In 2001, the total economically active population was estimated at 608,600. Of these workers, 20% were engaged in industry, 69% in services, and 11% in agriculture. Unemployment was12.4% in 2001. The Estonian constitution guarantees the right to form and freely join a union or employee association. The Central Organization of Estonian Trade Unions (EAKL) was founded in 1990 as a voluntary and culturally Estonian organization to replace the Estonian branch of the Soviet labor confederation. In 2002, the EAKL claimed 58,000 members. A rival union, the Organization of Employee Unions, split off from the EAKL in 1993, and claimed about 40,000 members in 2001. In that same year, about one-third of the workforce was unionized. Workers have the right to strike, and collective bargaining, though legal, is still developing.
The statutory minimum employment age is 16, although children aged 13 to 15 years may work with parental permission. The standard workweek is legally set at 40 hours with a mandatory 24-hour rest period. The monthly minimum wage was $93 in 2002, although only about 5–6% of the population received this wage.