Leave Policy in Estonia

Shraddha Saxena
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Table of Content

In Estonia, mastering and administering employee leave policies is not only a legal obligation but also a strategic benefit for businesses seeking to attract and retain top talent. Estonian labor laws offer explicit guidelines on various types of leave, making it crucial for employers, including those hiring employees from Estonia or through an Employer of Record (EOR) in Estonia, to understand these regulations to ensure compliance and cultivate a supportive work environment.

Annual Leave (Vacation)

In Estonia, employees are entitled to a minimum of 28 days of annual leave, which can be extended based on the employment contract. Minors and physically challenged employees receive at least 35 days. Leave eligibility typically begins after six months of employment, though some employers may allow it after three months. Annual leave can be taken all at once or in parts, with at least one 14-day period. Employers must compensate for any unused leave at the end of employment. Specific roles, like government officials and academic staff, have longer leave entitlements.

Example: Maria, a full-time employee, has worked for her company for seven months and is eligible for 28 days of annual leave. She decides to take 14 consecutive days in the summer and the remaining 14 days at different times throughout the year. When she resigns after two years, she has 10 unused leave days, for which her employer compensates her monetarily

Public Holidays

Date Day Holiday
1 Jan 2024 Monday New Year’s Day
24 Feb 2024 Saturday Independence Day
29 Mar 2024 Friday Good Friday
1 May 2024 Wednesday Spring Day
23 Jun 2024 Sunday Victory Day
24 Jun 2024 Monday Midsummer Day
20 Aug 2024 Tuesday Independence Restoration Day
24 Dec 2024 Tuesday Christmas Eve
25 Dec 2024 Wednesday Christmas Day
26 Dec 2024 Thursday 2nd Day of Christmas

Sick Days

In Estonia, employees are entitled to sick leave for illnesses and injuries, with specific benefits and allowances, especially for work-related injuries. Employees can claim a "temporary inability to work" benefit starting from the second day of sick leave, paid at 100% of their reference wage, depending on the employer’s social tax contributions. Additionally, employers must provide a "work ability allowance" for permanent work-related damages.

For pregnancy-related illnesses, employees receive sick leave at 70% of their salary, covered by the Health Insurance Fund from the second day. Other employees who fall ill or are injured at work also receive sick leave payments from the Health Insurance Fund starting from the second day, typically at 70% of their salary.

Employees can take up to 182 days of sick leave per year, with the first three days unpaid, days 4 to 8 paid by the employer, and days 9 to 182 covered by health insurance at 70% of the salary. This period extends to 240 days for employees with tuberculosis.

Employers in Estonia must navigate these regulations to ensure compliance and support employee well-being, making the country attractive for hiring due to its robust employee protections.

Maternity Leave

In Estonia, pregnant employees are entitled to 140 calendar days of maternity leave, which can begin as early as 70 days before the expected due date and must include a minimum of 30 days post-birth. Employees must notify their employers at least 30 days before starting their maternity leave.

During maternity leave, employees receive benefits from the Social Insurance Board, compensated at 100% of their average earnings from the previous calendar year. There is no upper limit on these payments. For mothers who did not work in the previous calendar year but had worked before the child's birth, a minimum wage of 654 EUR per month is provided.

The Health Insurance Fund covers maternity pay at 100% of the employee’s average earnings based on the previous year's earnings. While childcare allowance for children born after August 31, 2019, is no longer granted, child allowance and other family allowances continue to be available.

Paternity Leave

In Estonia, male employees are entitled to paternity leave to support the birth of their child. Fathers can take up to 30 days of paternity leave within three years of the child's birth, starting from the delivery date. This leave must be taken simultaneously from all employers if the father works for multiple companies.

The Social Insurance Board provides paternity benefits. Fathers are entitled to 10 working days of paternity leave within two months before the due date and an additional 2 months after the birth. Paternity leave is compensated at 100% of the father's average wage, capped at three times the minimum wage.

Parental Leave

Estonia offers comprehensive parental leave policies to support employees who are parents. From April 1, 2022, parents can take up to two months of parental leave simultaneously, each receiving parental benefits during this period. Parents of premature babies and multiple births receive additional support, ensuring they can stay home with their children until they reach 18 months old. Parental benefits can be claimed until the child turns three.

Childcare leave is granted separately to both parents on a per-child basis, accommodating blended families. Each parent has the right to 10 days of paid parental leave per child until the child turns 14. The benefit for this leave is set at half of the parent's average wages.

Estonia's extensive parental leave policies, including seven different categories for child-related purposes, demonstrate the country's commitment to supporting employees through childbirth, adoption, or fostering. These policies help create a family-friendly work environment, making Estonia an attractive destination for hiring and retaining top talent.

Adoption Leave

In Estonia, employees who adopt a child under 18 are entitled to 70 days of adoption leave, starting from the date of adoption. For children under age 3, adoptive parents are granted more than 70 days of leave. This leave can be taken in parts, but must be used within six months. Estonia's adoption leave policies ensure that employees have the necessary time to bond with their newly adopted child, making the country an attractive place for hiring and supporting working parents.

Study Leave

In Estonia, employees are entitled to up to 30 days of study leave per calendar year for further education and professional growth, taken all at once or in separate periods. This leave is based on calendar days and applies regardless of multiple employers. Employers may grant an additional 15 days for course completion or entrance exams. Regulated by the Employment Contracts Act and the Adult Education Act, study leave requests can be denied if the employee has exhausted their leave, failed to provide notice, or if it falls on non-working days. Study leave is partially paid, with full pay for 20 days and unpaid for 10 days. Additional leave may be paid at minimum wage.

Caregiver Leave

In Estonia, employees are entitled to caregiver leave to care for an adult close relative who requires around-the-clock medical care due to an accident or severe illness. This leave allows employees to take up to five days off work within a 12-month period for each adult requiring care.

To qualify for caregiver leave, employees must clearly define their relationship with the injured person. According to Estonian labor laws, this leave can be taken if the employee is the legal guardian, sibling or half-sibling, spouse or registered partner, the adult’s registered carer under the Estonian Social Welfare Act, or a close relative or child.

Caregiver leave in Estonia is paid, with employees earning the minimum wage during these five days. Understanding and offering this leave can help employers in Estonia support their employees' unique responsibilities, ensuring a more focused and productive workforce.

Hassle-Free Leave Policy Management in Estonia with Gloroots

At Gloroots, we recognize that managing leave policies can be challenging, particularly when expanding your business and hiring internationally. Our platform ensures adherence to Estonian labor laws, efficiently tracks leave balances, processes requests, and generates detailed reports. Partnering with Gloroots lets you focus on business growth while we handle employee leave management. Reach out to us to learn how Gloroots can streamline your HR processes and improve your business operations in Estonia.

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