Policy Document

Employment Contracts Act






Family & Children


Maternity Protection

Main implications

The aim of the new Employment Contract Act, implemented from 1 July 2009, was to make the labour market more flexible. As new act took effect, the old Salary Act, Holiday Act, and the final parts of the Labour Code from Soviet times ceased to exist. In 2009, the special provision for multiple births (14 additional calendar days) was cancelled. The child's age, giving the right to the adoption benefit, was extended from four to ten years. The father’s leave was defined as paternity leave. The duration of leave was shortened from 14 to ten working days (during the two months before or after the childbirth) and the level of compensation was increased to 100 % of reference earnings (from 2009-12, the fathers were temporarily entitled to unpaid paternity leave).

Benefits & Requirements

Coverage: Eligible groups or beneficiaries

All employed mothers are eligible for maternity leave, including workers with temporary contracts, if the contract lasts at least three months. Self-employed people qualify for maternity benefit on the same conditions as employees

Does this law guarantee job security throughout pregnancy for women holding all types of working contracts?


Weeks of maternity leave prior to childbirth guaranteed by the State stated in this document

In total 140 calendar days: 30-70 days can be taken before the date of birth. If less than 30 days leave is taken before the expected birth, leave is shortened accordingly.

Weeks of maternity leave after childbirth guaranteed by the State stated in this document

70 calendar days after the childbirth

Amount of the contribution granted

The amount of maternity leave benefit is 100% of average earnings (calculated on employment in the previous calendar year). There is no ceiling to the benefit.

Read the Law

Original full text source in native language

Riigi Teataja (State Gazette) RT I 2009, 5, 35

Original full text web source in native language


Comments & Clarifications

Until 2009, pregnancy and maternity leave was regulated by the Holidays Act, and from 1 July 2009 by the Employment Contracts Act. The right to obtain maternity leave is determined by the Employment Contracts Act; the right to obtain compensation for pregnancy and maternity leave is determined by the Health Insurance Act.

Secondary Literature & Sources

Secondary literature

Nagy Andrea: A házassági perek szabályozása az 1894. évi XXXI. Tc. hatályba lépését követően. (The regulation of matrimonial litigation after the entering into force of the Act 31 of 1894) in.: Sectio Juridica et Politica Miskolc; 2007. Tomus XXV/2. 635-654. http://www.matarka.hu/koz/ISSN_0866-6032/tomus_25_2_2007/ISSN_0866-6032_tomus_25_2_2007_635-654.pdf
Heinz Ervin: Népesedéspolitikai intézkedések 1945 előtt. (Population policy measures before 1945) in: Demográfia 2000/4. 477-498. http://www.demografia.hu/letoltes/kiadvanyok/Demografia/2000_4/Heinz.pdf; Herger, Eszter Cs.
The Introduction of Secular Divorce Law in Hungary, 1895-1918: Social and Legal Consequences for Women Journal on European History of Law 2/2012 138-148 p.

Links to databases and sources for the analysis or evaluation of this policy field

Estonian National Social Insurance Board (Sotsiaalkindlustusamet): http://www.sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee
Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs (Sotsiaalministeerium) http://www.sm.ee


Asta Põldma
Estonian Institute for Population Studies, Tallinn University

Data collected in the framework of the Population Europe Research Finder and Archive (PERFAR)

Cite as

SPLASH-db.eu (2014): Policy: "Employment Contracts Act" (Information provided by Asta Põldma). Available at: https://splash-db.eu [Date of access].