Working hours (the old Act)

Permits and notifications - Working hours - Yleistä - VANHA laki

Exemptions from the rules on regular working hours

Please note: A new version of the Finnish Working Hours Act entered into force on 1 January 2020. The information on this webpage is based on provisions that have now been repealed. You can find the information according to the new Act here.

Pursuant to the Finnish Working Hours Act, employees’ regular working hours must not, as a rule, exceed eight hours in each 24-hour period of 40 hours per week. The regular weekly working

hours of an employee can also be arranged in such a way that they average 40 hours over a period of no more than 52 weeks. The rule on weekly working hours can be deviated from by national collective agreements.

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

If the nature of an employee’s work requires them to mostly work outside their normal daily working hours, occupational safety and health authorities can waive the rule on regular working hours.

Occupational safety and health authorities can also, in special circumstances, permit employers to introduce period-based working hours in sectors other than those listed in the Working Hours Act.

Applying for exemptions

Exemptions can be sought by sending an informal written application to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health of the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southwestern Finland. See here for contact information. An opinion by the employees’ representative must be appended to the application.

Permits and notifications - Working hours - Lainsäädäntö - VANHA laki



Working Hours Act (605/1996)
  • Section 7 – Working hours in period-based work
  • Section 14 – Exceptional regular working hours