The analysis of collective agreements shows that the evolution of the regulation of material working conditions in legally unguided collective agreements was not systematic and varied considerably between the different fields of activity and from one company to another. In general, EU Member States have the principle that exceptions to the law that would affect workers fall within the scope of collective agreements. Collective agreements are considered more appropriate to compensate for the effects of working conditions that are worse than those prescribed by law than individual contracts. The aim is appropriate regulation that offers sufficient security and the greatest possible flexibility. As a legal reference, the collective agreement in Estonia is inferior to the law and superior to an individual employment contract in the hierarchy of legal sources. The provisions agreed in the collective agreement are binding on the parties who have concluded this agreement. According to § 2 of the Court of Auditors, an agreement less favourable to the employee than that required by law (i.e. a so-called derogating agreement) is invalid, unless the possibility of an agreement on an exemption is provided for in the EURH. Compared to the labour legislation in force until 2009 (which prohibited more unfavourable exemptions for the entire employee), the role of agreements has thus been extended.
Although the legislator has not specified which contracts allow exceptions less favourable to the employee, the Court`s text specifies that this category includes an individual agreement between the employee and the employer, as well as a collective agreement. That principle is also supported by Article 4(2) of the CAA, according to which provisions of a collective agreement which are less favourable than what is required by law or by another legal act are invalid, unless the possibility of concluding such a contract is provided for by law. Thus, if one examines the Court`s text as a whole (including the provisions relating to divergent agreements) and starting from the explanatory memorandum of the text, it can be concluded that Article 2 of the Court sets out a general principle of derogation from the law; However, the specific agreement permitting a derogation from a particular piece of legislation to the detriment of the worker is determined by the same provision of the Court of Auditors which authorises such a derogation. Twenty percent of our companies use remote work (also known as remote work).