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Work and Professional Life

Standard Practices

The statutory minimum employment age is 18, although younger children may work with parental permission, or, for those under 15, permission from parents and a labor inspector. Most Estonians start working by their early-20s.

Unemployment is relatively low in Estonia. Most Estonians can choose their profession, provided they have the right level of education. People can usually change jobs and professions at will.

Most Estonians work between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. or 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Lunch is often the main meal of the day, which Estonians frequently eat in restaurants.

Balanced Work Force

Both men and women participate in the labor force at a high rate. Estonian women are well educated and make up a little more than half the workforce. Although their rights as workers are legally protected, women still typically earn less than men doing the same job. Women also remain concentrated in low-level positions and in professions typically dominated by women. Women who do manage to find high-level jobs or work in typically male professions are generally respected. Most women continue to work regardless of whether they marry or have children. Estonian women are entitled to 140 calendar days of maternity leave.

Most Estonians retire between the ages of 63 and 65.