- Support for digitalisation
- Recognition of informal and non-formal training
Töötust ennetavad meetmed - tööta ja õpi
Measures to prevent unemployment - work and study
The measures are available for both unemployed as well as employed persons. Each measure as part of the package has different eligibility criteria, which are described below under main characteristics. Overall, however, the main target group of the measures among employees are those at risk of losing their job due to health conditions, lack of skills or outdated skills. Among employers, the measures are available for those who need to upskill their current employees or recruit those with suitable skills.
The measures, offered by the Estonian Unemployment Fund (EUIF), tackle the issue of skills mismatch in the labour market and respond to the need to help people adjusting to the changing labour market by making possibilities for training and studying more available for employees and supporting employers to upskill their employees. This will help the employees to retain their jobs and employers to anticipate restructuring due to employees with outdated skills.
For employees, the measures include:
- Degree study allowance, which is paid to employed as well as unemployed people upon commencing vocational or higher education. Only a selection of curriculums are eligible and the list is updated twice a year based on skills and labour needs forecasts. If re-training is needed due to health, the support covers such curriculums that help the person to remain in employment. The allowance is paid in a flat rate in the amount of €180 per month (as of August 2020, €130 previously) in case the person is working or has other sources of income or €270 (as of August 2020, €260 previously) in case the person has no income. Eligible are those who do not have professional or vocational education and who have obtained or have dropped out from the basic or general secondary education at least five years ago; those who have obtained the professional or vocational education more than 15 years ago; or who need to change their job and thus acquire new skills due to a health condition. Those who are employed, must have at least a total of 12 months of employment status over the period of three previous years.
- Labour market training. The training voucher’s value is €2,500 per person, which can be used during three years. Those who need to change job due to a health condition are eligible for any training suitable for their health condition; those who lack Estonian language skills and earn less than €1,397 (in 2020) are also eligible for language courses; those who earn less than €1,397 (in 2020) and at the same time do not have vocational or professional education, or are aged at least 50, are also eligible for training programmes in the areas determined by EUIF on the basis of the skills and labour needs forecasts.
- Support for obtaining qualifications is meant to compensate the costs of obtaining evidence or certificate of formal qualifications (for example examination fees, etc). Eligible are people who have completed respective labour market training arranged by the EUIF or training to which the employer has obtained a grant from the EUIF. Up to €500 per employee may be compensated.
To employers, EUIF compensates up to 50% of training, transport and wage costs (in the rate of national minimum hourly wage), but not more than €1,250 per employee (80% and €2,000 respectively in case of those without vocational/professional education, without language skills, with health conditions or older than 50 years). Two grants are available:
- Upon changing circumstances, which can be used in case the skills of the employees need improving due to restructuring, implementing new technologies or an update to qualification requirements.
- Recruitment training grant can be applied for training new employees in certain professions determined on the basis of skills and labour needs forecasts.
The skills and labour needs forecast used is 'OSKA', which is a regular cooperation platform in order to plan the structure, volume, and the content of educational services between employers and parties offering educational services and it combines and analyses information on the trends of the labour market and economy and forecasts labour needs. An overview report for the next 10 years is published annually, but also overviews of different sectors are published every year.
- National funds
Public employment services
Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund - funding, implementation
Training providers, educational institutes
EUIF conducted an initial overview report about the measure in March 2020. During the period of May 2017 until the end of 2019, 11,207 persons have used the measure (slightly below 1% of the total workforce). The start of the measure was slower than expected: between May 2017 and April 2019, a total number of 6,400 persons used the measures. More than 90% of the participants remained in employment during the use of the measure and nearly 90% of the participants remained in employment for at least 135 days during the next 6 months. 9% of participants changed jobs during 6 months after the end of the measure.
This package of measure offers flexible possibilities to respond to the changing labour market and to prevent people with outdated skills to lose their jobs. Also, to help employers to keep their employees and recruit those with needed skills.
The measure involves some bureaucracy which may hinder the use. For example, the employers must provide rather thourough information to the EUIF regarding the employment relationship, the acquired education of the concerned employees and their health conditions (although this information could be retrieved from other national databases). In case of the employees, if they apply for the study allowance, they must meet the EUIF consultant in person and an interview is conducted, instead of just filing in an application.
According to EUIF, although they have prepared various information materials and promoted these via different channels, the awareness of the measure has still been low as the actual take-up has been lower than expected.