EUIF advises people returning from abroad to clarify compensation rules

An Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund (Töötukassa) office on Vaksali Street in Tartu.
An Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund (Töötukassa) office on Vaksali Street in Tartu. Source: Aili Vahtla/ERR

The Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund (EUIF) suggests people working abroad make it clear where they get their unemployment compensation and what documents are required before coming back to Estonia.

More and more people who have lost their jobs abroad turning to the fund for help. When the required documents have not been issued from the previous employer, getting compensation can take a long time.

Many applicants have lost their jobs because when the borders closed they decided to stay in Estonia rather than return to work.

EUIF specialist, Katrin Pops, told ERR applications by people who have lost their jobs abroad have doubled. "When usually we have about 250-300 applications a month, then in April, it has been over 500 so it has risen significantly. Most of them are from Finland, Sweden, Norway."

Generally, people can choose whether they want to get compensation from Estonia or from the country they worked in. But, people should actually make it clear if they have the right to get compensation from the country they are working in or not and which is more useful for them.

"We suggest applying to get compensation from the country you worked in if there's a right to because then the amount of compensation will be calculated according to the laws of this country. In many cases, it is more favorable than applying in Estonia," Pops explained.

However, Pops used Finland as an example of where many Estonians don't have the right to apply for unemployment compensation.

"When a person has worked in Finland and paid taxes to Finland but they are registered in Estonia, then Finland won't give them compensation because their place of residence is in Estonia and they should apply for compensation in Estonia."

For example, builders who are employed by an Estonian company, even though they work in Finland, do not receive compensation from Finland. Estonia pays compensation to them if they become unemployed, Pops added.

However, a special case is when people are sent on compulsory leave abroad. Then they can´t apply for compensation from EUIF.

If you become unemployed abroad, you should get the necessary paperwork before returning to Estonia, because the borders are currently closed and you cannot return to the country where you worked in. When doing things by phone and letter, it can take a long time to get compensation, Pops warned.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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