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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-2021-1/1635 – measures in Estonia

New employment programme 2021-2023

Uus tööhõiveprogramm 2021-2023

Country Estonia , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 January 2021 – 31 December 2023
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 30 December 2020 (updated 11 January 2021)

Background information

The employment programme is a flexible way to respond to economic and social developments and situations via labour market measures. It is a government decree established usually for three years on the basis of the Labour Market Services and Benefits Act. It allows to provide services and benefits on more favourable conditions and establish new measures temporarily in addition to the Act.

The current programme ends with 2020, thus a new programme was established. The general purpose of the programme of 2021-2023 is to:

  • shorten the unemployment period
  • help into employment persons who have difficulties in this regard due to long-term unemployment or other obstacles
  • mitigate labour shortage
  • prevent unemployment

The programme takes into account the hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to mitigate the negative labour market effects. For this reason, compared to the previous programme, it will concentrate more on supporting unemployed, instead of preventing unemployment.

Content of measure

Several new measures were introduced with the new employment programme, while some measures were made more flexible. Some of them were planned to be established anyway, but the COVID-19 accelerated the developments. The main highlights of the programme are:

  • A new measure called continuing support will be available. The EUIF specialists provide additional support to those who have difficulties keeping a job by counselling them as well as their employers after finding a job. Another new measure is coaching – for managers of companies or organisations who have lost their jobs in order to support their development and coping with changes.
  • The business start-up support will increase from €4,474 to €6,000.
  • Counselling services (psychological, debt, addiction) will become more flexible so that the client has more options to choose a suitable counsellor.
  • Training support paid to the employers for providing training to their employees is foreseen in case of hiring or in a situation of restructuring and for learning Estonia. With the new programme, the list of eligible training will include the development of the ICT skills of their employees.

The budget of the programme is up to €171.3 million between in 2021-2023.

Use of measure

According to the explanatory note of the decree, it is expected that around 20,000 persons will use the measures each year.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Trade unions
Employers' organisations
Public employment service
National funds

Social partners

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

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal

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

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


Social partners are members of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund Council and are thus directly consulted.

Views and reactions

No information available.


  • 19 November 2020: Employment programme 2021-2023 (Tööhõiveprogramm 2021–2023) (
  • 19 November 2020: Employment programme approved (Valitsus kinnitas tööhõiveprogrammi) (


Eurofound (2020), New employment programme 2021-2023, case EE-2021-1/1635 (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.