Working hours - Yleistä VANHA


General information on topic

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 The information on this page is based on provisions that have now been repealed. You can find the content according to the new Act here.

‘Regular working hours’ as defined in the Working Hours Act refer to the daily and weekly hours worked by the employee. The ‘day’ and ‘week’ are defined as the calendar day and calendar week, respectively, unless otherwise agreed.

Differing provisions on working hours may have been agreed in the collective agreement. The employer must thus consult the applicable collective agreement concerning working hours.

If the work to be done involves transport, in determining the principles for working hours the employer must consider the provisions of the Working Hours Act on the working hours of motor vehicle drivers and the driving times and rest period of motor vehicle drivers.

If there are employees aged under 18, the employer must take into account the provisions of the Young Workers Act regarding maximum working hours and the timing of working hours.

What is considered working hours?

The time spent on work is considered working hours. The time an employee is required to be present at a place of work at the employer’s disposal is also considered working hours. In other words, when an employee is required to remain at the workplace, even if he/she is not doing any work, this counts as working hours if the employee is ready to resume work immediately if needed.

There may be more specific provisions concerning working hours in collective agreements.

The ‘workplace’ may be defined as not only the regular or principal workplace but any location where the employer assigns the employee to perform work.

What is not considered working hours?

Principally, the following are not considered to be included in working hours:

  • daily periods of rest, if the employee is free to leave the workplace during these times, and
  • travel time, if it does not constitute work performance in itself.

The Labour Council has issued statements concerning whether training, health examinations and social functions should be included in working hours. Whether or not a particular time is considered to be included in working hours should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Sunday work

Employees may be required to work on a Sunday or church holiday only when the work concerned is regularly carried out on the said days due to its nature, or if the employee provides a separate consent for such work. For example, work carried out in restaurants or shops can be determined as such statutory work regularly carried out on the said days due to its nature.

The wage payable for Sunday work performed as part of regular working hours is the regular wage with a 100% increment. The Sunday increment cannot be included in the employee’s basic wages. The Sunday increment also cannot be exchanged for time off with pay, unless this is specifically provided for in the collective agreement.

Working hours - Työntekijälle VANHA laki


Instructions for employee

Flexible working hours accumulations

If you have a flexible working hours arrangement, ensure that you remain within the accumulation limits defined. For instance, if it has been agreed that the number of extra hours may not exceed 40 hours, then it is your responsibility to ensure that that maximum is not exceeded. The employer is by default not liable to compensate employees for hours exceeding the agreed maximum accumulation.

If your accumulation is at the maximum and your work requires working a longer day, ask your supervisor whether you could continue your work on overtime.

Number of hours worked

You should keep a record at least of the overtime you have worked so that you can verify that your pay has been correctly calculated.

Employees are entitled to be given details from the record of working hours concerning themselves.

An employee or a third party authorised by that employee is entitled to receive from the employer a written statement on the details concerning the employee himself/herself in the shift roster and the record of working hours. 

If you need this information, you may use the form: Document request to employer (in Finnish).

If you are not given this information despite asking for it, contact the occupational safety and health division at your local Regional State Administrative Agency. An occupational safety and health inspector may, with your consent, take monitoring action to obtain the information in question.

Working hours - Työnantajalle VANHA laki


Instructions for employer

Preparing and publishing the shift roster

The employer must prepare and publish the shift roster in good time. The employer must comply with the provisions of the applicable collective agreement in preparing the shift roster. A shift roster is of great importance in work where working days and working hours change constantly. It is important for employees to know about their working hours beforehand for time management reasons.

The employee must be able to trust that the published shift roster will be followed without changes. Therefore, a shift roster once published can principally only be amended with the consent of the employee(s) concerned.

Correct keeping of the record of working hours

Correct documentation of working hours is of crucial importance if disagreements concerning hours worked and compensation paid need to be resolved after the fact between employer and employee.

In cases where the employer has neglected to keep a record of working hours or is keeping it incorrectly, courts tend to rely on the employee’s reports and notes presented as grounds for claims for overtime pay.

Employee’s right of access to details in the record of working hours concerning themselves

The employer must take into account that an employee or a third party authorised by that employee is entitled to receive from the employer a written statement on the details concerning the employee himself/herself in the shift roster and the record of working hours.

Presenting the record of working hours and other working hours documents

The record of working hours and any written agreements on regular working hours and extra overtime must be presented on demand to the occupational safety and health inspector. The shop steward and occupational safety and health representative at the workplace are also entitled to see these documents.

The employer must, on demand from the occupational safety and health inspector, provide copies of:

  • the record of working hours,
  • written agreements concerning working hours and extra overtime,
  • the working hours adjustment system, and
  • the shift roster.