General information on topic

There are three parties to a temporary agency work employment relationship: the employee, the temporary agency and the user company. The temporary agency is the employee’s employer and pays his/her wages. The user company directs and supervises the work being done. A ‘user company’ in this context can be not only a business enterprise but also the central government, a local authority, a joint municipal authority, a parish, a foundation or an organisation.

The minimum terms and conditions of employment in temporary agency work are derived from employment legislation and the applicable collective agreement. Even if there is no binding collective agreement, the terms and conditions of employment must be reasonable, and there must be legal grounds for fixed-term employment.

The employer is required to give agency workers the terms and conditions of employment in writing regardless of how short the employment relationship is. Because the agency worker has an employment contract with the temporary agency but works at the user company’s workplace, the agency worker’s terms and conditions of employment may differ from those of others working on the same shift.

Termination of a temporary agency work employment relationship is subject to the provisions on the termination of an employment relationship in the Employment Contracts Act. The temporary agency issues the employee a certificate of employment detailing the duration of the employment relationship and the job duties. If the employee requests a testimonial (an evaluation of occupational skills and conduct) to be included in the certificate of employment, the user company must provide the temporary agency with the relevant information.

The temporary agency must advertise any vacancies generally within the company or according to accepted practice in the workplace. The user company must also advertise any vacancies to agency workers, who must be given the opportunity to apply for those vacancies.

Agency workers posted abroad from Finland are subject to the Posted Workers Act.

 

Instructions for employee

If you are an agency worker, you may be in the service of several user companies at the same time. The temporary agency is your employer, but your work is supervised and guided by the user company.

The temporary agency pays your wages. Your terms and conditions of employment comply with employment legislation and the applicable collective agreement. The temporary agency must provide at least the statutory level of occupational health care, i.e. preventive occupational health care.

You accrue annual holiday and pension for the work you do just like in any other employment relationship. You are also entitled to family leave.

The user company must ensure that your work is safe and healthy. They must inform you to a sufficient extent of the harmful and hazardous features of the work and the occupational safety and health measures to be undertaken because of them.

A personnel representative (shop steward or occupational safety and health representative) represents the agency worker in the temporary agency. Similarly, a personnel representative at the user company represents employees of the user company.

In matters of occupational safety, however, you may contact the occupational safety and health representative at the user company. You may also authorise the personnel representative at the user company to investigate any dispute arising from your pay or your employment relationship. In such a case, the temporary agency must provide the information necessary for clarifying the matter to the aforementioned personnel representative of the user company.
 

Instructions for employer

Temporary agency work is subject to the same employment legislation as all other employment relationships. The key obligations of the temporary agency are complying with the minimum terms and conditions of employment and providing occupational health care.

Fixed-term employment relationships may only be concluded if there are legal grounds for doing so. These grounds must be entered in the employment contract or written statement of the essential terms and conditions of employment.

It is a key requirement for the user company to ensure the occupational safety of the agency worker in his/her day-to-day work. For this purpose, the user company must inform the temporary agency of the occupational skill requirements of the job and the special features of the work involved.

The user company must inform the temporary agency to a sufficient extent of the harmful and hazardous features of the work and the occupational safety and health measures to be undertaken because of them. The user company must notify its own occupational health care service and occupational safety and health representative of introducing temporary agency work.

Agency workers posted to Finland from abroad are subject to the Posted Workers Act, under which the terms and conditions of their employment are determined similarly as for Finnish workers. The user company is responsible for ensuring that a foreign temporary agency appoints a representative in Finland if necessary.

Legislation on contractor’s liability and codetermination also apply to temporary agency work

The Act on the Contractor’s Obligations and Liability when Work is Contracted Out also applies to companies that use agency workers. Before the user company and the temporary agency sign an agreement on using agency workers, the user company must obtain the reports concerning the temporary agency that are required under the contractor’s liability.

If the temporary agency employs 20 or more people regularly, the temporary agency must comply with the Act on Co-operation in Undertakings. For further information on the Act on Co-operation in Undertakings and enforcement of the legislation, consult the online service of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy.

Agency worker’s right to use the services and other arrangements of the user company

Under the equality principle, agency workers must have equal access to the services and other arrangements provided by the user company for its employees. These include arrangements and benefits offered by the user company, such as access to the company gym, meals in the staff canteen and discounts on the services of partner companies. However, the user company is not required to contribute financially to the enjoyment of said benefits by agency workers. Specifically, for instance, agency workers are not automatically entitled to a meal benefit offered by the user company to its employees.
 

Legislation

Employment Contracts Act (55/2001)
  • Chapter 2
    • Section 6 Information on vacancies
    • Section 9 The collective agreement applicable to the employment relationships of hired employees
    • Section 9 a Hired workers entitlement to the user enterprise's services and facilities
    • Section 11 Pay during illness
  • Chapter 4
    • Section 8 Obligation to pay remuneration

Working Hours Act (605/1996)

Annual Holidays Act (162/2005)

Occupational Health Care Act (1383/2001)

Act on Posted Workers (447/2016)

Act on the Contractor’s Obligations and Liability when Work is Contracted Out (1233/2006)

Glossary

Testimonial Evaluation of the employee’s occupational skills and conduct, included in the certificate of employment. This may only be included if the employee specifically requests it.
Temporary agency work Work for which an employer requiring labour signs an agreement with an agency providing hired labour. Agency workers perform their duties subject to the supervision of the user company.
User company The company in which an agency worker performs work. A ‘user company’ may also be the central government, a local authority, a joint municipal authority, a parish, a foundation or an organisation.
Temporary agency The employer of an agency worker.
Private employment agency A term used for a temporary agency particularly if it also offers recruitment and other HR services.
Commission agreement (customer contract) Agreement signed by the user company and the temporary agency concerning hired labour.
Job assignment A short period of work, e.g. one day, in a specific location.
Holiday bonus A bonus equal to 50% of annual holiday pay. Holiday bonuses are provided for in collective agreements, not by law.
Employment contract An agreement in which the employer and employee agree on the work to be performed and its terms and conditions.
Fixed-term employment contract An employment contract that is valid until a predetermined date, until the completion of a specific job assignment or until a specific event.
Indefinitely valid employment contract An agreement that is valid until further notice, terminated by giving notice to terminate.
Record of working hours A record kept by the employer listing employees' daily work and rest periods and any hours of additional work and overtime.
Shift roster A list of shift times and assignments given to the employee.
Collective agreement An agreement signed by one or more workers' unions and one or more employers’ organisations concerning terms 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 of employment.

Frequently asked questions Frequently asked questions