The labour legislation in Estonia is quite liberal and offers a lot of flexibility in agreeing on terms and conditions of employment. Regulations regarding employment and labour contracts are regulated by the Employment Contracts Act. An employment contract is concluded usually for an unspecified period, but an exception is stated in the Performing Art Institutions Act. A fixed-term employment contract may be entered into with artists for up to five years, if it is justified by the specific nature of their creative work. If more than two consecutive fixed-term employment contracts have been concluded with an artist for the performance of similar work in the same position or if the fixed-term contract has been renewed more than once in five years, his or her employment relationship shall be deemed to be for an unspecified term from the beginning. More than two consecutive fixed-term employment contracts may be entered into with an artist or the fixed-term contracts may be renewed more than once in five years, if such an opportunity has been agreed in the collective agreement and on the condition that it is necessary due to the specific nature of creative work and the total duration is not more than ten years. Upon consecutive entry into or renewal of fixed-term employment contracts with an artistic director or a general manager of a performing arts institution, the employment relationship shall not turn into an employment relationship established for an unspecified term.
A collective agreement is a voluntary agreement between employees and their employer which can establish the terms and conditions for work, and is regulated by the Collective Agreements Act (1993). Such contracts are common in orchestras and other bigger cultural organisations.
According the Trade Unions Act, a trade union or an authorised representative of employees (e.g. a trustee of employees) has the right to collective bargaining in the company. The trustee of employees has the right to collective bargaining if no trade union is formed at the company or no employees belonging to a union work at the company.
The Collective Labour Dispute Resolution Act regulates the procedure for the resolution of collective labour disputes and the organisation of strikes and lock-outs.