Working in Finland
The Finnish labour and occupational safety legislation is applied to all employees working for Finnish employers regardless of their nationality. In the case of so called posted workers, regulations regarding the payment of overtime, working hours, vacations, sick-leave payment and the minimum wages according to the collective agreement are to be applied, among others.
The employer’s unions and workers trade unions agree upon pay and other terms of employment in a collective agreement. Generally the terms of the collective agreement are in favour of the employee in comparison to the common legislation. Shorter working hours, longer sick-leave payment periods and holiday money are agreed in almost every collective agreement. There is a collective agreement in most working branches, which binds all employers in it’s applicable sector (a generally applicable collective agreement).
The employer and employee agree upon terms of employment in a work contract. It is recommended that the contract be in written form and that it contain at least the following: the name of the employer /enterprise, the name of the employee, the nature of the work, the starting date of the employment, the duration of the employment, the notice period, the trial period, pay, and working hours. It is also recommended that an oral agreement be made in the presence of two witnesses. If the employment relationship is valid indefinitely or is intended to last a term over one month, the employer must give written information on the orally agreed principal terms of work, at the latest by the end of the first pay period.
Any agreement, which diminishes the rights and interests secured for employees in the labour legislation and/or the collective agreement, is void.
Regular working hours are usually at most 8 daily hours and 40 weekly hours. In a two week period the working hours are not more than 80 hours and in a three week period 120 hours. The weekly hours may also be arranged in longer periods during which the average weekly hours do not exceed 40 hours. The working hours may be arranged by law or collective agreements alternatively, for ex. in two or three week periods.
Each workplace must have a work schedule from which the workers regular working hours, beginning and ending times and the placement of the rest periods can be read. To avoid possible misunderstandings employees should keep their own record of their worked hours and received wages.
There is no universal minimum wage in Finland. The collective agreement in most employment branches determines the pay and other minimum employment terms. It is also possible to agree on benefits such as food and residence in addition to the wage.
The wages in the collective agreements are determined according to the employee’s professional skills, experience and the geographical situation of the workplace (I and II cost regions). Here are a few examples of wages in the I cost region.
|Construction branch (1.3.2012 - )|
|Metal branch (1.10.2011 - )|
|Cleaning branch (1.1.2012 - 31.12.2012 )|
|Hotel and restaurant branch (1.4.2012 - )|
Pay during illness
After working for the same employer for at least a month, employees have the right to receive sick-leave pay if they are unable to work during to illness or injury. To be entitled to sick-leave pay the working inability must be determined in a way satisfactory to the employer (for ex. a doctors certificate). In the case of an employment that has lasted less than a month, sick leave will be compensated with 50% of the normal wages. According to the law the employee is entitled to sick-leave payment for nine days, but usually the payment period is longer according to the applicable collective agreement.
Working hours exceeding the regular working hours (see Working hours) are overtime hours. Overtime is compensated with additional, higher pay: for the first two daily hours of overtime normal pay is increased by 50% and for the following hours by 100 %. Weekly over-time hours are increased by 50 %. The 12 first overtime hours of a two-week period and the 18 first hours of a three-week period are increased by 50 % and the following hours with double pay.
Sunday work is paid with doubled wages.
Separate evening and night work compensations are paid according to the collective agreements.
A foreign employee working for a Finnish employer in Finland is to be insured by the employer with a mandatory accident insurance. The insurance covers both accidents at work and on the journey to work.
If a foreign employer has sent an employee temporarily to work in Finland, the employee may be covered by the sending country’s insurance, in which case the insurance premiums are paid only there. Usually, unless the country in question is a EU/EEA or other country with a social security agreement, a posted worker’s certificate must be acquired from the sending country. In questions concerning accident compensation an employee can turn to The Federation of Accident Insurance Institutions (FAII).
If the daily working time is at least 6 hours the employee is given a rest period of at least 30 minutes (lunch break), a daily rest period of at least 11 hours must be given and a weekly rest period of at least 35 hours.
Occupational health service
The employer must have an agreement of occupational health services with an occupational health service provider.
An employee has a right to receive pay also for the time he/she is on annual holiday. Normally holiday leave accumulates 2 days (when employment has lasted less than 1 year) or 2½ days for each holiday credit month. Normal wages are paid for the time an employee is on holiday. Earned holiday leave cannot be replaced with compensation pay unless the holiday cannot be given due to the ending of the employment. Holiday compensation must also be paid if the worked hours do not entitle to holiday leave (when working hours are under 35 h/month or working days under 14 days/month).
Holiday compensation is 9-11,5%, in the construction branch 18.5 %, of the accumulated wages during the holiday credit year, excluding raised pay for overtime or emergency work.
Holiday compensation must be paid when the employment ends or, if so agreed, in addition to every monthly wage. According to many collective agreements the employee also has a right to additional holiday money, which is usually a half of the holiday wages.