Estonian government started to reform the system for relieving loss of capacity to work due to loss of health in April 2012. According to the draft bill on capacity for work support adopted in December 2014 the aim is “to offer a person with health damage complex help and support to participate in the labor market and to take into account individual needs and barriers.”

To prevent the loss of capacity to work and to develop policy that enables people with loss of capacity to work to participate in the labor market, the Ministry of Social Affairs has commissioned a study that concerns compensation for the loss of ability to work and support for the people with loss of ability to work to maintain their jobs or get reemployed in Estonia. Also, the study aims to bring out the strengths and weaknesses of the current system and analyze the effect of the system on the society.

The main results of the study are:

  • it is reasonable to continue with the single unified system for compensating occupational accidents and diseases and other cases of accidents, diseases and sickness. The share of occupational health problems is rather small among all cases, so it is not reasonable to create a seprate compensation system for these cases;
  • legal awareness and legal certainity of the system needs to be improved;
  • the system does not implement, but could implement prevention measures, or occupational accidents could also be prevented by making other changes in the occupational safety and health policy;
  • the current system conditions of compensation do not motivate employers to offer suitable and accommodated work nor do they motivate employees to return to work as soon as possible, this is why the system should include a partial work ability allowance for working part-time;
  • the social protection system should not create a situation where occupational disability compensation is more generous than the regular soickness benefit, so changes should be made so that the occupational accidents and occupational disease compensation would be at least as costly to employers as other sickness benefits, then they might also be more motivated to prevent and manage these potential costs;
  • qualification criteria for different discounts and subsidies available to employers and employees in case of offering employment to people with occupational disabilities should be based on unified standards, so that all persons with disability are treated equally.