Family Life Module Training Materials Welcoming Programme
Contracting company: Expat Relocation Estonia OÜ Contributors: Liia Hänni, Mari Pedak, Veiko Värk, Martin Lään, Andrus Ümarik
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The project is co-funded by the European Union via the European Social Fund and by the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Estonia © 2019, Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Estonia. All rights reserved. Provided the use of the work is not carried out for commercial purposes, it is allowed to use it without the author’s permission as established in Chapter IV of the Copyright Act. The Ministry of the Interior points to the fact that pursuant to the Copyright Act, in the case of unlawful use of the work, compensation for the patrimonial or non-patrimonial damage caused and delivery of that which was received may among other things be claimed for.
Dear reader, This training material consists of introductory practical information intended for aliens having settled in Estonia with their family or for family reasons. The training material was prepared for the purpose of providing an overview of the rights and duties of those arriving by family migration, family- and children-related benefits, opportunities to start and continue with an education, recreation opportunities, and lots of other useful information. The material was prepared on the Ministry of the Interiorâ€™s order, to implement the family life module of the welcoming programme for new immigrants. The welcoming programme consists of various short and interactive training modules and its goal is to help foreigners arriving in Estonia to quickly and conveniently acquire the primary knowledge and skills essential for successful coping in Estonia. In addition to the family life module, the welcoming programme also includes a basic module, a working and entrepreneurship module, a studying module, a research module, an international protection module, a children and young people module, and basic level (A1) language training. More information about the welcoming programmeâ€™s other modules is available on the website www.settleinestonia.ee The training material was prepared from the point of view of foreigners arriving in Estonia by family migration or having one or several family members who are not Estonian citizens. Every theme of the training material includes links to important additional materials or authorities, leading to websites with useful information in Estonian, English and/or Russian.
Welcome to Estonia!
Table of content
Part I: Family migration...................................... 7
Part II: Family and children............................ 26
1.1. Legal status of foreigners arriving in Estonia by family migration..................................................................... 7
2.1. Rights and duties of children and parents........ 26
Opportunities to apply for a residence permit.................................................................................. 7 Third country citizens............................................ 7 Conditions to acquire a residence permit.....8 Extending a residence permit............................9 EU citizens and their family members......... 10 Citizenship................................................................ 10 Citizenship for children.........................................11 1.2. Labour market services in Estonia....................... 12 Töötukassa’s services for registered unemployed people......................................................... 12 EURES (European Employment Services) services......................................................................13 1.3. In-service training opportunities...........................14 Training for the unemployed............................14 Work related training...........................................14 Free training courses............................................15 Informal training.....................................................15 1.4. Pension system............................................................15 1.5. Social welfare in Estonia........................................... 17 State-funded and state-provided social services...................................................................... 17 Services by local governments.......................18 Social benefits.........................................................19 Applying for social services/benefits...........21 1.6. Support services......................................................... 22 Language courses................................................ 22 Integration services............................................. 22 Legal counselling.................................................. 22 Family counselling................................................ 23 Victim support....................................................... 23 Shelters and safety centres.............................. 23 Relocation services.............................................. 24 Civil society organisations and services..... 24 Churches.................................................................. 25 1.7. Social networks............................................................ 25
Rights and duties of a child.............................. 26 Rights and duties of a parent .......................... 27 Children’s Ombudsman..................................... 27 2.2. Child aid.......................................................................... 27 Informing about a child in need of help...... 27 A child in need of help........................................ 28 A child in danger................................................... 28 Free child helpline 116111................................... 28 2.3. Parental benefit and parental leave.................... 29 Parental benefit..................................................... 29 Parental leave.........................................................30 2.4. Family benefits............................................................30 Childbirth allowance............................................30 Childcare benefit....................................................31 Single parent’s child allowance.......................31 Other benefits.........................................................31 2.5. Childcare services...................................................... 32 Kindergartens......................................................... 32 Childcare services................................................34 How to find a childcare provider?.................. 35 School placement for children........................ 35 2.6. Exemptions and discounts for children............36 Tax exemptions.....................................................36 Other exemptions and discounts..................36 2.7. Estonian education system....................................36 Preschool education............................................ 37 Basic education.....................................................38 Secondary education......................................... 40 Vocational education......................................... 40 Higher education................................................. 40 Funding the studies..............................................41 Study opportunities for working people..... 42 2.8. Youth work services................................................. 42 Malev (youth brigades)...................................... 42 Information fair Teeviit.......................................43 Youth centres.........................................................43 2.9. Hobby education for children and young people .....................................................................................43
Part III: Free time................................................ 45 3.1. Travelling in Estonia...................................................45 3.2. Sporting Activities.....................................................46 3.3. Music...............................................................................46 3.4. Theatres and Cinemas.............................................46 3.5. Museums.......................................................................46 3.6. Libraries.......................................................................... 47 Sources used:.......................................................................48
Part I: Family migration Part I of the material contains legal information related to family migration, incl. information about the legal status of family members. Labour market services are introduced, incl. Töötukassa and Eures, as well as labour mediation portals, but
also the pension system, and the social welfare system. Part I also discusses support services available to foreigners, incl. language training, integration services, legal assistance, relocation services, etc.
1.1. Legal status of foreigners arriving in Estonia by family migration Nearly one third of the foreigners settling in Estonia arrive due to family migration. The settling of third country citizens in Estonia by family migration is regulated by the Aliens Act and the migration of European Union citizens and their family members is regulated by the Citizen of the European Union Act. The national body responsible for the processing of the legal status of foreigners in the country is the Police and Border Guard Board (hereinafter the PPA). To apply for or initiate any procedures, a foreigner needs to turn to the PPA; it is also recommended to turn to the PPA’s service outlets or hotline for initial consultation. Outside the country, one needs to turn to Estonia’s foreign embassies.
Opportunities to apply for a residence permit
Residence permit applications can be submitted in Estonian embassies or at PPA service outlets in Estonia.
Temporary up to 5 yrs.
Where to turn to with questions about residence permits or rights of residence? Police and Border Guard Board www.politsei.ee/ Estonian foreign embassies http://vm.ee/en/embassiesand-representations
Service outlets of the Police and Border Guard Board: Tallinn
• Tammsaare tee 47
• P. Pinna 4
You can get more information about the Aliens Act on the website of Riigi Teataja at www.riigiteataja.ee
• Riia mnt 132 Narva
• Vahtra 3
Within what time must residence be registered in Estonia? Where can residence be registered?
The service outlets are open on workdays from 9:00-17:00.
Third country citizens According to the law in force, a foreigner can apply for a residence permit to settle with a spouse, as a minor-age or adult child to settle with a parent, as a ward to settle with a guardian, and as a parent or grandparent to settle with a child or grand child respectively, by family migration.
You can get more information about the Aliens Act on the website of Riigi Teataja at www.riigiteataja.ee
To reside with spouse To reside with close relative To study To work For business To participate in criminal proceedings To settle permanently in Estonia
Long term 7
In what cases can you apply for a residence permit to settle with a spouse in Estonia?
Residence permit to settle with a spouse A residence permit to settle with a spouse permanently living in Estonia can be applied for if the spouse is:
• an Estonian citizen; or • a foreigner who already has a residence permit in Estonia and who’s address is registered in the Estonian population registry
• a foreigner who has submitted
an application for a residence permit on the following grounds
What is considered permanent residence in Estonia?
• for business; • for work: • as a person engaged in creative activities of a performing arts institution;
In what cases can you apply for a residence permit to settle with a parent in Estonia as a minor-aged child?
• as a teacher or lecturer; • in research; • as a professional athlete, trainer, referee, sports worker;
• as a member of a legal person’s management body;
• as an expert, adviser or consultant;
• as a device installer or a skilled worker;
In what cases can you apply for a residence permit to settle with a parent in Estonia as an adult child?
• as a top specialist. • for work at a start-up company
The decision to grant or refuse a temporary residence permit is decided in 2 months after the application is accepted into proceeding. You can get more information about the Aliens Act on the website of Riigi Teataja at www.riigiteataja.ee
If the marriage has lasted:
• less than 3 years, a residence per-
mit can be granted for up to 1 year and it can be extended in the next 3 months, 1 year at a time;
• more than 3 years, a residence perIn what cases can you apply for a residence permit to settle with a guardian in Estonia as a ward?
In what cases can you apply for a residence permit to settle with a child/grandchild in Estonia as a parent/ grandparent?
mit can be granted for up to 3 years and it can be extended for 3 years at a time.
Upon granting a residence permit, the residence permit card is issued to the applicant personally in the service outlet or foreign embassy of the Republic of Estonia stated in the application form, in 30 days. It may take longer for the residence permit card to reach a foreign embassy. Residence permit for a minor-aged child to settle with a parent A residence permit for a minor-aged child (under 18 years) to settle with a parent residing permanently in Estonia can be applied for if the parent is:
• an Estonian citizen; • a foreigner with an Estonian residence permit.
A temporary residence permit application for a child aged below 15 years is filed by his or her legal representative (e.g. parent, guardian). Residence permit for an adult child to settle with a parent For an adult child (above 18 years) unable to cope independently due to his or her health, a residence permit to settle with a parent permanently living in Estonia can be applied for if the parent is:
• an Estonian citizen; • a foreigner with an Estonian residence permit.
Residence permit for a ward to settle with a guardian A residence permit for a ward to settle with a guardian permanently living in Estonia can be applied for if the guardian is:
• an Estonian citizen; • a foreigner with an Estonian residence permit.
A residence permit application for a ward is filed by his or her legal representative (guardian). Residence permit for a parent/ grandparent to settle with a child/ grandchild A residence permit for a parent/ grandparent to settle with a child/ grandchild permanently living in Estonia (if the applicant needs care and it is not available in his or her location country) can be applied for if the child/grandchild is:
• an Estonian citizen; • a foreigner with a long-term Estonian residence permit.
Conditions to acquire a residence permit To apply for a residence permit to settle with a family member, certain criteria must be met. The content of those criteria are discussed below. Legal income Legal income must enable the subsistence of the foreigner and his or her family members in Estonia.
Legal income is:
• • • •
legally earned salary;
• • • • •
parental benefit; unemployment insurance benefit; revenue from legal business activities or property; grants; support payments; allowance paid abroad; ensured maintenance by family members with legal income:
• a parent maintaining a minor-aged child;
• a parent maintaining an adult child if the child cannot cope independently due to health or disability;
• a parent or grandparent maintain-
ing an adult child in full time studies;
• maintaining one’s spouse; • an adult child/grandchild main-
taining a parent/grandparent if the parent/grandparent cannot cope independently due to health or disability;
• a guardian maintaining a ward. The income size for 6 months prior to the application’s filing must be proven. Income size is based on the number of all family members. Rates of legal income are established with a government regulation1. Insurance policy A foreigner must have an insurance policy guaranteeing that any costs related to his or her medical treatment as a result of illness or injury will be met to the same extent as for a person covered by health insurance during the validity of the residence permit applied for. If a required insurance policy cannot be signed before acquiring a residence permit, the foreigner must present:
• a written confirmation that he or
of the decision about the residence permit (e.g. with a visa). The insurance policy does not have to be presented if the foreigner is covered by mandatory medical insurance pursuant to the Heath Insurance Act or in cases set out in international treaties.
Extending a residence permit It is very important to know when your residence permit will expire. The process to extend a residence permit is long and should be started well ahead of the time – minimum 2 months before the current permit expires, but preferably as early as 4 months in advance. To extend a temporary residence permit, you will need to file the same documents that you filed when applying for the initial residence permit (except the CV). If less than 2 years have passed from the previous residence permit application and giving of fingerprints, you can also apply for the residence permit’s extension from the PPA by mail or e-mail. You will have to personally submit the application for an extension in a service outlet of the Police and Border Guard Board. Acquiring a long-term residence permit? A long-term residence permit for a third-country national can be applied for if the alien:
• has resided in Estonia permanent-
www.riigiteataja.ee In what cases can you apply for a residence permit to settle with a guardian in Estonia as a ward? In what cases can you apply for a residence permit to settle with a child/grandchild in Estonia as a parent/ grandparent?
What is considered legal income?
In what cases is an insurance policy required and in what cases is it not required?
You can get more information about the Aliens Act on the website of Riigi Teataja at www.riigiteataja.ee
Within what time must residence be registered in Estonia? Where can residence be registered?
• holds a valid temporary residence permit;
• has residence details that have
• an insurance policy covering his or
• has stable legal income sufficient to
A written confirmation will not be accepted if the applicant is in Estonia or arrived in Estonia before the making
You can get more information about the Aliens Act on the website of Riigi Teataja at
ly for five successive years on the basis of a temporary residence permit immediately prior to submitting the long-term residence permit application;
she will sign the required insurance policy in 2 months after settling in Estonia; her medical costs until the required policy is signed (e.g. a travel insurance policy).
In what cases can you apply for a residence permit to settle with a parent in Estonia as an adult child?
been entered in the Estonian population register; cope in Estonia;
• holds health insurance (Estonian Health Insurance Fund);
B1 proficiency level in Estonian as provided in the Language Act or equivalent level.
1 At the time of preparing this material, in August 2015, the Government of the Republic 17 June 2010 Regulation No. 82 “Establishing the rates of legal income” is in force.
When should one start to extend a residence permit?
The application for a long-term residence permit is to be submitted at a PPA service office at least two months prior to expiry of the term of validity of the relevant temporary residence permit. If less than two years have expired from the previous occasion when a document or residence permit was applied for and fingerprints were captured, you can also apply for a residence permit by post. For children below the age of 15 or for persons under guardianship, the application is submitted by the child’s or the person’s legal representative (e.g. parent, guardian, authorized representative of guardianship authority). The residence permit card serves as the document proving the long-term residence permit of an alien.
EU citizens and their family members
How to become an Estonian citizen?
The right of residence which may be temporary or permanent is the legal basis for residence in Estonia of citizens of the European Union and their family members. Temporary right of residence of an EU citizen in Estonia Citizens of the European Union and their family members may acquire a temporary right of residence in Estonia. To be granted a temporary right of residence, EU citizens must register their residence in the population register. Citizens of the European Union may register within three months as from taking up residence in Estonia. Registration of residence is organized by the local government of an alien’s place of residence. To register their place of residence, an EU citizen must submit either a rental agreement or a written approval by the owner of their accommodation or the owner of the accommodation must personally accompany the alien. The right of temporary residence is granted for a period of up to five years. The right of temporary residence is automatically extended for another five years if the person’s residence continues to be registered in Estonia. Citizens of the European Union do not need to apply for a separate work permit to work in Estonia.
Right of temporary residence of a family member of a citizen of the European Union Family members (who are not EU citizens) of an EU citizen may apply for the right of temporary residence with an EU citizen:
• who is working as an employed or self-employed (FIE) person;
• who has sufficient funds for sub-
sistence of himself/herself and his/ her family members and who has medical insurance (Estonian Health Insurance Fund);
• who studies in Estonia and who has sufficient funds for subsistence of himself/herself and his/her family members and who has medical insurance (Estonian Health Insurance Fund).
A child younger than 1 year of a family member of an EU citizen who resides in Estonia on the basis of the right of temporary residence is also entitled to the right of temporary residence.
Citizenship Estonian citizenship is a legal relationship between the Estonian citizen and the Estonian state, creating rights as well as duties for both parties. An Estonian citizen cannot be a citizen of another country at the same time. A person loses the Estonian citizenship with the acceptance of another citizenship. Estonian laws do not permit taking away a citizenship acquired by birth. But a child may acquire several parallel citizenships at birth if his or her parents have different citizenships. A foreigner can apply for Estonian citizenship if:
• they hold a residence permit of a long-term resident or the right of permanent residence or permanent residence permit (if they resided in Estonia before July 1, 1990);
• prior to submitting the application,
they have resided in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit or the right of residence for at least eight years, the last five years of which have qualified as permanent residence;
• they passed an Estonian proficien-
cy exam (there is no need to take an Estonian proficiency exam if the person has acquired basic education, secondary education, or higher education in Estonian);
• they passed an exam on the
NB! If neither parent is an Estonian citizen at the child’s birth then the child does not acquire Estonian citizenship automatically at birth regardless of having been born in Estonia.
Constitution of the Republic of Estonia and on the Citizenship Act;
• they have permanent legal income; • their place of residence is regis-
tered in the Estonian population register;
Applying for a child’s Estonian citizenship Estonian citizenship for a child younger than 15 years of age can be applied for by the child’s:
• they are loyal to the Estonian state. Find out more about acquiring and applying for Estonian citizenship at
• parents (or one parent upon an
www.eesti.ee/eng/topics/citizen/ kodakondsus/eesti_kodakondsus/ taiskasvanu_kodakondsuse_ taotlemine
agreement with the other parent or a single parent who is bringing up the child alone) who acquired Estonian citizenship after the birth of the child;
• guardian who is an Estonian citi-
zen or a guardianship authority if the parents of the minor are dead, they are missing or have restricted active legal capacity or they have been deprived of their parental rights;
Citizenship for children A child can acquire a citizenship both by birth and by naturalisation. Citizenship by birth If one or both parents of a child are Estonian citizens at the child’s birth, the child gets Estonian citizenship by birth.
• parents (or one parent upon an
If one parent of a child is an Estonian citizen and the other is a citizen of another country at the child’s birth then the child may have two citizenships until he or she attains the age of 18 years. At that point, the person must choose which of the citizenships he or she wants to retain. If the person wishes to retain Estonian citizenship, he or she must waive the citizenship of the other country.
• parents (or a single parent who is
agreement with the other parent or a single parent who is bringing up the child alone) if they apply for their own Estonian citizenship simultaneously; bringing up the child alone) who are not citizens of any state and who have legally resided in Estonia for at least 5 years.
Read more about the application procedure here:
Services of Töötukassa Preparation for working life
Voluntary and community work
Wage subsidies Disabbility employment services Business start-ups
Employment Services and Measures
Psychological, dept and addiction counseling
Training and apprenticeships Induvidual solutions Career info and counseling
Job mediation and job search assistance
1.2. Labour market services in Estonia
What is entailed in registration with Töötukassa and why is it useful?
Working is one of the best ways for quick integration into the Estonian society. In addition to providing income, working in Estonia helps find new friends and acquaintances, get a glimpse into the daily life of the local people, and achieve self-actualisation. A dominant majority of the working-age population in Estonia are employed and working is highly valued in the society. The portal Work In Estonia You can find out a lot of useful information about Coming to Estonia, Working in Estonia and Living in Estonia at the web page www.workinestonia.com.
Töötukassa’s services for registered unemployed people What services can registered unemployed people get through Töötukassa?
The mission of Töötukassa is to administer the social insurance provisions related to unemployment, and to organise labour market services that help unemployed persons find new employment.
terms and conditions for receiving labour market benefits.
• Career counselling supports peo-
ple in making informed decisions concerning their career development and implementing those decisions.
• Career information mediation
supports people in seeking a job and making choices in the labour market. Information is provided about opportunities to work or study, as well as about sources and ways to seek a job.
• Job seeking counselling increas-
es a person’s activity in job seeking and develops his or her knowledge and skills needed to find a job.
• Job mediation is a service in
which Töötukassa finds suitable positions for job-seekers and the unemployed. This service is free of charge. Information about working abroad is available from Töötukassa’s EURES consultants.
• Labour market training is pro-
fessional training to acquire or develop professional and other skills designed to make it easier to find a job. Trainees’ existing skills and knowledge, the positions which are or will be available on the market, and the requirements of potential future positions are all taken into account when selecting the most appropriate form of training. The training can last for up to one year. Töötukassa pays for the training in the extent of up to 2,500 euros.
In order for Töötukassa to help you, you must first register yourself with Töötukassa. When you register, your individual situation will be assessed and a job mediation consultant will help you in your efforts to find new employment. If you are currently without employment, you will be registered as unemployed and an Individual Action Plan will be made for you, to help you find new work. If you are not unemployed (or do not meet the criteria to register as such), but are looking for (other) employment, you can register as jobseeker in order to gain access to job mediation services. Registering is a condition to receive benefits and services - except for the EURES service – which is accessible without registration.
• Support to attain qualification
Töötukassa provides the following labour market services for registered unemployed people:
• Public work is temporary paid work
• Provision of information on the
labour market’s situation, the labour market services and benefits means the provision of information on the status and changes of the labour market as well as on the content of labour market services, the terms and conditions for receiving such services, and the
compensates the costs and state fees of acquiring documents proving a qualification (incl. a professional or competence certificate and a driver’s license for motor vehicles).
• Practical training is a labour mar-
ket service to acquire practical work experience, supplementing the knowledge and skills needed for a job. which does not require professional or special training. Unemployed people can only be asked to do public work if they wish to do so.
• Work practice is a labour market service for the purpose of restoring work habits or shaping initial work habits, as well as increasing the unemployed person’s social inclusion.
• Wage subsidy is used to support the employment of a long-term
unemployed person, reducing the cost of employing him or her.
untary and seasonal work) to keep a person active, increase his or her work habits and develop social skills. This makes it easier for him or her to find a job and prepares him or her for work life.
• Unemployed people or people
having received a dismissal note who are at least 18 years of age and have completed business training, have higher or vocational education in economics or have business experience are eligible to apply for business start-up subsidy.
• Business support is intended for
those who have received business start-up subsidy. They are provided with training and advice (so-called follow-up services), to support the implementation and sustainability of their business plan.
• Adaptation of work premises and
equipment means making the employer’s building, rooms, workplace or work means accessible and usable for people with a disability or long-term heath disorder. Töötukassa pays the employer for 50-100% of the adaptation costs for an unemployed and 50% for an employee.
• Free provision of technical aids
for working – this means technical aids without which a person cannot work due to his or her health disorder.
• Communication support at inter-
views is a service for the unemployed whose disability or health disorder makes then need help in communicating with the employer at a job interview.
• Working with a support person
is a service for those who need assistance and supervision in working. The goal is to help the person work independently, so the service is decreased over time if the work or service relationship is with indefinite term.
• Individual employment help sup-
ports a person in seeking and acquiring a job if his or her special hindrances make it difficult (long term unemployment, social problems, care burden, disability, long term illness, etc.).
• Counselling to eliminate hin-
drances to acquiring a job – there are many unemployed having psychological, debt-related or addiction problems hindering them from seeking and acquiring a job. Counselling helps them solve those problems so that they can focus on finding a job, participate in labour market services and start working.
work readiness means attempts (primarily by vol-
If you have already registered with Töötukassa, your job mediation consultant is your preferred contact person. For general questions, or if you can’t find the right contact person, please call the Töötukassa help line 15501. Please note that if you are calling from abroad, use the number +372 614 8500. You can call Töötukassa also via Skype: tootukassa or send an email: email@example.com. The Central Office of Töötukassa is located at Lasnamäe 2, Tallinn 11412.
EURES (European Employment Services) services EURES (European Employment Services) is a co-operation network established in 1993 and supporting the principle of free movement of employees; it includes not only the EU member states but also the members of the European Economic Area and Switzerland. There are over 850 EURES advisers in 32 countries of the network, providing information about vacant jobs, living and working conditions and safe job seeking in all countries of the network. In Estonia, the EURES activities are co-ordinated by Töötukassa. There are 5 EURES advisers in Töötukassa’s service outlets, working daily to advise job seekers and employers. Basic information about the EURES services is also available in all departments of Töötukassa and via the hotline 15501. EURES advisers are working in Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu and Narva.
What issues can EURES help with?
The Estonian website of EURES at www.eures.ee provides lots of useful information about working in Estonia, like:
• • • •
Labour market information Looking for job in Estonia How to apply for a job Checklist for before and after you arrive in Estonia
• Registration and residence permits 13
• Employment contract • Acknowledgement of and qualifications
• Starting a business • The social security system in Estonia
• • • • •
Incomes and taxation Right to unemployment benefits Living in Estonia Finding school Vehicle and driver’s licence
If you have any questions, feel free to contact the EURES advisers of your area! You can find the advisers’ contacts on the Estonian website of EURES at www.eures.ee/contact/. You can also send an e-mail to EURES Estonia: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A selection of labour mediation portals in Estonia Labour mediation portals are online environments where employers can upload information about vacant jobs and job seekers can apply for vacant jobs they wish to get. Some labour mediation portals make it possible to create a CV in their own environment and format, which can then be used easily to apply for vacant positions. www.cv.ee www.cvkeskus.ee www.cvok.ee www.ej.ee www.kandideeri.ee www.palkamind.ee
1.3. In-service training opportunities In what cases can one participate in labour market trainings?
You can get more information about the Adult Education Act on the website of Riigi Teataja at www.riigiteataja.ee
Training for the unemployed Free labour market training is provided to the unemployed by Töötukassa. Training is offered if a job search has shown that the person needs to acquire or refine specific knowledge and skills to get a job. The purpose of labour market training is to provide the knowledge and skills needed to get a job. You can participate in training if you and your consultant have concluded that you need to acquire new knowledge and skills or refine the existing ones in order to get a job. The participation in training courses is agreed in the individual job seeking plan. The training at an employer may include both theory and practice. The courses are usually conducted in groups. In e-learning or tele-learning, an online environment is used to communicate between the trainer and the trainees, to submit homework and to distribute study and guide materials. Töötukassa also provides e-learning with independent submission of completed tasks and the trainer’s feedback to those. You will assess and analyse the training need together with your consultant. If concluding that training is needed, you will agree about what area and level of training you need to become employed. After assessing that the training need is justified, you will get
information from the consultant about whether:
• you will be directed to a training course already being ordered by Töötukassa; or
• you will be able to use the training card to choose the needed course among all publicly open training courses provided by trainers approved by Töötukassa; or
• a training course for your needs will be ordered.
Work related training With work related training, you can improve your work related knowledge and skills, to be more competitive in the labour market. Work related training for adults is provided by many private training institutions, vocational education institutions, higher education institutions and professional associations. Work related training is usually paid for by the trainees themselves or their employers. If you pay for your training yourself, the Income Tax Act provides you with the right to an income tax refund in the extent of the amount paid for the training, if the training organisation has a license for in-service training or has filed the relevant economic activity notice with the Estonian Education Information System. Working people can take a study leave of up to 30 calendar days per calendar year for the training courses, pursuant to the Adult Education Act, if
the training organisation has a license for in-service training or has filed an economic activity notice. During a study leave for in-service training, the average salary is paid for 20 days.
Free training courses In addition to paid training, the Ministry of Education and Research also provides free courses in vocational education institutions and institutions of professional higher education, with the support of European Social Fund. These courses take place in the programme “Work-related training and development activities for adults”. Adults with a basic education or at least 17 years of age can participate in the free courses. Also, they must not be studying in a vocational education institution, an institution of professional higher education or a university in a formal education position paid for by the State. The free courses are mainly intended for learners with lower education and low or outdated qualification. Higher education students are included only if there are vacancies in the courses.
Informal training In informal training, one can learn exactly what one finds interesting, thus developing oneself and acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to cope in life. Completing an informal school does not usually provide a qualification. Yet it is very difficult to draw a line between informal training and work-related training because in some cases,
a hobby becomes a profession. For many people, their knowledge and skills acquired from informal studies help them be more successful in their everyday work. Informal training is provided by informal training centres, folk universities, cultural centres and many other centres. The most popular courses provided there are courses in arts and culture, language courses, and economic and computer courses.
The list of informal education schools is available on the website of Estonian Nonformal Adult Education Association (in Estonian) at www.vabaharidus.ee
You can get more information about the Adult Education Act on the website of Riigi Teataja at www.riigiteataja.ee
For the courses, one can take a study leave of up to 30 calendar days per calendar year, pursuant to the Adult Education Act. If the study leave is granted for work-related self-development then the average salary is paid for 20 days during the study leave. But mostly, the trainees have to pay for the informal courses. Pursuant to the Income Tax Act, a trainee is eligible for income tax exemption in the extent of the amount paid for the courses, if the training organisation has a license or has filed the relevant economic activity notice with the Estonian Education Information System. It is recommended to use an Internet search to find a field that interests you. You can also contact the following institutions to ask about fields and hobby education opportunities suitable for you: Tallinn Teachers’ Centre (Tallinna Õpetajate Maja): Raekoja plats 14, TALLINN. Telephone: +372 615 5161 Open Education Union (Avatud Hariduse Liit): Lai 6, TARTU. Telephone: +372 509 8606, email@example.com
1.4. Pension system The aim of the Estonian pension system is to help people maintain their standard of living and monthly income when they retire. The Estonian pension system comprises of three pillars: I pillar: State pension II pillar: Mandatory funded pension III pillar: Supplementary funded pension I pillar: State pension The state pension is a pension paid by the state, the aim of which is to ensure
a minimum regular monthly income for the persons who have reached the retirement age, have become incapable for work or have lost their provider. There are several different types of state pensions: old-age pension, pension for incapacity for work and the survivor’s pension, pension Under favourable conditions, national pension and superannuated pension. The state old-age pension is paid to a person who has reached the age of retirement and whose length of employment is at least 15 years. The general age of retirement in Estonia
On what conditions is state old-age pension paid?
How is the I pillar of the pension system funded?
is 63 years, the pensionable age for women is gradually increased to 63. By the year 2026, the general age of retirement in Estonia will be 65 for both men and women. The state pension is based on the principle of solidarity, which means that the pensions to the today’s pensioners are paid from the taxes of people who are currently working. The state pension is paid by the state from the funds collected to the state budget from the social tax. The direct payer of the social tax is the employer who withholds 33% social tax from the salary of the employee, which the state then pays for health insurance and pensions. In Estonia, pension is paid only or the time spent working in Estonia. For work in other countries, the relevant country pays the pension. To acquire pension from another country, turn to that country’s relevant authority.
How big is the average pension in Estonia in 2015?
Estonia spends about 1.9 billion euros per year on old-age pensions for its ca 304,593 pensioners. The average old-age pension in 2019 2nd quarter was 468,8 €2
How is the II pillar of the pension system funded?
II pillar: Mandatory funded pension The aim of the second pillar is to direct a part of the salary of the people who are working towards their personal pension, so that people would have, in addition to the state pension an additional pension that they accrue themselves.
How is the mandatory funded pension paid out?
In case of the mandatory funded pension, an employee pays monthly 2% of their gross salary to the pension fund they have selected and the state adds 4% out of the current social tax that is paid by the employee. The money paid into the pension funds is managed by the fund management companies who invest the pension contributions paid by the employees into different assets with the aim of increase the value of the money contributed by the employees over the years. Subscribing to the funded pension is mandatory for persons who were born in 1983 and later. To receive payments, an application must be submitted to an insurance company in order to conclude an insurance contract or to a bank in order to receive payments from the pension
fund. Before submitting an application, the total value of the shares must be established. It can be done through the My Account section of pensionikeskus.ee, but also by contacting a bank or insurance company. In case of the mandatory funded pension, when a person reaches the retirement age (as a general rule), a contract has to be concluded with an insurance company. The insurance company undertakes the obligation to pay to the person a pension, the sum of which depends on the volume of the assets accrued into the pension fund, until the death of the person. Opening an account for the II pillar The pension account is a personal account of the person who has subscribed to the mandatory funded pension, which holds information regarding his or her second pillar: applications submitted, funds chosen, contributions made, units of pension funds acquired, data of the units and payments. There are two options for opening a pension account:
• The pension account is opened
on the basis of the choice application immediately after the choice application is received by the Estonian Central Securities Depository. The choice applications are received by the Depository through banks, internet bank or My Account of the Pension Centre. www.pensionikeskus.ee/en/
• The pension account is opened on
the basis of the data received from the Tax Board if the obligated person, who was born after 1 January 1983 has become 18 years old and has started working, but by the time of his or her first salary payment, has failed to submit the choice application to subscribe to the funded pension. This is called subscribing by drawing of lots.
III pillar: Supplementary funded pension The third pillar or the supplementary funded pension was established with the aim of providing people with an opportunity for those who wish to increase their pension via optional supplementary contributions. There are two options for subscribing to the supplementary funded pension:
• 1) conclude a pension insurance contract with a life insurance company or
• 2) make contributions to the voluntary pension fund.
There are also two options for receiving payments:
• being at least 63 years old; • having lived permanently in Estonia at least 5 years prior to filing the application for pension.
The rate of national pension in 2019 is 205,21 euros.
• 1) payments on the basis of the in-
Read more about national pension here:
• 2) payments from the voluntary
The sums of the contributions made to the supplementary funded pension can be determined by the person and the amount of the contributions can be changed at any time. If the contributions to the supplementary funded pension are less than € 6,000 or 15% of the gross income per year, no income tax is charged on the contributions.
If you want to get more info about state pension (I pillar, incl. old-age pension and national pension), please contact the Social Insurance Board of the Republic of Estonia:
National pension National pension is one of the types of state pension. National pension is paid to those pension-age people who do not have enough work experience (15 years) for old-age pension.
A person is eligible for national pension if he or she is a permanent resident of Estonia or a foreigner with a temporary residence permit or right of residence, living in Estonia and:
Phone: +372 640 8886 from Monday to Thursday 9:00–17:00
surance contract or pension fund.
What is supplementary funded pension?
What is national pension?
Phone: 16 106 (from abroad: +372 612 1360) from Monday to Friday 9:00–17:00 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: Endla 8, 15092 Tallinn, Estonia If you want to get more info about funded pension (II and III pillar), go to:
E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.pensionikeskus.ee/en/
1.5. Social welfare in Estonia Estonia guarantees many social services for both Estonian citizens and foreigners in case of old age, incapacity for work, loss of provider, or need. The government ensures the people’s social protection and an opportunity to live a dignified life, primarily through the generalised collection of social tax. The following people are eligible for social services:
• permanent residents of Estonia; • foreigners residing legally in Estonia;
• refugees staying in Estonia. The first and main provider of help and support in social welfare comes from the local government, it ensures the simpler social services such as councelling, services provided in a person’s home, personal assistant for disabled people, etc. The state arranges and regulates welfare services that are complex enough that it is not
reasonable to arrange them at the local level.
Who are eligible for social services in Estonia?
State-funded and stateprovided social services Rehabilitation service Rehabilitation service is a social service with the goal to improve the independent coping of a disabled person, increase his or her inclusion in the society, and promote his or her working or starting to work (incl. recovery from a trauma). In the course of the rehabilitation service, the person’s coping and need for external assistance is assessed, and suggestions are made to adapt the home, working and learning environment and to acquire and use technical aids. The person is counselled in various fields, in order to improve his or her subsequent social coping.
Who is the main provider of welfare services and allowances in Estonia?
What social services are arranged at the government level in Estonia?
The rehabilitation service includes the following elements:
• physiotherapist’s service (individual and group work);
• activity therapist’s and creative
therapist’s service (individual and group work);
• social worker’s service (individual, family and group counselling);
Substitute care Substitute care means caring for a child outside his or her own family, incl. by adoption, additional care in the existing family, etc. More information (in Estonian only): https://www.sm.ee/en/ replacement-care
• specialised pedagogue’s service (individual, family and group counselling);
• psychologist’s service (individual, family and group counselling);
• speech therapist’s service (indi-
vidual and family sessions, group counselling).
More information and guidelines to apply for the rehabilitation service are available here: https://www.sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee/ en/disability-and-welfare-services/ social-rehabilitation
For what social services should one turn to the local government?
Providing prosthetics, orthopaedic and other technical aids The need for technical aids is determined by a family physician, a specialised physician or a rehabilitation institution. Technical aids can be bought or rented. For buying, a rate of own funding applies as 10% of the price. A personal technical aid card is required for buying or renting technical aids under favourable terms; the card is issued to the person by the local government. The compensation of the cost of technical aids is arranged by county governments. In case of small aids, the need for the aid is determined by a family physician or a specialised physician. The need for complex technical aids costing more than 1,278.23 euros is determined by a specialised physician or a rehabilitation service provider. The provision of the technical aid is decided by a local expert commission summoned under the county government. If needed, a national expert commission provides an additional assessment.
Special welfare services Special welfare services are intended for adults with higher need for assistance due to severe profound or permanent mental disorder. These services are not intended for old-age pensioners with a diagnosed dementia. More information is available here
Services by local governments Local governments arrange and fund services that require the provider to know and assess the residents’ needs and the region’s possibilities and to respond to them flexibly. Local governments (rural municipalities, cities, districts) can be contacted for these services:
• Social counselling. Social counsel-
ling means providing a person with needed information about his or her social rights and possibilities to protect his or her legal interests, as well as helping him or her to solve specific social problems to facilitate future coping. For example, a person is explained the opportunities to apply for state allowances and services from the Social Insurance Board or for labour market services and allowances from Töötukassa.
• Day centres. Day centres are cen-
tres established by local governments or NGOs, providing opportunities to use public services on favourable terms and spend free time. The goal of day centres for adults is to support active communication, prevent coping problems or support everyday coping. The goal of day centres for children is to support children’s development and provide them with a safe environment to spend free time in. Day centre is the most common name for such institutions, but they are also called social centres, social buildings, children’s centres, etc. If a day centre is specialised on a specific target group, the centre’s name sometimes reflects it, e.g. a day centre for the elderly or for children.
• Home services. Home services are
services provided at home, helping a person cope in his or her habitual environment. These services may pertain to e.g. activities needed for everyday coping, as well as help with administrative matters. The service recipients may be the
elderly as well as all people with special needs.
• Support person. The purpose of
the service is to ensure the person’s coping by empowerment and guidance. The support person helps with administrative matters and offers emotional support as well as the necessary experience and information. The support person does not do anything instead of the client, but motivates and encourages the client and if needed then instructs him or her in specific activities or studies. The service recipients may be families raising a disabled child, adults with a mental disorder of mental disability who need external help to cope with everyday life and communication with their surroundings.
• Childcare. Local governments can
offer their residents support for their children’s childcare. Normally this means financial support covering part of the childcare service’s price.
• Personal helper. A personal helper
helps a person with special needs in his or her everyday physical activities. The personal helper also helps reduce the burden of family members and next of kin of the special needs person. This service is intended for those unable to cope independently with their everyday activities.
• Dwelling services. The local gov-
ernment is obligated to provide a dwelling for a person or a family unable to secure one for himself/ herself or his/her family, if necessary then by providing an opportunity to rent a municipal apartment.
• Municipal transport. For a person
unable to use public transport or personal car for heath reasons, an opportunity is offered for the use of a car to commute to work and school and to use public services. The arrangement of the service must include help for the person to get in and out of the car.
• Care. Everyday care service is pro-
vided at home or in a care institution. The care service supports the person’s living quality, ensures a safe environment and enables the next of kin to have time for rest and recreation. The care service includes e.g. diaper changing, washing, feeding. The care service is provided by a specially educated or trained worker. The care service is available as a day service and a round-the-clock service.
Social benefits In Estonia, the state and the local government offer various benefits to those in need, for the purpose of helping least privileged people cope. If you have ended up in a difficult situation, be sure to find out what benefits you can use.
What is subsistence benefit?
On what basis is subsistence benefit calculated?
As the first step towards benefits, turn to the social welfare department of the local government of your region – rural municipality, city or district. In social counselling, the social worker can give you more information about all social services and benefits and can help you in solving specific problems. The contacts of larger local governments are provided in the end of this chapter. Subsistence benefit Subsistence benefit is the state’s financial benefit for those in need. Subsistence benefit is paid by the local government. It is paid if all other measures to alleviate poverty and need have been insufficient. Subsistence benefit is calculated on the basis of the previous month’s net income of a person living alone or all members of the family, the current month’s fixed costs of the dwelling, and the established subsistence level. In 2019, the subsistence limit is 150 euros per month for a person living alone or the family’s first member (incl. minors), and 120 euros per month for the family’s second and each subsequent adult member (180 euros for every underage family member). A recipient of subsistence benefit whose family members are all minors is entitled to an additional social benefit of 15 euros together with the subsistence benefit; it is paid by the local government. Families applying for subsistence benefit, where family members include children receiving child allowance, can also apply for needs-based family benefit. Who is entitled to subsistence benefit? Subsistence benefit can be paid to a person living alone or a family whose net income after deducting the dwelling’s fixed costs in the extent of the cost limits established by the local government’s council is below the established subsistence level. When granting subsistence benefit, family members are considered to be persons who are married or in a marital relationship and live in the same 19
Who is needs-based family benefit intended for?
dwelling, their children and parents in need, or other persons jointly using one or several income sources or having a joint household.
Only one application can be filed per family.
In granting subsistence benefit, a family is considered to include pupils and students temporarily being away from the family and studying in daytime study, if their place of residence recorded in the Population Register is the same as the family’s registered place of residence.
• Needs-based family benefit can be
A pupil or a student whose registered place of residence is not the same as their family members’ registered place of residence is entitled to subsistence benefit from the local government of the rural municipality or city registered as his or her place of residence in the Population Register, if his or her family received subsistence benefit in the previous month.
How big is needs-based family benefit?
How to apply for subsistence benefit? Subsistence benefit is granted and paid by the city or rural municipality government and it is granted for the current month, based on the previous month’s data. To acquire the benefit, an application must be filed with the local government by the 20th day of each month, stating the names and ID codes (or ID document numbers) of the family’s/household’s members; students have to present their valid student card or the school’s confirmation. Documents must be enclosed to the application, proving the following:
applied for from the local government (rural municipality or city), the administrative territory of which contains the applicant’s actual place of residence.
• The application for the benefit
must be filed on the last working day of the month, at the latest.
• The application must state the name and ID codes or birth dates of all family members.
• If no subsistence benefit was grant-
ed to the family in the previous calendar month, documents must be enclosed to the application that prove the family members’ net incomes in the three months preceding the filing of the application, and the amount of maintenance if it is paid. If the type or amount of some income cannot be documental proven, the applicant must confirm it with his or her signature.
• The local government must make the decision about granting the benefit within ten days after the filing of all documents needed to make the decision.
• The benefit is granted for a total
of three months following the applying for the benefit, but paid out for each month separately, not as a grand total for all three months.
• the right to use the permanent
The rural municipality or city government can also grant and pay other social benefits from the local government’s budget.
• the previous month’s income of the
Applying for social services/benefits
dwelling (purchase-sale contract, housing association’s certificate, rental contract, etc.) – only with the first-time application; person living alone or the family members and the income tax deducted or the maintenance paid from it;
• fixed costs of the dwelling, payable for the current month.
In addition to these documents, the local government may also request other documents. Who can be an applicant? The applicant can be the family member who receives child allowance for the children. So, the parent who applied for child allowance must be the parent turning to the local government (regardless of whose bank account the child allowance is paid to). 20
Applying for needs-based family benefit
The following are the contacts of Tartu, Narva and Tallinn city districts to turn to, in order to apply for social services and benefits. TARTU: Tartu City Government, Department of Social Welfare Address: Raekoja plats 3, Tartu Tel: +372 7 361 300 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.tartu.ee NARVA: Narva Department of Social Welfare
Address: Linda 4, III – IV floor, Narva
Tel: +372 3 569 600
E-mail: email@example.com www.narvaabi.ee
Nõmme District Government, Department of Social Welfare
Address: Nõmme-Kase 12b, Tallinn
Haabersti District Government, Department of Social Welfare Address: Ehitajate tee 109a, Tallinn
Tel: +372 6 457 390 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: +372 6 404 823
Pirita District Government, Department of Social Welfare
www.tallinn.ee Kristiine District Government, Department of Social Welfare
Address: Merivälja tee 24, Tallinn
Address: Tulika 33b, Tallinn
Tel: +372 6 457 140 E-mail: email@example.com www.tallinn.ee
Tel: +372 6 457 620 www.tallinn.ee North Tallinn District Government, Department of Social Welfare
Lasnamäe District Government, Department of Social Welfare
Address: Kotzebue 2, Tallinn
Address: Pallasti 54, Tallinn
Tel: +372 6 457 752 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.tallinn.ee
Tel: +372 6 457 071 www.tallinn.ee Central Tallinn District Government, Department of Social Welfare
Mustamäe District Government, Department of Social Welfare
Address: Pärnu mnt 9, Tallinn
Address: Tammsaare tee 135, Tallinn
Tel: +372 6 457 595
Where to turn to at first, to apply for social services and benefits?
Tel: +372 6 457 831 www.tallinn.ee
1.6. Support services As a new immigrant, you can get comprehensive support in Estonia to adapt, accommodate and cope successfully. It is recommended to make active use of those opportunities.
Language courses Knowing Estonian is very important for residing and successfully coping in Estonia. This applies even if your working environment is in a foreign language, because elementary Estonian skills help you cope better with everyday life.
• Free basic level (A1) Estonian stud-
ies take place within the scope of the Welcoming programme provided by the state for new immigrants (people who have legally resided in Estonia for less than 5 years). To register for a language course and find out more go to www.settleinestonia.ee
• Estonian courses occasionally take
place for more advanced language levels (A2 to B2). To find out more about studies with the Integration
and Migration Foundation go to h t t p s : // w w w . m e i s . e e / e n / estonian-language-studies For more information about taking part in free Estonian courses go to Level A1: www.settleinestonia.ee/ Level A2-B2: www.meis.ee Different providers offer different volumes of courses; however, it generally takes about 80-100 academic hours to acquire a language level (1 academic hour = 45 minutes)
Where can Estonian language be studied?
For free Estonian language training, contact: Level A1: www.settleinestonia.ee Level A2-B2: www.meis.ee
Paid language courses In addition to free, state-funded language courses you can take part in courses provided by various language schools. There are many language schools and they are easy to find with an online search. Courses take place at different times and in groups with varying levels and intensity. Persons who have taken part in paid Estonian courses and have thereafter successfully passed an A2, B1, B2, or C1 level Estonian exam will be re-
paid for expenses related to language studies in the amount of up to € 320. The Innove Foundation manages compensations for such expenses. To find out more about compensation for the costs of language studies go to
Foreigners staying in Estonia for a longer time are also supported by integration services. Post-adaptation integration activities in Estonia are conducted by the Integration and Migration Foundation “Our People” (“Meie Inimesed”, MISA). The integration activities are, for example, language courses (A2-B2), language learning support in schools and kindergartens, language and culture immersion, language camps for young people, preparatory courses for the Constitution and the Citizenship Act familiarity exam to acquire citizenship, help in preparing for professional exams, help in preparing for the Constitution exam and provision of information about the functioning of the Estonian society, support to cultural associations and Sunday schools, and support for co-operation between people of various nationalities. For more information, contact the Integration and Migration Foundation: Website: www.meis.ee Telephone: +372 659 9021 E-mail: email@example.com Counselling centres If you wish or need help and counselling for adaptation or further integration in Estonia, you are welcome to the counselling centres of the Integration and Migration Foundation “Our People” in Tallinn and Narva. Counselling centre in Tallinn Integration and Migration Foundation “Our People” Address: Lõõtsa 2a, Tallinn (8. floor) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Counselling centre in Narva Address: Kerese 3, Narva (3. floor), E-mail: email@example.com Counselling is also available by phone and online, calling the number +372 800 9999.
Legal counselling If you need legal counselling, for example if you feel that your rights have been violated or you need to turn to the court, you can get legal advice in several ways. The law office of students under the Estonian Lawyers’ Association In the law office of students under the Estonian Lawyers’ Association in the service outlet of Tallinn City Office (Vabaduse väljak 7, I floor) and Mustamäe District Government (A. H. Tammsaare tee 135), 2nd and 3rd year law students of the law faculties of Tartu and Tallinn provide fee legal assistance. More information about the legal counselling times is available on the website of the Estonian Lawyers’ Association . www.juristideliit.ee The Law Services Foundation (Sihtasutus Õigusteenuste Büroo) The Law Services Foundation provides legal counselling to least privileged people in Tallinn, Tartu, Rakvere and Jõhvi. Visitations with preregistration by calling +372 6 015 122, information by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Estonian Union of Child Welfare The Estonian Union of Child Welfare provides counselling in family law matters on Wednesdays at 15:0018:00. Counselling with pre-registration by calling +372 6 311 128. Counselling takes place at Endla 6-18, Tallinn.
Family counselling The family counselling service is intended for couples and families needing help with relationships or family. It is common to turn to family counselling in Estonia and you can feel free to use it. Counselling can be anonymous and discreet. You can find the contacts of family therapists here: https://pereterapeudid.ee/ pereterapeudid/
Victim support Everyone can turn to victim support if they have been victimised by negligence or bad treatment, physical, psychological or sexual violence. Victim support is a free public service with the goal to preserve or improve the victim’s ability to cope. Victim support workers offer emotional support and provide informa-
tion about opportunities to get help. They also guide and help in communicating with the state and the local government and other institutions providing services needed by victims. Everyone to whom suffering or harm has been caused can get counselling regardless of whether the guilty party has been found and whether a criminal proceeding has been initiated against that person. Turn to a victim support employee if you wish to talk about your problem, feel that you need support to solve your worries, or wish to fin a way out of your current situation. The state compensates offence victims and their family members with the expenses of psychological help if needed.
Shelters and safety centres There are also shelters for those in need, where you can go if you fear for example that intimate partner violence may be committed against you. Estonian Women’s Shelters Union There are currently 13 women’s shelters in Estonia, ready to offer the following to women having experienced violence (with children if needed):
• a safe shelter after violence event or in case of danger of violence, and a place where to calm down and rest;
• a temporary living place if needed; • psychological counselling and crisis support;
• legal counselling; • help in communication with the authorities (e.g. the police, the social department);
• information about the legal aspects
of the problem (e.g. court, divorce, child protection) and legal counselling if possible;
• support in starting a new life; • possibility to always return to the
support centre to discuss the next steps together.
The support centres have aroundthe-clock contact telephones; you can also call there if you only need advice and not a temporary place to stay. The arrival in the shelter is also agreed over the phone because the addresses are not public for safety reasons. Read more here: www.naisteliin.ee/index.php?keel=2
Children’s safety centres In Estonia there are several safety centres intended for children needing a temporary home because they are in danger, alone with their problems, and need help and protection. Safety centres also involve parents, to find joint solutions.
Where can free legal counselling be acquired?
Tallinn Children’s Safety Centre Services provided by Tallinn Children’s Safe Home: Rehabilitation service
On the website www.juristaitab.ee lawyers answer your questions in the form of an online forum in Estonian and Russian.
• guiding the rehabilitation plan’s implementation and assessing the results;
• social worker’s services; • psychologist’s services; • specialised pedagogue’s services.
More information about victim support is available on the website of the National Social Insurance Board at
Night time safe home service Starting with February 2015, Tallinn Children’s Safety Centre provides a 4-bed safe home service for intoxicated minors taken into custody by the police at night.
www.sotsiaalkindlustusamet. ee/et/ohvriabihuvitis/ohvriabi-jalepitusteenus#Ohvriabi (EST)
Group work by parents It is very important for helping the children in the safety centre that their parents are involved and supported. In group work, the parents can meet others with similar problems, so they see that their personal issues are not unique and they can experience support. The parents can get new information and participate in discussions of various topics. Group work enables them to develop skills needed to form a constructive dialogue with their child. They can also extend their psychological competence in child-raising matters and learn to form trusting relationships in the family. The topics discussed pertain to the family’s effect on the child’s development, and much attention is also paid to the themes of addiction and co-addiction.
Read more here:
Narva Children’s Shelter http://www.eesti.ee/rus/kontakty/ keskused/laste_varjupaik (RUS) Tartu Children’s Safe Home www.turvakodu.ee/
Relocation services There are also companies in Estonia, providing professional relocation ser23
vices; their services can make it more convenient for you to arrive in Estonia and settle here. The services of such providers may include, for example, finding a dwelling for you, helping you move your things, sign rental contracts, order utility services and formalise the documents related to your stay in Estonia. For a detailed description of such services, it is recommended to read the providers’ websites and contact them personally.
Civil society organisations and services An active civil society has always played an important role in shaping life in Estonia. In Estonia, civil society is defined as a society inclusive of all of the people in pursuance of their interests and abilities that comprises the people’s collaborative initiative to adhere to their own interests and to participate in a discussion of and decision over public issues as well as in associations, networks, and institutions enabling such collaboration. Volunteering is a perfect opportunity to keep yourself active, meet with local people and build your social network. The Union of Estonian Non-Profit Associations (Vabaühenduste liit, EMSL (www.ngo.ee ) plays an important role in advancing non-profit associations. Below are a few examples of active civil society organizations
• Kodukant Estonian
(Homestead), the Village Movement
(Eestimaa Külaliikumine Kodukant (https://kodukant.ee)) helps to retain a rich and sustainable rural life, benefitting from an extensive nation-wide network. The objective of Kodukant’s efforts is economically and socially strong village communities. To achieve common goals, Kodukant works in close cooperation with the Ministry of Rural Affairs. This organization is also an important partner in the field of internal security and civil society.
Estonian Council of Environmental NGOs (Keskkonnaühenduste Koda (www.eko.org.ee)) sees to the conservation of Estonian natural environment, assembling individuals and associations that prescribe to a green way of thought. The Council is an efficient partner to the Ministry of the Environment in shaping nature conservation measures and environmental policy.
• During recent years, volunteer acti-
vates have been viewed as meaningful and support of such activities has been on the rise. The online environment Volunteer Gate (Vabatahtlike Värav (www.vabatahtlikud.ee – in Estonian only) provides information on volunteer work and advertises opportunities to volunteer in ongoing endeavors.
Churches There are many different churches and religious organisations in Estonia; they also perform social work and can provide various services to those in need. For more detailed contacts, see here: Estonian Council of Churches www.ekn.ee/english.php
1.7. Social networks Social networks related to children and child-raising help the parents exchange thoughts and experiences. The networks are also a source of help and advice in all sorts of questions. Estonia’s biggest companies providing relocation services: www.movemytalent.com www.expatestonia.ee
NB! Please keep in mind that the information circulating in social networks (e.g. in internet portals) is mostly unverified and nobody is responsible for its correctness. Especially with medical problems, it is still preferable to turn to a physician.
School (Perekool, in Estonian): www.perekool.ee – the largest family-related portal in Estonia: topics from family planning, pregnancy and childbirth to children’s healthcare and child-raising. Forums, advice, articles sorted by topics, and buy-and-sell ads.
International Women’s club of Tallinn (in Estonian and English): www.iwct.ee.
Part II: Family and children Part II provides an overview of topics related to family and children, necessary and recommended for someone arriving in Estonia:
• rights and duties of children and parents, child aid, parental benefit, parental leave, family benefits, childcare services;
• discussing the Estonian education system – primary, basic, upper secondary and higher education, vocational education and in-service training opportunities;
• introducing youth work opportuni-
ties and hobby education, as well as sporting opportunities for children and young people.
2.1. Rights and duties of children and parents Rights and duties of a child How are a child’s rights connected to his or her duties?
The Republic of Estonia is a state based on the rule of law, ensuring the rights of everyone legally staying in the country, including children. The state ensures legal protection to those whose rights are violated. Everyone who feels that their rights have been violated can turn to the state for protection of those rights and to get relevant help and support. Rights of a child are human rights as stipulated in the UNICEF Convention on the Rights of a Child3. These are rights which apply to everyone, irrespective of age, gender, nationality or other characteristics. Therefore a child has mostly the same rights that adults have. When we speak about rights of a child we mean the child’s human rights. Children of different age and gender have various interests and needs. But despite the differences, they have equal rights. All of them have the right to equal treatment. All children have equal rights. In addition to rights, children also have responsibilities, like adult members of the society. A child’s rights end where the rights of another child or an adult begin. This means that rights have limits and a child must consider the rights of other children and adults when exercising his/her rights. Rights and responsibilities go hand in hand.
A child has the right to education, but at the same time his/her duty is to attend school. A child has a right to health protection, but he/she has an obligation take care of his/her health. A child has a right to free speech, but by exercising one’s right to free speech, the child must respect the rights of other children and adults, above all the right to protect one’s honour and dignity. The basis for a mutually respectful living environment is mutual respect. Children must respect adults (parents, grandparents, kindergarten and school teachers, etc.) and other children like adults must respect children and other adults. Mutual respect and consideration of wishes is one of the important premises of the society’s coexistence. Additional restrictions apply for people below 18 years of age:
• People under 16 years of age
cannot be outside without adult supervision
• Between 23:00-06:00 during the period of Sept 1 – May 31
• Between 00:00-05:00 during the period of June 1 – august 31
• People under 18 years of age cannot buy or possess alcoholic beverages or tobacco products
• People under 21 years of age cannot buy or possess alcoholic beverages stronger than 21% proof.
Rights and duties of a parent For a parent, raising, caring for, representing and interacting with a child implies rights and duties intertwined, in turn, with the rights and duties of the child. For instance, the child’s right to protection implies for a parent a duty to look after the child and keep the child safe from any dangers. A parent’s right to help implies for the child a duty to help his or her parents in the family’s shared activities and daily chores. That said, a parent may expect help and involvement by the child, allowing for the child’s age. Let us bear in mind that sufficient time must be left for the child to play and rest. Estonia has ratified UNICEF´s Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991. The Convention intends to emphasise that a child is a person and has the same kinds of rights, duties, interests and needs as an adult. Offences and crimes against children are punishable by law. In Estonia, relations between children and parents are regulated by the Constitution, the Family Act and Child Protection Act.
Children’s Ombudsman There is also a Children’s Ombudsman in Estonia, with the task to protect the rights of children in their relations with the individuals and authorities that perform public functions. The Children’s Ombudsman’s task is also to ensure that all those who make decisions affecting children are guided by their best interests and take into account the opinions of children. The Children’s Ombudsman helps make the voices of children heard by decision-makers.
If a person under the age of 18 has received poor or unfair treatment by an authority and, in your estimation, a violation of her or his rights may be involved, please advise the child to contact the Children’s Ombudsman or, in your capacity as the child’s parent or legal representative, contact the Children’s Ombudsman yourself. Also, as a grownup not involved yourself, you can inform the Children’s Ombudsman if you witness a potential violation of a child’s rights by an authority that performs public functions or if you see any problems with the organisation of our child protection system. The Children’s Ombudsman will endeavour to find solutions that are best for the child.
You can get more information about these laws on the website of Riigi Teataja at www.riigiteataja.ee
In Estonia, the Children’s Ombudsman is the Chancellor of Justice of the Republic of Estonia, having the task to promote children’s rights and protection. The Children’s Ombudsman can be contacted in several ways: 1. on the Children’s Ombudsman’s website www.lasteombudsman.ee;
2. with an e-mail to the address: email@example.com; 3. by post:
Who can turn to the Children’s Ombudsman?
Ülle Madise Lasteombudsman Õiguskantsleri Kantselei Kohtu 8 15193 TALLINN
In what cases should one turn to the Children’s Ombudsman?
4. by phone, by calling 693 8424, 693 8411 or 693 8433 or visiting the Office of the Chancellor of Justice (Kohtu 8, Tallinn). Your visitation time at the Office of the Chancellor of Justice must be pre-agreed by calling the numbers above.
How to file an application with the Children’s Ombudsman?
2.2. Child aid The objective of the child helpline is to enable everybody to report about a child in need of help, forward the information to respective specialists and to offer children and other related people primary social counselling and crisis counselling, if necessary.
Informing about a child in need of help
Who is obligated to inform about a child in need of help?
• A child is in need of help if his or her
life, health, sense of security, development or welfare is endangered.
• Everyone is obligated to inform about a child in need of help!
Everyone is obligated to inform about a child in need of help! Anyone who notices a child in need of help but does
Who must be informed about a child in need of help?
not inform about it, is responsible for that child’s lack of help and protection.
In what cases is informing necessary?
Specialists working daily with children (teachers, hobby club leaders, trainers, physicians, juvenile police officers, etc.) have more information about the children’s possible need for help and protection, so they have proportionally higher responsibility to forward such information. But all other people are also obligated to inform about a child in need of help, be they random passersby, neighbours, relatives, parents of playmates, etc.
In what cases is a child in need of help?
In what cases is a child in danger?
Failing to inform cannot be justified by being not sure if the child really is in need of help or by fearing that informing may cast an accusation on the family or shame on the child. The importance of the information and the need or an intervention will be determined by relevant authorities. You must inform the rural municipality or city government (if possible then a child protection worker directly) and if necessary then the police. Rural municipality and city governments as well as the police have the right to process personal data, so you can also inform them about a child’s need for help without the consent of the child and/or his or her legal representative. Examples of cases where informing is necessary:
Who must be informed of a child in danger?
The police: “The child wandered in the city at midnight. Said he was afraid to go home because his parents are very angry.” School: “Physical education teacher noticed blue welts on the child’s lower back.” Playmate’s parent: “The child dropped a cup to the floor at our place. The cup went to pieces, I startled and turned at her quickly. She raised her arms and cried out: ‘Please don’t hit me!’.”
Whose calls are awaited at the child helpline?
In what cases should one call the child helpline?
Neighbour: “There are often sounds of things being thrown, yells and crying heard from the neighbouring apartment at evenings. The family has children, too.” Physician: “The child has visited me with traumas several times. I doubt the traumas are from his own adventures.”
A child in need of help A child is in need of help if his or her sense of security, development and welfare is not ensured. The child’s need for help may stem from possible abuse (incl. violence and negligence), but also his or her social or educational special needs, the family’s coping difficulties, etc. Activities to help and protect a child encompass child protection and networking in its widest sense, incl. social services and benefits as well as co-operation between the child, his or her family and the network’s members having contact with the child. Help for the child must be guided by his or her individual needs and interests. Inform the rural municipality or city government about a child in need of help – if possible then a child protection worker directly. You can find the contacts of rural municipality or city governments here
A child in danger A child is in danger if his or her life and health need protection. The risk to a child’s life and health may stem from the external environment, but also from the actions of others or the child’s own behaviour. In case of danger, the child’s need for help is so acute that it requires immediate intervention to prevent or end the danger. It may be necessary to take the child quickly to safe conditions in order to eliminate the danger. If the child is endangered by his or her family and there is no other way to eliminate the danger, the child may need to be separated from the family. Suspicion of an offence against a child (incl. physical or sexual violence; negligence endangering life and health; etc.) is grounds for initiating a criminal or misdemeanour proceeding. Inform the police AND the rural municipality or city government about a child in danger! Short dial for the police: 112 Client info at the police: 612 3000
Free child helpline 116111 The objective of the child helpline is to enable everybody to report about a child in need of help, forward the information to respective specialists and to offer children and other related
people primary social counselling and crisis counselling, if necessary.
tection worker or the police – so no child is left without help!
The child helpline 116111 awaits around-the-clock calls from children with a problem and also other people of all ages who worry about a child. Your call will be answered by experienced counsellors who have passed the necessary training. They are ready to listen to your problem and advice you how to act at once and in the long run. If necessary, the counsellors will forward the information to a child pro-
The helpline 116111 can be called from all over Estonia, using both landlines and mobile phones (connected to any operator active in Estonia). Calls to the helpline are free of charge and answered in Estonian and Russian. Around-the-clock ONLINE counselling is also available through the Child Aid website (www.lasteabi.ee). SKYPE: Lasteabi_116111
2.3. Parental benefit and parental leave Parental benefit Parental benefit is available for everyone living legally in Estonia, incl. foreigners with a temporary residence permit or a temporary right of residence. The benefit enables one of the parents to stay at home after the childbirth, to care for the child, while also preserving the parent’s average salary for 18 months. Before the child attains 70 days of age, only the mother raising the child is entitled to the benefit; thereafter, the parents can sue the right to the benefit alternately. Amount of the benefit The amount of the benefit is 100% of the average income per calendar month, based on the incomes of the calendar year preceding the day of incurring the right to the benefit. The benefit is based on the salary of the person receiving the benefit. The maximum amount of parental benefit is triple the average salary established by the government. Parental benefit is taxable by income tax. In 2019 the maximum sum of the parental benefit is 3319,80 euros per month. If the preceding year’s income was below the minimum monthly salary established by the government, the parental benefit is set to equal the minimum monthly salary. If there was no income taxable by social tax at all, the benefit is set to the benefit rate (540 euros in 2019). The period of getting parental benefits The benefit is paid for 435 days i.e. about 14.5 months. Applying To apply for parental benefit, the applicant needs to file an application
and present a personal ID document to the Social Insurance Board. The application can be filed personally in the Social Insurance Board’s service outlet or sent by mail. It can also be filed electronically in the State Portal: www.eesti.ee. To file an application, log into the eesti. ee portal. Then:
• Select “Services” (“E-teenused”)
Who are entitled to parental benefit in Estonia?
How big is parental benefit?
from the menu
• Select the section “For a citizen” (“Kodanikule”)
• Select the subsection “Family” (“Perekond”)
• Select “Application for parental
benefit, family allowances and additional contributions to the pension system” (“Vanemahüvitise, peretoetuste ja kohustusliku kogumispensioni täiendavate sissemaksete taotlemine”)
How big is parental benefit? How long is parental benefit paid?
How to apply for parental benefit?
• Select “Applying for allowances
and benefits” (“Taotlen toetuseid ja hüvitisi”) from the (Estonian) menu at the bottom of the page
• Check the box in front of “Parental benefit” (“Vanemahüvitis”) in the section “My children and applying for benefits” (“Minu lapsed ja toetuste taotlemine”).
The application form is also available in the Social Insurance Board’s service outlets (the addresses and open hours of service outlets are provided on the Social Insurance Board’s website, section “Client Service”) or on its website, section “Forms” www.sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee. To change the recipient of parental benefit, the new applicant files an application and the current recipient grants his or her consent. If the application and the consent are filed before the 15th day of the month, the recipi29
ent will change starting with the next month, otherwise starting with the month after the next.
that in the period from the child’s birth until his or her age of 70 days, only the mother raising the child is entitled to the parental benefit.
Parental leave can be used as one continuous leave or you can work for a period and then take parental leave again, before the child attains 3 years of age. Parental leave is normally used after the end of the pregnancy and maternity leave. The persons entitled to parental leave can agree to change the person using the parental leave. The parent caring for the child is paid parental benefit first and child care benefit after the parental benefit’s period ends (read more about this in Chapter “Family benefits”).
A mother or a father is entitled to parental leave until the child attains 3 years of age. Parental leave is available to one of them at a time, either as one continuous leave or in several parts at any time. For example, parental leave can be taken by one parent at first, then the other parent, then both can work and later they can use the right again. When using the leave, keep in mind
What are the state family benefits in Estonia?
What are the state family benefits in Estonia?
Monthly family benefits
2019 (EUR per month)
60 / 100
38.36 / 19.18
Single parents’ child allowance
Child allowance for conscripts / persons in alternative service
50 (each child)
Foster care allowance
Allowance for families with many children
300 / 400
min 470 – max 3319,80
One-off family benefits
320 / 1,000
2.4. Family benefits State family benefits are paid to:
• permanent residents of Estonia; • foreigners living in Estonia with a temporary residence permit or right of residence.
State family benefits include childbirth allowance, child allowance, childcare benefit, single parent’s child allowance and other allowances.
State childbirth allowance is a one-off allowance of 320 euros for each child born single or as twins. In case of a multiple birth of three or more children, the childbirth allowance is 1,000 euros for each child. Local governments may pay additional childbirth allowance for births registered in that local government’s area
of administration. Examples of childbirth allowances paid by the largest Estonian local governments: Tallinn The childbirth allowance is 320 euros. The child’s childbirth allowance is granted to the child’s parent if both parents were registered residents of the city of Tallinn before the child’s birth and at least one parent was a registered resident of Tallinn for at least one year before the childbirth, and the pregnancy of the birth mother was registered. Read more
Tartu Childbirth allowance is paid in three parts: at the child’s birth, when the child becomes 1 year old and when he or she becomes 2 years old. Read more
Child allowance Child allowance is a monthly benefit paid from the child’s birth until he or she becomes 16 years old. If the child studies in a basic school or an upper secondary school or if a child without secondary education studies in formal vocational education, the benefit is paid until he or she becomes 19 years old. If the child becomes 19 years old during the academic year, the benefit is paid until the end of the academic year. The amount of child allowance is 60 euros for the family’s first and second child and 100 euros for the third and each subsequent child. Example 1: a family has two children: a 4-year-old and a 17-year-old studying in upper secondary school. The family is paid child allowance for both children, as a total of 120 euros. Example 2: A family has three children: a 4-year-old, a 10-year-old and a 17-year-old studying in upper secondary school. The family is paid child allowance as 60 euros for the first and the second child and 100 euros for the third child, so a total of 220 euros. Plus a large family allowance of EUR 300 per month.
Childcare benefit The rate of childcare benefit is 76.70 euros. Childcare benefit is a monthly benefit paid:
• to one parent raising a child up to 3
until the end academic year ends. The recipient of childcare benefit is paid additional childcare benefit for each child aged up to 1 year. The additional childcare benefit is 6.40 euros. Childcare benefit is not paid for a child if childbirth or adoption benefit is paid under the Health Insurance Act on the basis of his or her birth or adoption (i.e. for up to 140 calendar days from the start of taking a pregnancy and maternity leave or 70 calendar days in the case of adoption). Childcare benefit is not paid for any child if the parent is already paid parental benefit under the Parental Benefit Act (read more about parental benefit in Chapter “Parental benefit”).
Single parent’s child allowance is a monthly allowance that depends on the child allowance rate (the child allowance rate in 2019 is 19,18 euros) and is paid if:
• the parent has been declared fugitive.
Additionally, benefits are paid in the following special cases:
If a child in bullet points 2 and 3 above starts the first school year and becomes 8 years old in the current academic year, the childcare benefit for that child will be paid
In what cases is single parent’s child allowance paid?
Population Register data lacks the entry about the father or the entry was made according to the mother’s words;
• in a family raising a child up to 3
dren, raising three or more children at least 3 years of age and receiving child allowance, to one parent as ¼ of the childcare benefit rate for each child aged between 3 to 8 years (childcare benefit rate 76.70/4=19.18 euros).
In what cases is child care allowance not paid?
• the child’s birth registration or
The benefit amount equals double the child allowance rate (child allowance rate 9.59 euros x 2=19.18 euros).
• in a family with three or more chil-
Who is paid child care allowance?
Single parent’s child allowance
years of age or the person taking a parental leave instead of the parent, at ½ the rate of childcare benefit for every child under 3 years of age (the childcare benefit rate 76.70 euros/2=38.35 euros); years of age and more children aged between 3 to 8 years, to one parent as ¼ of the monthly childcare benefit rate (the childcare benefit rate 76.70 eurot/4=19.18 euros) for each child aged between 3 to 8 years;
In what period is child allowance paid?
• child allowance for conscripts or persons in alternative service;
• foster care allowance; • allowance for a parent in families
How long are family benefits paid?
with seven or more children;
• start in independent life allowance; • needs-based family benefit. The state pays the family benefits for all children until they become 16 years old. If a child studies in a basic school, an upper secondary school or goes from a basic school to a vocational education institution, he or she is entitled to family benefits until the age of 19 years. Moreover, the Estonian Health Insurance Fund pays maternity ben31
efit to women who have an employment contract, a contract for services or a registration as self-employed when they take a pregnancy and maternity leave. Read more about this on the Health Insurance Fund’s website at www.haigekassa.ee.
Needs-based family benefit can be acquired from the local government (read more in Chapter “Social welfare in Estonia”) – it is paid out by the rural municipality or city government. Other family benefits are paid out by the Social Insurance Board.
The exact amounts of family benefits are stated on the Social Insurance Board’s website at www. sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee. Family benefits are paid out on the 8th day of every month. If the bank transfer would occur on a national holiday or other rest day, the work day preceding the rest day is considered the payment date.
A parent of a child born after 1 January 2013 can apply for additional contributions into the II pillar of mandatory funded pension. The state pays 4% of the national average salary per children into the II pillar for one parent, a parent’s spouse, a guardian or a foster parent. If several people are entitled to apply for the contributions for the same child, they must agree who will use the right to the contributions.
2.5. Childcare services Kindergartens In Estonia, children usually stay home until the age of 1.5 years. Until then, families receive the parental benefit, and one of the parents can stay home. When the parent returns to work, the child may go to infant care or stay at home with grandparents or a caregiver. At what age do most children start kindergarten?
Kindergarten is not obligatory in Estonia. Parents can choose to keep the child home until school age if they wish to and have the financial capacity to have an adult permanently taking care of the child. Most Estonian children go to kindergarten (lasteaed) at the age of 3. Those who prefer to stay at home can participate in different activities organised by either a pre-school institution or a hobby school. There are also childcare centres (lastehoid), but these do not provide pre-school education. There are two types of kindergartens in Estonia – municipal (93%) and private (7%). In municipal kindergartens, the parents pay a small tuition fee as well as the cost of meals. The fee may vary according to different factors. In private kindergartens, the fee is much higher. Parents are free to choose a suitable kindergarten for their child. Find out what kindergartens are active in your city or rural municipality. To do so, see the website of your city or rural municipality or call the local government’s information hotline.
Local governments are obliged by law to ensure a place in a kindergarten for every child from age 3. However, in some districts children may be wait-listed before admission due to the lack of available places. The parent must submit an application and a doctor’s certificate issued by the family doctor. The law sets out that a nursery group includes 14 children and a kindergarten group includes 20 children. Yet the actual number of children may vary. There is usually 1 adult per 7 children in nursery groups and 1 adult per 10 children in kindergarten groups. Most kindergartens have one teacher and one assistant teacher at work at a time. The teachers mostly have an education in pedagogy. Activities in kindergartens The study activities in kindergartens are regulated by the national curriculum for preschool child care institutions, setting out the national objectives of study and education activities, the overall arrangement of study and education activities, and the principles of assessing a child’s development. Kindergartens follow a daily schedule set out in their internal regulations, with which the parents agree upon signing a contract with the kindergarten. Children are usually received in kindergartens from 7:00 and they are expected to be picked up again at 19:00 at the latest. The exact times of different kindergartens may vary. A child’s day in a kindergarten includes 3 meals (a breakfast, a lunch and a pre-dinner snack), free play time in-
doors and outdoors, organised study activities and a ca. 2-hour rest period in the middle of the day. It is usually expected in Estonian kindergartens that all children of all ages make a noontime nap together. Organised study activities cover the following topics: me and my environment, language and speech, mathematics, arts, music, and movement. Kindergartens hold joint celebrations of national and folk holidays, and concerts are prepared for certain occasions where the children perform for the parents (for example, Christmas, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, etc.). A kindergarten’s academic year starts in August-September when the youngest children start their first year of kindergarten and the older children return from their summer holidays. Kindergartens and nurseries are open on work days around the year. They are closed only on national holidays and for an about 4-6-week-long period of vacations in the summer. Yet, it is usually possible to get a replacement spot in another kindergarten of the same region for that time. Ask more about that in the specific kindergarten. It is expected that when starting kindergarten, the children are capable of simpler self-service tasks (for example, some ability to clothe themselves, drinking from a cup and using a spoon). The children are also expected to know to use a toilet. Those who do not will be taught to do so in the kindergarten. Possible costs in child care institutions The costs vary from one municipality to another. The maximum rate is 20% of the official minimum wage. These costs are paid by a parent are divided into the parent’s contribution and the catering money. The parent’s contribution (placement fee) in Tallinn in is 65.88 euros per month (72.36 euros in kindergartens with a swimming pool). The catering money is generally 1.53-2.4 euros per day; its amount is decided by every kindergarten’s board of trustees. To those costs, other expenses may be added, for example for excursions, joint trips, celebrations in the group (like Christmas). Also, additional money may be asked for tickets to theatre performances held in the kindergarten. Private kindergartens may set additional admission conditions. All of the
English-speaking kindergartens Estonia are privately owned.
The language of instruction in most kindergartens is Estonian. In about 13% of kindergartens, the language of instruction is Russian, but Estonian is taught as a second language. Kindergartens in larger Estonian cities TALLINN There are 130 preschool institutions in Tallinn, including 5 nurseries, 123 kindergartens, 1 kindergarten-basic school, and kindergarten groups in Tallinn Helen School. Read more here:
Residents of Tallinn may choose any kindergarten for their child that has vacancies. When choosing a kindergarten, it is recommended to account for the kindergarten’s location, the education and study methods used there, and its work language. Residents of the city of Tallinn have to file an application for admission into a childcare institution, based on the child’s birth certificate and stating up to three chosen kindergartens and the intended time of placement. An application can also be filled in while visiting the chosen kindergarten’s headmaster. The headmaster issues a printout of registering the application in the information system. The order of the chosen kindergartens can be changed, but a new choice means cancelling another choice and filing a new admission application. As there is a shortage of kindergarten placements in certain regions of Tallinn, it is normal to file an application for admission into a certain kindergarten for a certain time immediately after the child is born. In case of relocating, it is also recommended to contact the local government as soon as possible to find out about the availability of kindergarten placements in the region, so as to put your child in a waiting list early.
What do the fees paid by parents consist of and how big are they?
A kindergarten placement can also be applied for through the state portal www.eesti.ee; in that case, everything can be done in the online environment. A childcare institution’s headmaster informs the parent in writing about the possibility to get a kindergarten placement, doing so within 5 work days starting from 1 May. At the latest by 15 May, the parent must confirm in writing the place33
ment offer sent from a kindergarten, otherwise the child’s data will be deleted from the lists of applicants for a kindergarten placement. When admitting a child to a kindergarten, the child’s data are deleted from the waiting lists of other kindergartens.
TARTU Information about kindergartens in Tartu can be found here:
Russian speaking kindergartens (or groups) include the following kindergartens: Annike, Kelluke, Mõmmik, Päkapikk, Sirel and Piilupesa. There are two ways to apply for a kindergarten placement:
• Filing an application with the edWhat are childcare services?
ucation department of the City of Tartu. The Department’s contacts are: Raekoja plats 12 firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: + 372 7 361 445
• File an electronic application
What is the difference between childcare and kindergarten?
through the “ARNO” online environment (in Estonian): www.tartu.ee/arno
Logging into ARNO requires an IDcard or a Mobile-ID. The system is in Estonian – ask your friend / neighbour / colleague for help if needed. You can make 2 choices of kindergartens and study languages in ARNO. Applications filed through ARNO are reviewed faster than those taken to the Education Department. NARVA The list of kindergarten in Narva is (in Russian) here:
••• (in Estonian) •• •
The application with a copy of the child’s birth certificate must be sent to the head of the chosen kindergarten who will inform the parent about whether the child is admitted. In case of positive reply, the parent must confirm the intention in writing (by e-mail). English-speaking kindergartens/ pre-schools in Estonia:
• International Kindergarten
www.kindergarten.ee (in English)
• International Preschool of Estonia www.ise.edu.ee (in English)
• Tallinn European School
https://tes.edu.ee/ (in English)
• Tartu International Daycare
http://daycare.istartu.ee (in English)
Childcare services Childcare services provided by the private sector are an alternative for municipal kindergartens – they comply with the minimum requirements set by the state and are safe for children. Childcare institutions are usually smaller than kindergartens – the service is often provided by babysitters in their homes or specifically adapted premises. On the other hand, keep in mind that babysitters and institutions providing childcare services are not obligated to follow the national curriculum for preschool institutions. The childcare service enables parents to have time off childcare or the opportunity to work if they are unable to get a placement in any municipal kindergarten or they do not wish to use municipal kindergartens for some reason. Many childcare providers offer the parents childcare conditions not available in kindergartens, for example, babysitting, childcare at unusual hours, or personal childcare. This opportunity is often used by parents who need to return to work before the child becomes 18 months old, so their child does not yet qualify for a municipal nursery or kindergarten, or if the parents’ work hours do not fit with the open hours of kindergartens. Some parents prefer private childcare or babysitters because of smaller groups and more adults present than in kindergartens. Compared to kindergartens, the parent has a bigger responsibility in agreeing the childcare conditions with the provider. Parents are recommended to investigate the childcare providers’ preparation and experience beforehand, to decide about their suitability. The costs of childcare service are normally covered by the parent. Yet, your local government (home city or rural municipality) may have resources to support your child’s childcare, especially if there is a shortage of kindergarten placements and your home city or rural municipality cannot offer a suitable kindergarten placement for your child. To find out about such an opportunity, contact the social worker or another official of your local government who is responsible for kindergartens.
How to find a childcare provider? The easiest way to find a childcare provider is to turn to your local government. You can also look for childcare providers on your own, using the Register of Economic Activities or Internet search engines. Register of Economic Activities Persons and organisations holding a childcare service permit can be found in the Register of Economic Activities. You can also make a query for a certain city or rural municipality there. (The service is available in Estonian only.) Go to https://mtr.mkm.ee/ tegevusluba?m=97
• Find the activity
(“Tegevusala“) of social care – childcare (“Sotsiaalhooldus – lapsehoiuteenus”)
• Click on detailed search (“Detailotsing”)
• Select the county
(“maakond”) and local government (“kohalik omavalitsus”) under the address of the provision of services (“Tegevuse osutamise koha address”)
* Click on search (“Otsi”) Search engines Simply use the search words “lapsehoid” (babysitting) or “lastehoid” (childcare). Most childcare service providers have websites to introduce their services.
• Tartu Emajõe School:
In schools where the language of instruction is not Estonian, Estonian as a second language is a compulsory subject, starting in the 1st grade. If the mother tongue of the pupil is not the same as the language of instruction at the school, it is possible to study the mother tongue as an elective subject. Studies will be organised if an application is made to the director of the school by the parents of at least 10 pupils with the same mother tongue.
At what time do studies take place in Estonian schools?
At what age do children start school in Estonia?
The school year begins on the 1 September and ends usually at the beginning of June (the date may be different in private schools). School holidays are in autumn (one week), during Christmas (usually two weeks) and in spring (one week). The exact schedule of the school year is determined by the Ministry of Education. Private schools may have a different holiday schedule. For pupils from abroad, the teachers’ council of the school decides the grade to which the new pupil will be admitted, based on the knowledge and skills of the pupil, and implements an individual curriculum if needed.
• Children can start their first school
year if they attain the age of 7 years by 1 October. Also, children may start school if they have attained the age of 6 years by 30 April of the current year, if their parents so wish.
What documents have to be submitted to a school when registering there?
• A school can be chosen for a child
School placement for children There are municipal, state and private schools in Estonia. The majority are municipal schools. These are mostly local government schools and assignment is mainly based on district area. The education at municipal and state schools is free. There are also schools for children with special needs (such as blind or deaf children) who need treatment that regular schools cannot provide. Some examples of schools for children with special needs:
• Tallinn Helen School for children with sensory or speech disabilities: http://helen.edu.ee/
• Porkuni School for children with
within the region.
• Schools may establish spoken in-
terviews and practical tasks for children starting their first school year, in order to determine their maturity and academic level. Ask more about that from the specific school.
• When registering, the following must be presented to the school:
• • • •
a written application; the child’s birth certificate; the parent’s identity document; a document proving the permanent place of residence.
If you have any questions, contact the local government’s Department of Education:
TALLINN: Tallinn Department of Education www.tallinn.ee/eng/haridus/
Schools where the language of instruction is English:
TARTU: Tartu City Government’s Department of Education Raekoja plats 12 email@example.com Telephone: + 372 7 361 445
• International School of Estonia (IB
NARVA: Narva City Government’s Department of Culture, Education Division
• Audentes (IB Programme)
• (in(inRussian) •• Estonian)
TALLINN programme) www.ise.edu.ee
• Tallinn European School (EB programme) www.est.edu.ee
• Tallinn English College (IB programme) www.tik.edu.ee/en https://audentes.ee/ib/
• EBS High School (only secondary education) www.ebs.ee
• Tartu International School www.istartu.ee
• Miina Härma Gümnaasium (IB
2.6. Exemptions and discounts for children The state and local governments offer various exemptions for children and families with children. The most important ones are listed below.
What is income tax exemption?
What are considered education and training expenses?
Income tax exemption One parent, guardian or another person who provides financial support for two or more minor children may claim 1848 euros as an additional exemption from their income during a taxation period for each child up to the age of 17, starting with the second child. A child’s tax exemption may be declared by one parent or guardian only, so you must agree beforehand who will declare the child. Exemption of schooling costs One of a child’s parents (or a person providing financial support for a child) may deduct from income during a taxation period the education and training costs paid for themselves and a dependent relative, brother, or sister under the age of 26. The education and training costs are the documented expenses paid for studying at an educational institution belonging to the state or the local government, a public university, at a private school holding the activity li-
cence that was issued within a certain curriculum, having the registration in the Estonian Education Information System or the right to hold a training at the level of higher education, or in a foreign education institution similar to the ones mentioned above, or for taking part in fee-based courses held by/at such institutions.
Other exemptions and discounts A dominant majority of the providers of transportation services, recreational and cultural institutions, etc. offer discounts for children. As a rule, they offer discounted tickets or fully free attendance. The latter is most often offered to the smallest children (aged up to 2 years). If you visit a museum, a theatre or a cinema or buy transport tickets, always find out whether the service provider offers discounts for children. It is recommended to carry the identity document of older children with you, so you can prove their age and entitlement to the discount if required. For example in Tallinn, preschool children and persons accompanying a child under 3 years of age are not required to have the Public Transport Card.
2.7. Estonian education system Education is very highly valued in Estonian society. A large share of Esto36
nian population has higher education. Good education helps find better jobs
and cope better with life. The international PISA tests show that the basic education and secondary education provided in Estonia are among the best in the world. The level of Estonian basic school students is among the world’s best and at the absolute top in Europe. The results have improved compared to the year 2012 as well as 2015. For example, an Estonian student holds a shared No. 1-2 position with Finland in European natural sciences.
Preschool education Until the age of 7 years, a child usually attends a kindergarten, acquiring preschool education. Preschool education provides the basis for successful coping in daily life and prepares the children for school. Preschool education can be acquired in child care institutions intended for preschool children. Types of child care institutions:
• nursery – for children up to 3 years of age;
There is no notable stratification in Estonian education; the education system is uniform and egalitarian.
• kindergarten – for children up to 7
Education is divided as follows in the Estonian education system:
cial needs children up to 7 years of age;
• general education; • professional education; • hobby education. Educational levels are:
• Preschool education • Basic education (level I) • Secondary education (level II) * Higher education (level III)
What is preschool education and where can it be acquired?
years of age;
• specialised kindergarten – for spe-
• kindergarten combined with a
primary school (jointly managed nursery-primary school) or a basic school (nursery-basic school).
With the proposal of a kindergarten’s headmaster, the rural municipality or city government may form adaptation groups in kindergartens as needed, which special needs children attend
A visual image of Estonian education system (the “education tree”) looks like this:
together with other children, or special groups consisting of special needs children.
What is the mandatory minimum for general education in Estonia?
In grades 1 to 9, a student acquires basic education. In Estonia, basic education is the minimum general education mandatory for everyone. All children living in Estonia, including children from other countries, are required to attend school from age 7 until grade 9 or age 17. This is the minimum general education that provides the right to acquire secondary education or to enter working life.
What are the opportunities for continued studies after acquiring basic education?
In grades 7 to 9, chosen vocational education can be acquired in parallel with basic education. If the basic school is interrupted, the person can attend vocational studies for students over 17 years of age having no basic education (2 years, acquiring only professional skills). Also, basic education can be continued in evening studies, remote learning or external studies. If basic education is completed, four choices of further studies become available:
• upper secondary school – acquiring general secondary education (3 years);
A school’s internal rules also set out the rights and duties of students. All students have equal rights in school. The main rights of students are to perform study tasks and to participate in studies prescribed for them in the curriculum, receive additional study help from teachers, participate in electing the school’s student representation. Students have the right to use the schools environment – premises and study means for studies. Students must receive information about the arrangement of studies and about their rights and duties, and may turn to a child protection organisation for the protection of their rights. In addition to rights, students also have duties in school. Their duty is to participate in studies, respect and be friendly with schoolmates and adults, preserve the school’s property and items.
– acquiring only a profession without general education (2 years).
eKool – what it gives for the child and the parent Most Estonian schools are using the eKool system – it is an online electronic study information system connecting all parties related to studies: school management, teachers, students and parents. The environment is intended for co-operation and information exchange related to studies and teaching.
Rights of a teacher and a student in school Every school has its internal rules that the school’s staff and students must follow. The rights of teaches in study matters stem from the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act, the school’s statutes and the teacher’s ethics codes. Teaches are entitled to safe school environment and their task is to ensure the psychological and physical safety and health protection of students while the students are in school. Teachers may apply support measures and impose sanctions on students. Support measures are for example a development interview with a student, applying an individual curriculum, participation in subject consultations, providing support spe-
eKool is a convenient and relevant system for both teachers and parents. The data entered by a teacher (grades, absences, homework, etc.) are immediately available to all parties. Teachers can enter a child’s grades, absences, late arrivals, admonitions, lesson descriptions, homework tasks, tests and study materials into the eKool system. The child’s electronic diploma is also issued through eKool. With this, a parent has constant overview of his or her child’s school activities, homework and academic results. The parent can also use eKool to inform about the child’s absence and send an absence confirmation to the school. The child can see his or her homework, grades and classroom activities through eKool if he or she was
• upper secondary school with
vocational studies – acquiring general secondary education and some professional skills (3 years);
• vocational education institution
– acquiring vocational secondary education (3-3.5 years);
• vocational education institution
cialist’s services. Teachers may also impose sanctions like discussing the student’s behaviour with his or her parents or the schools management, taking into school’s custody any items that the student is using in violation with the school’s internal rules, removing the student from the lesson while imposing the obligation to achieve the required academic results, deleting from the school’s list based on the school’s internal rules.
absent on that day. eKool is accessible through mobile communications and Internet and all changes are visible in real time. eKool is accessible at the following web address:
The staff of a child’s school always gives parents additional information about eKool and explains how eKool is used in the school. Long day group Long day group is a support service providing students in grades 1 to 9 with support and supervision for time outside studies and for homework, as well as pedagogic guidance and directions for hobby activities. A child is included in a long day group on the basis of his or her parent’s application and contract. As student is admitted into a long day group on the basis of a parent’s or guardian’s written application to the school’s management. An application for placement in a long day group can be filed until 5 September, or throughout the study period if necessary. School psychologists School psychologists are employed by many schools. Their task is to prevent problems in the school, intervene if necessary, and counsel the people related to the school. A school psychologist works with the school’s children, parents as well as staff. School psychologists’ role is not limited to testing and helping problematic students; they also shape the mental atmosphere in their school. In addition to helping children and counselling their parents, school psychologists support the entire staff and ensure that co-operation takes place. When to turn to a school psychologist? A child could go to a school psychologist if he or she is worried about oneself or next of kin, unable to cope with one’s daily obligations, is victimised by emotional, psychological, physical or sexual violence or knows someone who is. A child could also go to a school psychologist if he or she has problems with communicating, addictions, conflicts with next of kin or a teacher, feels alone, has lost next of kin, or has otherwise experienced something unexpected. A parent could go to a school psychologist if his or her child’s behaviour has markedly changed, if the child cannot cope with his or her duties, if
co-operation with teachers has not solved the child’s problems in school, if there is suspicion that the child has problems with addiction or school violence. The school psychologist’s contact data are provided on the school’s website and contacting is possible both by e-mail and by phone.
If a child has problems A child at any age can encounter problems changing his or her everyday behaviour and emotional and psychological balance. A child’s behaviour can be considered problematic if it differs from his or her usual behaviour for a longer time, causes continued conflicts with parents and companions, or affects the child’s health. If a child’s problematic behaviour becomes apparent then his or her class teacher should be consulted first, asking if the teacher also sees problems with the child. Educational institutions often also employ specialised pedagogues or psychologists with whom the child’s problems can be discussed. In addition to schools, Rajaleidja centres also offer study counselling to support the parents in case of problems with their children. Every country has such centres and their services are free for parents. Rajaleidja centres have four kinds of specialists to help in need: a speech therapist, a specialised pedagogue, a psychologist, and a social pedagogue. A speech therapist can recommend techniques to improve and develop the child’s spoken and written expression. A specialised pedagogue helps determine the child’s academic level and educational needs. A psychologist knows to advise in case of communication and behaviour problems, determines the child’s needs and abilities, and counsels the parents on how to support the child’s development. A social pedagogue provides counselling for the child’s behavioural or communication problems. There are Rajaleidja centres in every Estonian county. https://rajaleidja.innove.ee/rajaleidjakeskuste-kontaktandmed/ (only Estonian) School violence, bullying School violence and its prevention are in focus in all Estonian schools and kindergartens. Several programmes to prevent school bullying have been implemented in Estonia, like “Bully-free kindergarten and school” and “KiVa – Bully-free School”. It is stressed in Estonian schools and kindergartens that any kind of bullying is wrong, but it may still happen that a 39
child becomes a victim of bullying or bullies someone. Estonian children use smartphones a lot, so parents should also keep in mind the possibility of online bullying between children. Where can general secondary education be acquired?
Where can vocational education be acquired?
What are study counselling centres and when should one turn there?
In case of school bullying related problems, the parent should first contact the child’s class teacher to discuss the problems and try to find a solution together. If needed, the school’s support specialists can additionally be involved, like the school psychologist or the social pedagogue. If the school has no support specialist, you can turn to the Rajaleidja centre of your county; they have properly trained specialists like psychologists and social pedagogues. Additionally, psychological counselling and support in case of children’s problems are provided by:
• Tallinn Child Support Centre www.lastetugi.ee/?lng=eng
• Tallinn Family Centre
• Tartu Child Support Centre • Tartu Educational Support Centre
What are the opportunities for continued studies after acquiring secondary education?
and Me”) www.sinamina.ee/ru/ (RUS)
• Child Aid
What is the structure of Estonian higher education system?
What are the conditions for being admitted into higher education studies?
Where can general secondary education be acquired?
• Family Centre “Sina ja mina” (“You
Vocational secondary education is acquired in a vocational education institution, on the basis of either basic school or general secondary education. A graduate from a vocational secondary education institution has the same possibilities to continue studies in a higher education institution as a learner having a general secondary education. There is a study counselling centre in every county of Estonia, providing students, parents and teachers with psychological, speech therapy related, special pedagogy and social pedagogy related counselling. The task of those support centres is to promote early recognition of children’s developmental and educational special needs and to support children’s individual development. The contacts of study counselling centres can be found here (in Estonian):
Acquired secondary education gives three choices for further studies:
• vocational education institution
– acquiring vocational education (0.5-2.5 years) or professional higher education (3-4.5 years);
• professional higher education institution, university college – acquiring professional higher education (3-4.5 years);
• university – acquiring academic higher education (Bachelor’s (3-4 years), Master’s (1-2 years) and Doctoral degree (3-4 years)).
Secondary education builds on basic education and is divided into general secondary education and vocational secondary education.
General secondary education is acquired in upper secondary schools. Studies take place as day, evening or remote studies. Admittance to an upper secondary school is based on the results of completing a basic school and passing an additional examination of academic prowess organised by each school. A completed general secondary education grants the right to continue studies in a higher education or vocational institution. The studies can also be completed as an external student. Final exams are taken in order to complete an upper secondary school – both national and the school’s own exams. General education schools of the state and local governments are free and the state and local governments are obligated to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to acquire general education.
Information about vocational schools and vocational education is available on the Estonian language website at www.kutseharidus.ee
In vocational studies, the student acquires the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to start working. Studies in a vocational education institution can be started regardless of the prior level of education. There are also study opportunities for people with no basic education. As a rule, a professional exam is taken to complete vocational studies.
The list of vocational education institutions is also available here:
Higher education The matters of foreigners studying and performing research in Estonia are discussed in more detail in the study-
ing module and the research module of the welcoming programme. Starting with the academic year of 2002/2003, Estonian higher education system has 3 levels, following the Bachelor-Master-PhD model of European higher education. In that, higher education can be acquired in universities as professional higher education, a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree and a Doctoral degree. Professional higher education studies can also occur in a professional higher education institution or some vocational education institution. Professional higher education institutions may also offer studies for a Master’s degree. By ownership, the educational institutions are divided into state, public and private educational institutions.
• Estonian Academy of Arts www. artun.ee
• Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre www.ema.edu.ee
• Estonian Business School (private university) www.ebs.ee
• Estonian University of Life Sciences
Funding the studies To fund their studies, students in vocational secondary education and higher education can apply for a student loan, a state education allowance or various grants. The objective of education allowances is to ensure access to vocational secondary education and higher education and to motivate full-time successful studies. Education allowance is not granted to a student on an academic leave or at the time of receiving education support from a foreign government, an international or supra-national organisation or a co-operation programme’s representative.
Universities in Estonia:
Among others, the following opportunities exist to fund studies:
What are study counselling centres and when should one turn there?
The general condition for admittance into higher education is secondary education, but specific educational institutions may also establish additional admittance requirements, for example admittance exams, state exam results or an interview.
• University of Tartu www.ut.ee • Tallinn University www.tlu.ee • Tallinn University of Technology
Where can vocational education be acquired?
• education allowances, • student loans, • grants.
What are the opportunities for continued studies after acquiring secondary education?
What is the structure of Estonian higher education system?
What are the conditions for being admitted into higher education studies?
Doctoral studies 180-240 ECP (3-4 years)
Integrated Bachelor’s and Master’s studies 300-360 ECP (5-6 years)
Master’s studies 60-120 ECP (1-2 years)
180-240 ECP (3-4 years)
Professional higher education studies 180-270 ECP (3-4.5 years)
What are the study opportunities for working people?
Study opportunities for working people Working people:
• can study in formal education: • to complete unfinished basic or
general secondary education in evening or remote studies or as an external student;
• to acquire vocational education in part-time studies;
• to acquire higher education in part-time studies or as an external student.
More information about the Estonian education system is available for example at: www.eesti.ee www.hm.ee
• can attend work related training courses in many private schools, vocational education institutions, professional higher education institutions and universities, professional associations;
• can attend informal training courses in folk universities, informal training centres and cultural centres.
• The acquisition of general secondary education and vocational education in state and municipal educational institutions is free.
• Higher education study placements funded from the state budget are free for the student, if:
• full-time studies are chosen; and • the student has no higher edu-
• Studies can be continued for
free if the mandatory curriculum of past semesters is always fulfilled.
education chargeable if:
• part-time studies are chosen when starting studies,
• the student was expelled from
the same curriculum within the last 2 years, regardless of whether from a free placement or while paying tuition fees,
• the student has studied for free
(in a placement paid for by the state budget) on the same higher education level for more than half the nominal duration of the curriculum or has completed the studies and his or her admission was less than 3 nominal durations (2 in integrated studies) ago.
• Work related training and informal training are normally paid for by the student or his or her employer.
The state supports the participation in training through the taxation system: pursuant to the Income Tax Act, a student is entitled to an income tax exception in the extent of the training costs.
cation studies taken up earlier that hinder the free studies.
2.8. Youth work services In Estonia, young people can also practice working – acquiring the necessary skills and habits while earning spending money. Youth work enables young people to be active outside their families, formal education acquired within the adult education system, and work, on the basis of their free will. The organisation of youth work proceeds from the following principles:
• youth work is performed for the http://malev.ee (in Estonian)
benefit of and together with young people, involving them in the decision making process;
• the conditions for the acquisition of knowledge and skills are guided by the needs and interests of young people;
• youth work is based on the participation and free will of young people;
• youth work supports the initiative of young people;
• youth work proceeds from the principle of equal treatment, tolerance and partnership.
Malev (youth brigades) Õpilasmalev (school youth brigades) is an opportunity for school-age young people of 13-19 years to perform organised age-appropriate work during their summer holidays, communicate with others of their age, and earn moderate remuneration for their work. Malev work takes place in groups, normally formed in May. Registration occurs online, on the website at www.malev.ee (in Estonian). NB! Malev groups fill up very quickly (often within minutes or hours). We recommend you to visit the website well in advance, already in spring, so you know exactly what is offered for that year, on what conditions and when the registration will start.
Examples of Malev groups and works performed by young people in Malev in 2014:
• Tallinn Zoo – reconditioning,
greenery works. Remuneration: 2.34 €/h. Workday: 4h, followed by joint activities in the group
• Tallinn, Statoil – goods dis-
play, cleaning, helper tasks. Remuneration: 2.60 €/h. Workday: 4h/6h, generally followed by joint activities in the group
• Voore – reconditioning
works, picking strawberries. Remuneration: 2.34 €/h.
Information fair Teeviit The youth information fair Teeviit is organised in Tallinn every year. The fair’s main goal is to inform young people about opportunities they have after completing basic or secondary education. Among others, the following opportunities are introduced at the fair: training courses, in-service training and re-training opportunities, career planning, working and studying abroad, and various opportunities for recreation.
Youth centres There are many youth centres in Estonia, where young people can take up hobbies or simply spend their free time. The list of youth centres is here: (in Estonian and Russian).
Youth centres offer hobby clubs and information on topics of interest, as well as contacts, study visits, opportunities to participate in youth exchanges and seminars, and other exciting activities. Examples of youth centres in larger cities: TALLINN
• Tallinn Nõmme Youth Centre: www.nnm.ee (in Estonian)
• Haabersti Free Time Centre:
www.haabersti.ee (in Estonian)
• Lasnamäe Youth Centre:
www.noortekeskus.ee (in Estonian and Russian)
• Mustamäe Open Youth Centre:
www.teeviit.ee (in Estonian)
• All youth centres in Tallinn:
www.tallinn.ee/est/noorteinfo/ Noortekeskused-tln (in Estonian)
• Lille House:
What opportunities are offered by youth centres?
https://www.tartuloodusmaja.ee (in Estonian)
• Anne Youth Centre: https://tntk.
tartu.ee/anne-noortekeskus/ (in Estonian)
• Tähe Youth Club:
www.taheklubi.eu (in Estonian and English)
• Tartu Skatehall:
http://sisekas.rahinge.ee/ (in Estonian and English)
• Narva youth Centre: www.noortek.ee
Children’s activities for the summer Children’s summer camps are often organised in Estonia. In summer camps, children of various ages can spend time outdoors with others of their age, learning new skills and finding new friends. Read more about summer camps here:
• www.lastelaagrid.eu/ (EST) • www.maaturism.ee/index.
• Estonian Scout Association: www.skaut.ee/ (EST)
• Estonian Guides Association: www.gaidid.ee/
As new children’s camps are added every year, start your search already in the spring, using the search word “lastelaager” (children’s camp) in online searches, to find new offers and opportunities.
2.9. Hobby education for children and young people Estonian children often take up various hobbies and attend hobby clubs in their time outside school. There are many different hobby clubs, hopefully offering every child and young person something for his or her interests and capabilities.
Youth hobby education and hobby activities are organised as systematic, guided activities in one’s area of interest, based on free will and occurring outside formal studies and work, to acquire deeper knowledge and skills in a chosen field of interest.
What should a young person pay attention to when looking for and choosing a hobby or activity?
There are active hobby schools in the following areas: sports, technology, nature, general culture, music and arts. In daily life, hobby schools are more commonly known according to their field – sports schools, centres or clubs; technology, nature or creativity clubs or centres, musical or art schools, etc. If you have pursued some interests or hobbies before coming to Estonia, do find some opportunities to continue them here, be it sports or culture (singing, dancing, crafts, etc.). Larger cities have many hobby schools and clubs where you can pursue your favourite hobbies and find friends and think-alike people. TALLINN
•• •• ••
• Your hobby may be related to your future profession or may help you choose one.
• For example, if you studied nature in school and participated in student research, you can later take up biology or forestry studies. A hobby may last a lifetime.
• Hobbies help you rest from school-
work and gain new energy for the coming days.
• As schoolwork can be pretty intense sometimes, doing something else for a change helps restore your energy better. For example, after a school day or on a weekend, go do something sporty instead of mental effort.
• You will meet new people in hobby
clubs, so you can widen your circle of acquaintances.
• People from various schools attend hobby clubs. You can meet them and maybe find new friends.
Guidance for young people when choosing a hobby:
• Pursuing your hobby may help you
• Find out the ways to spend time in
• Knowledge and skills acquired in
your home area.
• Find what you like among them,
and choose a suitable circle or club.
left for other things. If your school weeks are busy, plan your hobbies for weekends.
• You can choose several circles or
clubs in the beginning, so you can decide later what suits you best, after trying them out.
• Make sure your hobbies will not hinder your studies.
• Always do your homework first and only then decide how much time is
find a job.
hobby clubs will be of use when you start looking for work.
Sporting opportunities for children and young people Young people in Estonia are very sporty. A study by Estonian Youth Work Centre showed that 30% of Estonian young people go for sports more than three times a week. First of all, sports-loving young people should turn to their school’s physical education teacher or hobby club leader, to find the best sports opportunities together. You can also use the Estonian Sports Registry to find sporting opportunities. Its website is in Estonian only, but contains the most comprehensive information about all kinds of sports and clubs in Estonia:
• Selection by types of sports
• Sports clubs by counties
Fitness exercises and sports activities in sports clubs are usually chargeable. Also, always make sure you know all possible expenses related to your hobby.
Part III: Free time
You can find more info about the facilities and recreation areas at www.loodusegakoos.ee
Part III discusses opportunities to spend free time in Estonia: domestic tourism, sports opportunities, culture
(music, theatre, movies, museums, libraries).
3.1. Travelling in Estonia Many Estonians like to spend their holidays and weekends travelling around Estonia. There are plenty of picturesque small towns and villages you can visit and many possibilities to enjoy the beautiful nature. It is useful to book accommodation in advance, because otherwise the hotels might be full. The State Forest Management Centre The State Forest Management Centre (RMK) maintains, grows and manages the state forests in Estonia. It also maintains forest roads, builds hiking trails, maintains accommodation facilities, marks scenic recreational areas and prepares camping sites and campfire places. RMK has set up diverse facilities for forest recreation areas that provide fire places, hiking tracks, campsites, cottages and huts. There are official Tourist Information Centres in all bigger cities and county centres. Tourist Information Centres provide information and advice on local points of interests and activities in the area. The State Forest Management Centre has a website, introducing hiking trails in Estonia: www.loodusegakoos.ee
The site has an online tool for selecting activities suitable for you. see screenshot below: Family vacations There is plenty to do in Estonia for the whole family â€“ both at exciting and educational leisure centres as well as in pure nature where you can engage in various activities in the open air throughout the year, and pick berries in the forest in summer. Tallinn Zoo www.tallinnzoo.ee/en/ Lotte Village theme park www.lottemaa.ee/en Ilonâ€™s Wonderland https://www.salm.ee/muuseumid/ iloni-imedemaa/ Other things to see and do for a family vacation in Estonia: More information about travelling around and various destinations in Estonia can be found at www.visitestonia.com and www.puhkaeestis.ee.
3.2. Sporting Activities During winter cross-country skiing is the most popular sports in Estonia. There are many skiing paths in Estonia and some of them are also lit during evenings. From spring to autumn you can use these paths also for cross-country jogging, cycling and walking. There are also many indoor facilities for sports – aerobics, bodybuilding, swimming, volleyball, basketball, badminton, tennis, squash, athletics, bowling etc.
You can get overview of the locations of skiing paths (in Estonian and Russian) at www.terviserajad.ee
In summer you can engage in many outdoor activities like roller-skating, canoeing, tennis, football, golf, beach volleyball, triathlon etc. There are many lit bike trails on the outskirts of towns and even in the countryside.
The easiest way to find info about sporting possibilities that you are in-
terested in is just to use internet search engines for that. Here are some web pages where you can find some info according to your location:
• Tallinn: www.tallinn.ee/sport (EST) • Tartu: • Narva: (in Estonian and
• •• Russian)
Jogging trails are popular in Estonia. These trails are lit as a rule, and you can run or walk on them, ride a bicycle and go skiing in winter. Read more about jogging trails here:
• http://terviserajad.ee/ (EST) Moreover, you can go for many sports in Estonia, like golf, horse riding, wind sailing, etc.
3.3. Music Estonians are not called a singing nation for nothing. There are numerous festivals happening every season of the year. The most remarkable is Estonian Song and Dance Celebration when more than 100 000 people gather in the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds to sing together and celebrate (every fourth year, including a Youth Song and Dance Celebration). This event is designated a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. You can find info about some music events and festivals at:
• Event calendar www.culture.ee • Estonian Song and Dance
• Tallinn Music Week www.tmw.ee • Estonian Concert www.concert.ee • Estonian National Opera www.opera.ee (EST, ENG)
• Jazz festivals www.jazzkaar.ee • Folk festival www.folk.ee • Blues festival www.augustibluus.ee Tickets In Estonia it is possible to buy tickets to most of the events and festivals in advance on-line at www.piletilevi.ee. You can buy tickets in advance also at the salespoints. You can find the locations of the sales outlets at www.piletilevi.ee/eng/salespoints.
Celebration www.laulupidu.ee (in Estonian and English)
3.4. Theatres and Cinemas Theatres and cinemas are also popular in Estonia. The theatre landscape is varied, from professional state, municipal, and private theatres to numerous amateur theatre groups. From autumn to spring the performances are usually held at indoor theatre halls, but during summertime many theatres deliver performances at various
beautiful open-air places. You can find more info about theatres and cinemas in Estonia at:
• Theatres www.teater.ee (EST, ENG) • Cinemas https://kinoaeg.ee/allcinemas/ (EST)
3.5. Museums Estonia has more than 250 museums and collections. These range from fine arts, nature and technology to photography and design. You can 46
find more info about Estonian museums (in Estonian and English) at www.muuseum.ee.
Here´s a list of some the most popular museums:
• Estonian National Museum
www.erm.ee/en (in Estonian and English)
• Art Museum of Estonia
• Seaplane Harbour
• AHHAA Science Center www.ahhaa.ee/en
• Tartu Toy Museum www.mm.ee/ • Rocca Al Mare Open Air Museum
• Estonian History Museum
Once a year various Estonian museums all over the country open their doors for visitors for a night of special events and exhibitions, celebrating the Night of Museums. In previous years the number of participating museums has been more than a hundred. This is a truly popular event as the number of visitors is around 100,000 annually. You can find more info about this event at www.muuseumioo.ee.
• Estonian Road Museum
3.6. Libraries Estonia is covered with a comprehensive network of libraries. The Estonian library system has a long tradition and is used by every second inhabitant of Estonia. The network includes 979 libraries:
• 440 public libraries with 116 branches;
• 50 science and specialised libraries; • 372 school libraries. The task of the state is to guarantee equal free access to information for everyone via the library service. Loaning books and using Internet is free of charge in the libraries. The Estonian library network comprises public, school, science and specialised libraries and the Estonian National Library. Despite their varied tasks and specialisations all libraries work in close cooperation. The main objective of library services is to make books and information accessible to the readers. Estonian National Library The Estonian National Library is a public institution that is tasked with the collection and preservation of books published in Estonia or containing information on Estonia, making these books available to everybody; with research and development in library studies and related disciplines; and with fulfilling the duties of a parliamentary and scientific library. The national library coordinates and advises the other Estonian libraries, and also serves as a culture centre. You can find more info about Estonian National Library (in Estonian
and English) at their web page: www.nlib.ee Estonian Library for the Blind Estonian Library for the Blind services people with vision impairment or other disabilities, disorders or diseases that prevent them from reading normal writing. Those people have a chance to order audio books to their home and to use the Web Library, which holds 2,400 audio books, newspapers and magazines in Estonian and foreign languages. The library and association for the blind also has DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) books. The Estonian Library for the Blind is located in the building of the Estonian Storage Library. You can find more info about the Estonian Library for the Blind (in Estonian and English) at their web page www.epr.ee Estonian Children’s Literature Centre The Estonian Children’s Literature Centre collects children’s books, newspapers, magazines, book illustrations, and other material from Estonia and abroad, and studies children’s literature. You can find more info about the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre (in Estonian and English) at their web page www.elk.ee Public libraries Public libraries are local government institutions the activities of which are coordinated by the Ministry of Culture. Each county has a central library, which serves as a distribution, training and advisory centre for the other local libraries.
You can find more info about the central library of
Science libraries The task of a science library is to collect, preserve, and process scientific information and to make this available to the general public. Science and specialised libraries include the Estonian National Library, libraries of universities and other higher education institutions, as well as specialised libraries of various organisations.
Specialised libraries Specialised libraries are usually internal libraries of various institutions. School libraries A school library supports the learning process and is thus a component of an educational establishment. Pursuant to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act, each school must have a library. In case there is no library in the school, the local public library shall provide library services to students.
Sources used: Official guides and gateways: Destination Estonia – Relocation Guide: Compilation of practical info for new arrivals in Estonia e-Estonia Portal: www.eesti.ee – gateway to all public e-services Study in Estonia: www.studyinestonia.ee - gateway to higher education in Estonia Visit Estonia: www.visitestonia. com - gateway to travel and sights in Estonia Student Web: tudengiveeb.ee – Estonian student and employer information portal Youth Portal: www.noorteportaal. ee – gateway to youth related information
Ministries and other state institutions: Ministry of Culture: www.kul.ee – official site of the Ministry of Culture Ministry of Education and Research: www.hm.ee – official site of the Ministry of Education and Research Ministry of Social Affairs: www. sm.ee – official site of the Ministry of Social Affairs EURES: www.eures.ee – pan-European network for job-seekers Unemployment Fund: www. tootukassa.ee – official website of Eesti Töötukassa, which administers the social insurance provisions related to unemployment, and organises labor market services. Pension Centre: www.pensionikeskus.ee - information about the Estonian pension system Social Insurance Board: www.sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee – official site of the Social Insurance Board Children’s Ombudsman: www.lasteombudsman.ee – official website of the highest institution tasked with protecting children Help for Children: www.lasteabi.ee – guidelines for guaranteeing children’s safety and wellbeing