More than 150 legal acts entered into force at the end of June and beginning of July, several of these amendments have an impact on companies. For example, the Products and Services Accessibility Act entered into force, according to which certain products and services will have to be more easily accessible for handicapped persons. Furthermore, the Commercial Code will soon be updated with an amendment, which imposes an additional obligation on board members. Positive news is that at the end of June, an amendment entered into force, which allows aliens employed in Estonia for short term, to register in the list of family physicians.
Accessibility of Products and Services Act entered into force
On 28 June, the Accessibility of Products and Services Act entered into force, according to the new act certain products and services will have to meet accessibility requirements in the future. This means that certain products and services will have to be accessible through at least two different senses so that people with disabilities could consume these products and services. For example, if a partially sighted person will wish to use the ATM machine, they will have to have the opportunity to do that without using their sight, e.g. through hearing.
The new act will establish accessibility requirements for e-readers, payment terminals, ticket machines, registration machines, ATMs or payment machines, interactive self-service terminals that provide information, devices that provide access to audio-visual media services (e.g. set-top boxes, routers, remote controls), devices enabling services of electronic communication (e.g. tablets, desktop computers, smartphones), and hardware and operation systems (e.g. software, computer mouse, printer, scanner).
Among the services to be made accessible through at least two senses are: ecommerce services (e.g. various e-shops), e-books and software used for their reading, electronic communication service (e.g. cable service, internet access and telephone communication), financial services (i.e. financial services provided through mobile devices, websites and self-service terminals), parts of the carriage of passengers service of public transport (i.e. website, electronic ticket and ticket sales of the respective service, providing transport information, providing real time travel information, interactive information displays and self-service terminal), and service for providing access to audio-visual services (e.g. electronic TV programs, mobile applications and websites).
In addition to the law, the accessibility requirements of products and services are elaborated on in the Regulation “Functional Accessibility Requirements for Products and Services and Requirements for Information Provided”.
Furthermore, the new act foresees that information on the functioning of the product or service, and accessibility elements of the product should, if possible, be presented in or on the product, in the accompanying user manual, or made available in any other manner, including as a manual that can be found on the website.
Companies with less than 10 employees and annual turnover or balance less than two million euros are exempt from the new requirements. The rest of the companies may be exempt from the new requirements only in exceptional cases. A respective application should be submitted to the Consumer Protection and Technical Supervision Board, the Board will assess the measures the company is requited to apply to increase accessibility to their products and services.
Although the new act entered into force on 28 June 2022, the accessibility requirements will be applicable for new products from 28 June 2025. For the products that were available on the market or that were used for the provision of services before 28 June 2025, the accessibility requirements will become applicable from 28 June 2030. Thus, companies have time to adjust to the new requirements.
If a company fails to fulfil the accessibility requirements in the future, a fine may be imposed in the amount of up to €20,000.
See also: Products and Services Accessibility Act and Functional Accessibility Requirements for Products and Services and Requirements for Information Provided
New obligation for Boards
On 1 July, the Commercial Code will be updated with the principle that if the economic situation of a private limited company or public limited company has deteriorated and solvency in the future is probable, the Board has to take measures to overcome economic difficulties, restore liquidity, improve profitability and ensure sustainable business, including consider submitting an application for reorganisation. The same obligation is applicable for the Boards of non-profit organisations and foundations, as well as the legal representatives of general partnership. The Chamber has previously made a proposal for the legal committee of the Parliament to leave the amendments regarding the Board members out of the law, but this proposal was not taken into account.
See more: Commercial Code
Aliens employed in Estonia for short term can be included in the list of family physicians
Amendment of the Health Services Organisation Act entered into force on 30 June. According to the amendment aliens who are staying in Estonia under a temporary basis and have a health insurance can register in the list of a family physician. This means that aliens working in Estonia for short term can register for a family physician. At the moment, only aliens staying in Estonia based on a residence permit can register in the list of a family physician.
See also: Health Services Organisation Act
Should you have any questions regarding the legal acts that are to enter into force soon, please contact the lawyers of the Chamber by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.