More information about the coronavirus and restrictions related to it is available calling 1247 (from abroad +372 600 1247).

Work, work-related travel

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Returning to the working environment should be done in a safe manner.

Various precautions to prevent the spread of viruses continue to be important:

  • preference for remote work,
  • allowing people to return to work gradually,
  • reducing the physical exposure of employees,
  • airing and proper cleaning of rooms,
  • the employees must stay at home when sick.

When returning to the working environment you should bear in mind the following:

  • when you are sick, stay home! Ask sick employees to stay home!
  • before allowing people to return to work, find out how employees can be exposed to the virus in the working environment and take action to mitigate risks.
  • consider how to protect the employees belonging to risk groups.
  • If necessary, consult with the Labour Inspectorate's working environment consultant or occupational health doctor on how to make the working environment safer.
  • discuss changes planned with employees in the working environment and, if necessary, instruct them before returning to work.
  • re-arrange the working environment so that working places would be separated from each other, and the least possible number of employees would be in the same room.
  • Resume work gradually, if possible, prefer remote working, and holding meetings online.
  • Disperse break times so that there are not many employees gathering in the break rooms at the same time.
  • pay attention to hygiene rules, hand washing and the availability of disinfectants at entrances and exits, near movement routes and near meeting and recreation rooms.
  • arrange work in such a way that the same tools and work surfaces are used by only one employee and assure regular cleaning.
  • clean and air both working and resting spaces, assure proper ventilation or airing of premises.
  • if necessary, issue personal protective equipment to employees and instruct how to use them.

Last updated: 25.05.2020 16:05

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It is of utmost importance that the workplaces use disinfectants.

In the offices:

  • it is recommended for people to keep physical distance from each other,
  • it is important to air the rooms regularly,
  • clean the surfaces regularly.

See here recommendations by the Health Board for efficient cleaning and disinfection.

Information regarding safe return to the offices from working remotely is provided by the Ministry of Social Affaires guidelines here.

People should be sent home from work, if

  • they are ill
  • might have been in contact with an infected person,
  • belong to a risk group.

Please note! Employees arriving from abroad are required to stay home for two weeks and monitor their health carefully. More information on the requirements of self-isolation, and specific countries can be found on the [website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs] (https://vm.ee/et/teave-riikide-ja-karantiininouete-kohta-euroopast-saabujatele)

Both the employee and the employer need to agree to the changes in working conditions.

Last updated: 30.06.2020 08:52

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An employee with a work contract has an obligation to work according to the agreed conditions.

However, if the employee is returning from a country with higher ratio of infected persons, then the Estonian Health Board recommends staying home for 14 days. Information about countries with higher infection ratios is available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This does not automatically mean that the employee is not required to go to work. The employee must inform the employer of their return to Estonia and agree how best to arrange work.

The employer and the employee have various options for coming to an arrangement:

  • remote work (work from home),
  • unpaid leave,
  • application of the e § 35 and § 37 of the Employment Act,
  • use of mandated annual leave. If an annual leave schedule has been pre-arranged, changes in annual leave times can only be made if mutually agreed. If the employee does not wish to use the employee’s mandated annual leave, another solution must be found.

Please also refer to the Employment Contracts Act: https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/112072014146?leiaKehtiv.

Last updated: 30.06.2020 08:52

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As members of the society, we must prevent the spread of the virus and it can only be done together. We all need to keep each other safe and when we are sick, we should not go to work or to a populated place to spread the virus.

If in our community or workplace someone is ill or has come back from a trip since March 17, and believes they do not have to stay home then it is up to us to draw the attention of this person to the fact that not everybody is in perfect health or has a strong immune system, and that is why it is important to prevent the spread of the virus. Conscience is the best means of coercion.

Internal communication and good relations between people are also important in companies and organisations.

Last updated: 28.03.2020 23:43

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Everybody is uniformly compensated 70% of wages during the period of sick leave, there have been no exceptions set.

Last updated: 29.03.2020 12:58

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The employer is obligated to assess work-related risks when he sends an empolyee to a work-related trip abroad. Therefore, it is primarily the obligation of the employer to assess the risks and take the decision on whether it is possible to avoid sending the employee to a trip.

The employee has the right to refuse or suspend work that

  • endangers his or other persons' health, or
  • would not allow following environmental safety regulations,

by immediately notifying the employer or his representative and the work safety representative.

Thus, if you find that you would be endangering your life or health by going to a work-related trip abroad, you do have the right to refuse to go.

See more in §14(5) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/520032019007/consolide

Last updated: 29.03.2020 16:49

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The spread of Coronavirus is one of the circumstances that allow the employer to reduce the workload and the salary of the employee for three months unilaterally according to § 37 of the Employment Act, if paying the agreed salary is an unreasonably heavy burden for the employer. It is permitted to reduce the salary to the minimum wage as determined by the Government of Estonia (584 Euros per month or 3.48 Euros per hour).

A reduction in the salary is permitted according to § 37 of the Employment Act only under the following conditions:

  • If the employer is unable to provide work to the employee as previously agreed due to economic circumstances (this doesn’t include seasonal changes in amount of work);
  • If payment of the agreed salary is an unreasonable burden on the employer. It is not permitted to reduce the salary if the employer does not have enough work for the employee to do, but still has enough liquidity to pay the salary; in this case it is interpreted that there is no real need to reduce the salary.

Last updated: 11.04.2020 13:00

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In order to reduce the salary the employer must investigate if it is possible to offer different work to the employee. If there is no alternative work, or the employee does not agree to the work, the employer must inform the trustee of the employees, or in case there is no trustee the employees directly, at least fourteen days in advance. Employees must be given an opportunity to be involved in the decision. The employee must present their opinion within seven days.

If the employee does not agree to a reduced salary, the employee has the right to terminate the work contract, and this must be announced a minimum of five working days in advance. In the event of termination of the work contract, the employee will receive one month’s average salary as compensation, in addition to the contractual final pay, which consists of earned salary and unused vacation pay.

Last updated: 29.03.2020 14:35

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If it is clear that the situation will not improve and the employer is not able to provide work nor pay a reduced salary, redundancy is an option. Redundancy is an extraordinary termination of the work contract by the employer due to economic reasons, i.e. if following the agreed work conditions is impossible because of a reduced amount of work or the rearrangement of work. Redundancy also happens, when the employer terminates its operation or files for bankruptcy. The employer must present employees with a written termination notice and explain the reasons for termination.

The employer must follow announcement terms according to § 97 point 2 of the Employment Act. The terms are related to the length of the work contract. The employer must announce redundancy at the following times when the employment has been working for the employer:

  • less than one year – minimum 15 calendar days;
  • one to five years – minimum 30 calendar days;
  • five to ten years – minimum 60 calendar days;
  • ten and more years – minimum 90 calendar days.

The employer must consider that if the termination is announced with disregard of these terms, the employer must pay compensation. In that case the employer will have to pay the average salary for the work days that are within the announcement term that was disregarded. If the work contract ends due to redundancy the employer must pay a redundancy compensation of one month’s average salary in addition to final salary.

Last updated: 30.03.2020 14:29

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There is no specific regulation by the state as to the age a child may be left alone at home. Each case is different and depends on the maturity of the child and surrounding circumstances. It is up to the parent to decide whether to leave the child temporarily alone. In doing so, the parent must be guided by the best interests of the child, assess the maturity of the child and consider possible hazards. It is important that the wellbeing and safety of the child is guaranteed.

In general, a child's ability to act independently to a certain extent (the child is responsible for his or her behavior; knows what is or is not safe for health; can handle self hygiene) is linked to school age. Leaving kindergarten-age children and smaller children alone should be avoided, as well as being left in the care of an at-home elementary school child for longer periods.

If necessary, it is advisable to ask your relatives for help with childcare (if possible, not older people), and to turn to the local government with questions about the opening hours of kindergartens, care facilities, and other related organisations.

Last updated: 17.05.2020 14:29

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When the parental benefit ends, the parent can end the parental leave and return to work. If this is not possible, the circumstances need to be differentiatied according to cause.

If the employer

  • has no work to provide, he must still allow the employee to return to work and pay her wages even if no work is provided. The employer may reduce the wages but the employee has the right to decline this. If the employer has no work to give in a situation provided by §37 of the Employment Contract Act and the employee cancels the contract, the employee has a right to a redundancy compensation. If the employer does not agree to a reduction of wages, she has the right to cancel the contract and the employer must pay compensation. More information in §35 or 37 of the Employment Contract Act

  • wishes to make the employee redundant, parents raising a child under three are in a preferential situation. People on parental leave can be made redundant only if the employer stops operating (e.g. a bankruptcy is declared).

Last updated: 24.05.2020 15:47

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The deadline for submission of the personal income tax returns of natural persons was April 30, but paper copy tax returns will be accepted by the Tax and Customs Board also after the deadline, at least until the end of June. The Tax and Customs Board client offices across Estonia are closed and tax returns can be submitted electronically. If you belong to a risk group and you do not have the opportunity submit an electronic tax return at home, do not go to your relatives or friends or invite them to visit you to help with the tax returns. If necessary, the Tax and Customs Board will accept the tax returns at least until the end of June and will not impose any sanctions for exceeding the deadline.

Last updated: 12.05.2020 21:32

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More information about the coronavirus and restrictions related to it is available calling 1247 (from abroad +372 600 1247).