Regular working hours

Regular working hours -alasivu - UUSI laki

Please note: A new version of the Finnish Working Hours Act entered into force on 1 January 2020. The information on this page is based on the new Act. You can find the content according to the old Act here.

It is important to agree on working hours when signing the employment contract.

Regular working hours refer to the daily and weekly hours that each employee is expected to work on the basis of their employment contract. The Working Hours Act stipulates that, as a rule, regular working hours must not exceed eight hours a day or 40 hours a week. Unless otherwise agreed, each 24-hour period begins at midnight and each week begins on a Monday. The main rule does not prevent employers from introducing arrangements that are based on shorter working hours than the aforementioned maximums. The rule also enables arrangements whereby employees’ regular working hours are averaged out so as to create a six-day working week.

Average working hours

Employees’ working hours can also be agreed on the basis of an average, in which case their weekly working hours must average out at 40 hours per week over an adjustment period of no more than 52 weeks. According to the Working Hours Act, daily working hours must not exceed eight hours, but weekly hours can be averaged out over six days. A shorter adjustment period can also be used.

Period-based working hours

The Working Hours Act also specifies certain jobs that can be performed according to a period-based work schedule. In the case of period-based work, working hours should, as a rule, be arranged so as to not exceed 120 hours in any three-week period or 80 hours during any two-week period.

The aforementioned rule can be waived in order to organise work in a more practical way and to avoid impractical shifts. However, employees’ regular working hours can never exceed 240 hours

  • in any two consecutive three-week periods or
  • in any three consecutive two-week periods.

In the case of work schedules that are based on two consecutive three-week periods, employees’ regular working hours must not exceed 128 hours during either of the two three-week periods. In the case of work schedules that are based on three consecutive two-week periods, employees’ regular working hours must not exceed 88 hours during any of the three two-week periods.