- 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group of the measures among employees are those at risk of losing their job due to health conditions, lack of skills or outdated skills.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 This will help the employees to retain their jobs and employers to anticipate restructuring due to employees with outdated skills.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 persons upon commencing vocational or professional higher education or Bachleror’s studies. The allowance is paid in a flat rate in the amount of € 130 per month in case the person is working or has other sources of income or €260 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; who have obtained the professional or vocational education more than 15 years ago; or who need to change job and thus acquire new skills due to health condition.
- Labour market training. The training voucher’s value per person is €2,500, which can be used during three years in case of employed person and during two years in case of unemployed. Those who need to change job due to health condition are eligible for any training suitable for their health condition; lack Estonian language skills and earn less than 1.7 times the national minimum wage (€799 in 2017) are eligible for language courses; and earn less than 1.7 times the national minimum wage and at the same time do not have vocational or professional education or are aged at least 50 are eligible for training programmes related to ICT or in the areas determined by government.
- 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 by the OSKA surveys. OSKA 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
No studies have been conducted yet; the measure has been operational since 1 May 2017. The Ministry of Social Affairs has estimated, based on the Estonian Labour Force Survey 2015, that the target group includes approximately 129,000 employees which accounts for 22% of employed persons. It is expected that around 13,000 persons will use the measures by the end of 2020.
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 of the measures. 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.