88 JURIDICA INTERNATIONAL XIX/2012
Estonian Entrepreneurial University of Applied Sciences
The Role of Collective
Agreements in Regulation
of Work Conditions in View
of the Effects of Estonian
The new Employment Contracts Act*1 (ECA) has been in force in Estonia for two and a half years. One of the
key motivations for its adoption was to increase labour-market ﬂ exicurity. As outlined in the Explanatory
Statement of the Draft of the Employment Contracts Act*2, modernisation of labour laws was considered
a key element for bringing greater ﬂ exibility to the labour market. From the standpoint of employee secu-
rity, it was concluded that, in addition to the new aspects of regulation under the new ECA (e.g., amended
regulation of proprietary liability)*3, there was also a need for addressing security elements that lie outside
the regulation of employment contracts, such as unemployment beneﬁ ts, increases in unemployment insur-
ance compensation, expansion of the range of people eligible for beneﬁ ts, and establishment of schemes
facilitating access to lifelong learning.*4
Although one component of the European Commission policy on the common principles of ﬂ exicu-
rity*5 is to provide for ﬂ exible and reliable contract terms through labour laws, collective agreements, and
the work organisation, the role of collective agreements was not prominent in the drafting of the ECA. At
the same time, in the implementation of all elements of ﬂ exibility (institutional, working time, wage, and
1 Töölepingu seadus. – RT I 2009, 5, 35; RT I, 25.5.2012, 26 (in Estonian). English text available via http://www.legaltext.
ee/ (most recently accessed on 10.4.2012).
2 Seletuskiri töölepingu seaduse juurde. Available via http://www.riigikogu.ee/ (most recently accessed on 10.4.2012) (in
3 Eesti Vabariigi töölepingu seadus (Republic of Estonia Employment Contracts Act). – RT 1992, 15/16, 241; 2007, 44, 316 (in
Estonian). English text available via http://www.legaltext.ee/ (most recently accessed on 10.4.2012).
4 Seletuskiri töölepingu seaduse juurde (see Note 2).
5 Communication of the Commission on the common principles of ﬂ exicurity. Brussels: European Commission 2007. Avail-
able at http://eur-lex.europa.eulexUriServ/LexuriServ.do?uri=CELEX:52007DCO359:EN:NOT (most recently accessed on