Your Europe

Your Europe and the Single Digital Gateway of the European Union (SDG)

The purpose of the SDG or Single Digital Gateway is to simplify the operations of international companies and make doing business convenient for citizens. To that end, an internal market network of the European Union is created to enable entrepreneurs and citizens to receive up to date and relevant information and assistance from one place. It also enables consuming the services of the network across borders and on-line on the basis of the once-only principle.

The Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner is an independent and impartial public official. The Commissioner provides advice and assistance for people who feel they have been discriminated against. Everyone who feels, that they have been discriminated against on the basis of their gender, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or other beliefs, age, disability, sexual orientation, domestic responsibilities, family-related duties, belonging to a trade union or duty to serve in defence forces can contact the Commissioner.

Moreover, the Commissioner actively advocates for equal opportunities and possibilities as well as monitors compliance with the Equal Treatment Act and the Gender Equality Act both in public and private sector.

The Commissioner is here to protect your rights and to prevent any kind of discrimination.

Freedom of movement for workers gives nationals of EU Member States the right to freely choose their employment within the EU. They do not require a work permit. In all of the other Member States, they enjoy the same access to employment as that country’s citizens, which means that they and their family members have a right to reside there to engage in employment.

Freedom of movement for workers prohibits discrimination against EU workers on the basis of nationality (Article 45 (2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and Article 7 (2) of EU Regulation 492/2011, the Free Movement of Workers Regulation).

This also applies to the provision of all social and tax advantages. Indirect ("covert") discrimination is also prohibited; in other words, measures which typically afford less favourable treatment to foreign nationals than national workers, without referring directly to nationality, are not permitted either. 

EU citizens are also permitted to enter another Member State and reside there for the purpose of seeking employment. However, this right only exists for a period of up to six months, and beyond that only as long as those concerned can provide evidence that they are continuing to seek employment and that they have a genuine chance of being hired (Section 2 (2) no. 1a of the Freedom of Movement Act/EU).

In certain circumstances, freedom of movement for workers continues to apply for six months or longer after the end of an employment relationship (for example in the case of temporary incapacity for work following an accident, or involuntary unemployment); this entitles the EU citizen and his or her family members to remain in the country during this period.

EU Directive 2014/54/EU, which was adopted in 2014, introduced measures to significantly strengthen in practice the rights conferred in the context of freedom of movement for workers. In particular, the Directive requires the Member States to establish national advisory bodies for migrant workers and their family members. These bodies offer them independent advice about access to employment, employment and working conditions, access to social and tax advantages, and access to vocational training and housing, as well as conducting surveys and independent analysis regarding the application of freedom of movement for workers. It also publishes information in various official EU languages, free of charge, about rights conferred in the context of freedom of movement for workers, although this is still under development at present.

Transitional arrangements relating to freedom of movement for workers (and posting) for new Member States. Since May 2011, unrestricted freedom of movement for workers has applied to the EU Member States of Estonia, which joined the EU in 2004. 

Freedom of movement for workers in Estonia

Principal aspects of entry to and residence in Estonia for the citizens of the European Union and their family members are regulated in the Citizen of the European Union Act. According to the Act’s chapter 5 regardless of citizenship, workers who are citizens of an EU Member State or of the European Economic Area must enjoy equal treatment with the citizens of the Republic of Estonia.

Contact point

According to the Equal Treatment Act , the Commissioner acts as a contact point for cooperation between the Member States of the European Union to support the exercise of the right of free movement of workers of the EU and the Member States of the European Economic Area. This means, that the Commissioner cooperate with third parties to promote gender equality and equal treatment, including acting as a contact point for cooperation between the Member States of the EU to facilitate the exercise of the right of free movement of the workers who are citizens of a Member State of the EU and of the European Economic Area, and of their family members.

More information about working in Estonia can be found: 

the Estonian Police and Border Guard’s webpage webpage

European Union level:

European Labour Authority (ELA)

European Citizen Action Service (ECAS)

EU Rights Clinic