Study leave

Study leave - Ingressi

Study leave is designed to give employees an opportunity to study. The right to take study leave is based on the Finnish Study Leave Act. The Study Leave Act applies to both private-sector employment contracts and public-service employment relationships. Study leave gives employees an opportunity to study in a flexible way without terminating their employment contract.

Study leave - Yleistä

An employee on study leave has been released from the performance of their work duties to enable them to study.

The right to take study leave

An employee becomes entitled to up to two years of study leave in a five-year period when their employment relationship with the same employer has lasted overall for at least one year in one or more periods. Likewise, the employee is entitled to a maximum of five days of study leave if their employment relationship with the same employer in one or more periods has lasted at least three months.

Matters to take into account when considering taking study leave:

  • employees on study leave are free to choose their field of study
  • their studies do not need to be related to their employer’s business
  • the course must be run by an organisation that is subject to public supervision (also abroad)
  • in some circumstances, study leave can be used to take courses provided by trade unions, and
  • a person in apprenticeship training is not entitled to study leave.

Study leave can be taken in one or more blocks. Alternatively, the employee can work a few hours each day and take the rest of the day off to study.

Applying for study leave and granting it

Study leave is always granted on the basis of the employee’s application.

The application must be submitted to the employer before the studies begin

  • in writing at least 45 days before, if applying for more than five working days of study leave
  • in writing or orally at least 15 days before, if applying for no more than five working days of study leave. The employer and employee can also agree on another method of application.

The employer must inform the applicant about their decision before the studies begin

  • in writing at least 15 calendar days before, if the application is for more than five working days of study leave
  • at the latest seven days before, if the application is for no more than five working days.

The employer must also inform the shop steward representing the employee about their decision on the study leave if the employee requests it.

Employer’s right to reschedule study leave

The employer has a right to reschedule an employee’s study leave if the employee’s absence during the period specified in their leave application would cause considerable inconvenience for the employer’s business. In such cases, the study leave can be postponed by a maximum of six months. If the course that the employee wants to attend is run at intervals of more than six months, the employer can postpone their study leave at most until the beginning of the next course.

The study leave can also be postponed if less than six months have passed since the employee’s previous study leave. However, the employer does not have the right to postpone the study leave if the employee intends to conclude a course of training or study that they began during their last period of study leave.

In addition to the above-mentioned grounds, the employer may reschedule the study leave no more than twice in a row if they regularly employ at least five people.

There is no cap on the number of times that an employer can reschedule an employee’s study leave if they employ no more than four workers. Employers cannot reschedule an employee’s study leave arbitrarily but only if the leave would significantly impede the employer’s business.

Employee’s right to reschedule or cancel their study leave

Study leaves of more than five days can be rescheduled by the employee as long as the new schedule does not considerably inconvenience their employer. Employees who wish to reschedule or cancel their study leave must let their employer know in writing at least two weeks before they are due to start their leave.

Employee’s right to return to work early

Employees who have been granted more than 50 working days of study leave can end their leave early and return to work at any time. Shorter study leaves cannot be terminated early. An employee on study leave who wishes to return to work early must let their employer know at least four weeks before they intend to return to work.

If an employee is incapacitated for work on account of illness, childbirth or an accident during a period of study leave and such incapacity lasts for more than seven consecutive days, the employee can ask, if they do so without delay, that such part of the period of incapacity as exceeds the limit shall be deducted from their study leave allowance. In such cases, the employee can take the extra days of leave at a later date but must submit a separate application to do so.

An employer does not have to take an employee who has gone on study leave back until the employment contract of any new employee hired to cover for them can be terminated by law or on the grounds of a collective agreement.

Reporting to the employer on how the study leave was spent

On the employer’s request, an employee must present the employer with a written certificate confirming that they have spent their study leave in the approved manner. The provider of the education or training, or a supervisor of the employee’s proficiency test is required to provide this written certificate.

Duration of the employment relationship and accrual of annual holiday during study leave

An employee’s employment relationship continues to be valid throughout their study leave. Study leave is unpaid unless otherwise stipulated in the applicable collective agreement or agreed between the employer and the employee.

The employee accrues annual holiday during their study leave if they return to work immediately after their study leave has ended. However, annual holiday is accrued over no more than 30 days of study leave during a calendar year.

Study leave and termination of employment

An employer cannot terminate or cancel an employee’s employment contract on the grounds that they have sought or taken study leave. However, being on study leave does not prevent an employee from being given notice of termination on other legal grounds for dismissal.

Study leave - Lainsäädäntö