- What is and how can I be diagnosed with an occupational disease?
- What is an occupational accident?
- How is the fault of a company established and what does ‘wound up without a legal successor’ mean?
- How does the Estonian Social Insurance Board determine the percentage of loss of work ability caused by an occupational disease?
- What happens if an occupational disease has developed while working for multiple employers, some of whom have been wound up?
- If an occupational disease developed or an occupational accident happened while working abroad?
- Is income tax deducted from my compensation?
- Will I continue to be paid compensation if I move abroad?
An occupational disease is a long-term health disorder the main cause of which is a work-related hazard. Such hazards include noise, dust, harmful gases, insufficient lighting, temperature, air movement speed, humidity, high or low atmospheric pressure, bacteria, viruses, fungi, hard physical labour (manual labour), forced positions and movements, routine work, poor organisation of work, etc.
Not all diseases caused by work are occupational diseases. An occupational disease is deemed to be a long-term (chronic) disease. A list of occupational diseases is set out in a regulation issued by the Minister of Social Affairs: https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/897867.
The most common specialities for developing an occupational disease are lumberman, tractor operator, driver, but also warehouse worker, seamstress and salesperson. The most frequent occupational diseases are excessive workload disease and vibration disease.
An occupational disease is diagnosed by an occupational health doctor who works at the Centre of Occupational Diseases and Health of the North Estonia Medical Centre. The Centre is located in Tallinn at the address Hiiu 44. Phone 617 2941, 617 2950.
If you are suspected of suffering from an occupational disease, your family physician or a medical specialist will refer you to an occupational health doctor.
An occupational accident is an accident which results in damage to the health of an employee or their death and which occurs in the performance of a duty assigned by their employer or in other work performed with the employer’s permission, also during a break included in the working time or during other activity in the interests of the employer.
If there has been an occupational accident, the employer is required to carry out an investigation within 10 working days as of the day of the accident and submit a signed report to the Labour Inspectorate.
3.How is the fault of a company established and what does ‘wound up without a legal successor’ mean?
The employer is at fault if, for example, safety requirements were violated, no medical examinations were carried out, no protective equipment was provided, no breaks could be taken and so on.
The fault of an employer is established by the Labour Inspectorate and the Social Insurance Board gets information concerning the establishment of fault on the company’s part directly from the Labour Inspectorate.
An employer has been wound up without a legal successor if they have been deleted from the commercial register.
4. How does the Estonian Social Insurance Board determine the percentage of loss of work ability caused by an occupational disease?
According to section 243 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (hereinafter referred to as OHSA), the Estonian Social involves a person who has completed medical training (medical expert of the Estonian Social Insurance Board) to establish the scope of loss of a person’s work ability. The medical expert of the Estonian Social Insurance Board establishes the loss of a person’s work ability on a scale of 10–100 per cent, and separately, the loss of work ability arising from an occupational accident or occupational disease on a scale of 10–100 per cent. The amount of compensation is calculated considering these two percentages.
1. If the Unemployment Insurance Fund has established that the person has no work ability, the medical expert of the Estonian Social Insurance Board must establish that the percentage of total loss of work ability is 100 per cent according to OHSA.
It is then up to the medical expert of the Estonian Social Insurance Board to establish the percentage of loss of work ability caused by a limitation due to an occupational disease or occupational accident. If the total loss of work ability in the case of no work ability as assessed by the Unemployment Insurance Fund is caused by an occupational disease or occupational accident, the medical expert of the Estonian Social Insurance Board will establish that the loss of work ability caused by an occupational disease is 100 per cent (i.e., the total loss of work ability is due to the impairment of health caused by either an occupational disease or an occupational accident and the resulting restrictions on working under normal conditions.).
If the percentage of loss of work ability is greater than the loss of work ability due to an occupational disease, the medical expert of the Estonian Social Insurance Board will determine that the loss of work ability due to an occupational disease is between 10% and 90 per cent, but not more than the percentage of total loss of work ability.
2. If the Unemployment Insurance Fund has determined that the person has partial work ability, the medical expert of the Estonian Social Insurance Board can determine the percentage of loss of work ability to be between 10-90%
The medical expert of the Estonian Social Insurance Board then determines, in the given range of 10 to 90 per cent, the percentage of loss of work ability caused by the restriction on working by the occupational disease or occupational accident. For example, a restriction on activity in regular conditions may be 80 per cent due to a number of general illnesses, while a restriction due to the occupational disease or occupational accident is assessed as amounting to 50% loss of work ability in the expert opinion, i.e., the restriction on activity is not fully caused by an occupational disease or occupational accident.
5. What happens if an occupational disease has developed while working for multiple employers, some of whom have been wound up?
In that case, the existing employers pay their share of the compensation and we will only compensate for the share of those who have been wound up.
According to a statement from an occupational health doctor, your occupational disease developed during 1979–2016. The occupational health doctor finds that the occupational disease developed while working at Orava state farm, Põlva TREV and the State Forest Management Centre. The period of development of the occupational disease also includes working as a self-employed person.
According to an extract from your employment record book, during that time you worked as follows:
17.08.1979 – 04.02.1988 at Orava state farm (wound up) for 3087 days, which amounts to 23.05% of the entire period of work damaging to your health;
22.02.1988 – 31.10.1990 at Põlva TREV (wound up) for 979 days, which amounts to 7.31% of the entire period of work damaging to your health;
01.11.1990 – 01.01.1998 as a self-employed person (existing) for 2615 days, which amounts to 19.52% of the entire period of work damaging to your health;
02.01.1998 – 24.05.2016 at the State Forest Management Centre (existing) for 6712 days, which amounts to 50.12% of the entire period of work damaging to your health.
So, we will compensate for the share of Orava state farm and Põlva TREV, which have been wound up, to the extent of 30.36%. The State Forest Management Centre is required to compensate for 50.12%. For compensation you must also submit an application for compensation for damage to health arising from an occupational disease to the State Forest Management Centre.
For the period of time you worked as a self-employed person you are liable to the extent of 19.52%.
If you had an occupational accident or you developed an occupational disease while working abroad, you will be granted and paid compensation according to the laws of the state where the damage to health was caused while working.
For compensation please contact the social insurance authority of the state where your health was damaged.
According to applicable law, income tax is deducted from compensation for damage. The income tax exemption can be used to the extent of up to 500 euros of your entire income. You can read more about the calculation of basic exemption here: http://www.sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee/en/pension-benefits/amount-tax-free-income-beginning-1-january-2018
Example: The Social Insurance Board pays you pension of 350 euros and compensation for damage in the amount of 400 euros. You have no other income and so you can use the income tax exemption for all types of compensation paid by the Social Insurance Board to the extent of 500 euros.
If you use the income tax exemption for your pension in full amount which is 350 euros, you can also apply for income tax exemption from compensation for damage to the extent of 150 euros (500 - 350 = 150).
So, income tax is calculated on the part of your compensation for damage that exceeds the income tax exempt part – 400 - 150 = 250 euros.
Income tax of 20% is deducted from that amount. 250 x 20% = 50 euros.
You receive compensation for damage in the amount of 350 euros. (400 - 50 = 350 euros)
If you move abroad we will keep paying compensation if so allowed by agreements between the states and our legislation. You will be entitled to keep receiving compensation for damage if you live in the European Union (including the EEA States and Switzerland), the Russian Federation or Ukraine.
In case of the European Union we will pay the compensation to your bank account each month. In case of Ukraine we will pay the compensation by the 20th day of the second month of each quarter.
With other countries Estonia has no agreements concerning compensation for damage.
If you move to a country that has no agreement with Estonia, we will stop paying compensation for damage.
When transferring the compensation to a foreign bank we will cover the payment order service fee but you will have to cover the currency conversion fee