Working time records
The concept of working time
Working time means any period used for working and any period during which an employee is required to be at the employer’s disposal in the workplace. Consequently, any period which an employee spends in the workplace without working is counted as working time provided that the employee can start working immediately if needed. “Workplace”, in addition to the actual or main place of work, may mean any such place for working where the employer, on the basis of his or her managerial and supervisory powers, has ordered the employee to work.
A scheme averaging out employees’ working hours
If an enterprise applies average regular weekly or periodic working time based on legislation or the applicable collective agreement, the employer must have a scheme for averaging out the employees’ working hours over a longer reference period. At least the regular working time for each week of the reference period must appear from the scheme.
The averaging scheme must be drawn up in advance for a minimum period over which the regular working hours average out to the normal average working time provided by the law or the collective agreement.
Limits to flexible working time
In work other than periodic work it may be agreed, on certain conditions, that the regular working time is flexible. Flexible working hours are an efficient tool for balancing the workload. It gives the employee an opportunity, within contracted daily bandwidth and according to the work situation and the employee’s needs, to decide the length of each workday.
Using flexible working time requires that the employer and the employee have first agreed on it.
- Besides the length of the regular daily and weekly working time, the following details must be contracted when using flexible working time:
- the length of fixed working time = the minimum number of hours to be worked daily
- daily bandwidth = not more than 3 hours according to the law
- the length of daily rest periods and placing of them
- the maximum number of hours accrued over or below the regular working time (hours in debit or credit) = not more than ± 40 h. When the maximum credit allowed is full, the workday cannot any longer be extended over the regular hours until there has been one or more shorter workdays.
When flexible working time is applied, the regular daily working time is lengthened or shortened within the bandwidth, which must not be more than 3 hours. The regular weekly working time is not more than 40 hours on average.
Maximum bandwidth and settlement period
Derogations from the maximum daily bandwidth ( 3 h) and the maximum accrued hours in debit or credit (± 40 h) are permitted only by a national collective agreement.
The settlement period for accrued hours in debit or credit may be contracted, but it is not compulsory. If the settlement period is contracted, the employees are responsible for ensuring that their hours in debit or credit will be equated with the regular working time by the end of the settlement period. At the end of the settlement period the hours in debit or credit will be zeroed and calculation starts afresh.
Schedule of work shifts and rest periods
The employer is responsible in advance for drawing up a schedule of work shifts. This must include the times when the employee’s regular working hours begin and end and the times for daily rest periods.
The schedule must usually be drawn up for the same period of time as the scheme averaging out working hours. The schedule must be accessible to employees in writing in good time, not later than a week before the beginning of the period it covers.
If the daily working time is longer than 6 hours, the employee must be allowed a minimum rest break of one hour during the work shift. The employer and the employee may agree on reducing the daily rest break to half an hour.
As a general rule, employees must be allowed a minimum daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours per each 24-hour period following the start of a work shift. In periodic work the daily rest period is at least 9 hours.
As a rule, employees must be allowed a minimum weekly rest period of 35 consecutive hours once a week. It must include Sunday, in part or in whole, whenever possible.
The concepts of extra hours and overtime
If the contracted regular working time is shorter than the maximum regular working time provided by the Working Hours Act, the difference between these is extra hours.
Daily overtime means hours which exceed the maximum regular daily working time provided by the law. Weekly overtime means hours which exceed the maximum regular weekly working time provided by the law but do not exceed the maximum regular daily working time.
Periodic overtime means hours worked in periodic work in accordance with section 7 of the Working Hours Act in addition to the maximum regular working time in a two- or three-week period.
Content of the working time records
The employer must keep records of all hours worked by each employee and any remuneration paid for these. Working hours may be recorded in connection with the payroll accounting or separately.
- The employer can record the working hours by entering in the books
- hours worked during the regular working time, as well as extra hours, overtime hours, hours of emergency work and Sunday work, and the remuneration paid for these; or
- all hours worked, as well as, separately, overtime hours, hours of emergency work and Sunday work, and the wage supplements paid for these.
The former way of recording is recommended in the case of employees paid by the month and the latter in the case of employees paid by the hour.
If working time is recorded according to alternative 1), extra hours must be recorded separately. If alternative 2) is used, extra hours will already be included in all hours worked and they are not recorded separately.
Extra hours must not be entered in the overtime columns even if increased wages had been paid for them or the applicable collective agreement defined extra hours as overtime.
Overtime hours in accordance with the Working Hours Act must be clearly readable from the working time records without specific calculation. Overtime hours are recorded as actual hours, not as increased hours.
Daily and weekly overtime must be entered in separate columns due to the different forms of compensation. It is also advisable to specify the hours of both types of overtime by pay percentage (50% and 100%).
The maximum number of overtime hours and contracting on extra hours
The employer is allowed to work employees for a maximum of 138 hours overtime in a period of four months. This number cannot be increased.
The maximum amount of overtime per calendar year is 250 hours. In addition to this, it is possible to locally contract on a maximum of 80 overtime hours.
Local contracts are made between the employer and the shop steward, or if there is not one, with some other representative of the staff. If there is no staff representative, a local contract may be made between the employer and the whole staff, or between the employer and a certain staff group, if all employees belonging to that group give their consent.
A local contract must be in writing. It must specify the group of staff concerned and the number of additional overtime hours contracted.
Monitoring the aggregate number of overtime hours and determining the monitoring periods
The employer must monitor the aggregating number of overtime hours in real time so that the maximum hours of overtime allowed for the periods of four months and one calendar year are not exceeded.
The monitoring periods of four months must be consecutive. The employer may determine the beginning of the first monitoring period, for example by starting it from the turn of a calendar year or by starting it from the beginning of the calendar month during which overtime is worked for the first time in that calendar year.
Pay and compensation for extra hours, overtime, Sunday work and weekly rest periods
For extra hours the ordinary rate of pay is paid in accordance with the Working Hours Act.
Daily overtime payment is the ordinary rate of pay increased by 50% for the first 2 hours and by 100% for the following hours.
Weekly overtime payment is the ordinary rate of pay increased by 50%.
Payment for periodic overtime worked in addition to the regular working time in a three-week period is the ordinary rate of pay increased by 50% for the first 18 hours and by 100% for the following hours. Payment for periodic overtime worked in addition to the regular working time in a two-week period is the ordinary rate of pay increased by 50% for the first 12 hours and by 100% for the following hours.
The employer and an employee may agree on changing the pay for extra hours and overtime totally or partly for compensatory paid time-off. The length of time-off allowed as compensation for overtime is determined by the wage supplement percentage for overtime hours.
The applicable collective agreement may lay down provisions on payments for extra hours and overtime which are different from those of the Working Hours Act.
Sunday supplement for work performed within the regular working time on Sundays or church festivals is the ordinary rate of pay increased by 100%. It must not be changed for compensatory paid time-off.
In addition to the Sunday supplement, payments as laid down by the law or the applicable collective agreement must be paid for extra hours, as well as overtime and emergency work, performed on Sundays or church festivals.
If an employee, exceptionally, has had to work during a weekly rest period, he or she must be allowed compensatory paid reduction of working time equivalent to the weekly rest period lost or the employee must be paid a sum equivalent to the ordinary rate of pay as compensation for the weekly rest period.
Presenting the working time records and other documents
The working time records, as well as written local agreements on the regular working time and additional overtime, must be presented on request to a person carrying out a workplace inspection and to the shop steward or the occupational safety and health representative.
Copies of the working time records, local agreements on working time and additional overtime, as well as copies of the scheme averaging out working hours and the schedules of work shifts, must be submitted on request to occupational safety and health authorities. The occupational safety and health representative monitoring safety and health at the workplace has the right to receive the same information.
Employees or persons authorised by them have the right to receive written information on any such entries in the working time records and the work shift schedules which concern them.
Neglect of working time records
Working time records must be kept truthfully. If an employer neglects to keep working time records or keeps records in a wrong way or changes or destroys them, hides them or makes them impossible to read, the employer or his or her representative may be punished as prescribed by the law.
If working time records have been neglected, the court usually trusts the information and notes which the employee presents for example as grounds for a wage claim.