Working hours account

Working hours - Working hours account - Yleistä

The Working Hours Act provides for a working hours accounting system that can be introduced to help individual personnel groups or all employers to keep track of their working hours, holiday allowances and any accrued time off in lieu of monetary compensations.

How is a working hours accounting system introduced?

A working hours accounting system can be introduced by agreement between the employer and the shop steward. If no shop steward has been elected, another elected representative or another representative of the employees or a group of employees can sign the agreement on behalf of the employees. The agreement will then apply to all employees whom the personnel representative who signed the agreement must be deemed to represent.

What needs to be agreed and how?

The introduction of a working hours accounting system must be agreed in writing. The agreement must specify at least

  1. what information can be entered into the system
  2. accumulation limits
  3. how the system is to be dissolved and how employees will be reimbursed for any accumulated entitlements upon the dissolution of the system, and
  4. how holidays can be taken and the procedures for taking time off in lieu of monetary compensation.

The agreement can specify, for example, that employees should ideally take their holidays in the summer or during other off-peak periods.

What information can be entered into the system?

Employees can use their working hours account to accumulate

  1. additional work and overtime hours
  2. up to 60 surplus hours accumulated by working flexible hours during each four-month reference period, and
  3. any statutory or contractual monetary compensations that have been converted into time off in lieu.

Entering information into an employee’s working hours account always requires the employee’s consent. Employees can give their consent for each entry separately or for a fixed period of a short duration.

Any holidays and time off accumulated in employees’ working hours accounts are taken according to the rules of the system. Any rules that previously applied to taking holidays or losing holiday entitlements will be supplanted by the rules of the working hours accounting system.

What information cannot be entered into the system?

Working hours accounts can never be used to accumulate

  • wages payable for regular working hours
  • reimbursement for expenses or other similar reimbursements, or
  • monetary compensations that are to be paid in money.

The working hours accumulated in an employee’s working hours account must not exceed the equivalent of six months’ working hours at any one time. The ceiling is calculated according to the actual hours worked by each employee. There is also a ceiling for working hours accumulated in the system over each calendar year, which is 180 hours.

How can time off accumulated in a working hours account be taken?

The way in which time off can be taken must be agreed when the working hours accounting system is set up. Time off accumulated in a working hours account must be taken in accordance with the rules and procedures agreed for the system.

Employees are entitled to take at least two weeks of any time off accumulated in their working hours account during each calendar year. However, employees who have accumulated more than 10 weeks of time off in their account can use at least one fifth of their accumulation per year.

An employee’s request to take time off on the basis of their account balance must be granted within a period of six months. If it is up to the employer to determine when employees can take time off, employees can choose to ask for cash instead of taking holidays.

How does a working hours accounting system established under the Working Hours Act differ from a working hours accounting scheme based on a collective agreement?

There may be provisions on working hours accounting in the applicable collective agreement, which must always be checked separately. If an employer has introduced a working hours accounting scheme based on a collective agreement, the provisions of the collective agreement must be observed. A working hours accounting scheme based on the applicable collective agreement is therefore an alternative for a working hours accounting system based on the Working Hours Act.

A working hours accounting system based on the Working Hours Act can only be deployed once any working hours accounting scheme established on the basis of the applicable collective agreement has been discontinued. Working hours accounting systems that are based on the Working Hours Act are governed exclusively by the provisions of the Act.

Working hours - Working hours account - Työntekijälle

 

Instructions for employee

Always check the rules agreed for the working hours accounting system at your workplace before you consent to your employer’s entering information into your working hours account. If your employer’s working hours accounting scheme is based on a collective agreement, check the relevant provisions in the collective agreement. 

Working hours - Working hours account - Työnantajalle

 

Instructions for employer

Entering information into a working hours accounting system

It is the employer’s responsibility to seek employees’ consent before entering any information into their working hours accounts. Employees can give their consent for each entry separately or for a fixed period of a short duration.

Keeping the record of working hours correctly

It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that their employees’ working hours are recorded correctly. If a working hours accounting system has been put in place, the record of working hours must show the account balances of each employee and any time off taken by employees on the basis of the system.