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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure EE-2017-18/2678 – measures in Estonia

Measures to prevent unemployment - work and study

Töötust ennetavad meetmed - tööta ja õpi

Country Estonia , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 01 May 2017
Context Digital Transformation, Restructuring Support Instruments
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery into a green future
– Active labour market policies (enhancing employability, training, subsidised job creation, etc.)
Author Ingel Kadarik (Praxis Center for Policy Studies) and Eurofound
Measure added 23 June 2022 (updated 07 November 2022)

Background information

The measure tackles the issue of skills mismatch in the labour market and respond to the need to help people adjusting to the changing labour market by making possibilities for training and studying more available for employees and supporting employers to upskill their employees. This will help the employees to retain their jobs and employers to anticipate restructuring due to employees with outdated skills.

The main target group among employees consists of those who are at risk of losing their job due to health conditions, lack of skills or outdated skills. Among employers, the measures are available for those who need to upskill their current employees or recruit those with suitable skills.

The measure is provided by the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund (EUIF) and co-financed from the ESF.

Other cases related to the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund (EUIF) are:

Content of measure

For employees, the measures include:

  • Degree study allowance , which is paid to employed as well as unemployed people upon commencing vocational or higher education. Only a selection of curriculums are eligible and the list is updated based on skills and labour needs forecasts. If re-training is needed due to health, the support covers such curriculums that help the person to remain in employment. The allowance is paid in a flat rate in the amount of unemployment allowance monthly rate (€292 in 2022). Eligible are those who do not have professional or vocational education and who have obtained or have dropped out from the basic or general secondary education up to eight years ago (depending on the form of study); who have obtained the professional or vocational education more than 15 years ago; or who need to change their job and thus acquire new skills due to a health condition.

  • Labour market training. The training voucher’s value is €2,500 per person, which can be used during three years. Those who need to change job due to a health condition are eligible for any training suitable for their health condition; those who lack Estonian language skills and earn less than on average €1,553 per month (in 2022) are eligible for language courses; those who earn less than on average €1,553 per month (in 2022) and do not have vocational or professional education, or are aged at least 50, are eligible for training programmes in the areas determined by EUIF on the basis of the skills and labour needs forecasts as well as any computer-related trainings needed for their work.

  • Support for obtaining qualifications is meant to compensate the costs of obtaining evidence or certificate of formal qualifications (for example examination fees, etc). Eligible are people who have completed respective labour market training arranged by the EUIF or training to which the employer has obtained a grant from the EUIF. Up to €500 per employee may be compensated.

To employers, EUIF compensates up to 80% of training, transport and wage costs (in the rate of national minimum hourly wage), but not more than €2,500 per employee during three years. The total volume of the training courses should be at least 50 academic hours and the duration can be up to one year. Four grants are available:

  • Upon changing circumstances, which can be used in case the skills of the employees need improving due to restructuring, implementing new technologies or an update to qualification requirements.
  • Recruitment training grant can be applied for training new employees in certain professions determined on the basis of skills and labour needs forecasts. In case the recruited and trained person is found among registered unemployed, the compensation is 100%, but still up to €2,500.
  • To improve employee's Estonian language skills (as of 2018)
  • To improve employee's ICT skills (as of 2021)

Use of measure

The use of degree study allowance (the data includes both registered unemployed and employed persons. Data shows unique persons):

  • 2017: 430
  • 2018: 1,183
  • 2019: 1,923
  • 2020: 2,473
  • 2021: 3,003
  • 2022 (up to the end of September): 2,803

The use of labour market training (the data includes unique employed persons):

  • 2017: 815
  • 2018: 2,555
  • 2019: 4,773
  • 2020: 4,641
  • 2021: 4,061
  • 2022 (up to the end of September): 3,362

The use of support for obtaining qualifications (the data includes unique employed persons):

  • 2017: 33
  • 2018: 130
  • 2019: 320
  • 2020: 289
  • 2021: 344
  • 2022 (up to the end of September): 206

The use of training costs compensation by employers upon changing circumstances:

  • 2017: 49
  • 2018: 219
  • 2019: 597
  • 2020: 345
  • 2021: 362
  • 2022 (up to the end of September): 274

The use of training costs compensation by employers upon recruitment:

  • 2017: 2
  • 2018: 47
  • 2019: 128
  • 2020: 28
  • 2021: 58
  • 2022 (up to the end of September): 72

The use of training costs compensation by employers to improve Estonian language skillst:

  • 2018: 433
  • 2019: 1,600
  • 2020: 1,391
  • 2021: 1,407
  • 2022 (up to the end of September): 1,891

The use of training costs compensation by employers to improve ICT skillst:

  • 2021: 932
  • 2022 (up to the end of September): 667

Source of use data: EUIF Statistics (Labour market services)

Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund conducted an initial overview report about the measure in March 2020. During the period of May 2017 until the end of 2019, 11,207 persons have used the measure (slightly below 1% of the total workforce). The start of the measure was slower than expected: between May 2017 and April 2019, a total number of 6,400 persons used the measures. More than 90% of the participants remained in employment during the use of the measure and nearly 90% of the participants remained in employment for at least 135 days during the next 6 months. 9% of participants changed jobs during 6 months after the end of the measure.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Trade unions
Public employment service
European Funds
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown


In 2015, the tripartite supervisory board of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund (EUIF) tasked the EUIF management to develop measures that prevent unemployment. The supervisory board consists of the govern,ent representatives as well as the peak-level social partners (the Estonian Trade Unions Confederation (EAKL), the Estonian Employees' Unions' Confederation (TALO) and the Estonian Employers Confederation (ETKL)). The EUIF prepared the measures which were approved by the supervisory board in 2016.

Views and reactions

Both the peak-level social partners EAKL and ETKL had for years promoted the importance of developing re-training and life-long learning measures for employees to support keeping their jobs, adjusting to the changing labour market and staying competitive. EAKL has stated that the key to Estonian economic development is lifelong learning which must become available and norm to everyone, while ETKL also has pointed out that it is important to concentrate on developing those skills that are actually needed in the labour market.


  • 01 May 2017: Employment Programme 2017-2020 (Tööhõiveprogramm 2017-2020) (
  • 01 March 2020: Töötust ennetavad meetmed: Ülevaade perioodist mai 2017 - aprill 2019 (Measures preventing unemployment: Overview of the period between May 2017 and April 2019) (
  • 11 October 2022: Eesti Töötukassa - Tööta ja õpi (Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund - Work and study) (


Eurofound (2022), Measures to prevent unemployment - work and study, measure EE-2017-18/2678 (measures in Estonia), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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