Estonian parlt does not pass Collective Agreement Act in unchanged form

  • 2021-10-19
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The Estonian parliament did not readopt in unchanged form the Collective Agreement Act, which previous president Kersti Kaljulaid decided not to promulgate.

One MP voted in favor of adopting the law without amendment and 73 voted against it, spokespeople for the Riigikogu said. Therefore, the law was not passed in unchanged form and will be further handled in accordance with the law. The leading committee is the social affairs committee.

The law amending the Collective Agreement Act and other acts, which was not promulgated by the president, sought to bring the regulation of extending the term of a collective agreement into line with the constitutionally protected freedom of enterprise, while ensuring the capacity for social partnership and collective inclusion. The regulation of extension concerns collective agreements concluded between employers and trade union associations or confederations.

The law allows for the extension of collective agreements by providing for specific representation criteria: an extension of the terms of a collective agreement may be agreed by a trade union or trade union association representing 15 percent of the employees of the field or which has at least 500 members as one party to the contract and an employers' association or union employing at least 40 percent of the industry's employees as the other party to the contract.

Benefits for officials dismissed without justification will also increase. More specifically, it concerns an official who is pregnant, who is entitled to pregnancy and maternity leave, who is raising a child under the age of seven or who has been elected to represent officials and who is being dismissed unlawfully. While the amount of the benefit has been the average salary for six months until now, then according to the amendment, the employer pays the employee compensation in the amount of the employee's average salary for 12 months.

The third more important amendment concerns trustees, and upon the entry into force of the law, if there are two or more trustees, the employer must allow all trustees to perform the duties of a trustee during working hours in the extent of time intended for at least two trustees.

The amendments, among other things, temporarily extend the duration of the payment of unemployment insurance benefit and unemployment benefit by 60 calendar days if the registered unemployment rate in Estonia rises above 8.5 percent.

The Riigikogu passed the law on Sept. 13. The president decided not to promulgate the law on the grounds of violation of procedural rules. According to the president, after the second reading, the date of entry into force of the bill should not have been deleted from the text, as it is not a technical but a substantive change.