Finnish occupational safety and health authorities' workplace bulletin for employers in the forest sector
Workplace bulletin 3/2023 | Published 15.5.2023
Also available in Estonian and Russian.
Occupational safety and health authorities carry out inspections in the forest sector to monitor the use of foreign labour in Finland. Inspections are carried out in particular to ensure that the employer has ascertained the employee's right to work and complies with the provisions of the collective agreement. Supervision is carried out for both Finnish and foreign companies.
This workplace bulletin contains information on the obligations of forest sector employers in Finland. The obligations also apply to companies that post workers to Finland.
This workplace bulletin explains only some of the employer's obligations in Finland. For more information on the employer's obligations, see elsewhere in Tyosuojelu.fi.
Pay and other terms of employment are laid down in the collective agreement. The collective agreement for the forest sector is available in Finnish, English and Russian.
Occupational safety and health authorities in Finland are the Divisions of Occupational Safety and Health of the Regional State Administrative Agencies.
This workplace bulletin includes the following information:
Working time reports | Compensation based on the difficulty of the work | Use of entry pay | Performance-based pay | Reimbursement of time spent on commuting | Compensation for drivers| Accommodation allowances | Reimbursement related to working hours | Reduced working hours | Annual holidays | Occupational health care | Right to work in Finland | Hermes mobile app | If you post employees to Finland
Working time reports
According to the collective agreement for the forest sector, the employee submits a working time report to the employer in a manner to be agreed separately. Actual time worked is reported with an accuracy of at least 15 minutes. Actual working time means the time during which the employee is available to the employer at the place of work. In hourly paid work, the employee and employer can agree that commuting is included in working hours. In logging work, commuting is included in working hours regardless of the wage basis. The employer must keep these working time records as part of the payroll records and present them to the occupational safety and health authority upon request.
Compensation based on the difficulty of the work
The employee must be determined a personal time-based pay which is recorded in the employment contract. The employee's personal time-based pay should take the difficulty of the work and the employee’s professional experience into account. The monthly salary is calculated by multiplying the personal time-based pay by 172.
Pay in accordance with the job requirement group I of the collective agreement may be paid when the employee does not perform quality control or measurement of their personal performance. In this case, the supervisor assigns the work at the workplace as well as supervises and is responsible for the work. For example, job requirement group I includes clearing work in which all trees are removed from the area to be cleared.
When an employee works independently and carries out quality management, the minimum salary for the job requirement group II must be paid. For example, thinning, clearing and planting of sapling stands typically fall within the scope of the job requirement group II.
Use of entry pay
It is possible to pay the employee a so-called entry salary for the period during which the employee is learning their work in the forest sector; however, entry pay may only be used for a maximum of three months. An employee working on entry pay does not have previous work experience or work independently. In this case, it must be particularly ensured that the employee is trained for the work and that they work safely. During this period, the employee is paid a time-based salary because an employee without prior professional experience cannot know the grounds for the performance-based salary until they have more professional experience.
Performance-based pay is mainly used in work in job requirement group II, in which the employee independently travels to the place of work and which requires normal professional skills and responsibility. The basis for performance-based pay must be agreed on a site-by-site basis before actual work is performed, and the basis for pay must be provided to the employee in writing.
When the employee works at a normal pace of work, the performance-based pay must exceed the employee's personal time-based pay during a two-month review period. Normal pace of work refers to the average earnings per hour achieved in work with a performance-based pay in comparable local conditions and factors affecting the difficulty of work. The basis for performance-based pay must be the same for all those receiving performance-based pay; in other words, the basis is site-specific, even if the realisation of performance-based pay is assessed on the basis of personal pay.
Reimbursement of time spent on commuting
If the employee's daily commute from their accommodation to and from the work site and between work sites exceeds a total of 54 kilometres, the employee must be compensated for the time spent on the commute for each kilometre travelled. The occupational safety and health authority may ask the employer to present records on the basis of which it can be determined whether there is a justification for paying the compensation.
Compensation for drivers
When an employee transports other employees with the employer's car in connection with their commute, they must be paid a personal time-based pay per driving hour.
If the employee's permanent residence is not in Finland, their permanent residence is considered to be the one in which they stay when arriving in Finland. The address of this abode is recorded in the employment contract as the starting point for commutes. The employer is responsible for organising accommodation at the construction site after the employee leaves the first housing. Starting from the second place of accommodation, the employee must be paid a maintenance and home visit allowance in accordance with the collective agreement for the forest sector. Upon request, the employer must provide the occupational safety and health authority with a report on accommodation.
Reimbursement related to working hours
Regular working hours are 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. If it has been agreed that work exceeds 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week, the employee must be compensated for overtime in accordance with the collective agreement, unless the average working hours have been agreed to be averaged.
There are separate provisions on average working hours in the collective agreement, and its application requires the preparation of a working hours adjustment system. If the working hours are not averaged to an average of 40 hours a week, a salary increased by 50% is paid for overtime.
The wage payable for Sunday work is the regular wage with a 100% increment.
Reduced working hours
During the employment relationship, the employee accrues paid reduced leave in a manner separately agreed in the collective agreement. In employment relationships lasting up to 2 months, reduced working hours may be agreed to be paid in cash in connection with the payment of wages. The compensation is 5.9% of the employee's salary.
In employment relationships of more than two months, the employee is paid holiday pay and a holiday bonus according to the annual holiday provisions of the collective agreement. If the employment relationship lasts for a maximum of two months, the employee can be paid an annual holiday pay of 13.5% in connection with the payment of the holiday pay.
Occupational health care
The employer must provide statutory occupational health care for its employees in Finland. Occupational health care must always be arranged, even if there is only one employee or the work only lasts for a short period of time. The employer must ensure that the occupational health care provider carries out a workplace survey and also carries out health examinations for employees if the work poses a particular risk of illness.
Right to work in Finland
The employer must ensure that the foreigner employees have the right to work in Finland. EU citizens have an unlimited right to work. Others need a permit to work in the forest sector in Finland. The employer must keep the information on the grounds for the right to work for two years after the end of the employment relationship.
Hermes mobile app
The Hermes application has been created for foreign seasonal workers in agriculture and forestry and also benefits employers. The application contains the guidelines for working in agriculture and forestry sectors in English, Swedish, Finnish, Ukrainian and Russian.
The application allows employees and employers to easily check how working hours, leaves or matters related to illness have been agreed. Interaction becomes easier and the language barrier does not get in the way because all language versions of the application have the same content and it is easy to switch between languages. The application can be downloaded from the application stores and at Hermesapp.fi.
If you post employees to Finland
When a company located outside Finland posts workers to Finland, it has some special obligations in addition to the previously described obligations:
Duty to notify
Before the work begins in Finland, the posting company must submit a notification of the posting of workers to the OSH authorities. The notification may be submitted as soon as the contract for posting of workers has been concluded. This must be done at the latest before work in Finland in accordance with the contract begins.
More information is available on the page Reporting duty.
Establishment of a representative and availability of information
Foreign companies with posted workers in Finland must have a representative in Finland whom the posted workers and the authorities can contact at all times during the posting. The representative must have an address in Finland where they can be reached. The posting undertaking must keep information available in Finland on the company and posted workers throughout the whole posting. In practice, this is done via a representative appointed in Finland.
For more information, see pages Employer's representative and Keeping the information available.
Posted worker’s right to work
EU citizens have an unlimited right to work in Finland. A third-country national needs a residence permit that entitles them to work in order to be able to work in Finland.
A third-country national posted from an EU country to work in Finland does not need a permit to work in Finland if all of the following conditions are met:
- The employer is a company established in another EU/EEA country.
- The worker is a posted worker, i.e. is normally employed in the country of origin.
- The employee has a permit entitling them to stay and work in the country of origin, which is still valid after the end of their work in Finland.
- The maximum working time in Finland is 90 days during a 180-day period.
- The work in Finland is temporary, i.e. the maximum duration of the contract between the contractor and the foreign company is 6 months.
It should be noted that the 90-day period mentioned above is not interrupted even if the employee travels outside Finland at times, for example for a holiday or during sick leave. Furthermore, work must not be artificially made temporary by splitting it into short periods.
Senior Officer Merja Laakkonen
email is in the format email@example.com
telephone +358 295 016 976
Regional State Administrative Agency for Eastern Finland, Division of Occupational Safety and Health