The leave policy in Estonia is one of the most generous in Europe. Employees get sufficient days off with up to 100% of their usual salary while off duty. Although the labor laws specify the leave days, employers can be flexible when granting leaves in certain instances. Employers must avoid violating laws on the leave policy in Estonia to comply with its local legislation.
Complying with these laws can be challenging, especially if you are an outside company hiring in Estonia. Consider partnering with a global employment platform like Skuad to help you navigate these laws. Skuad can help you onboard, pay employees, and structure a comprehensive leave policy for your Estonian team. We can help you achieve full compliance with the law and help you attract the best talents.
Explore this article to discover the leave policy in Estonia and how it affects your hiring ambitions.
Estonia celebrates specific days with huge significance to its culture, people, and independence. There are 12 public holidays in Estonia. In addition to public holidays, Estonia also observes holidays that are specific to workers in certain fields. Other recognized holidays in this country include national holidays, school holidays, and flag days.
Employees may continue regular duties on flag days. However, on these days, residents and workers will raise the Estonian flag in their various apartment buildings or homes. This activity will start at 8 a.m. and end with the lowering of the flag at 10 p.m.
Estonia also observes 15 national holidays to mark important moments in the country’s history. Some of these days fall on weekends. However, employees don’t get days off on national holidays. You must be strategic when granting holidays to avoid being short-staffed in crucial periods.
Here at Skuad, we can help you manage your employees and their schedules so that absenteeism does not affect productivity.
Below are the 2023 public holidays and days off for employees in this country:
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The labor law mandates annual leave to enable workers to take long breaks after an extended period of work. Annual leave in Estonia is at least 28 days. Employers may not reduce this leave period under any circumstances. They may extend it beyond 28 days depending on the terms of their employment contract.
Meanwhile, minors and physically-challenged employees get at least 35 days of annual leave each year. Annual leave does not include other leave types such as sick leave or study leave.
Employees are only entitled to annual leave for the amount of time logged. This implies that employers should not grant leave in advance. To be eligible for annual leave, employees must have worked for their current company for at least six months.
In some cases, an employer may grant leave to employees after at least three months of working for them. Workers may choose to take annual leave at once or on separate periods. However, one of these periods must be at least 14 consecutive days.
Both parties can postpone annual leave on certain conditions. Employers can only postpone this leave if an emergency that affects the company arises. Meanwhile, the employee can postpone or terminate the leave for various reasons regarding the incapacity to work. They must notify their employer officially before making this decision.
At the end of the employment contract, the employer will compensate the worker monetarily for unused annual leave days.
Parental leave in Estonia is one of the broadest. The government takes measures to make life easier for employees who are also parents through childbirth, adoption, or fostering. Estonia has up to seven different categories of leave for child-related purposes.
Female employees get 100 days of maternity leave in Estonia. They can take this leave starting 70 days before delivery. After the birth of their child, they only have 30 days left of maternity leave.
Employees must notify their employers at least 30 days before they choose to take maternity leave. During this period, the employee earns maternity benefits provided by the Social Insurance Board.
Male employees have a right to paternity leave in Estonia of up to 30 days. They may take this leave within three years of the child’s birth, starting on the delivery date. Employers working for multiple companies must take this leave from all employers at the same time.
The Social Insurance Board provides paternity benefits to the employee.
Childcare leave in Estonia is now called parental leave. It aims to provide parents with time to care for their children. Both parents can take parental leave at the same time for up to 60 days. Parental leave also applies to foster parents and legal guardians.
Employees who wish to adopt a child under 18 are entitled to adoption leave in Estonia. This is a 70-day leave that begins on the adoption date. For the adoption of children under age 3, employees get more than 70 days of adoptive parent leave in Estonia. Although employees can take this leave in parts, they must complete the leave days within six months.
Some individuals have unique responsibilities which can affect their concentration, availability, and productivity. Caring for an adult close relative due to an accident or severe illness is one of them. Employees in Estonia get some days off work to take care of their older family members needing around-the-clock medical care due to a disability.
Caregiver leave in Estonia is five days in 12 months with each adult. To get this leave, employees must clearly define their relationship to the injured person. According to the labor laws, employees can take this leave if any of the following relationships exists between them and the injured:
- They are the legal guardian
- The person is their sibling or halfsibling
- They are the person’s spouse or registered partner
- The adult’s registered carer according to the Estonian Social Welfare Act
- A close relative or child
Caregiver leave in Estonia is a paid leave. During these five days, the employee earns minimum wage.
During their career, many employees study further to gain more skills, qualifications, and opportunities for professional growth. Employers grant workers study leave to take some time off to focus on their education. Study leave is an entitlement and employees get up to 30 days in a calendar year to observe it.
Employees can take this leave at once or at separate periods. They decide when and how they observe this leave. However, this leave depends on the calendar days and not the number of employers an individual has. For instance, an individual working for multiple companies gets a 15-day study leave from one employer while working for others. They can only get 15 more days of study leave combined. Study leave affects every employment contract for the year.
Employees may request more time to complete educational courses. If they do, their employers may grant them additional leave of not more than 15 days to complete their program. They may also get some time off to prepare for and take entrance exams.
Likewise, if an employee starts working for a new employer while they must have observed study leave with their previous employer in the same year, they can no longer get study leave until the next calendar year. Study leave in Estonia is monitored and regulated by various national bodies including the Employment Contracts Act and the Adult Education Act.
Although employees have a right to study leave, there are instances where the employer may not grant this leave:
- The employee already got 30 days of study leave with another employer
- The employee exhausted their 30 days of leave for the year before working with them
- The employee does not notify the employer at least two weeks (14 days) before they intend to take the leave
- There was no notice from the educational institution
- If the leave days fall on non-working days such as public holidays, weekends, or any of the employee’s yearly leave periods
- If the content or clauses in the employment contract does not permit the employee to take a study leave for specific reasons
Study leave in Estonia is also a paid leave. Employees get their full payment for 20 out of 30 days. They receive no remuneration for the 10 remaining days. Meanwhile, employees may earn minimum wage if they get an additional 15 days of study leave.
There are certain leaves and entitlements an employer grants their workers who are unable to work due to health or physical complications. Sick leave in Estonia covers illnesses and injuries. Besides having a right to sick leave, employees may also be entitled to allowances and other benefits, especially for injuries sustained at work. Employees who sustain injuries on duty can demand compensation for damages.
An employee may claim a “ temporary inability to work” benefit for temporary injuries from day 2 of their sick leave. This is 100% of their reference wage which depends on the employer’s social tax contributions on their behalf. Meanwhile, employers must pay a “ work ability allowance” to compensate for permanent work-related damages.
If an employee falls ill during pregnancy, they get sick leave on 70% of their salary. The Health Insurance Fund covers this payment. Eligible employees can receive it from the second day of their sick leave in Estonia. Meanwhile, other employees who fall ill or sustain injuries on the job get sick leave with their full salary. Again, the Health Insurance Fund makes this payment starting from the second day of sick leave.
Employees can get up to 182 days of sick leave if unable to work due to illness or injuries. This period could increase to 240 days if the employee has tuberculosis.
Easily Manage Leave Policy in Estonia with Skuad
You must understand the leave policy in Estonia to fully comply with the local employment laws of the country. Skuad can help you design a leave policy for your company in line with the labor code. Skuad manages everything - onboarding, payroll, compliance, benefits and more, so you can seamlessly hire talent in 160+ countries.
Speak to an expert today to begin your journey to a blissful hiring experience in Estonia.