Estonia does not set out detailed conditions for remote work. It is up to the employer and employee to agree on how the work is arranged. However, the employment agreement needs to indicate the employee will be working remotely. If the parties have agreed on remote work possibility and nothing else is specified, they can work remotely within the agreed workplace (e.g. anywhere in Tallinn).
Neither employer nor employee can unilaterally demand remote work from home; they need to agree to it. It is also impossible to unilaterally change an agreement on working from a home office already entered into. This means that an employer cannot just demand an employee start coming to the office.
Employers and employees should discuss and agree on the following topics:
Employers are advised to add health and safety at home regulations in the company's internal handbook. Under the Employment Contracts Act, the employee cannot be responsible for all the occupational health and safety issues from working remotely. The employer must ensure that the working conditions are safe and appropriate.
The employer can, however, expect co-operation from employees on these matters, as it is challenging for them to control all the nuances of working remotely (e.g. what type of chair is the employee sitting on at the computer, is there enough light in the room, does the employee rest their eyes regularly).
Employers should instruct the employees about health and safety matters related to remote work. Employees working with a display screen should take breaks regularly to rest their eyes.
Employers and employees should discuss any special measures to be taken to protect confidential information for employees working remotely. The Employment Contracts Act lists the employee's confidentiality obligation. However, company handbooks should address security policies in more detail.
Employers must take all reasonable steps to ensure the employee's workstation is correctly set up, safe, comfortable and easy to use to reduce potential injuries. Employees must care for their health and safety and follow any reasonable policies or directions their employer gives them.
To ensure the employee's workstation set up is safe, employers should:
Workers must inform employers of any work-related incidents or injuries that occur while working remotely.
An appropriate workstation will include the following:
Employers must ensure employees access their workplace entitlements, including breaks, standard hours and any agreed flexible work arrangements.
Recommendations for employees working remotely: