. You are strongly advised to keep a record of the hours you worked.

Will I have to pay UK tax and National Insurance?

UK tax will be payable on your wages for UK work. Your employer will make the necessary arrangements and deduct the money from your wages.

When you work in the UK, either with an agency or a direct employer you will have to pay UK social security contributions (known as National Insurance) to the UK. Your employer will make the necessary arrangements and deduct the money from your wages. If you are liable to pay National Insurance you will need a UK National Insurance number. If you do not have a National Insurance number, you should contact Jobcentre Plus to apply for one.

You will not have to pay National Insurance in the UK if your contract with a temporary work agency was signed in Lithuania and you pay your social security contributions in Lithuania. You will need a form E101 (available from any regional State Patient Fund office). The form E101 will confirm you pay social security contributions to Lithuania and will prevent a demand for UK National Insurance contributions.

If you enter into a contract in the UK, either with an agency or a direct employer you will have to pay National Insurance to the UK. Your employer will make the necessary arrangements and deduct the money from your wages. If you are paying tax and National Insurance you will have a National Insurance number. Make sure you know what this number is. Your employer should help you here, if not go to the nearest Jobcentre Plus.

In addition to paying UK tax, you may also have to pay tax in Lithuania if you are resident there for tax purposes. In that case, if the tax you pay in the UK is less than the tax due on the same income in Lithuania, you will have to pay the difference to Lithuania. Further advice is available from the Lithuanian Tax Inspectorate.

What if I fall ill/get injured/get pregnant?

You are generally entitled to free treatment from the UK National Health Service, but certain costs are due from patients for prescribed medicines, dental treatment and some opticians’ fees. To claim this treatment you will need to have form E128, provided you pay social security contributions to Lithuania. The form E128, which should be completed before you leave Lithuania, is used in the UK to confirm entitlement to National Health Service treatment. You can get the form from any regional State Patient Fund Office.

If you come to the UK to work and are liable to pay UK National Insurance contributions the form E128 will not apply to you. You will be able to obtain healthcare under the UK National Health Service without it. If you are paying UK tax and National Insurance you may be able to claim maternity benefit or incapacity (sickness) benefit if, for health reasons, you are unable to work for four or more consecutive days. Contact your local HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) office in the UK to find out more. You will need your National Insurance number to make a claim.

If you are not paying UK contributions and become sick or pregnant contact your local Social Security office for advice about State benefits.

Will I have to work long hours?

You cannot be required to work more than 48 hours a week, averaged over 17 weeks (over 26 weeks if you are working on a farm) unless you have agreed in writing that you are willing to do so.

Further infomation are contained in the leaflet and note the information provide general guidance only. It should not be regarded as a complete and authoritative statement of the law.