Wages, Terms & Conditions of Employment
Primary source of information for this page: Finnish Occupational Health & Safety Administration
This is a brief guide only, and does not constitute legal advice
Working in Finland
Finnish labour and occupational safety legislation is applicable to all employees working for Finnish employers regardless of their nationality. In the case of 'posted workers', terms and conditions such as overtime, working hours, vacations, sick-leave and minimum wage are in accordance with the applicable collective agreement.
There is no universal minimum wage in Finland. Collective agreements in most employment branches determine minimum pay and other employment terms; some go so far as to include benefits such as food and residence. Even if there is no generally binding collective agreement with employer obligations for the sector, the employer must pay wages considered as 'normal and reasonable'. Employers may not contract on employee benefits that are worse than those laid down by the generally binding collective agreement. Wages in collective agreements are generally determined according to the employees' professional skills, experience and the geographical situation of the workplace.
The employer must, in connection with payment of wages, give the employee a calculation which indicates the amount of pay and the grounds of its determination.
Be sure to understand the minimum working hours in your employment contract. A zero-hours contract (ex. your weekly working time is 0-20 hours) means your employer does not have to pay you anything for a week with zero actual working hours. Employers must always pay at least the minimum working hours guaranteed in the contract.
Pay during illness - 'Sick Pay'
An employee who is unable to work due to an illness or an accident is entitled to paid sick leave. Wages are paid for the day when the illness started (if it had been a working day for the employee) and for the working days included in the following 9 weekdays. If the employment relationship at the start of the disability has lasted for at least one month, the employee will be paid full wages for the said period. If the employment relationship has lasted for a period shorter than one month, half of the wages will be paid for the same period.
In most sectors, wages are paid during sick leave on the basis of the applicable collective agreement, not the law. The provisions on sick pay in collective agreements may in some respects differ from the minimum benefits provided by law. Usually the sick pay period provided by collective agreements is longer than the statutory period. Check your applicable collective agreementergarding your circumstances.
Increased pay for overtime
Working hours exceeding the regular working hours are overtime hours. Overtime is compensated with additional, higher pay. Very briefly:
- for the first two daily hours of overtime normal pay is increased by 50% and for the following hours by 100%
- weekly over-time hours are increased by 50%. The 12 first overtime hours of a two-week period and the 18 first hours of a three-week period are increased by 50 % and the following hours with double pay.
- Sunday work is paid with doubled wages
- Separate evening and night work compensations are paid according to the collective agreements
- Information & Regulations on pay and compensation for extra hours, overtime, and Sunday work
See www.suomi.fi Rules of Working Life for information on employment regulations - En, Fi, Sw
Regular working hours are usually at most 8 daily hours and 40 weekly hours. In a two-week period the working hours are not more than 80 hours and in a three-week period 120 hours. The weekly hours may also be arranged in longer periods during which the average weekly hours do not exceed 40 hours. The working hours may be arranged by law or collective agreements alternatively, for ex. in two- or three-week periods.
A zero-hours contract (ex. your weekly working time is 0-20 hours) means you are not guaranteed any mnimum hours, or pay, during the week.
Each workplace must have a work schedule from which the workers regular working hours, beginning and ending times and the placement of the rest periods can be read. To avoid possible misunderstandings employees should keep their own record of their worked hours and received wages.
Information & Regulations on working time, flexible hours, schedules, shift-work, overtime, time-keeping and related matters:
See www.suomi.fi Rules of Working Life - En, Fi, Sw
If the daily working time is at least 6 hours the employee is given a rest period of at least 30 minutes (lunch break), a daily rest period of at least 11 hours must be given and a weekly rest period of at least 35 hours.
Employees' Obligations & Rights
Employers have the duty to continuously monitor the safety of the work environment, the work atmosphere and work practices (i.e. not only when a problem is reported). They must take any necessary remedial action, and communicate resolution of the matter. Problems encountered in working conditions, safety and health at the workplace, or employment relationships must be reported to the employer or the employer's representative so that the employer can look into the matter and take measures to correct the problem. Reporting can take place with the assistance of the safety ombudsman, the occupational safety and health (OSH) representative, or a shop steward.
Employees are required by law to report hazards or risks discovered in working conditions, machinery, equipment or work methods. They also have a duty to remedy, where possible, such faults and defects they have noticed which cause evident danger. Such measures must be reported to the employer. The employer must tell the reporting employee and the OSH representative what measures have been or will be taken, or explain why no action is warranted.
If work causes serious danger to the life or health of the employee, or any other employees, the employee has the right to refuse such work. The employer must be informed of the employee's refusal to work as soon as possible. The right to refuse work remains until the employer has eliminated the hazard or in some other way ensured that the work can be safely performed.
Employers are obligated to provide occupational healthcare for all employees.
An employee has a right to receive pay also for the time he/she is on annual holiday. Normally holiday leave accumulates 2 days (when employment has lasted less than 1 year) or 2½ days for each holiday credit month. Normal wages are paid for the time an employee is on holiday. Earned holiday leave cannot be replaced with compensation pay unless the holiday cannot be given due to the ending of the employment. Holiday compensation must also be paid if the worked hours do not entitle to holiday leave (when working hours are under 35 h/month or working days under 14 days/month).
Holiday compensation is 9-11,5%, in the construction branch 18.5 %, of the accumulated wages during the holiday credit year, excluding raised pay for overtime or emergency work.
Holiday compensation must be paid when the employment ends or, if so agreed, in addition to every monthly wage. According to many collective agreements the employee also has a right to additional holiday money, which is usually a half of the holiday wages.
A foreign employee working for a Finnish employer in Finland is to be insured by the employer with a mandatory accident insurance. The insurance covers both accidents at work and on the journey to work.
If a foreign employer has sent an employee temporarily to work in Finland, the employee may be covered by the sending country’s insurance, in which case the insurance premiums are paid only there. Usually, unless the country in question is a EU/EEA or other country with a social security agreement, a posted worker’s certificate must be acquired from the sending country. In questions concerning accident compensation an employee can turn to The Federation of Accident Insurance Institutions (FAII).
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