No. 17




Employment Contracts Act: employer wins, employee loses

  • Marika Tuus-Laul

    Member of the Riigikogu’s social committee, Estonian Centre Party

The draft employment act prepared in January favoured the employer but was insulting and shocking to employees.

What astonished this writer above all was the oral employment contract codified in the draft act – and the employee’s right to change such a contract unilaterally with no written form, with only five days given to the employee to mount a challenge – along with some other provisions of the draft. If you compare the draft legal act introduced in January with today’s version, a smidgen of improvement has taken place, but compared to the law currently on the books, employees’ social rights are significantly decreased. The writer was amazed at why, after two and one half months of negotiations between employers, the government and the trade unions, the unions agreed to unbelievably little. Especially given the fact that, on top of everything else, they want to make it easier to get rid of employee’s representatives – trade union leader or shop steward. So there is thus no hope that more collective agreements will be signed in Estonia in the future. Yet at the same time, the ILO has criticized Estonia for a low level of in-company dialogue and the fact that we are lagging behind in terms of the signing of collective agreements. The writer believes that when the new draft law enters into force, the process will slow down even more.

Full article in Estonian