Work try-out practices and provisions

The purpose of a work trial is to clarify your vocational and career choice options or to support your return to the job market.

For example, a work trial may be organised in one of the following situations

  • You do not have vocational education or training, or you are planning to change fields or occupations for some reason
    In this case, the objective is to find out if the new field or occupation interests you or whether a certain field or occupation is possible.
  • You are unsure if enterprising would be a suitable career choice for you.
  • If you have been outside the job market for a long period, for example while being unemployed or caring for children, the objective of the work trial is to find out what type of support you will need to update your skills and get back to work.

During a work trial, you will be tasked with duties that are similar to those when in an employment relationship. The work trial organiser will be responsible for your guidance and supervision throughout the trial period.

Duration of the work trial and working hours

The duration of the work trial varies, as the customers' situations and the goals of the trial may be different. The duration of a work trial may not exceed 12 months – however, you cannot continue a work trial with the same employer for more than six months. If the work trial is organised by a municipality, it may last for 12 months but you cannot stay on in the same tasks for more than six months.

The daily and weekly working hours during the trial may also vary depending on your situation. The work trial may at the most take place on five days a week and 4–8 hours a day.

Work trial agreement

Before you start a work trial, you will conclude a written agreement with the trial organiser and a TE Office representative.

The agreement specifies the work trial's

  • objective and tasks
  • total duration and the daily and weekly hours
  • the person responsible for supervising the trial at the workplace.

The employer will inform the shop steward at the workplace about the agreement.

Cancelling the agreement

The TE Office may cancel the work trial agreement or the trial if you are absent without permission for more than five consecutive days during the trial. The trial may also be cancelled if you have been absent for so many days in total that the objectives set for the trial cannot be achieved.

The TE Office and the work trial organiser can also cancel the agreement for some other reason by informing the other parties in writing. However, the agreement may not be cancelled because of discrimination prohibited in law or other inappropriate reason.

Should you wish, you can interrupt the work trial at any time. However, interrupting the trial may affect your right to unemployment benefit.

Your legal position during a work trial

The work trial organiser will be responsible for your guidance and supervision throughout the trial period.

You will not have an employment relationship with the work trial organiser or the TE Office during the trial, but many of the same acts and procedures that apply to workers in an employment relationship will also apply to you.

  • The Act on Equality between Women and Men (609/1986), the Non-Discrimination Act (21/2004) and, in applicable parts, the provisions of the Act on the Protection of Privacy in Working Life (759/2004), for example those regarding the processing of personal data and information on drug use, camera surveillance in the workplace, and retrieving and opening employees' e-mail messages will apply to you.
  • The work trial organisers will be responsible for your occupational health and safety as detailed in the Occupational Safety and Health Act (738/2002) and the Young Workers' Act (998/1993).
  • You will be entitled to breaks during the working day, and you will be informed of work shifts and any cancellations of shifts in the same way as workers in an employment relationship.

Compliance with legislation applicable to work are most commonly supervised by the occupational safety and health authorities. In addition to the occupational safety and health authorities, compliance with the Data Protection Act is supervised by the Data Protection Ombudsman. Compliance with the Non-Discrimination Act is supervised by the Ombudsman for Equality. If necessary, the TE Office will direct you to the right authority to clarify an issue related to a work trial.

Insurance cover during a work trial

The Ministry of Employment and the Economy will take out insurance for you for the duration of the work trial that will cover you for occupational diseases, injuries and accidents.

Drug test certificate

Should they wish to do so, the work trial organiser may require that those participating in the trial take a drug test and produce a drug test certificate before the agreement is signed. The Act on the Protection of Privacy in Working Life will be applied to the drug test certificate, and the expenses of obtaining it will be paid by the work trial organiser.

The drug test certificate contains sensitive health information. If you are unwilling to produce this certificate, a work trial agreement will not be concluded. However, you will not lose your unemployment benefit for this reason.

Background checks on persons working with children

If the employee is to work with children, the employer must run a background check on him/her. The Act on Background Checks will also be applied to a work trial whose duration exceeds three months.

The person taking part in a work trial must produce an extract from the criminal records before an agreement is concluded, if the work involves personal interaction with minors. If the extract form the criminal records contains an entry about a crime against a child or a sexual, violent or  drugs crime, the TE Office will consider whether or not the work trial should go ahead.

If you are unwilling to produce an extract from the criminal records, a work trial agreement will not be concluded. However, you will not lose your unemployment benefit for this reason.

Feedback

At the end of the try-out period you will assess the work trial in the light of the set objectives together with the work trial organiser and a representative from the TE Office. Any written feedback from the try-out organiser will be forwarded to you by the TE Office.

If the objective of the work trial was to clarify your vocation and career options, the feedback must include an assessment of your suitability to the 

  • position
  • profession
  • field

If the objective of the work trial was to support your return to the job market, the feedback must include an assessment of your

  • working life capacities
  • need for skills development