Doctor’s appointment during the working time in Estonia
The majority of doctor’s appointments take place during the working time and a question frequently asked is whether an employer must enable the employee to go to the doctor’s appointment during the working time or not? And when an employee goes to the doctor during the working time, how is remuneration paid for that time?
According to the Estonian Employment Contracts Act, an employer shall pay an employee average wages for a reasonable period, when the employee cannot perform work due to a reason arising from the employee to carry out undelayable activity. This includes also a doctor’s appointment. The employer shall pay the employee average wages for the reasonable time (§42 and §38 of the Employment Contracts Act)
This is valid also when an employee goes to the doctor with a child. It is important to know that the time used for going to the doctor must not be performed thereafter. In case the employee cannot work for more than for reasonable time, not paying wages for the time is also justified. Reasonable time is weighted per every case separately; however, in general it could be within the range of a couple of hours. It is not deemed as reasonable time, when an employee has to go to some treatment procedures that take several hours every day during multiple weeks.
§ 38 and § 42 of the Employment Contracts Act are as follows:
§ 38. Payment of wages upon impediment to work
An employer shall pay an employee average wages for a reasonable period when the employee cannot perform work due to a reason arising from the employee, but not caused intentionally or due to severe negligence or if the employee cannot be expected to perform work for another reason not attributable to the employee.
§ 42. Granting time off
An employer shall grant an employee time off under the conditions and pursuant to the procedure prescribed in this Division. An employee has the right to demand time off under the conditions prescribed in section 38 of this Act. Upon granting time off, the interests of the employer and the employee shall be reasonably taken into account.
Paying wages and granting free time is enabled as follows: in case of a close person’s funeral, concluding a notarial transaction, graduation from the university or the child’s first day at school
The Act does not specify each case separately and it is advisable to consider each case according to the situation.
Death of a close person and funerals are circumstances related to the employee and which occurrence can not be influenced by the employee due to which paying the wages during the absence of work because of funerals, the payment of average wages for the time not worked is justified. The festive meeting of the child’s first day at school and celebrating the graduation from the university are circumstances connected with the employee’s person, although the dates of the events can generally be planned by the employee a long time in advance.
The festive meeting to celebrate the graduation and the child’s first day at school can be planned ahead for a long time and the employee may request a day off. The time for a notary’s appointment is influenced by the fact whether a reasonable time during non-working hours can be agreed upon or not. If it is not possible to get a free time during non-working hours or unexpectedly one vacancy opens in near future, being absent from work is justified in this situation and the employer undertakes to pay the employee average wages for that time.