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Estonian public service - in brief

Estonia is a parliamentary democracy with Riigikogu, Estonian Parliament, exercising supreme legislative power, the President of the Republic acting as the head of the state and the Government of the Republic exercising the executive power.

Estonian public service was re-established in January 1995 with the adoption of the Public Service Act in the Riigikogu . The Act came info force on 1 January 1996. According to the Public Service Act, public servants are the staff employed by central government institutions (ministries, administrative agencies, boards and inspectorates, constitutional institutions, county governments) and local governments (226 towns and rural municipalities). 

Certain groups within the public service are also covered with special legislation (e.g. the diplomatic corps, the police, the judiciary and the military). The public service system does not cover medical staff, teachers and academic staff. General working conditions of the latter are regulated by the Employment Contracts Act .

Estonian public service system can be characterised as an open, post-based system – it is possible to enter the public service at every level, including the highest. Management of human resources is decentralised. There is no ministry at the central government level with single powers to coordinate human resources policy. Every ministry and executive agency is responsible for recruitment, evaluation and development of its officials, guided by the legal framework and centrally set advisory guidelines.

There are 28 632 public servants in Estonia (data from 31.12.2009) including:
- 23 307 central government servants;
- 5325 local government public servants.

Majority of the public servants (20 177 in 2009) work for the boards, inspectorates and other administrative agencies, whose main task is to implement public policy. The biggest of these are Police Board (3984 officials in 2009) and Tax and Customs Board (1834 officials in 2009). Estonian ministries, which have mainly a policy-making role, are relatively small, employing all together only 2396 people.

The most important legal acts governing the action of public service are:
The Constitution of the Republic of Estonia

Public Service Act
Employment Contracts Act


Other regulations in the field of public service are listed here.

For additional information on the Estonian state and public administration please see:
Brochure Public Service in Estonia 2008 (pdf 3286 KB; published by State Chancellery)
Brochure Public Service in Estonia 2007 (pdf 474 KB; published by State Chancellery)
Brochure Public Administration in Estonia 2004 (pdf 86 KB; published by State Chancellery)
Brochure Local Government in Estonia 2005 (pdf 55 MB; published by Ministry of Internal Affairs)

More information on the Estonian state can be found at the web site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
.
 

 

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STATISTICS

Public Service Yearbook 2010 (pdf, 2,9 MB) 

Public Service Yearbook 2009 (pdf, 3,31 MB)

Public Service Yearbook 2008 (pdf, 1,34 MB), Public Service in Figures 2008 (pdf, 249 KB)

Estonian Public Service in Figures 2007 (pdf, 200 KB) Source: Public Service Yearbook 2007, State Chancellery

Estonian Public Service in Figures 2006 (pdf, 464 KB) Source: Public Service Yearbook 2006, State Chancellery

Estonian Public Service in Figures 2005 (xls, 116 KB) Source: State Chancellery


HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT

Public Service Development Chronology 1991-2006  (pdf, 54 KB)

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