Rest periods (according to the old Act)

Rest periods -alasivu - VANHA laki

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 The information on this page is based on provisions that have now been repealed.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.

Daily break

Employees must be granted rest periods according to the Working Hours Act and the applicable collective agreement.

According to the general provision in the Working Hours Act, an employee must be granted a regular rest period of at least one hour if daily working hours exceed six hours and the employee's presence at the workplace is not necessitated by work continuity. The employer and employee may agree on a shorter rest period, though not less than half an hour. Employees are allowed to leave the workplace during the rest period.

If working hours in shift work or period-based work exceed six hours, employees must be allowed a rest period of at least half an hour or an opportunity to eat while they are working.

Daily rest period

The general provision regarding daily rest periods is that during the 24 hours following the beginning of the work shift, employees must be given an uninterrupted rest period of at least 11 hours, and at least nine hours in the case of period-based work.

Weekly free time

The general provision concerning weekly free time is that employees must enjoy at least 35 hours of uninterrupted free time each week, preferably around a Sunday.

The weekly free time may also be arranged so that it averages 35 hours within a 14-day period. The weekly free time must, however, be at least 24 hours.

If employees are temporarily required to work during their free time, the loss of free time must be compensated. This compensation may be defined as a similar length of time off from work with pay or remuneration according to the basic part of overtime compensation.