Bank holidays this year are from Tuesday to Thursday, December 24th-26th. Working on a bank holiday is based on an agreement between the parties and for double wages.
Unlike for bank holidays the law does not require additional payment for working on the weekends. Working on days intended for the employees to rest normally creates overtime, which needs to be compensated according to the law.
According to the Estonian Employment Contract Act (ECA) §44 section 1, the employer and the employee may agree that the employee is obligated to work over the agreed working time, that is, do overtime. Section 4 of the same § allows the employer to demand the employee to do overtime due to unforeseen circumstances in relation to the employer’s company or business activity mainly to avoid losses.
According to ECA §44 section 6, the law expects overtime to be compensated mainly through the provision of additional free time equal to the amount of overtime done. Where compensating overtime with free time, the latter shall be given out of working time and therefore remunerated like regular working time.
Where the parties wish to do so, they can agree on monetary compensation of the overtime according to ECA §44 section 7 in the amount of 1.5 times the regular wages of the employee.
The employee has the right to refuse doing overtime where it is not necessary. Where the employee agrees to work during holidays, the monetary compensation of overtime should be agreed on beforehand.
In addition the employer has to compensate working on bank holidays. ECA §45 states that the employer must pay double wages for work done on bank holidays.
Author: Ülle Mustkivi, labour inspector and lawyer of the Labour Inspectorate, West Inspectorate
Source: Labour Inspectorate of Estonia