16 October 2023

ESTONIA: Ministry seeks fairer PS employment

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Estonia’s Minister of Finance Mart Võrklaev. Photo: Twitter.

Estonia’s Ministry of Finance has developed a set of proposed legislative amendments aimed to even up requirements for employees and officials in the Baltic State’s Public Service.

Minister of Finance, Mart Võrklaev said the changes would lead to more flexible and transparent working arrangements as well as increase people’s opportunities for career mobility.

“The main issue with the Civil Service Act, which has been in force for a decade, is the differing treatment of employees and officials,” Mr Võrklaev said.

“At present the law distinguishes between Civil Service officials, who exercise public authority, and Civil Service employees, who perform support functions.”

He said Estonia was small and there was a need to hang on to every valuable person.

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“We can no longer have differing requirements for Civil Servants and offer differing salaries based on whether someone is an official or an employee,” the Minister said.

“The country as a whole expects a more uniform work culture and transparency regarding employees’ rights. This is why we are suggesting ways to bring the two roles closer together.”

Director of the Public Administration and Public Service Department at the Ministry of Finance, Ülle Harak said officials were currently subject to tougher requirements than employees, who were subject only to the general regulations of the labour market.

“In practice, this has led to a situation where increasing numbers of people in the Civil Service are switching to standard employment contracts. At the same time, both officials and employees represent the State, and should be subject to similar values,” Mr Harak said.

Among the proposals which have now been put out for feedback are the harmonisation of the salary system and payroll; establishing a maximum two terms of employment for senior managers, and facilitating career mobility within and between institutions.

Tallinn, 28 September 2023

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