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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

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

Factsheet for case 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
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery
– Active labour market policies, incl. subsidised job creation
Author Ingel Kadarik (Praxis Center for Policy Studies) and Eurofound
Case created 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, case EE-2020-23/1249 (measures in Estonia), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,

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