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Sheltered employment


Long-term sheltered employment 

The long-term sheltered employment service (hereinafter LTSE service) has been established for people who due to special needs arising from their state of health are not capable of working in normal working conditions on the open labour market. Sheltered employment allows a person to perform duties according to their abilities in a suitable working environment and at an appropriate pace while being provided with necessary supervision and assistance.

The sheltered employment service is funded by the ESF: Conditions for provision of support: “Increasing the work ability of the target group of the work ability reform and enhancement of their employment”, sub-activity “Development and provision of sheltered employment service”, project period: 01.01.2015–31.12.2020


Organisation of the service


The sheltered employment service is offered by way of jobs specially created by a service provider or working in an adapted working environment for an employer on the open labour market.

The LTSE service is organised by the Social Insurance Board. Public procurements are used to find service providers whose duty is to offer customers a possibility to perform work by creating appropriate conditions.

Who are entitled to the long-term sheltered employment service?

The long-term sheltered employment service is provided to persons of working age with decreased work ability who meet all of the following conditions:

  • The person is of working age (aged between 16 years and retirement age);
  • The person suffers from at least one of the following health issues:
    •   The person has been diagnosed with a severe, profound or permanent mental disorder;
    •   The person has a multiple disability;
    •   The person has a visual disability;
    •   The person has suffered a brain trauma or an illness which caused brain damage;
  • The person has been established to have no work ability or to be incapacitated for work to the extent of 80–100% under the State Pension Insurance Act;
  • The person is capable of performing purposeful work on average 10 hours a week by the end of Stage I.

The recipients of the long-term sheltered employment service may not receive the following services at the same time:

  • Employment support service (from the Social Insurance Board);
  • Short-term sheltered employment service (from the Unemployment Insurance Fund).


Short description of the service


During 2021 the long-term sheltered employment service is provided by 21 institutions in all counties throughout Estonia, except for Hiiu County. The LTSE service offers customers 29 different locations where to work.  The locations and contacts of the service providers, the jobs offered and cooperation partners are available here:  LTSE service providers 2021 and their cooperation partners (XLSX).

The long-term sheltered employment service is divided into three stages.

  • Stage I (preparatory stage) – a person tries out and practices different jobs in the course of which professional skills are formed and the person’s capability to work is assessed.  Stage I lasts from 4 to 6 months and during this period it will become clear whether the person can continue with Stage II. During Stage I the recipient of the service is paid a grant (3.84 EUR/day) and a transport benefit (0.1 EUR/km).
  • Stage II – this stage is divided into the main period and follow-up period in the course of which the customer is provided with sheltered work for a service provider under supervision for at least 40 hours a month and is paid wage on the basis of at least the minimum hourly rate. 

The objective of the main period of Stage II is to develop, over the course of 3 years, the habit of work by way of performance of work, develop professional skills and find a suitable job on the open labour market. It includes intense development of professional skills and finding an output for the open labour market.

If within 3 years a suitable output for the open labour market is not found, the person may continue working for the service provider during the follow-up period if they so wish and if it is suitable.

The objective of the follow-up period of Stage II is to maintain professional skills and ensure sheltered work appropriate for one’s capabilities. 

  • Stage III – the person takes up work on the open labour market. Upon the transition from sheltered to open employment, the service provider guides and supports the customer as well as their employer and colleagues as necessary during the period of up to 12 months.


Applying for the service

To receive the LTSE service a person or their legal representative must submit an application form (50.05 KB, DOCX) to the Social Insurance Board.  

An application can be submitted:


The long-term sheltered employment service is project-based. Additional information is available from the Social Insurance Board:

Helle Villem, sotsiaalkindlustusamet projektijuht
[email protected], 5300 1509

Kerli Kaljur, coordinator
[email protected], 5356 8170
Katrin Tiideberg, coordinator
[email protected], 5382 8841

Additional information