Employment termination in Estonia
There is sometimes confusion about the different ways employment agreements can be terminated in Estonia. We will give a general overview of different options to make it easier to understand. That said, there could always be exceptions to general rules so this should be taken as a general guideline.
1. Unilaterally by the employee
Can be done by a written notice without any reason and by giving 30 days' notice. Employees are free to choose their employment and do not need a special reason for termination.
Can also be done under extraordinary circumstances without following the 30 days' notice period. These are usually cases where the employer is in serious breach of contract.
Employment termination can happen mutually and by signing a mutual agreement to end the employment. This is often used by the employers who want the employee to sign an agreement to terminate the employment mutually - if the employee does not want termination then this cannot be mutual. In these cases employees should be careful and would also be a good idea to consult a lawyer.
3. Unilaterally by the employer
The rules for unilateral termination by the employer are quite strictly set out in the Employment Law Act (https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/Riigikogu/act/519012023009/consolide )
Normally, it requires a significant breach of obligations to be „fired“ straight away. Also, in cases of not serious breaches a written warning should be issued first. When employment termination by the employer is done illegally (not following all the rules) compensation for up to 3 months salary can be claimed by the employee.
Different rules apply for collective layoffs by the employer.
In case the employer has terminated or wishes to terminate the employment it is also a good idea to consult a lawyer to make sure your rights are respected.