Minister: Estonian labor law needs refreshing

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Minister of Foreign Trade and IT Andres Sutt (Reform) on ETV's "Esimene stuudio". Source: ERR

Minister of Foreign Trade and IT Andres Sutt (Reform) told ETV's political discussion show "Esimene stuudio" that Estonian labor laws need to be looked over and refreshed.

Sutt reached this conclusion after a discussion about Swedbank taking its Baltic subsidiary management to Riga, Latvia. Riga's advantages over Tallinn and Vilnius are related to staff recruitment and tax systems, a Swedbank Estonia spokesperson told ERR on February 1.

Sutt noted that Latvia's labor laws are better than Estonia's: "I look at it as a signal that we need to look at what we could make better in our business climate, in order for future selections to be in favor of Estonia.

"It is important to draw conclusions and to see what we could do better. If we are talking about employment relationships, employment regulation, then one thing the COVID-crisis has done is it has practically changed the entire organization of work. We are talking about remote working, we are talking about short-term employment," Sutt noted.

"Our legislative map is not in accordance with that environment anymore. If there is a situation, where the map does not accord to the environment, there are two choices - you either change the environment or you change the map. And I think we must make the legislation more appropriate for the environment and do it in a way that would balance the interests of employers and employees alike," the minister said.

He added that a signal about Estonia's openness should be sent out so that experts and specialists would feel welcome in the country.

Speaking about the coronavirus crisis, Sutt said he is planning to discuss different crisis measures this week. "We are speaking of fast short-term measures and what will be the marketing actions to introduce Estonia better, once borders open again," the minister said.

He said maintaining employment in the tourism industry is of critical importance.

Sutt: To be in government is to be responsible to Estonia

Wednesday's "Esimene stuudio" also discussed the case of former education minister Mailis Reps' (Center) misdemeanor proceedings in relation to the use of an official vehicle for private trips having been reclassified as criminal.

"I would say two things. Firstly, Mailis Reps has taken political responsibility. Investigative bodies are proceding it in criminal form and I think the most important thing today is that the investigative bodies can do their job in peace," Sutt told show host Mirko Ojakivi.

"In the broader picture, for me as a former member of the anti-corruption Riigikogu committee, it is important that corruption in Estonia is not swept under the rug and that it is dealt with. And the priority of this government is a battle against corruption," he added.

"As the prime minister [Kaja Kallas] has said, when the previous government collapsed, Estonia needed a new and operational government. Our choice was to either be in government or remain in opposition. We chose to be in government. And I think it was a responsible choice for the Estonian state and its future and it is a choice that our voters expected of us," Sutt said.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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