What the papers say: How to earn on maternity leave, and other projects

Estonian Newspapers (photo is illustrative).
Estonian Newspapers (photo is illustrative). Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Ways those taking maternity leave in Estonia can still earn while off the regular job, a food drive in Viljandi (and across the country) and Tallinn getting in on the act regarding Tartu's 2024 culture capital status were in the news in Estonia's daily newspapers going into the weekend. Links in Estonian unless otherwise stated.

You can still earn on maternity leave

Daily Postimees took a look at how people on maternal or parental leave can still earn money, prompted by a reader's question on the topic.

According to Kaire Saarep, lawyer at the Tööinspektsioon (Work Inspectorate), there are three ways those on maternity leave can work and earn money.

1) Being on maternity or parental leave in one company, while working for another. This is because all holidays and time off work, including parental leave, are company-based, though restrictions in an individual's contract preventing them from working for competitor companies could curb this.

2) With a child aged under three, take parental leave then start working for that company again on a different contractual basis, for instance part-time

3) Take parental leave under the terms of the Employment Contracts Act and provide the same services for the same company under the terms of the Law of Obligations Act, though the service provided must be substantively different from what the individual was doing in their previous role.

Naturally earning money can still reduce parental benefits – this will happen if a person earns over €1659.90 gross per month half time, i.e. have the full-time maximum for receiving benefits (€3,319.80), whereas the minimum possible parental leave, for those who were not working prior to taking it, is €500 per month.

More information on on calculating parental benefits is here.

Court rules in real estate tax fraud case

Regional daily Pärnu Postimees covered the case of three men arrested in that town in November, on suspicion of a €400,000 tax fraud.

One of the accused, Erik Nõlvak, reached a plea deal which nominally handed him a €10,000 fine and two years in prison, but in actuality is suspended for a three-year probationary period, though he and his associates have to pay the state €380,000.

Nõlvak was the representative of three companies, Stiir, Maxter Haldus and Sonoran, involved in real estate, and it was these he used both to carry out VAT fraud and to evade income tax, in the latter case to the tune of €280,000, the daily reports, adding that close to €100,000 in interest has accrued on the latter, though how this Nõlvak judgment relates to the other two men arrested, the prosecutor's office could not at this point say.

"We can be sure that the convicted businessman never considered he could eventually end up in custody, and get a conviction which would inevitably lead to an unenviable tag: Tax fraudster," the proescutor said, according to Pärnu Postimees.

"We will continue to do our utmost to ensure that tax money needed for the succesful funding of society is reimbursed to the state from fraudsters, in conjunction with the prosecutor's office with whom we worked successfully on this case," said Peeter Paisuots, of the Tax and Customs Board's (MTA) western division.

Toidupank making two-day food drive in Viljandi

Food collection service Toidupank ("Food Bank" - link in English) are holding a two-day drive in the South Estonian town of Viljandi, regional daily Sakala reports.

The event, which is mirrored by similar drives across the country Friday and Saturday, will see donation points at Rimi, Maksimarket and Selver, along with over 40 other points nationwide.

The date was chosen deliberately near to Christmas, Sakala says, and food will be sent to Toidupank centers for sorting and distributing by volunteers, ready for registered families and individuals to collect their packages.

Toidupank was founded in 2010 to help those most in need, and has 14 centers nationwide. You can read more about it here.

To get to Tartu for culture capital year, you often have to go through Tallinn

Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas (Reform) hosted his Tallinn counterpart Mihhail Kõlvart (Centre) Friday, regional daily Tartu Postimees reports, with the pair engaging in a short bike ride through central Tartu to mark the event, which revolved around cooperation ahead of Tartu's stint at European Capital of Culture for 2024.

Klaas also presented Kõlvart with six quality hens' eggs from the Valgusküla.

"It is fascinating to learn on behalf of Tallinn about Tartu's experiences with cycling in the city, as well as the development of new public transport lines," Kõlvart said, adding that it was an honor to partner with Tartu ahead of 2024, given a large volume of foreign and other visitors to the city are channelled via Tallinn, making the capital almost Tartu's "business card".

Tartu city has built and repaired over 100 kilometers of cycle lanes in recent years, the daily reports, and aims to connect up all its cycle lanes in future, as well as preparing to construct a light traffic viaduct across Riia mnt.

Tartu has a bike share scheme, and has recently revamped its public transport system, though this has not been met with universal acclaim. It was named European City of Culture 2024 in late August.

Rakvere likely to get Bolt scooters

Continuing the transport theme, regional daily Viru Teataja says electric scooter provider Bolt plans to roll out its service in the Lääne-Viru County town of Rakvere next spring.

Deputy mayor of the town Rainer Miltop welcomed the development, noting that with 10 kilometers of pedestrian crosswalks and over 80 kilometers of actual roads, the scooters, which can be rented via the same app Bolt offers for ordering taxis, would be a good additional way of getting round the city.

The town's mayor, Triin Varek, also hailed the eco-friendly aspect of the service.

Thomas Tammus of Bolt said that Rakvere, with lighter traffic than the capital, represents an ideal location for the service, adding that potential pick up locations for the scooters had already been mapped-out at a town hall meeting.

Bolt scooters, as well as those of competitor CityBee, are under wraps for the winter and will come out again some time in spring, weather permitting.

Speed skater starts world championships with 11th place finish

Finally, speed skater Saskia Alusalu took 11th place in the sprint event at the World Championships in Nagano, Japan, ERR's sports portal reports.

The winner was Ivanie Blondin (CAN), in a time of 8 minutes, 26.44 seconds (Alusalu's time was 8 minutes, 46.9 seconds).

Alusalu also picked up two spring points, and currently lies in 14th place overall with 183 points.

Alusalu first shot to fame after finishing 4th in the  women's mass start speedskating final at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, just outside the medals.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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