Being laid off means that the employer temporarily suspends contractual work and the employee’s salary. During the lay-off period, the employment relationship will otherwise remain valid.

Being laid off might

  • stop all work for the employee or shorten their regular daily or weekly working hours
  • be valid until further notice or for a fixed period
  • be based on a unilateral decision of the employer or an agreement between the employer and the employee.

Video in Finnish, subtitle in English available.

Grounds for a lay-off

The employer may lay an employee off on two different grounds:

  • the employer has economic or production-related grounds for terminating the employment contract. if the amount of work has decreased substantially and permanently and no other work or training can be offered to the employee, the employer may temporarily lay off the employee.
  • the employer's ability to offer work has been reduced temporarily (for a maximum of 90 days). The requirement for a lay-off is that the employer cannot offer the employee other work or training that would meet the employer's needs.

The employer may lay off a fixed-term employee only if they are a substitute for a permanent employee and the employer would have the right to lay off the employee in question. 

The employer and the employee may only agree on a lay-off for a fixed period and on the basis of the employer's activities and financial status.

Employer's notices of lay-offs

Notification to the TE Office of the start of cooperation negotiations

If you are an employer within the scope of the Act on Co-operation within Undertakings, you must notify your TE Office of your cooperation negotiations. This notification must be made no later than the beginning of the procedure. Notice must be given of the negotiations if they could lead to lay-offs or redundancies, regardless of the number of persons affected by the negotiations.

The notification is free-form, but it must be submitted in writing. You can submit the notification to the change security expert for your area. The information can be found in the links on this page.

Notice of the lay-off for the employee

The employer must give the notice of the lay-off to the employee in person. If this is not possible, the notice can also be sent by letter or electronically.

The notice of the lay-off must be given 14 days before the start of the lay-off at latest. 

In some collective agreements, it may have been agreed that the notice period may also be longer.

The notice of the lay-off must specify the grounds for the lay-off, the start date of the lay-off and its duration or estimated duration. The duration of a fixed-term lay-off must be stated precisely.

The notice of the lay-off must also be delivered to the representatives of the employees to be laid off.

Written lay-off certificate

The employer must issue a written lay-off certificate by the employee’s request. The certificate must include at least the grounds for the lay-off, its start date and duration or its estimated duration.

Employer/employee negotiations are obligatory in lay-off situations

If an employee is laid off, the regulations of the Act on Co-operation within Undertakings must be complied with if the company employs at least 20 employees on a regular basis.

Employer/employee negotiations are necessary

  • when the employer is considering actions that may lead to laying off or dismissing one or more employees or changing their full-time work into part-time work on economic or production-related grounds,
  • before the employer decides on the lay-off

TE Office services in lay-off situations

Employees who have been laid off have the right to use the same public employment services provided by the TE Office as those made redundant. These services include:

  • personal employment services
  • competence development services
  • labour market training.

The employer can utilize TäsmäKoulutus training (targeted training) or Change Training to train laid-off personnel.

  • training is organised in cooperation with the employment and economic development administration
  • the employment and economic development administration contributes to the training costs
  • the company must always separately and in advance agree on organising the training with the TE Office or the ELY Centre.

With larger-scale lay-offs, the TE Office provides company-specific advice on lay-offs.

Notifications of lay-offs are also sent to the TE Office in regions that participate in local government pilots on employment. Municipalities included in the local government pilot on employment offer laid-off jobseekers advice and employment services. 

Employer’s services during the local government pilots on employment