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What statutory selection rules apply to dismissals in Estonia?

Written by
COBALT, Chambers Europe’s Baltic-wide Law Firm of the Year 2020.
Certain categories of employee are protected by law from dismissal in Estonia: this article provides guidance.

Certain categories of employees are protected from termination of their employment contracts due to redundancy (except in cases of liquidation or bankruptcy of the employer):

  • women who are pregnant or who have the right to pregnancy or maternity leave (regardless of whether they are currently using this right);
  • employees on child care leave or adoptive parent leave.


The protection for pregnancy and maternity leave applies if the employee has notified the employer of her pregnancy (or of the right to pregnancy and maternity leave) before receipt of a notice of termination, or within 14 calendar days thereafter. At the request of the employer the employee must submit a certificate from a doctor or midwife confirming the pregnancy.

While no other categories of employees receive total protection against termination for redundancy, the following persons are given preference in the selection order:

  • employee representatives (i.e. employee trustee, working environment representative, members of a working environment council, trade union representatives, and members of a European Works Council);
  • employees raising children under the age of three.


The law does not otherwise regulate the selection criteria that the employer must apply in choosing the employees to be laid off in a collective dismissal. However, the law requires equal treatment of employees and the selection may not be discriminatory.

Karina Paatsi
Partner - Estonia
COBALT (Estonia)