Working hours

The Working Hours Act specifies the maximum working hours per day and per week, and also overtime, rest periods between shifts and the requirement for keeping a record of working hours. Flexible working hours or an adjustment system over a longer period of time may be agreed upon, as long as the arrangements agreed upon comply with the Working Hours Act and the applicable collective agreement.

Regular working hours

‘Regular working hours’ as defined in the Working Hours Act refer to the daily and weekly hours worked by the employee. Under the general provision in the Working Hours Act, regular working hours shall not exceed eight hours a day or 40 hours a week. The ‘day’ and ‘week’ are defined as the calendar day and calendar week, respectively, unless otherwise agreed.

The general provision does not prohibit working hours arrangements where the working hours are shorter than the above. The general provision also allows for averaging working hours over a longer period of time, allowing for a six-day working week.

Average working hours

Working hours may be arranged on the basis of an average over a longer period of time. In this arrangement, weekly working hours may be arranged so that they work out to no more than 40 hours per week on average over an adjustment period of 52 weeks. The adjustment period may also be shorter.

When average working hours are applied, the daily and the weekly working hours may be longer than what is stated in the Working Hours Act as a rule, if this has been agreed in the collective agreement generally binding for the branch.

An employer applying the average working hours provision or period-based work provisions of the Working Hours Act must have a working hours adjustment system in place. The system must show the regular working hours for at least every week in the adjustment period.

The adjustment system must be prepared in advance at least for the period within which the regular working hours must average out to the statutory or agreed average number. Employees must be notified of any changes to the adjustment system well ahead of time.

 

Sector Maximum regular working hours Duration of the adjustement period
Daily working hours Weekly working hours
Food industry clerical workers

10 hours

50 hours

12 months

Energy sector workers

10 hours

50 hours

12 months

ICT-sector
clerical workers

12 hours

Not regulated

12 months

Trade sector
workerst

10 hours (or more)

48 hours

26 weeks

Real estate services workers

10 hours

Not regulated

26 weeks

Hotel and restaurant industry workers

10 hours

Not regulated 6 months
Construction workers

10 hours

50 hours

6 months

Electrical installation workerst

10 hours

50 hours

26 weeks

Technology industry
workers
Not regulated Not regulated

12 months

Technology industry clerical workers

12 hours

Not regulated

12 months

Examples of the provisions in collective agreements on the average working hours.

Additional work

Additional work is work done in addition to the employee’s agreed regular working hours that does not exceed the maximum regular working hours specified in the Working Hours Act. Additional work is work done at the employer’s initiative and with the employee’s consent.

Työaika-kuvituskuvaExample:

  • The agreed regular daily working hours of an employee are six hours.
  • The employee works an eight-hour day.
  • The difference between the agreed working hours and the actual working hours, two hours, counts as additional work.

Over time work

Overtime is defined as working hours exceeding the regular weekly working hours specified in the Working Hours Act (8 h/day and 40 h/week). However, work done beyond regular working hours is only considered overtime if it is done at the employer’s initiative and with the employer’s approval.

Overtime also always requires the employee’s consent, and this consent must be specifically and separately obtained for each occasion. Therefore an employee cannot be ordered to work overtime and may not commit in the employment contract to working overtime whenever required.

Daily overtime is work that exceeds the maximum daily regular working hours specified in the Act. Weekly overtime is work that exceeds the maximum weekly regular working hours specified in the Act but not the maximum daily regular working hours.

Maximum amount of overtime

The maximum amount of overtime during a four-month period is 138 hours. Collective agreements may contain provisions on the length of this accrual period differing from the Act. Also, the maximum amount of overtime in a calendar year is 250 hours.

If the 250-hour maximum looks likely to be reached and the employer still has a need for more overtime, additional overtime may be agreed on locally. The maximum amount of such additional overtime in a calendar year is 80 hours. Altogether the maximum amount of over time is 330 hours per year.

 


Overtime
Work exceeding the maximum regular working hours (8 h/days and 40 h/week) under the Working Hours Act

 

Daily overtime

Work exceeding the maximum regular daily working hours.

.

 

Weekly overtime

Not exceeding the maximum regular daily working hours, but exceeding the maximum regular weekly working hours..


Maximum overtime
138 h/4 months or 250 h/calendar year

Additional work

Work exceeding the maximum overtime  (250 h/calendar year).
Maximum 80 h/calendar year. Local agreements on the work place.


Maximum overtime based on agreement on additional overtime work 
330 h/calendar year

Overtime under the Working Hours Act.

Further information:

Working hours

Managing working hours

Form for following up working hours (In Finnish)