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Unemployment insurance and health insurance

Unemployment insurance 

Unemployment insurance is a type of compulsory insurance the purpose of which is to provide, upon unemployment, partial compensation for the lost income to insured persons for the time of the search for work, and partial compensation of the expenses related to the termination of employment contracts to employees and service relationships to public servants in the case of lay-offs, and the protection of the claims of the employees upon insolvency of employers.
The Unemployment Incurance Act entered into force on 1 January 2002, unemployment insurance benefits are paid by the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund.  
The unemployment insurance premium in 2015 is 1,6% of earnings and other fees for employees and 0,8%  on gross payroll for employers.
You can find additional information from the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund's webpage. 

Health insurance


An insured person is a permanent resident of the Republic of Estonia or a person living in Estonia by virtue of a temporary residence permit or by the right of permanent residence, who pays the social tax for himself/herself or for whom the payer of social tax is required to pay social tax. Insured persons are:

  • a person working on the basis of an employment contract;
  • a public servant;
  • a member of the management or supervisory board of a legal entity;
  • a person employed on the basis of a contract under the law of obligations;
  • a person registred at Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund;
  • a person, who participated in the elimination of the consequences of a nuclear disaster:
  • a conscript;
  • the non-working spouse of a diplomat or a public servant;
  • the curator of a disabled person;
  • a person receiving child care allowance;
  • a dependant spouse, for whom the government pays social tax;
  • a person receiving social allowance.

According to the Health Insurance Act persons for whom no social tax is paid are considered as having equal status to the insured person. The persons having equal status are:

  • a pregnant woman;
  • a person under 19 years of age;
  • a person receiving state pension granted in Estonia;
  • an insured person’s dependent spouse, who is no more than 5 years away from attaining the age limit for old-age pension;
  • pupils (there are age limits);
  • a student, who is permanent resident;
  • a person joining with the scheme voluntarily.

The insured person does not need to take the Health Insurance Fund card for attending the doctor in Estonia, it is sufficient to have an identification document with photo. For travelling on the territory of the European Union, one should have the European Health Insurance card or the substitution certificate, which can be applied for from the Health Insurance Fund. The persons who do not intend to visit the member-states of the European Union do not need to apply for the European Health Insurance card.

You can find more information about health insurance from the Health Insurance Fund's webpage or you can read the Health Insurance Act. 

Social insurance in EU
In order for people to be able to freely choose a country in the European Union to live and work in, they must be guaranteed certain social insurance rights. These include sickness and maternity benefits; invalidity (incapacity for work), old age and survivor’s pensions; occupational accident and illness benefits; death grants; benefits payable to the unemployed; and family benefits.
Since the laws guaranteeing the social insurance rights of member states differ, rules were developed in Council Regulation (EEC) no. 1408/71 regarding the application of social insurance schemes within the union in terms of the movement of employees, the self-employed and their family members. These coordination rules are applicable to the movement of citizens, the stateless and refugees within the EU.

As from 1 May 2010 instead of that regulation applies European Parliament and Council Regulation (EC) Regulation No. 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems, which includes amended and updated rules of the old regulation.

The regulation neither set outs which benefits should be paid to a person by one country or another nor establishes the size of pensions and benefits. Countries must ensure that people moving from one member state to another do not find themselves worse off than those who live and work in one member state their whole lives.

Coordination rules are applicable in European Economic Area (EEA) - in all EU Member States, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland.

However during the transitional period Regulation No 1408/71 applies still in Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. Since 1 April 2012 Regulation 883/2004 is in force only in Switzerland.

The payment of the social insurance benefits mentioned above is organised by the Social Insurance Board, the Estonian Health Insurance Fund and the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund.

Last updated: 23 March 2021