Estonia, a country in Northern Europe, borders the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland. Including more than 1,500 islands, its diverse terrain spans rocky beaches, old-growth forests, and many lakes. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland across from Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea across from Sweden, to the south by Latvia, and to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia. Oil shale energy, telecommunications, textiles, chemical products, banking, services, food and fishing, timber, shipbuilding, electronics, and transportation are key sectors of the economy in Estonia.
*Please note that the official currency is the currency of remuneration when employed through WorkMotion in Estonia.
Euro (EUR; € )
Languages spoken :
1.33 million (2020 est.)
Minimum wage 2022 :
Cost of Living index :
$$$ (47 of 139 countries)
Payroll Frequency :
VAT - standard rate :
GDP - real growth rate :
3.1% (2022 est.)
When hiring new employees in Estonia through WorkMotion, the approximate onboarding time is only 5 business days. This time may be affected by events beyond our control at present.
Our team ensures compliance with local employment legislation, as well as a quick and efficient onboarding process. The minimum onboarding time begins from the moment that WorkMotion has received all required information from both the client and the employee.
For more complex onboardings, this time may increase depending on the selected bouquet of contract inclusions and the right-to-work status of the employee.
The general national standard working limit in Estonia is eight hours per day or 40 hours per week. Employees are entitled to a 30 minutes break after six continuous hours of work. They are also entitled to at least 11 hours of daily rest and 48 hours of weekly rest.
Total working time including overtime must not exceed an average of 48 hours per week over a four-month recording period. Compensation for overtime work is paid at 1.5 times the employee’s wages.
A probationary period must not exceed four months. In the case of the employment contract entered into for a specified term of up to eight months, the probationary period may not be longer than half of the contract term.
Cancellation of the Employment Contract during the Probation Period
A 15 days notice is required from both parties.
Cancellation of Employment Contract by the Employee
|Cancellation Type||Notice Period|
|Ordinary cancellation (without reason)||30 days|
|Extraordinary cancellation (for justifiable reasons)||No notice required|
Extraordinary Cancellation of Employment Contract by the Employer
An employer can only terminate an employment contract on an exceptional basis, i.e. the employer must always have a reason for terminating the employment contract. The ordinary cancellation of an employment contract by the employer (without reason) is prohibited by law.
|Years in Employment||Notice Period|
|Less than 1 year||Not less than 15 days|
|1 to 5 years||Not less than 30 days|
|5 to 10 years||Not less than 60 days|
|10 years and above||Not less than 90 days|
Employees are entitled to 28 calendar days of annual leave. Government officials are entitled to 35 days of annual leave, and academic and research staff receive 56 days of paid leave.
Employees in Estonia are entitled to up to 182 calendar days of paid sick leave paid at 70% of the employees’ previous year’s average salary. The employer pays sick leave pay from the fourth day to the eighth day of sickness. No sickness benefit is received for the first three days. The health insurance pays sickness benefits from day nine. A certificate of incapacity for work received from the doctor should be presented to both the employer and the health insurance fund.
A mother or father has the right to child care leave until the child reaches the age of three years. Child care leave may be used by one person at a time. A parental benefit is awarded for 435 days from the date when entitlement to the benefit arose.
Child care leave can be used in several parts but 14 days of advance notice must always be given. Child care leave may also be taken in one go, or be interrupted by a return to work before being resumed until the child reaches three years of age.
Parents may choose which of them will receive parental benefit when the child turns 31 days old.
Each parent is entitled to a total of 10 days of individual child leave per child until the child reaches the age of 14. Parents now have more flexibility and independence in using the child leave. Moreover, parents also have the opportunity to plan their child leave together at the same time.
At the request of the employee, the employer is required to grant additional unpaid child care leave to a parent, guardian, or caregiver raising a child under 14 years of age. The employer is also obliged to grant additional unpaid child care leave (up to 10 days) to a parent, guardian, or caregiver who is raising a disabled child under the age of 18.
On the basis of a certificate for maternity leave, a woman has the right to pregnancy and maternity leave of 140 calendar days. In the case of multiple births or delivery with complications, pregnancy and maternity leave of 154 calendar days is granted. A woman has the right to commence pregnancy and maternity leave, 70 days at most before the expected date of delivery and no later than 30 calendar days before the estimated date of delivery, as determined by a doctor.
For pregnancy and maternity leave, maternity benefits are paid by the Health Insurance Fund to women covered by health insurance as employed persons based on a certificate of maternity leave.
Fathers are entitled to a new additional parental benefit of leave for 30 calendar days. This benefit is funded by the National Social Insurance Board.
A person adopting a child under 10 years of age who is not descended from the adoptive parent and for whom the adoptive parent is not a step-parent receives the adoptive parent’s leave of 70 calendar days from the day on which the adoption ruling enters into force until the child turns 18. Adoption benefit is paid by the Health Insurance Fund in the amount of 100% from the first day of exemption from work.
The amount of the benefit is 100% of the average income for one calendar year, financed by the Social Security System.
The employee is entitled to up to 30 calendar days of academic leave per year for attending training. For degree and job-related training, the employer must pay the average daily remuneration to the employee for 20 calendar days. The employee is free to use unpaid leave to cover the remaining 10 calendar days.
To finish degree studies, the employee is given an additional 15 calendar days of academic leave, compensated by the employer on the basis of the minimum wage.
Estonia has a solidarity health insurance system. Solidarity in health insurance means that someone’s health insurance payments, contribution to the system, or access to the necessary assistance do not depend on age, income, or health risks. All the medically insured people in Estonia are entitled to the same quality of healthcare, regardless of whether or not they pay the health insurance tax. The right to health insurance (ravikindlustus) is created through employment.
The employer contributes 13% towards healthcare insurance.
The main costs of work accidents are covered by the Health Insurance Fund (for sickness benefit and medical expenses) and the Unemployment Insurance Fund (for workability allowances and work rehabilitation).
In case of a work accident, the employee’s waiting period is one working day, and from the second day, the expenses are covered by the Health Insurance. For general accidents, the waiting period is three working days. The employer covers the next five days, and from the ninth-day expenses are covered by the Health Insurance.
Unemployment insurance is compulsory when working in Estonia. It serves to ensure employees against unemployment, the collective termination of employment contracts, or employer insolvency. Benefits are funded from unemployment insurance contributions.
The employee’s unemployment insurance contribution is 1.6% of salary and other remuneration. The employer’s contribution is 0.8% of the salary fund. The rate for the unemployment insurance contribution is established by the Supervisory Board of the Unemployment Insurance Fund. The unemployment insurance premium is not compulsory for workers who have reached the pensionable age and workers who are receiving the early retirement pension.
The Estonian pension system is divided into three pillars:
The state pension is national pension insurance based on the principle of solidarity. There are two types of state pension: pensions based on work contributions (old-age pension, incapacity benefit, and survivor’s pension) and the minimum or national pension.
People who have reached 63 years and nine months of age and who have accumulated 15 years of pensionable service in Estonia have the right to receive an old-age pension. The types of old-age pensions available are early-retirement, deferred, and old-age pensions on favorable terms.
The contribution rate for the compulsory funded pension is 20% of the taxable income for the employer.
Upon the death of a provider, family members who were dependent on them have the right to receive a survivor’s pension. Survivor’s pension is granted to children, parents, widows, or widowers irrespective of whether they were dependent on the provider or not.
The survivor’s pension is funded by the public pension. Employers contribute 20% towards the public pension.
The information contained in this Country Guide is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. The contents of this Country Guide contain general information and may not reflect current legal developments or address your situation. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this Country Guide without seeking the advice or representation of a licensed attorney. WorkMotion Software GmbH disclaims all liability for actions you take or fail to take based on any content included in this Country Guide.
Information provided in this Country Guide is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including without limitation warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement. WorkMotion Software GmbH periodically adds, changes, improves, updates, or removes information without notice, and assumes no liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the contents of this Country Guide. This Country Guide may contain links to other websites. WorkMotion Software GmbH disclaims all liability for the privacy practices or the content of such websites.
31st May – 11AM CEST.
During the webinar, we will discuss the employer risks
related to temporary work from abroad!