Unemployment in Estonia
Unemployment insurance is a compulsory insurance that is collected to pay benefits to employees in the event of unemployment. All employees pay 1.6% of their gross earnings and employers pay 0.8% of the payroll for unemployment insurance. Unemployment insurance is withheld from the employees’ salary automatically. Persons, who are old enough to receive an old age pension do not have to pay unemployment insurance.
Unemployment insurance benefits are paid to legal residents of the EU. To receive an unemployment insurance benefit, unemployment insurance contributions must have been paid for at least 12 months of the previous 36 months.
A legal resident of the EU has the right to apply for an unemployment insurance benefit from the country where he or she last worked and paid taxes. The period of time that a person has worked and paid unemployment insurance contributions in other EU countries is considered when deciding whether and how long a person is entitled to receive the unemployment insurance benefit. The sum of the benefit paid by Estonia is calculated on the basis of the wages earned in Estonia.
An unemployed person should register himself at an employment office of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund (Est Eesti Töötukassa) in order to receive the unemployment insurance benefit and unemployment benefit. Unemployment insurance benefits are paid by the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund.
If you do not meet the conditions to receive an unemployment insurance benefit, or if you have exhausted your rights to a benefit, you may still qualify for the state unemployment allowance.
The unemployment allowance is paid to unemployed persons who:
- do not qualify for the unemployment insurance benefit,
- actively look for work,
- have worked or finished full-time studies, and
- have an income that is less than the allowance.
The unemployment allowance (164,61 EUR in month at 2018) is paid for a maximum period of 270 days.
If you are a student, have just finished your studies, and are entering the labour market for the first time, a waiting period applies for you to receive unemployment allowance. Payment of the allowance will only start after two months after you have applied for it.
Eesti Töötukassa - How high is the benefit?
Eesti Töötukassa - Unemployment allowance
Eesti Töötukassa - Unemployment Insurance fund self-service portal
Estonian Tax and Customs Board - Tax rates