General information on topic

An employment contract is a freeform document, although the things that may be agreed in it are restricted by the provisions of the Employment Contracts Act, the Working Hours Act and the Annual Holiday Act, etc., and the employer must take these into account.

An employment contract may be independently signed by a person aged 15 or older. An employment contract for an adolescent whose 14th birthday is in the current calendar year may be signed by his/her guardian or by the adolescent himself/herself with the guardian’s consent. An adolescent whose 13th birthday is in the current calendar year or who is younger than that may only work for pay on an exemption granted by the occupational safety and health authorities.

An employment contract may be valid indefinitely or, for a justifiable reason, for a fixed term. 

In drafting the content of the employment contract, the employer must ensure that at least the terms and conditions listed as ‘principal terms of work’ in the Employment Contracts Act are agreed upon with the employee.
 

Instructions for employee

When you are entering an employment relationship, request that the employment contract be drawn up in writing. A written employment contract is in the interests of both employer and employee. However, the employer is not required to agree to your request.

Read the employment contract carefully before signing it.

If you are signing an employment contract that is for a fixed term at the employer’s initiative, ensure that you receive a written statement of the grounds for the fixed term. If those grounds are not stated in the employment contract itself, they must be detailed in the statement on the principal terms and conditions of employment. 

Read the employment contract carefully before signing it and ask the employer if there is something you do not understand in it. By signing the contract, you accept its terms and conditions. However, it is unlawful to enter terms and conditions in the employment contract that are contrary to legislation protecting employees or to the provisions of the applicable collective agreement. Such provisions may later be declared null and void.

You will receive a written statement of the terms and conditions of employment

If your employer does not execute your employment contract in writing and if your employment relationship is valid indefinitely or for a fixed term of more than a month, your employer must give you a written statement of the principal terms of work.

The employer must give you this statement at the end of the first wage payment period at the latest. If you have not received this statement, ask your employer for it. You may use the form Document request to employer (in Finnish).

If your employer will not give you a statement of the principal terms and conditions of employment despite your request, contact the occupational safety and health division at your local Regional State Administrative Agency.

 

Instructions for employer

An employer must give an employee a written statement of the principal terms and conditions of employment.

It is recommendable for employers to draw up employment contracts in writing. This form may be used as a template: Employment contract (in Finnish).

If no written employment contract has been signed, the employer must give the employee a written statement of the principal terms and conditions of employment. The employer must issue this statement at the end of the first pay period at the latest. This form may be used as a template: Statement of the principal terms and conditions of employment (in Finnish).

Neglecting to issue a written statement is a punishable offence. Under the Employment Contracts Act, a fine may be imposed on the employer or the employer’s representative for such negligence.

­­­­­­­­­­Compliance with a collective agreement

If the employer is not a member of an employers' organisation, the employer must nevertheless comply with the collective agreement defined as universally binding in the sector in question. Collective agreements contain provisions on the minimum terms and conditions of employment and the execution of written employment contracts, which the employer must take into account when signing an employment contract.

Any provision in an employment contract that conflicts with the corresponding provision in the collective agreement is null and void, and the provision of the collective agreement shall stand.

An employer belonging to an employers’ organisation must comply with the collective agreement signed by that organisation.

Collective agreements confirmed as universally binding are available in the Finlex online service (in Finnish).
 

Legislation

Employment Contracts Act (55/2001)

  • Chapter 1
    • Section 3 Form and duration of employment contract
    • Section 4 Trial period
    • Section 5 Benefits depending on the duration of the employment relationship
    • Section 6 Contracts of employment with legally incompetent persons
  • Chapter 2
    • Section 4 Information on principal terms of work
    • Section 7 General applicability of collective agreements
  • Chapter 13
    • Section 11 Penalties

Young Workers' Act (998/1993)

  • Section 2 Admitting to work
  • Section 3 Contract of employment
  • Section 15 Special permits

Glossary

Trial period A period of fixed length at the start of an employment relationship, during which the employment contract may be cancelled by either party with immediate effect.
Collective agreement An agreement signed by one or more workers' unions and one or more employers’ organisations concerning terms and conditions of employment that must be complied with in the sector that the agreement covers. A collective agreement may be universally binding or normally binding. Unaffiliated employers in sectors falling within the scope of a universally binding collective agreement are obliged to comply with its provisions as minimum terms and conditions of employment.