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-2020-11/375 – Updated – measures in Estonia
|Country||Estonia , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 13 March 2020 – 31 December 2022|
|Type||Legislations or other statutory regulations|
Income protection beyond short-time work
– Paid sick leave
|Author||Ingel Kadarik (Praxis Center for Policy Studies) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||08 April 2020 (updated 11 March 2022)|
Currently, the first three days of sick leave are not compensated to employees. The days 4-8 are paid by the employer, and as of day 9 by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund (EHIF). Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, people are especially advised to stay on sick leave when any sickness symptoms should occur, some people were forced to stay in quarantine. The loss of wage and no sickness benefit for the first three days make the situation very difficult for some people.
The usual practice is that the first three days of sick leave are not compensated to employees. In Spring 2020, the EHIF compensated those days to all employees irrespective of the reason of the sick leave (i.e. in addition to coronavirus, the person can have other disease or injury in order to receive compensation). As usual, the days 4-8 were compensated by the employer, and then continued by the EHIF. The measure was valid retroactively as of 13 March (the beginning of the emergency situation in Estonia) until the end of the emergency situation (18 May). Those, who have used sick leave and whose first three days were not compensated, receive the compensation retroactively.
Due to an emergency situation an additional measure was introduced, which allowed worker temporarily to apply on-line for a sick leave by his- or herself. The case may be opened by a person who is ill, has a child who is ill, needs care for a close family member, or has been exposed to COVID-19. This measure ended on 18 May.
It was planned to allocate €7.1 million for compensating the first three sick leave days. The budget was almost entirely used (€65 thousand was left unused).
25,000 sick leave cases were opened via online registration, which is 19% of all leave cases (134,000) during the emergency situation. Altogether, there were 47,000 more leave cases compared to the same period in 2018 and 2019.
Employees in standard employment
||Does not apply to businesses||Does not apply to citizens|
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Form||Direct consultation outside a formal body||Direct consultation outside a formal body|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
There were discussions with the government and stakeholders (including peak-level social partners) prior to the decision and thus the involvement was satisfactory for all the parties.
The social partners were supportive of the measure, as it helped the employees during difficult circumstances and encouraged them to stay on sick leave and not to spread illness.
Eurofound (2020), Sick leave amendments, measure EE-2020-11/375 (measures in Estonia), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/EE-2020-11_375.html
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