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Incapacity for Work

Viimati uuendatud: 25.02.2017


In the case of a temporary incapacity for work (illness, injury, etc.), the physician (general practitioner or specialist) issues the certificate of temporary incapacity for work. The certificate of incapacity for work exempts the employee temporarily from the fulfilment of their work and service duty.  

Types of temporary incapacity for work certificates:

  • sick leave certificate, 
  • certificate for maternity leave,
  • certificate for adoption leave,
  • certificate for care leave. 

The certificate of temporary incapacity for work must be presented to the employer who forwards it with necessary appendixes to the Estonian Health Insurance Fund.

Permanent incapacity for work is an injury or illness related to or caused by work, profession, service, nuclear accident, traffic accident or act of violence.

Permanent incapacity for work can be divided into:

  • complete incapacity for work – due to an illness or injury, the      person is not capable to earn a living (percentage of loss of capacity for      work: 100%);
  • partial incapacity for work – due to an illness or injury, the      person is not capable to do suitable work in the extent required by      nationally norms (percentage of loss of capacity for work: 10-90%).

Percentage of loss of incapacity to work can be assigned with a duration of 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 5 years, or until reaching the retirement age (but not longer than 5 years). The start date of the period (the date when the permanent incapacity for work was determined) is, at the time of the first application, the date when the application was submitted and, in the case of reapplication, the last date of the permanent incapacity for work as specified by the previous work incapacity expert examination. The permanent incapacity to work expert examination shall be carried out by the Estonian National Social Insurance Board, involving specialist doctors.

To ascertain the permanent incapacity for work, the person must fill in the expert examination application form. The blank form is available online, at the website of the Estonian National Social Insurance Board, or physically at the Pension Board where the customer service representative can also help to fill in the application. If the person is unable to fill in the application and does not have the possibility to visit the Pension Board branch, the application can be filled in by the family member, caregiver, social worker or other helper of the person applying for a degree of severity of a disability. In addition to the signature of the person who filled in the application, the application must also have the signature of the applicant or their legal representative.

The filled application can be brought to the Pension Board, mailed or emailed. In the application, the person must include data of their general practitioner or specialist who has health data necessary to detect permanent incapacity for work. The person must have visited the mentioned doctor in 3 months prior to filing the application. The Estonian National Social Insurance Board receives the description of the person’s health from the doctor mentioned in the expert examination application. The permanent incapacity for work expert examination usually lasts until one and a half months.

If a person disagrees with the expert decision, they can demur to the dispute committee at the Estonian National Social Insurance Board (Lembitu 12, 15092 Tallinn) within 3 months as at the reception of the decision. The person must explain why they do not consent. Permanent incapacity for work in the extent 40-100% gives a right to apply for the work incapacity pension.

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