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Who is a Working Environment Representative?

Viimati uuendatud: 28.06.2017


Working Environment Representative

Working environment representative is the representative of employees in questions related to the working environment. The representative monitors the state of the workplace from the employees’ perspective and is the employer’s cooperation partner in improving the working environment; for instance, by gathering the employees’ suggestions and assisting in choosing the personal protective equipment.

The employer must organize a general meeting of employees for choosing the working environment representative and enable all employees to attend (either in person or through an authorized representative). Elections are considered as held if at least 50% of employees attend the general meeting. Representative candidates shall be suggested by the employees; the employer can support the election by introducing the representative’s rights and representatives and the additional protection emanating from the role of employees’ representative (for instance, the prerogative to remain working in the case of redundancies). The working environment representative may not be placed at a disadvantage when a conflict of interests between them and the employer appears.

The number of working environment representatives in an organization depends on size of the company and the organization of work. The possibility to select a representative must be provided in each company, its’ branch or shift employing over 10 employees. For example, an office with 11 employees must hold elections to choose one representative; but if the company has 30 employees and 15 people work in day and 15 in night shifts, the election should be hold in both shifts and the company will have 2 representatives. The employer notifies the Labour Inspectorate of choosing the representative in 10 days (for instance, by emailing the name and position of the chosen representative to the local Labour Inspectorate branch).

The authorizations of the working environment representative are valid for up to 4 years. The employees’ general meeting can call the representative back from the council.

If the employees do not want to elect a representative, or if the nominee does not wish to fulfil the role, this is acceptable. The employer does not appoint any employees into the representative role – the company will rather operate without the working environment representatives and shall hold new elections after some time. It is not legally stipulated when exactly should the new elections be held – certainly in 4 years’ time, but also sooner, if the employees wish. If the working environment representative is not selected, this must also be noted in the meeting protocol.

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