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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-2020-36/2973 – measures in Estonia

Temporary employment during the period of registration as unemployed

Ajutine töötamine töötuna arveloleku ajal

Country Estonia , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 01 September 2020
Context 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 03 November 2022 (updated 04 November 2022)

Background information

In 2020, a couple of changes were made in the Labour Market Services and Benefits Act due to the social protection of the unemployed being insufficient to avoid poverty. The changed aimed at ensuring sufficient financial support for the unemployed during the period of unemployment, which does not create an unemployment trap and motivates the unemployed to return to the labor market. One of the measures in the package includes temporary employment during unemployment period, which allows the unemployed to keep a connection with the labour market and work habit as well as continuously use their skills and thus avoid long-term unemployment.

Content of measure

Previously, every activity that generated income for registered unemployed (e.g., one-time paid lecture or published article, a few hours of platform work, etc.) terminated their unemployment status, lost their unemployment benefits and they had to register as unemployed again.

Now is possible for people registered as unemployed to be temporarily employed while looking for a full-time job, without their registration as unemployed and payment of benefits terminating due to employment.

Temporary employment is allowed for up to eight days per calendar month on the basis of an employment contract, contract under the law of obligations (i.e., service agreement) or in civil service. The contract duration cannot thus be longer than eight calendar days. Gross wage cannot be higher than 40% of the monthly national minimum wage (€261.6 in 2022). Temporary working is allowed a total of 12 months during a 24-month-period.

Remuneration for temporary employment is not included in income when paying unemployment benefits, but at the same time the temporary work is not included in the unemployment insurance period.

Use of measure

During the first year (September 2020- September 2021) altogether 8,000 persons had temporary worked. In September 2020 1,594 and in October 2,321 temporary employments were recorded; the number stood around 3,000 in the other months. On average, people worked two to three days per month. Most temporary employments were recorded in service and commerce sectors, followed by catering, accommodation, cleaning and construction.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Trade unions
Employers' organisations
Public employment service
No special funding required

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


The peak-level social partners (Estonian Trade Union Confederation and the Estonian Employers Confederation) are part of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund's council. The measure was discussed in the council meetings several times.

In addition, the Ministry of Social Affairs discussed the draft law with the peak-level social partners as well as some other topic-related social partners in a meeting.

The draft law was also circulated among stakeholders, including the social partners, to gather feedback.

Views and reactions

Overall the social partners have been supportive of the measure. A few specific proposals include:

  • The Estonian Sharing Economy Association poposed to increase the temporary work days per month from five to eight days, which was supported by the policy makers.
  • The Estonian Trade Union Confederation poposed to increase the allowed income trheshold to 50% of the national minimu wage, which was not supported.


  • 01 June 2020: Seaduseelnõu seletuskiri (Explanatory note of the draft act) (
  • 16 June 2020: Seaduseelnõu teise lugemise seletuskiri (Explanatory note of the second reading of the draft act) (
  • 01 September 2020: Töötukassa: Ajutine töötamine arveloleku ajal (Unemployment Insurance Fund: temporary working during unemployment) (
  • 23 September 2021: Ülevaade töötukassa tööampsudest: kuidas inimesed uuenduse vastu võtsid? Loe pikemalt Äripäeva veebist: (Overview of the use of temporary employment) (


Eurofound (2022), Temporary employment during the period of registration as unemployed, measure EE-2020-36/2973 (measures in Estonia), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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