Labour and employment in Finland are primarily regulated by the Employment Contracts Act, the Working Hours Act and the Annual Holidays Act.
Hours & Pay Regulations
In Finland, regular working hours total a maximum of 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week. A five-day working week is generally in use. The regular weekly working hours can also be arranged in such a way that the average is 40 hours over a period of no more than 52 weeks. Exceptions to the regular working hours can be made by collective agreements or individual employment agreements.
Working Hours Register
Employers must register and the remuneration paid for them must be entered in the register which shall be periodically maintained.
Working Hour Bank
The new Act allows for the introduction of a statutory working hours bank for all workplaces, even in cases where an employer is not a party to any collective agreement. The following may be transferred to the working time bank by the employee for each occasion or with the consent of the employee for a limited period:
- Additional and overtime hours;
- Hours worked in a floating hours system, up to a maximum of 60 hours in a four-month follow-up period;
- Cash benefits, whether statutory or contractual, after first being converted into a term.
Employees are entitled to a minimum of 2 weeks’ savings per the calendar year in a working time bank. However, if the Working Time Bank has been saved for more than 10 weeks, the employee shall be entitled to at least one-fifth of the accumulated working time bank per year. The employee is entitled to cash compensation instead of the time off. Working Hour Act (Amendment as of Jan 1, 2020) Section 14.
The Act is comparably unbiased in relation to where the work is carried out. Since in a lot of industries work is not tied to a certain place or time anymore, the functionality of the new Act does not require work to be carried out in a certain location.
In accordance with the New Act, the employer and the employee may agree on Flexi working hours so that the employee may, within agreed limits, determine their daily working time. When adjusting the sliding hours, at least:
- One continuous fixed working time;
- The daily sliding limit for working time and the location of the sliding time;
- Placement of rest periods;
- The maximum accumulated excesses and undercuts of regular working hours.
In Flexi hours, regular daily working hours may be reduced or extended by a maximum of 4 hours. The average weekly working time shall not exceed 40 hours on average over a 4-month period, which may be exceeded or exceeded within the sliding limits. The employer and the employee may agree that the accumulated excess of working time will be reduced by the amount of paid time off for the employee. Working Hour Act (Amendment as of Jan 1, 2020) Sec 12-13.
All work exceeding eight hours per day or 40 hours per week is considered to be overtime. If the working hour’s arrangement is one where working hours are averaged over a reference period, all work that is performed in addition to the regular working hours given in the work schedule is considered to be overtime.
For daily overtime, the employee must be given 50 percent more pay for the first two hours and 100 percent for hours beyond that. For weekly overtime, the additional pay must be 50 percent.
An employee’s working time, including overtime, must not exceed an average of 48 hours per week over a 4-month period.
Time off in Lieu
By Agreement, wages payable for overtime can be partly or completely converted into corresponding free time during regular working hours. Such free time must be given within 6 months of the additional work or overtime in question unless otherwise agreed. Working Hours Act, No. 605 of 1996 (as amended), § § 18-23, 33.
Additional work is work that is performed at the employer’s initiative and with the employee’s consent and which exceeds the contractual regular working hours but does not exceed the statutory regular working hours. Working Hours Act, No. 605 of 1996 (as amended), § § 18-23, 33.
In Finland, night work is defined as the working hours between 11 pm and 6 am.
If the daily working hours exceed six, the employee must be granted a regular rest period of at least one hour. The rest time may not be scheduled at the beginning or at the end of a working day. Additionally, if the working time exceeds 10 hours per day, the worker shall also be entitled to a break of not more than half an hour after eight hours of work.
Employees are entitled to a minimum of 11 hours of rest time between shifts.
An employee is entitled to at least 35 hours of uninterrupted rest each week, preferably on a Sunday. The weekly free time period can be arranged so that it averages 35 hours within a 14-day period. Minimum free time must, however, be of at least 24 hours each week Working Hours Act, No. 605 of 1996 (as amended), § § 6-9, 28, 31.
Employees can 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 when agreed upon between employer and employee. The wage payable for Sunday work performed as part of regular working hours is twice the regular wage. Working Hours Act, No. 605 of 1996 (as amended), § § 33.
Public Holidays in Finland are:
- 1 Jan New Year’s Day
- 6 Jan Epiphany
- 30 Mar Good Friday
- 1 Apr Easter
- 1 May Vappu (May Day)
- 10 May Ascension Day
- 20 May Whit Sunday
- 3 Nov All Saints’ Day
- 6 Dec Independence Day
- 25 Dec Christmas Day
- 26 Dec Boxing Day
Employees are entitled to approximately ten annual public or religious holidays when employees are generally entitled to have a paid day off. Public holidays that fall on a weekend remain on that date. Employees who are required to work on a public holiday are entitled to double pay.
Collective bargaining agreements can contain provisions on further holidays with full salary entitlements, including New Year’s Day, Twelfth Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday and Ascension Day. Working Hours Act, No. 605 of 1996 (as amended), § 33.
Employees accrue leave annually based on how many full vacation credit months they have worked within the holiday credit year (April 1 to March 31) and on the length of the employment relationship.
- Length of the Employment Relationship: During the first holiday credit year, employees accrue 2 days of paid holiday per month and 2.5 days thereafter.
- Holiday Credit Year: Those who work a minimum of 14 days during all months according to their contract are within the scope of the 14-day rule. Those who work for a minimum of 35 hours during at least one month according to their contract and who are outside the scope of application of the 14-day rule are covered by the 35-hour rule.
A full holiday credit month is considered to be a calendar month during which workers covered by the 14-day rule have accrued at least 14 working days and persons covered by the 35-hour rule have accrued at least 35 working hours.
The maximum length of statutory annual leave is either 24 or 30 working days per year. 24 working days of annual leave, or the summer holiday, shall be taken during the holiday season, the period between 2 May – 30 September. The remainder of the leave, the winter holiday, must be granted no later than by the beginning of the following holiday season.
Employees have a right to carry over to later years up to 6 vacation days. An employee has a right to receive at least his or her regular or average pay for the time of the annual holiday.
The latest amendment to the Annual Holidays Act also guarantees 4 weeks of paid holiday to employees who have been on a lengthy period of absence due to sickness, an accident or medical rehabilitation. Annual Holidays Act, No. 62 of 2005 (as amended), § § 4-6, 9, 11, 27.
There is no universal minimum wage in Finland. The collective agreement determines the wages to be paid based on employment terms.
Employees who are expectant mothers are entitled to 105 days of unpaid maternity leave, which can begin 30 to 50 days prior to the expected date of birth. Employment Contracts Act, No. 55 of 2001 (as amended), Ch. 4; Health Insurance Act, No. 1224 of 2004 (as amended), ch. 11.
Fathers can take up to 54 days of unpaid paternity leave. An additional paid parental leave period that can be split between both parents covers another 26 weeks. The entire paternity leave must be taken before the child turns 2 years of age and cannot be assigned to the other parent. Health Insurance Act, No. 1224 of 2004 (as amended), ch. 11, § § 6-7.
Employees are eligible for child care leave beginning after parental leave and lasting until the child reaches the age of 3. A child care benefit is payable for this period by the Social Insurance Institution to families choosing not to place their child in municipal daycare. Furthermore, the parents of small children have a right to a four days’ temporary child care leave in case of a sudden illness of the child. Health Insurance Act, No. 1224 of 2004 (as amended), ch. 11, § § 8-10.
Employees are legally entitled to a total of 9 days of paid sick leave during each working year. If the employment relationship 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. Health Insurance Act, No. 1224 of 2004 (as amended), ch. 11; Employment Contracts Act, No. 55 of 2001 (as amended), Ch. 2 § 11.
Unpaid Study leave is available to workers whose full-time employment with the same employer has lasted for one year in one or more periods. The maximum length of study leave is two years over a period of five years in one or more installments. If the employment has lasted for less than a year but at least three months, the maximum length of study leave is five days.
The study does not have to relate to the employer’s operations and the employee may freely choose what to study. Study Leave Act, No. 273 of 1979 (as amended), § § 4-6.
Job alternation leave is an arrangement enabling an employee to take a temporary leave of absence from work lasting from 100 to 180 calendar days. Employees are eligible for job alternation leave when they have worked for a total of at least 20 years. The maximum age to qualify for alternation leave is 60. Act on Job Alternation Leave, No. 1305 of 2002 (as amended), § § 2-7.
Partial care leave allows parents to work part-time (less than 30 hours a week) and extends until a child is in their second year of schooling. In many cases, parents may work shortened days or chose to work only 4 days per week. Both parents cannot take this type of leave at the same time but are free to split it in whatever way works for them and their places of employment. Health Insurance Act, No. 1224 of 2004 (as amended), ch. 11, § § 8-10.
The adoptive parents of a child under seven years of age are entitled to parental leave of 200 working days from the date of the adoption, or 234 working days from the date of the birth of the child, whichever is longer. Adoptive parent’s paternity leave must be taken during the two years following the date the child is taken into care. Health Insurance Act, No. 1224 of 2004 (as amended), ch. 11, § § 8-10.
Last updated on: February 5th, 2020