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Riigikogu rejects employer-employee relations act in its unaltered form

Members of parliament attend the extraordinary Riigikogu sitting, June 12.
Members of parliament attend the extraordinary Riigikogu sitting, June 12. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Riigikogu has voted not to readopt, in unchanged form, amendments to a bill which governs employer-employee relations. Kersti Kaljulaid decided not to promulgate the law, in the closing days of her presidency, on the basis of a technicality.

One MP voted in favor of adopting the law unamended, BNS reports, while 73 voted against it at the 101-seat chamber, spokespeople for the Riigikogu said.

As a result, the law was not passed in its unchanged form, and will be further processed in accordance with the law, overseen by the social affairs committee.

The bill amending the Collective Agreements Act, and other acts, was not signed into effect by the former president.

The bill sought to bring the regulation of extending the term of a collective agreement into line with the constitutionally-protected freedom of enterprise, while ensuring the capacity for social partnership and collective inclusion.

The regulation of extension concerns collective agreements concluded between employers and trade union associations or confederations.

The law allows for the extension of collective agreements by providing for specific representation criteria: an extension of the terms of a collective agreement may be agreed by a trade union or trade union association representing 15 percent of the employees of the field or which has at least 500 members as one party to the contract and an employers' association or union employing at least 40 percent of the industry's employees as the other party to the contract.

Benefits for officials dismissed without justification will also increase. More specifically, it concerns an official who is pregnant, who is entitled to pregnancy and maternity leave, who is raising a child under the age of seven or who has been elected to represent officials and who is being dismissed unlawfully.

While the amount of the benefit has been the average salary for six months until now, then according to the amendment, the employer pays the employee compensation in the amount of the employee's average salary for 12 months.

The third more important amendment concerns trustees, and upon the entry into force of the law, if there are two or more trustees, the employer must allow all trustees to perform the duties of a trustee during working hours in the extent of time intended for at least two trustees.

The amendments, among other things, temporarily extend the duration of the payment of unemployment insurance benefits and unemployment benefits by 60 calendar days if the registered unemployment rate in Estonia rises above 8.5 percent.

The Riigikogu originally passed the law on September 13. The president decided not to promulgate the law on the grounds of violation of procedural rules.

According to the president, after the second reading, the date of entry into force of the bill should not have been deleted from the text, as it is not a technical but a substantive change.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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