Legal amendment would allow reduced bureaucracy at state institutions

Ministries. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Making the process for hiring civil servants less bureaucratic and easier for the official is the aim of a draft bill presented by the Ministry of Justice. If passed, the amendment would allow, for instance, a replacement official to continue at the same position when the former employee doesn't return without competition.

The current, relevant legislation, the Civil Service Act (ATS) entered into force in 2013. The law has been criticized because it allows to fill a position with a public, and in some cases, an internal, competitive process.

Organizing procedures when a position is already filled by a competent replacement employee is often not reasonable, proponents of the bill say, and this is one of the reasons for the amendment.

With the amendment, it is planned to allow the replacement employee to continue at the position if the person replaced decides to not return to work.

Currently, the law states that when a replacement for an official is required, a competitive process is announced. At the same time, replacing an employee on maternity leave can cover a term of around three years, sometimes even longer.

Even if proves easier for the institution to keep the replacement employee instead of organizing a competition, the law currently doesn't allow it. At the same time, the replacer may be the best candidate for the position especially if the replacer has worked on the job for a longer period.

According to the draft legislation, the institution can make a proposal to the people who have applied for the same position to take up the position without competition in 150 days after announcing the competition.

The explanatory note stated that the exception can't bring along a situation where the institution organizes one competition and uses only these candidates for filling all positions hereinafter.

"In other words: Said exception shouldn't become the rule and it should only be used in a case when there are several fitting candidates from the last competition who could take up the position and the institution doesn't think there are better candidates to be found in the framework of the next competition," it was stated in the letter.

The amendment would also change the time limit for tasks of a temporary nature, which is currently five years. While projects funded by the EU tend to last longer, the limit will be extended for six months.

In 2019, over 40,000 applications were submitted for positions at state institutions.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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