European Foundation
for the Improvement of
Living and Working Conditions

The tripartite EU agency providing knowledge to assist
in the development of better social, employment and
work-related policies

EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

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-2020-23/1249 – measures in Estonia

Wage subsidy in agriculture

Põllumajanduse palgatoetus

Country Estonia , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 June 2020 – 31 December 2020
Context COVID-19
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 06 October 2020 (updated 15 October 2020)

Background information

Berry growers have been dependent on foreign workforce during summer for years, as there has been a lack of local workforce willing to participate in agricultural activities during the peak harvesting period. As the borders were closed, the foreign workforce could not arrive to Estonia this year, which meant a loss of a great share of harvest. To motivate the local workforce to accept the available jobs and help the agriculture companies, a wage subsidy in agriculture was established.

Content of measure

The aim of the wage subsidy is to promote the employment of long-term unemployed people in the berry growing field. It is paid to employers who hires (or has hired as of 1 June 2020) a person who is:

  • registered as unemployed and
  • who has not been in employment three months prior or has been temporarily been employed up to 30 days during the three months period.

The subsidy is paid in the amount of 50% of the employee’s gross wage but not more than €584 (the national minimum wage). It is paid as of the start of the employment relationship until 31 December 2020, but not more than three months per employee. The employment contract can be concluded for a specific term or for an unspecified term.

The measure is implemented by the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund.

Use of measure

It was expected that up to 750 unemployed people would be hired and the total cost would be around €600,000. There is no information available about the actual uptake.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Sector specific set of companies
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
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 Informed Informed
Form Not applicable Not applicable

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

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


The social partners are members of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund (EUIF) council and are thus involved in the measures where the EUIF has a role to play.

Views and reactions

No information.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      A - Agriculture, Forestry And Fishing A1 Crop and animal production, hunting and related service activities
    • Occupation (ISCO level 2)
      Agricultural, forestry and fishery labourers


  • 11 June 2020: Agriculture wage subsidy (põllumajanduse palgatoetus) (
  • 11 June 2020: State will open wage subsidy support measure (Riik avab palgatoetuse meetme marjakasvatajatele) (


Eurofound (2020), Wage subsidy in agriculture, measure EE-2020-23/1249 (measures in Estonia), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


Eurofound publications based on EU PolicyWatch

30 January 2023


Measures to lessen the impact of the inflation and energy crisis on citizens

Governments across the EU continue to implement policies to support citizens and businesses in the face of rising food and energy prices caused by the COVID-19 crisis and intensified by the war in Ukraine. This article summarises the policy responses as reported in Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch database from January to September 2022.


12 September 2022


First responses to cushion the impact of inflation on citizens

Although the worldwide pandemic situation had already disrupted supply chains and triggered increases in energy and food prices in 2021, the situation deteriorated in 2022 with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


12 September 2022


Policies to support EU companies affected by the war in Ukraine

This article summarises the first policy responses that governments across the EU have started to implement to support companies affected by the rising prices, and those with commercial ties to Ukraine, Russia or Belarus.


5 July 2022


Policies to support refugees from Ukraine

This article summarises the first policy responses of EU Member States, including those of the social partners and other civil society actors, enabling refugees to exercise their rights under the Temporary Protection Directive.


Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.