Pirjo Turk, adviser at the work and pension policy department of the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs, said on the basis of a survey carried out in April that the work of 60% of parents has been affected by distance learning or the recommendation to keep children at home from kindergarten.
“The current emergency situation has placed a
particularly heavy burden on working parents by organizing work and study at
home. Therefore, we decided to look more closely at the age of children the
parents of whom have been most affected by the changes in work during the
emergency situation, in which sectors the changes have been most difficult for
working parents, and how the income of families has changed,” Turk said,
referring to a survey carried out by pollster Turu-uuringute AS in
It appears from the survey that 36% of parents are working
remotely or teleworking more than before. By way of comparison, job portal
CVKeskus.ee in late March published its own analysis regarding the use of
teleworking, in which it appeared that 30% of employees are working remotely
during the emergency situation in Estonia. Thus, it can be concluded that there
are somewhat more opportunities for working remotely among working parents.
This is probably also due to the fact that, compared to all employed people in
Estonia, there are more employees with higher education among parents, based on
the 2019 labor survey. “Our analysis showed that namely parents with
higher education have more opportunities to work remotely — this was stated by
67% of parents with higher education. The opportunity to work remotely was also
higher among Estonian-speaking parents, 42%, compared to Russian-speaking
parents, 20%,” Turk said.
By regions, teleworking is less common in northeastern
Estonia, with 19% of parents in East-Viru County working remotely, and most
common in northern Estonia, with 43% of parents working remotely in Harju
County. Public sector employees have greater opportunities to work remotely,
with 60% of parents working in the public sector saying they are working
remotely, while only 30% of private sector employees said they are teleworking.
Almost one in three or 32% of parents has seen a decrease in
workload, but about one in seven has seen an increase in workload. As there are
more opportunities for public sector employees to work remotely, this explains
why the workload decreased more in the private sector, for 37% of respondents,
compared to the public sector, 14% of respondents. The emergency situation has
led to increased workload for education sector workers, 36 % of respondents,
and health and social care workers, 42% of respondents, which also explains why
the increase in workload has been noted more by parents working in the public
sector, 28%. Parents with higher education have also said that their workload
has increased, in the case of 21%, compared to other parents.
The work schedule changed significantly for slightly more
than a quarter, that is 27%, of parents and the content of work changed
significantly for a fifth, 21%, of parents. The change in the work schedule
affects public sector employees more, with 39% of respondents admitting it,
especially employees in the education sector, but also employees in the
accommodation and catering and wholesale and retail trade sectors in the
Leave has been taken due to the emergency situation by only
4% of parents, who said they had to take some paid leave, like annual leave,
while 2 % said they had to take some unpaid leave, like unpaid maternity leave.
As of mid-April, only 3% of parents reported becoming
unemployed. Individual entrepreneurs have suffered the most in this respect,
with 17% of respondents saying they have become unemployed.
More than half of the parents surveyed, or 60%, have been
fully or partially affected by the fact that their children are on a so-called
home regime. Parents working in education or health and social care have been
most affected, 85% and 75%, respectively. However, parents who work in
construction have been the least affected — 58% of people working in this
sector said that their work was not affected by their children being home.
The survey revealed that the younger the children in the
family, the more the parents’ work has been affected by children’s distance
learning and being at home from kindergarten.
Although the vast majority, or 59%, of parents answered that
their income has not decreased due to the emergency situation, there is more
than a third, or 36%, of those parents whose income has decreased due to the
emergency situation, while 5% have lost their income.