Rest periods and breaks

Rest periods and breaks -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.

Daily breaks

The Working Hours Act and collective agreements give employees the right to regular breaks and rest periods. 

According to the Working Hours Act, employees who work more than six hours a day in a job where their physical presence at the workplace is not a requisite for the uninterrupted flow of work must, as a rule, be given a daily break of at least one hour. The employer can also agree on a shorter break with their employees, albeit no shorter than half an hour. Employees must be free to leave the workplace during their break.

Employees who work shifts or have a period-based work schedule must be given a break of at least half an hour or an opportunity to eat at work during each shift of more than six hours.

Daily rest period

As a rule, employees are entitled to an uninterrupted period of at least 11 hours off during the 24 hours following the beginning of each shift. A shorter daily rest period of nine hours can be applied to employees who have a period-based work schedule, if this is necessary to ensure the flow of work. 

Weekly free time

As a rule, employees must be given at least 35 hours of uninterrupted free time during each period of seven days, preferably around a Sunday.

The 35-hour weekly free time entitlement can also be averaged out over a period of 14 days. However, employees must always have at least 24 hours off during each seven-day period.

Any employees who have to be called in to work during their weekly time off must be compensated for the loss of their free time. This can be done either by shortening an employee’s regular working hours to make up for the free time lost or by remunerating them in cash according to their regular hourly rate.