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Labour Dispute Resolution Act

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Labour Dispute Resolution Act - content
Issuer:Riigikogu
Type:act
In force from:01.01.2018
In force until:
Translation published:05.12.2017

Labour Dispute Resolution Act

Passed 14.06.2017

Chapter 1 General Provisions  

§ 1.  Scope of regulation of Act

  This Act governs the establishment and the rules of procedure of labour dispute committees and the procedure for the resolution of a labour dispute.

§ 2.  Scope of application of Act

 (1) This Act shall be applied to the resolution of the following labour disputes by a labour dispute committee:
 1) a labour dispute arising from the employment relationship between an employee and an employer registered in Estonia or a foreign employer operating in Estonia through a branch and from the preparation for such an employment relationship (individual labour dispute);
 2) a labour dispute arising from § 7 of the Working Conditions of Employees Posted to Estonia Act between an employee posted to Estonia and their employer (individual labour dispute);
 3) a collective labour dispute arising from the performance of a collective agreement (collective labour dispute).

 (2) This Act shall not be applied to the resolution of a dispute over compensation for damage caused by damage to health, a bodily injury or death due to an occupational accident or occupational disease.

 (3) The resolution of labour disputes in court is governed by the Code of Civil Procedure with the specifications provided by this Act.

 (4) A labour dispute matter is a dispute referred to in subsection (1) of this section which is resolved by a labour dispute committee.

§ 3.  Resolution of labour dispute by agreement

  If possible, a labour dispute matter shall be resolved by agreement of the parties to the dispute (hereinafter party or parties):
 1) before referring the matter to a labour dispute committee on the basis of the principle of good faith and reasonableness and, if necessary, through the representative of employees;
 2) by way of conciliation or compromise in a labour dispute committee on the basis of the provisions of this Act.

Chapter 2 Labour Dispute Committee  

§ 4.  Labour dispute committee

 (1) A labour dispute committee (hereinafter also committee) is an extrajudicial authority within the Labour Inspectorate that adjudicates labour disputes for the purposes of § 15 (2) 1) of the State Liability Act.

 (2) A labour dispute committee shall be independent and base its decisions on laws and other legislation, international agreements binding on Estonia and other regulations that govern employment relationships, including collective agreements and employment contracts.

§ 5.  Location of resolution of labour dispute

  The locations of resolution of a labour dispute are provided for in the statutes of the Labour Inspectorate.

§ 6.  Members of labour dispute committee

  The members of a labour dispute committee are the chairman of the labour dispute committee and a representative of employees presented by federations of occupational and professional associations of employees and a representative of employers presented by central federations of employers, appointed as staff member of the labour dispute committee (hereinafter lay assessor).

§ 7.  Chairman of labour dispute committee

 (1) The chairman of a labour dispute committee shall be appointed to and released from office by the minister responsible for the field.

 (2) The following person may be appointed as the chairman of a labour dispute committee:
 1) a person who has acquired at least a nationally recognised Master’s level degree in law, a corresponding qualification for the purposes of § 28 (22) of the Republic of Estonia Education Act or a corresponding foreign qualification;
 2) a person who is familiar with labour law and the conduct of proceedings in labour disputes;
 3) a person who has the abilities and personal characteristics required for the position;
 4) a person who is of high moral character;
 5) a person who has not been convicted of a criminal offence;
 6) a person who has not been removed from the position of a judge, notary or bailiff;
 7) a person who has not been disbarred.

 (3) The basic wage of the chairman of a labour dispute committee shall amount to 80–100 per cent of the basic wage of the Public Conciliator. The basic wage shall be approved by the minister responsible for the field on the proposal of the Director General of the Labour Inspectorate.

 (4) For the purpose of assessing the suitability for office of the chairman of a labour dispute committee who has been appointed to office, including their knowledge of labour law and the conduct of labour dispute proceedings, an assessment shall be arranged once every three years.

 (5) The procedure for the assessment of the compliance of the chairman of a labour dispute committee with the requirements shall be established by a regulation of the minister responsible for the field.

 (6) If the chairman of a labour dispute committee is declared not to comply with the requirements set for the position upon assessment, they shall be released from office under § 95 of the Civil Service Act.

 (7) § 16 (2) through (5), §§ 21–24, 30, 33, 45, 46, 52–54, 57, 61, 63, 67, 91 and 98 of the Civil Service Act shall not be applied to the chairman of a labour dispute committee.

§ 8.  Requirements set for lay assessor

  A lay assessor shall be a person:
 1) who is a citizen of the Republic of Estonia with active legal capacity;
 2) whose residence is in Estonia;
 3) who is proficient in Estonian at the level of B2;
 4) who is of moral character suitable for the activities of a lay assessor;
 5) who has not been convicted of a criminal offence;
 6) who is not a bankrupt;
 7) whose state of health is suitable for the activities of a lay assessor.

§ 9.  Presentation and selection of representative of employees and representative of employers for lay assessor

 (1) Federations of occupational and professional associations of employees and central federations of employers shall present a list, corresponding to the number specified by the Labour Inspectorate, of possible persons to be appointed as lay assessors, who have confirmed in writing their compliance with the requirements provided for in § 8 of this Act. At any given time the Labour Inspectorate may demand that the list be supplemented or altered.

 (2) The chairman of a labour dispute committee shall select as lay assessors persons from the list referred to in subsection (1) of this section who comply with the requirements provided for in § 8 of this Act.

§ 10.  Participation of lay assessors in work of labour dispute committee

 (1) A member of a labour dispute committee who has been appointed as lay assessor shall be informed of a session a reasonable period of time before the session and they shall be given access to the procedural documents to familiarise themselves with the labour dispute matter.

 (2) If a member of a labour dispute committee who has been appointed as lay assessor is unable to attend a session for a good reason, they shall promptly inform the chairman of the labour dispute committee thereof. In that case, the chairman of the labour dispute committee shall select a new lay assessor from the list presented.

 (3) An employer shall release a person who has been appointed as lay assessor from the performance of their duties for the duration of their attendance at a session. At the request of the person appointed as lay assessor, the chairman of the labour dispute committee shall issue a confirmation of the lay assessor’s attendance at the session.

 (4) A lay assessor shall be paid remuneration for the time spent on attending a session of a labour dispute committee from the budget of the Labour Inspectorate. The remuneration for the time spent on attending a session shall be the product of the highest salary rate specified in § 2 (1) of the Salaries of Higher State Servants Act, the highest salary rate index specified in subsection (2) thereof and 0.078. The remuneration shall be paid according to the duration of the session, considering that one hour corresponds to 1/8 of the daily remuneration calculated on the basis of the remuneration provided for in this subsection.

 (5) A lay assessor shall be compensated for expenses related to attending a session of a labour dispute committee from the budget of the Labour Inspectorate to the extent and pursuant to the procedure provided for an employee under § 13 (3) 1) and 2) of the Income Tax Act.

§ 11.  Processing of labour dispute data

 (1) Labour dispute data shall be processed in the working environment database provided for in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

 (2) Paper documents shall be scanned and saved in the database referred to in subsection (1) of this section with the relevant proceedings. Documents saved in the database substitute for paper documents.

 (3) Labour dispute data and documents shall be preserved after the end of proceedings only for as long as necessary in the interests of the parties or other persons or in public interests.

§ 12.  Working conditions and expenses of labour dispute committee

 (1) The working conditions and administration of a labour dispute committee shall be ensured by the Labour Inspectorate.

 (2) Expenses related to the activities of a labour dispute committee shall be covered from the budget of the Labour Inspectorate.

Chapter 3 Proceedings in Labour Dispute Committee  

Division 1 General Provisions  

§ 13.  General principle of proceedings

 (1) The duty of a labour dispute committee is to conduct proceedings purposefully and efficiently and to resolve a labour dispute properly, as easily and quickly as possible and with the lowest expenses possible.

 (2) During the entire proceedings the labour dispute committee shall do everything in its power for the labour dispute or part thereof to be resolved by way of a compromise or other agreement of the parties. To this end, the chairman of the labour dispute committee may, among other things, present to the parties a draft compromise agreement, propose to resolve the dispute in conciliation proceedings or outside the labour dispute committee.

§ 14.  Ruling of chairman of labour dispute committee

 (1) In cases provided for in this Act, procedural acts shall be performed by a ruling. The right to issue a ruling lies with the chairman of a labour dispute committee.

 (2) A ruling shall indicate concerning whom the ruling was made and what is the content of the ruling.

§ 15.  State fee for recourse to labour dispute committee

  Recourse to a labour dispute committee is exempt from state fees.

§ 16.  Covering procedural expenses

 (1) When resolving a labour dispute matter in a labour dispute committee each party shall cover their own procedural expenses.

 (2) Expenses arising in a labour dispute committee are extrajudicial costs for the purposes of § 144 (4) of the Code of Civil Procedure.

§ 17.  Representation

 (1) One can have recourse to a labour dispute committee personally or through a representative.

 (2) The provisions of the General Part of the Civil Code Act concerning representation shall be applied to representation.

 (3) The chairman of a labour dispute committee shall verify the representative’s right of representation and shall not allow a person to participate in the proceedings as a representative if they lack that right. A party may request the verification of the right of representation of the other party’s representative at any stage of the proceedings. The right of representation is presumed for an advocate.

§ 18.  Public procedural act

 (1) The hearing of a labour dispute matter in a labour dispute committee is public unless otherwise prescribed by this Act.

 (2) § 42 (1) and (2) of the Code of Civil Procedure shall be applied to the transmission and recording of a session of a labour dispute committee.

§ 19.  Declaration of proceedings closed

 (1) A labour dispute committee shall declare proceedings or a part thereof closed at its own initiative or based on a petition of a party if this is clearly necessary on the bases provided for in the Code of Civil Procedure.

 (2) The provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure concerning declaration of proceedings closed shall be applied to the declaration of proceedings of a labour dispute committee closed and admitting a person to a closed session.

§ 20.  Suspension of proceedings in labour dispute matter

  § 356 (1) and (2) of the Code of Civil Procedure shall be applied to the suspension of proceedings in a labour dispute matter.

§ 21.  Obligation to remove oneself

 (1) A member of a labour dispute committee shall promptly remove themselves from the proceedings in a labour dispute matter if they have been the conciliator in the same matter or if they cannot reasonably remain impartial in resolving the labour dispute matter or in cases referred to in § 23 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

 (2) In the case prescribed in subsection (1) of this section a party may file a petition for the removal of a member of the labour dispute committee.

§ 22.  Filing and hearing of petition of challenge

 (1) A petition for the removal of a member of a labour dispute committee shall be filed with the labour dispute committee which is adjudicating a labour dispute matter and to the panel of which the member whose removal is being requested belongs no later than at a session before the start of the hearing of the labour dispute matter on the merits. A petition of challenge may be filed later only if the party became aware of the basis for removal after the start of the hearing of the labour dispute matter on the merits.

 (2) In written proceedings, a petition of challenge shall be filed within the time-limit for the filing of additional petitions and documents set under § 40 (2) of this Act.

 (3) The satisfaction or denial of a petition of challenge shall be decided within three working days as of the filing of the petition.

 (4) A petition for the removal of a lay assessor shall be heard by the chairman of the labour dispute committee. If the petition of challenge is satisfied, the removed lay assessor shall be substituted according to the procedure for the establishment of a labour dispute committee.

 (5) A petition for the removal of the chairman of a labour dispute committee shall be heard by the members of the labour dispute committee who have been appointed as lay assessors. The petition of challenge shall be satisfied if at least one lay assessor is in favour of it. If the lay assessors deny the petition of challenge filed against the chairman of the labour dispute committee, the petitioner may, for removing the chairman of the labour dispute committee, have recourse in writing to the Director General of the Labour Inspectorate through the labour dispute committee which is adjudicating the labour dispute matter within three working days as of learning of the decision on denial of the petition of challenge.

 (6) The removal of a chairman of a labour dispute committee sitting alone or a three member panel of a labour dispute committee shall be decided and the chairman of a new labour dispute committee to hear the labour dispute shall be appointed by the Director General of the Labour Inspectorate.

 (7) If lay assessors decide to remove the chairman of the labour dispute committee or the Director General of the Labour Inspectorate decides to remove the chairman of a labour dispute committee or a three member panel of a committee, the labour dispute matter shall be referred for adjudication to another chairman of a labour dispute committee.

§ 23.  Taking minutes

 (1) Minutes shall be taken of a session of a labour dispute committee and other procedural acts. The minutes shall set out:
 1) the time and location of the performance of the procedural act, a brief description of the claims and the number of the labour dispute matter;
 2) the panel of the labour dispute committee hearing the labour dispute matter and the name of the recording secretary;
 3) the attendance and non-attendance of the parties, their representatives and witnesses;
 4) the rights and obligations explained to the parties to the labour dispute matter;
 5) information concerning whether or not the procedural act is public;
 6) information concerning the withdrawal of the petition, joinder of petitions, severance of claims, amendment of the petition and filing of a counterclaim;
 7) other petitions and requests of the parties;
 8) the admission of a claim, waiver of a claim and compromise;
 9) the essential content of the parties’ explanations, claims and objections and of witness testimonies;
 10) directions given in the session;
 11) information concerning introduction of documentary evidence;
 12) information concerning physical evidence and inspection;
 13) information concerning removal of members of the labour dispute committee;
 14) the time of announcement of the decision and information concerning explanations given about contesting the decision;
 15) the date the minutes are signed.

 (2) The minutes shall be signed by the chairman of the labour dispute committee and the recording secretary within three working days as of the session.

 (3) The minutes shall be sent to a party at their request at the first opportunity but no later than within three working days as of the receipt of the request. The party has the right to file objections to the minutes within two working days as of the service of the minutes. The objections shall be added to the minutes.

 (4) Information concerning the introduction of the minutes or the recording or waiver of the introduction shall be noted in the minutes.

§ 24.  Service of procedural document

  The provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure concerning the service of procedural documents shall be applied to the service of a procedural document.

Division 2 Recourse to Labour Dispute Committee  

§ 25.  Jurisdiction of labour dispute matter

 (1) An employee may file a petition with the labour dispute committee of their residence or place of employment or of the registered office or residence of their employer. An employer may file a petition with the labour dispute committee of the employee’s residence or place of employment.

 (2) A petition for adjudication of a collective labour dispute shall be filed with the labour dispute committee of the registered office or residence of the employer or with the labour dispute committee of the registered office of the federation of employers or the central federation of employers.

 (2) By agreement of the parties reached beforehand in a format which can be reproduced in writing, a labour dispute matter may be adjudicated by agreed labour dispute committee.

 (4) The labour dispute committee shall verify the jurisdiction of the labour dispute matter and, if necessary, refer the petition to the labour dispute committee who has jurisdiction over the dispute.

§ 26.  Filing of petition

 (1) A labour dispute committee shall accept a labour dispute for adjudication on the basis of a written petition.

 (2) The petition shall set out:
 1) the jurisdiction of the labour dispute matter chosen from amongst those referred to in § 25 of this Act;
 2) the petitioner’s name, personal identification code or registry code, residence or registered office and means of communication;
 3) the name of the person against whom a claim is filed, their personal identification code or registry code, residence or registered office and means of communication;
 4) the petitioner’s clearly expressed claim, the amount of claim if the claim is monetary;
 5) the factual circumstances which are the basis for the claim and which are used to substantiate the claim;
 6) evidence in proof of the factual circumstances which are the basis for the claim, and a specific reference to the facts which the petitioner wants to prove with each piece of evidence;
 7) whether the party agrees to the conduct of written proceedings or wishes the matter to be heard in a session;
 8) a confirmation on the agreement of the parties if § 25 (3) of this Act is applied to the jurisdiction of the labour dispute matter.

 (3) Documentary evidence shall be annexed to the petition, the list of which shall be indicated in the petition.

 (4) If the petition is filed by a representative, an authorisation document shall be annexed to the petition.

§ 27.  Deciding on acceptance of petition for adjudication

 (1) The chairman of a labour dispute committee shall decide by a ruling the acceptance of a petition for adjudication within three working days as of the receipt of the petition.

 (2) The chairman of a labour dispute committee shall refuse to accept a petition for adjudication by a ruling if:
 1) the adjudication of the claim does not fall within the scope of application of this Act;
 2) the claim has already been adjudicated by a labour dispute committee or court;
 3) the claim has already been filed with a labour dispute committee or court;
 4) the parties to the dispute have entered into an agreement for the resolution of the same matter, approved by an arbitral tribunal or the Chancellor of Justice;
 5) the parties to the dispute have entered into a conciliation agreement in a labour dispute committee for the resolution of the same matter;
 6) the petitioner has filed the same claim with a labour dispute committee but later withdrawn it;
 7) the petitioner has filed the same claim with a labour dispute committee or court but later waived it pursuant to the procedure provided by law.

 (3) If a petition does not meet the requirements provided for in § 26 of this Act and the omissions in the petition prevent the hearing of the petition, the chairman of the labour dispute committee shall grant by a ruling a time-limit of up to 15 calendar days for the elimination of the omissions. If the petitioner fails to eliminate the omissions within the set time-limit, the chairman of the labour dispute committee shall refuse to accept the petition for adjudication by a ruling.

 (4) The petitioner shall be promptly informed in writing of a refusal to accept their petition for adjudication or the setting of a time-limit for the elimination of omissions.

§ 28.  Withdrawal of petition

 (1) A petitioner may withdraw their petition without the opposing party’s consent until the acceptance of the petition for adjudication.

 (2) A petition may be withdrawn with the opposing party’s consent until the entry into force of the decision of the labour dispute committee.

 (3) The labour dispute committee shall be informed of a withdrawal of a petition in writing or in a session orally, which is recorded in the minutes. If a petition for withdrawal filed under subsection (2) of this section is filed in writing or if the opposing party is not present at the session, the petition for withdrawal shall be served on the opposing party in writing.

 (4) If a petition is withdrawn until the acceptance thereof for adjudication, the chairman of the labour dispute committee shall refuse to accept the petition for adjudication by a ruling.

 (5) If a petition is withdrawn after the acceptance thereof for adjudication, the chairman of the labour dispute committee shall dismiss the petition by a ruling.

 (6) If a petition is withdrawn, the petitioner cannot have recourse to the labour dispute committee again with the same claim, but it does not exclude recourse to court.

§ 29.  Specification of petition

  After the acceptance of a petition for adjudication, the petitioner may request the supplementation or correction of the factual or legal allegation presented in the petition without changing the essential circumstances underlying the petition.

§ 30.  Joinder of petitions

 (1) The chairman of a labour dispute committee may join petitions in one proceeding by a ruling if the claims are legally related or the claims could have been filed in a single proceeding and this allows for a more expeditious or facilitated hearing of the matter.

 (2) The joinder of petitions is justified, above all, where the labour dispute committee is concurrently hearing several petitions of the same type:
 1) which involve the same parties;
 2) which have been filed by one petitioner against different opposing parties;
 3) which have been filed by several petitioners against the same opposing party.

 (3) Upon the joinder of petitions, the petition filed later shall be joined with the petition filed first for the joint hearing thereof.

§ 31.  Severance of claims

 (1) If the chairman of a labour dispute committee finds that the separate hearing of claims filed in one petition, or of a petition and a counterclaim would ensure a more expeditious or facilitated hearing of the labour dispute matter, or if petitions have been joined unreasonably, they may sever the claims by a ruling and conduct independent proceedings.

 (2) The chairman of a labour dispute committee may withdraw the severance of claims by a ruling if it becomes clear that severance was not reasoned.

§ 32.  Filing of counterclaim

 (1) Within the time-limit set by the chairman or secretary of a labour dispute committee or in written proceedings until the expiry of the time-limit for filing requests, the opposing party has the right to file against the petitioner a claim to be heard jointly with the principal claim (hereinafter counterclaim) if:
 1) the counterclaim is aimed at setting off against the principal claim;
 2) satisfaction of the counterclaim wholly or partially precludes satisfaction of the principal claim;
 3) the counterclaim and the principal claim are otherwise mutually connected and a joint hearing thereof would allow for a just and more expeditious hearing of the labour dispute matter.

 (2) If a counterclaim is filed later than within the period indicated in subsection (1) of this section, the chairman of the labour dispute committee shall hear the counterclaim together with the principal claim only if there was good reason for the failure to file the counterclaim on time and if, in the labour dispute committee’s opinion, acceptance of the counterclaim for joint hearing is in the interests of the adjudication of the labour dispute matter and reasonable.

 (3) The provisions concerning a petition shall be applied to a counterclaim. If the chairman of the labour dispute committee does not accept a petition filed in the form of a counterclaim as a counterclaim, it shall be accepted as a separate petition unless the person filing the counterclaim has specifically requested the hearing of the petition in the form of a counterclaim only.

 (4) A party may file a procedural offset objection to a petition if a counterclaim for collecting the claim being offset has not been filed in the matter and if the offset is not inadmissible due to the principle of good faith.

Division 3 Conciliation Proceedings  

§ 33.  Conciliation proceedings in labour dispute committee

 (1) The provisions of the Conciliation Act concerning a conciliation body shall be applied to conciliation proceedings in a labour dispute committee, taking into account the specifications provided for in this Act.

 (2) When conducting conciliation proceedings through a labour dispute committee, the conciliator for the purposes of the Conciliation Act shall be the chairman of the labour dispute committee.

§ 34.  Recourse to labour dispute committee as conciliation body

 (1) When having recourse to a labour dispute committee as conciliation body, the provisions of §§ 26 and 27 of this Act concerning a petition and acceptance of a petition for adjudication shall be applied to a conciliation petition.

 (2) For commencing conciliation proceedings during adjudication of a labour dispute, the petitioner may file a request for the acceptance of the petition which served as the basis for the adjudication of the labour dispute for adjudication in conciliation proceedings in the labour dispute committee.

 (3) During adjudication of a labour dispute, one can have recourse to the labour dispute committee as conciliation body until a decision is made in the labour dispute matter.

 (4) In the petition, the petitioner may put forward their own settlement proposal.

 (5) The agreement of the parties in writing or in a format which can be reproduced in writing on the adjudication of the labour dispute matter in conciliation proceedings shall be annexed to the petition.

§ 35.  Entry into settlement agreement

 (1) A written settlement agreement shall be entered into between the parties within ten working days as of the decision to accept the petition provided for in § 34 (1) of this Act for adjudication.

 (2) If an agreement referred to in subsection (1) of this section is not entered into, the conciliation proceedings shall be deemed terminated.

§ 36.  Recourse to labour dispute committee and court

 (1) If no settlement agreement is entered into, the parties shall have the right of recourse to a labour dispute committee or court for the adjudication of the same labour dispute matter. Upon recourse to a labour dispute committee, the labour dispute matter shall be heard by the chairman of the labour dispute committee who was not the conciliator in the same matter.

 (2) If the parties reach no agreement in conciliation proceedings commenced in the course of hearing the labour dispute matter, the parties have the right of recourse to court for the adjudication of the same labour dispute matter within 30 calendar days as of the end of the conciliation proceedings.

Division 4 Hearing of Labour Dispute  

§ 37.  Preparing for hearing of labour dispute

 (1) A labour dispute committee shall hear a labour dispute by a panel of three members, except in the cases provided for in § 39 and § 40 (1) of this Act.

 (2) The chairman of the labour dispute committee shall ascertain the facts of the labour dispute and perform the acts necessary for the adjudication of the labour dispute.

 (3) The chairman or secretary of the labour dispute committee shall set the time and place of a session and arrange for summonses to be sent to the persons attending the session and set for the opposing party a time-limit for admitting the claim and submitting objections, evidence, requests and a counterclaim.

 (4) The chairman or secretary of the labour dispute committee shall send to the opposing party copies of the petition and annexes thereto and, if the matter is heard in a session, a summons.

§ 38.  Time-limit for hearing petition

 (1) A petition filed with a labour dispute committee shall be heard within 45 calendar days as of the receipt thereof by the labour dispute committee unless the extension of the proceedings arises from objective circumstances or the provisions of this Act.

 (2) If a session is postponed, the chairman of the labour dispute committee shall set a new time for hearing the labour dispute matter. The new session shall take place within 30 calendar days as of the date of the previous session.

 (3) If the elimination of omissions is required or at the reasoned request of a party, the chairman of the labour dispute committee may extend the time-limits provided for in this section.

§ 39.  Written proceedings if claim is admitted

  If a person against whom a claim is filed admits the claim in full, the chairman of the labour dispute committee shall satisfy the petition alone in written proceedings.

§ 40.  Written proceedings of monetary claims

 (1) The chairman of a labour dispute committee may hear alone and on their own initiative a petition of a monetary claim in written proceedings if the total amount of claims does not exceed 6400 euros.

 (2) When hearing a labour dispute matter in written proceedings, the chairman of the labour dispute committee shall decide by a ruling the time of announcement of the decision, the deadline for submitting additional petitions and evidence and shall inform the parties thereof. The chairman of the labour dispute committee may change the set deadline if this is necessary because changes have occurred in the procedural situation.

 (3) The chairman of the labour dispute committee shall summon the parties to a session if, in the opinion of the chairman, the personal appearance of a party is unavoidable for ascertaining the circumstances which constitute the basis for the petition. At the request of a party, the party shall be heard in a session regardless of whether or not written proceedings have been ordered.

 (4) The petitioner may supplement their claims submitted in written proceedings or waive them in full or in part. Additional claims shall be submitted to the labour dispute committee in writing.

 (5) If a party does not agree to written proceedings, the labour dispute matter shall be heard in a session.

§ 41.  Summoning parties to session

 (1) The chairman of a labour dispute committee shall summon the parties and their representatives to a session by summonses.

 (2) A summons shall set out:
 1) the name of the person summoned to the session;
 2) the panel of the labour dispute committee;
 3) the time and place of the session;
 4) the merits of the labour dispute matter;
 5) the capacity in which the person is being summoned to the session;
 6) the duty of the person who accepted the summons in the absence of the addressee to deliver the summons to the addressee at the first opportunity;
 7) the duty to give notice of reasons for failure to appear in the session of the labour dispute committee;
 8) the consequences of failure to appear in the session.

§ 42.  Attendance of parties in session

 (1) A labour dispute matter shall be heard in the presence of the parties or their representatives.

 (2) If an alien worked in Estonia without having a legal basis and the alien has been expelled from Estonia by the time a labour dispute is heard or is expelled from Estonia during the hearing of a labour dispute, the labour dispute matter shall be heard in their absence.

 (3) A party summoned to a session of the labour dispute committee who is unable to appear in the session shall notify the labour dispute committee thereof before the start of the session or immediately after the circumstance which prevents attendance in the session ceases to exist and shall provide proof of such a circumstance.

 (4) If a party fails to appear in a session of the labour dispute committee for a good reason, the hearing of the labour dispute matter shall be postponed.

 (5) If the petitioner fails to appear in a session of the labour dispute committee and has not filed a reasoned request for the postponement of the hearing of the labour dispute matter, the hearing of the matter shall be terminated under § 50 (3) of this Act.

 (6) If the person against whom a claim has been filed fails to appear in a session without good reason or has submitted a written consent for the hearing of the petition in their absence, the labour dispute committee may hear the petition in their absence.

§ 43.  Procedure for conducting session

 (1) A session of a labour dispute committee shall be chaired by the chairman of the labour dispute committee who shall announce at the opening of the session the labour dispute matter to be heard, the nature of the dispute and the corresponding rules of law.

 (2) At the beginning of a session the chairman of the labour dispute committee shall ascertain:
 1) who from the persons summoned has appeared in the session and their identities;
 2) whether absent persons were summoned according to law;
 3) whether the representatives of the parties hold the right of representation;
 4) whether there are no bases for removing a member of the labour dispute committee.

 (3) Before hearing the labour dispute matter on the merits the labour dispute committee shall adjudicate the requests of the parties.

 (4) The parties may request in the session the submission of additional documentary evidence if it was impossible to submit the evidence earlier. If additional evidence is submitted, the opposing party shall be given an opportunity to form their position. If evidence is submitted, the labour dispute committee shall decide the admission thereof.

 (5) The petitioner may supplement their claims submitted in a written petition orally in the session or waive them in part or in full until the hearing of the labour dispute matter on the merits. Additional claims shall be submitted to the labour dispute committee in writing or they shall be recorded in the minutes.

 (6) The person against whom claims have been filed shall either admit or contest them.

 (7) In a session, the explanations of the parties and witnesses shall be heard, documents and other evidence shall be examined and assessed and the final positions of the parties shall be heard.

 (8) After the hearing of the labour dispute matter on the merits the chairman of the labour dispute committee shall inform the parties of the date, time and manner of the announcement of the decision.

Division 5 Evidence  

Subdivision 1 Submission of Evidence, Giving of Evidence and Assessment  

§ 44.  Evidence and types thereof

 (1) Evidence is any information on the basis of which a labour dispute committee shall ascertain the circumstances or lack of circumstances that substantiate the claims and objections of the parties as well as other circumstances relevant to the correct adjudication of the labour dispute matter.

 (2) In a labour dispute committee, evidence may also be a witness testimony, documentary evidence, physical evidence and inspection.

 (3) The provisions of §§ 272–277 and 285–291 of the Code of Civil Procedure shall be applied to documentary evidence, physical evidence and inspection, taking into account the specifications provided for in this Act.

§ 45.  Submission and taking of evidence

 (1) Each party shall prove the facts on which the claims and objections of the party are based.

 (2) The shared burden of proof prescribed in the Equal Treatment Act or the Gender Equality Act shall be applied to discrimination disputes.

 (3) A party shall be released from the submission of evidence to the labour dispute committee on the bases provided for in § 231 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

 (4) A labour dispute committee shall admit evidence that is of relevance to the labour dispute matter. The labour dispute committee shall give reasons for refusal to admit evidence.

 (5) A party has the right to file with the labour dispute committee a request for the chairman of the labour dispute committee to require by a ruling the other party to submit the evidence and information at the disposal of the other party. If a party requests that the labour dispute committee require submission of a document by another person, the party shall describe the document and its content in the request and set out the reason why they believe the document to be in the possession of such person.

 (6) If the law provides for a party’s obligation to preserve evidence or information and the party fails to submit these to the labour dispute committee without a reason, the arguments of the opposing party concerning the content of the evidence or information may be deemed to be proven.

§ 46.  Evaluation of evidence

  A labour dispute committee shall evaluate all evidence from all perspectives, thoroughly and objectively and decide, according to its conscience, whether or not an argument presented by a party is proven.

Subdivision 2 Witness  

§ 47.  Involvement of witness

 (1) At the request of a party, the labour dispute committee may hear a witness. The request of the party shall set out the name of the witness and the circumstances concerning which the witness is to give a testimony.

 (2) A witness may be a third party who may know facts relevant to the labour dispute matter.

 (3) The chairman of the labour dispute committee may refuse by a ruling to satisfy a party’s request for the involvement of a witness if the involvement of the witness would be unreasonable considering the circumstances of the dispute.

§ 48.  Right to refuse to give testimony

  The provisions of § 257 of the Code of Civil Procedure shall be applied to the right to refuse to give testimony as a witness.

§ 49.  Giving of witness testimony

 (1) A witness may provide a written answer to the question posed to them by the labour dispute committee within the time-limit set by the committee if appearing in a session is unreasonably cumbersome to the witness and, taking into account the contents of the question and the personal characteristics of the witness, giving written testimony is, in the committee’s opinion, sufficient for providing proof.

 (2) A party has the right to submit written questions to a witness through the labour dispute committee. The labour dispute committee determines the questions for which an answer by a witness is requested. If a witness provides answers to the questions posed to them in writing, the labour dispute committee shall promptly send the answers of the witness to the parties.

 (3) If necessary, the labour dispute committee may summon a witness to a session in order to give oral testimony despite their written testimony. The appearance in the session shall be ensured by the party at whose request the witness is summoned to the session.

 (4) Every witness attending a session shall be heard individually. Witnesses who have not been heard shall not be present in the hearing room during the hearing of the labour dispute matter. A witness who has been heard shall stay in the hearing room until the end of the hearing of the labour dispute matter unless the labour dispute committee gives the witness permission to leave earlier.

Chapter 4 Termination of Proceedings  

§ 50.  Bases for termination of proceedings

  The chairman of a labour dispute committee shall terminate the hearing of a labour dispute matter by a ruling if:
 1) there is a basis for refusing to accept the petition for adjudication provided for in § 27 (2) of this Act;
 2) the petitioner withdraws their petition;
 3) the petitioner fails to appear in the session of the labour dispute committee and has failed to file a reasoned request for the postponement of the hearing of the labour dispute matter;
 4) the parties have settled the dispute by compromise and the labour dispute committee approves the compromise;
 5) the parties have expressed their wish to resolve the matter in conciliation proceedings;
 6) the natural person who is a party in the matter has died and the legal relationship under dispute does not enable legal succession or a legal person is dissolved without legal succession.

§ 51.  Compromise

 (1) The parties may terminate the proceedings by way of compromise until the entry into force of the decision. The chairman of the labour dispute committee shall approve the compromise by a ruling which also terminates the hearing of the labour dispute matter. The ruling on approval of a compromise shall set out the conditions of the compromise.

 (2) The parties shall submit a signed compromise agreement to the labour dispute committee or communicate it to the labour dispute committee in order to enable entry thereof in the minutes.

 (3) A compromise may be conditional.

 (4) The chairman of a labour dispute committee shall refuse to approve a compromise if this is contrary to good morals or the law or if the conditions of the compromise cannot be enforced.

 (5) If the chairman of a labour dispute committee refuses to approve a compromise, they shall make a reasoned ruling to this effect and continue the hearing of the labour dispute matter.

 (6) The ruling on approval of a compromise shall enter into force upon signature. The provisions of this Act concerning the enforcement of a decision of a labour dispute committee shall be applied to a ruling on approval of a compromise.

 (7) A compromise can be declared null and its nullity may be relied upon on the grounds specified in the General Part of the Civil Code Act, and a party may withdraw from or cancel a compromise on the grounds specified in the Law of Obligations Act.

 (8) A compromise can be declared invalid by a court by way of recovery procedure in bankruptcy proceedings or enforcement proceedings.

§ 52.  Procedure for termination of proceedings

  The parties shall be promptly informed in writing of the ruling on the termination of proceedings. The ruling shall set out the basis for the termination of proceedings.

§ 53.  Consequences of termination of proceedings

 (1) After termination of proceedings, a party has no further recourse to the labour dispute committee with the same claim against the same party on the same grounds.

 (2) If the proceedings in a labour dispute matter are terminated under § 50 (3) of this Act, the chairman of the labour dispute committee shall reopen the proceedings in the labour dispute matter by a ruling if within 14 calendar days after the circumstance preventing the attendance in a session ceases to exist the petitioner files a reasoned request for the reopening of the proceedings in the labour dispute matter.

 (3) The proceedings shall be deemed reopened by the service of the ruling on the reopening on the parties. If proceedings are reopened, the labour dispute committee shall continue with the proceedings in the labour dispute matter in the stage of proceedings terminated prematurely.

 (4) If proceedings are terminated on the bases provided for in § 27 (2) 1) and 7) and § 50 (3) and (5) of this Act and no conciliation proceedings are commenced, the parties have the right of recourse to the court for the hearing of the same labour dispute matter pursuant to the procedure provided for in § 58 of this Act.

Chapter 5 Decision of Labour Dispute Committee and Enforcement thereof  

§ 54.  Making of decision

 (1) A labour dispute committee shall make a decision if, in the opinion of the committee, the labour dispute matter has been heard to a sufficient extent and the matter is ready for making a final decision. The labour dispute committee may not exceed in its decision the limits of the claim or make a decision on a claim that has not been filed.

 (2) If a labour dispute matter is heard in a session, the labour dispute committee shall prepare the operative part of the decision on the day of hearing the labour dispute matter.

 (3) A decision of a labour dispute committee shall be adopted by majority vote. The chairman of the labour dispute committee shall vote last. A member of the labour dispute committee does not have the right to abstain from voting or to remain undecided.

 (4) A member of a three member labour dispute committee who maintains a minority position has the right to a dissenting opinion which shall be annexed to the decision.

 (5) In cases provided for in this Act the chairman of a labour dispute committee shall make a decision alone.

§ 55.  Lawful and reasoned decision

 (1) A decision of a labour dispute committee shall be based on the law and be reasoned. The labour dispute committee has the right to specify the legal assessment of the claim if this is necessary for the protection of the parties’ legal rights and interests.

 (2) In making a decision, a labour dispute committee may only rely on the evidence taken in the matter which the parties could examine and on the circumstances concerning which the parties could present their positions. If the labour dispute committee evaluates a presented circumstance differently from the participants in the proceedings, the committee shall have brought it to their attention beforehand and given them an opportunity to present their positions.

§ 56.  Content of decision

 (1) A decision shall consist of an introduction, operative part, descriptive part and statement of reasons.

 (2) The introduction of a decision shall set out:
 1) the panel of the labour dispute committee which made the decision;
 2) the time and place of the making of the decision;
 3) the number of the labour dispute matter;
 4) the object of the claim;
 5) the names and personal identification codes or registry codes or dates of birth of the parties and their representatives;
 6) the time of a session or a reference to the adjudication of the labour dispute matter in written proceedings.

 (3) If a party failed to appear in a session, it shall be noted in the introduction.

 (4) In the operative part the labour dispute committee shall clearly and unambiguously adjudicate the claims and any requests that have not been adjudicated yet. The operative part shall be clearly understandable and enforceable even without the rest of the decision. It shall be possible to distinguish the operative part from the other parts of the decision.

 (5) The operative part shall set out the procedure and time-limit for the hearing of the same labour dispute matter in court if the decision is disagreed with.

 (6) The descriptive part of a decision shall indicate, concisely and in a logical order, the relevant content of the claims filed and the arguments, objections and evidence provided concerning such claims.

 (7) The statement of reasons of a decision shall set out the facts established by the labour dispute committee, the conclusions reached on the basis thereof, the evidence on which the conclusions of the labour dispute committee are based and the legislation which was applied by the labour dispute committee. In a decision, the labour dispute committee shall substantiate its reasons for not agreeing with the factual allegations of one or the other party.

 (8) The labour dispute committee shall analyse all evidence in a decision. If the labour dispute committee disregards any evidence, it shall justify this in the decision.

§ 57.  Announcement of decision upon hearing of labour dispute matter in session

 (1) The decision of the labour dispute committee shall be announced to the parties within ten working days after the session took place. The parties attending the session shall be informed of the date and time of announcement of the decision on the day the session takes place.

 (2) On the day of announcement of the decision the parties shall be issued with a copy of the decision or the decision shall be served on the parties pursuant to the procedure provided for in this Act.

§ 58.  Recourse to court

 (1) If the parties disagree with the decision of the labour dispute committee, they may have recourse to court for the hearing of the same labour dispute matter within 30 calendar days as of the receipt of the decision of the labour dispute committee.

 (2) Recourse to court shall be in the form of a statement of claim, not an appeal against the decision of a labour dispute committee.

 (3) If a labour dispute committee denies a petition or satisfies it in part, the petitioner may file an action with a court for the adjudication of the labour dispute matter to the extent not satisfied. The action may only include the same claims as put before the labour dispute committee.

 (4) If a labour dispute committee satisfies a petition in full or in part, the other party may request the court to hear the petition filed with the labour dispute committee as an action. In that case, the plaintiff shall be the person who had recourse to the labour dispute committee and the defendant shall be the party who filed a request with the court.

 (5) In the case provided for in subsection (4) of this section, the petition filed with the labour dispute committee shall be deemed a statement of claim. If necessary, the court shall set a time-limit for the parties for the filing of a petition in the format prescribed for actions, for providing additional reasons for their positions and for providing additional evidence. The court is not required to serve on the parties documents submitted to the labour dispute committee.

 (6) If an action or a petition in a labour dispute matter which a labour dispute committee has already adjudicated is filed with a court, it shall be noted in the action or petition and a copy of the decision shall be annexed. When a court receives an action or a petition, the court shall require the labour dispute committee to present the materials of adjudication of the labour dispute matter and shall include these in the file. Evidence submitted shall be deemed submitted to the court.

 (7) If in the case provided for in subsection (5) of this section the person who had recourse to the labour dispute committee fails to file a petition in the format prescribed for statements of claim by the time set by the court, the court shall dismiss the petition. In that case, the decision of the labour dispute committee shall not enter into force to the disputed extent. The court shall draw the plaintiff’s attention thereto when it grants a time-limit for the filing of a petition in the format of a statement of claim.

 (8) A person who has filed with a court a petition referred to in subsection (4) of this section may waive the petition. If the petition is waived, the decision of the labour dispute committee shall enter into force.

§ 59.  Entry into force of decision

 (1) A decision of a labour dispute committee shall enter into force after the expiry of the time-limit for recourse to a court if neither party files a petition to the court or if the court refuses to accept the petition for adjudication or dismisses the action or terminates the proceedings. In case a decision of a labour dispute committee is contested in part, the decision shall enter into force to the extent not contested in court. In adjudicating a labour dispute matter, the court is bound by the operative part of the decision of the labour dispute committee to the extent not contested.

 (2) A decision of a labour dispute committee which has entered into force is binding on the parties.

 (3) At the request of a party or an administrative authority concerned, the chairman or secretary of the labour dispute committee shall add to the decision a notation on entry into force.

 (4) A notation on entry into force may be issued electronically by the chairman or secretary of a labour dispute committee who signs it with their digital signature.

§ 60.  Annulment of decision

 (1) A labour dispute committee which makes a decision cannot annul or amend the decision after the announcement of the decision unless otherwise provided by law.

 (2) The chairman of a labour dispute committee shall annul a decision by a ruling in the cases provided for in § 28 (2) and § 51 (1) of this Act.

§ 61.  Correction of mistakes in decision

 (1) The chairman of a labour dispute committee shall correct by a ruling at all times any spelling or calculation mistakes or obvious inaccuracies in a decision if such corrections do not affect the content of the decision. The labour dispute committee may hear the parties prior to making the ruling.

 (2) A notation concerning a ruling on the correction of a decision shall be made on the decision and on any copies thereof issued after the ruling is made. The labour dispute committee shall serve the ruling on the correction of a mistake on the parties.

 (3) The provisions concerning the correction of mistakes in a decision shall also be applied to the correction of mistakes in a ruling.

§ 62.  Publication of decision which has entered into force

  A decision which has entered into force shall be published on the conditions and pursuant to the procedure provided for in § 462 (2) through (4) of the Code of Civil Procedure in a computer network at a place prescribed for such purpose. The publication of a decision shall not affect the entry into force of the decision.

§ 63.  Entry of decision in employment register

  On the basis of a decision which has entered into force, the chairman or secretary of the labour dispute committee shall make an entry in the employment register provided for in § 251 of the Taxation Act in order to add or change the following information:
 1) the date of commencement of work by the employee;
 2) the type of the legal relationship which served as the basis for working;
 3) the date of expiry of the employment contract;
 4) the legal basis for the expiry of the employment contract.

§ 64.  Enforcement of decision

 (1) A decision of a labour dispute committee shall be enforced after the entry into force thereof, unless the decision is subject to immediate enforcement.

 (2) A decision of a labour dispute committee shall be enforced pursuant to the procedure provided by the Code of Enforcement Procedure.

§ 65.  Immediate enforcement of decision

 (1) At the request of a party, the labour dispute committee may declare a decision ordering payment of wages to be subject to immediate enforcement to the extent essential for the employee but not exceeding the extent of two months’ wages.

 (2) Upon recourse to a court for contesting a decision which is subject to immediate enforcement, one has the right to apply for suspension of immediate enforcement by way of securing the action.

Chapter 6 Implementing Provisions  

Division 1 Transitional Provisions  

§ 66.  Act applicable to hearing of labour dispute

  The Individual Labour Dispute Resolution Act which was in force before the entry into force of this Act shall be applied to the adjudication of a labour dispute commenced before the entry into force of this Act.

Division 2 Amendment and Repeal of Acts  

§ 67.  – § 73. Provisions governing the amendment of other Acts are omitted from this translation.

§ 74.  Repeal of Act

  The Individual Labour Dispute Resolution Act is repealed.

Division 3 Entry into Force of Act  

§ 75.  Entry into force of Act

 (1) This Act enters into force on 1 January 2018.

 (2) §§ 67 and 68 of this Act enter into force pursuant to the general procedure.

Eiki Nestor
President of the Riigikogu