In an employment relationship

On this page, you will find useful information about employment relationships and the rules of working life. Use the links below to go directly to the subject that is of interest to you.

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Employment contract and employment relationship

The Employment Contracts Act applies to all work carried out in an employment relationship.

The Employment Contracts Act regulates

  • drawing up of employment contracts
  • the employer's and the employee's obligations
  • minimum terms of an employment relationship
  • an employee’s right to family leave
  • laying off an employee
  • ending an employment contract, including periods of notice, grounds for giving notice and terminating a contract and the procedure to be followed when ending an employment contract
  • liability for damage
  • impacts of invalid and unreasonable contract terms
  • employment contracts of an international nature
  • position of employee representatives.

The Employment Contracts Act and other labour legislation, including the Working Hours Act and the Annual Holidays Act, are applied when the following criteria for an employment relationship are fulfilled simultaneously

  • a contract has been concluded
  • work is carried out
  • compensation is paid
  • work is carried out under the direction and supervision of the employer, or the employer's right to direct work applies.

Young workers

If you are aged less than 18, you are not allowed to do quite the same work on the same terms as adults.

The Young Workers' Act protects you from strain caused by overwork. The work must not

  • be hazardous to the physical or mental development of a young person
  • require more responsibility than can be considered reasonable with respect to the employee's age
  • require more exertion than can be considered reasonable with respect to the employee's strength.

Posted employees

A posted employee is an employee that an employer operating in another state has sent from abroad to work in Finland for a limited period.

In case of an employee posted in Finland

  • the minimum working conditions laid down in the Posted Workers Act must be complied with
  • certain provisions and orders in Finnish legislation must be complied with in the employment contract, if they are more favourable to the worker than the provisions that would otherwise be applicable
  • the minimum wage is determined on the basis of the generally binding collective agreement in the sector in question.

Work at sea

The terms of seafarers' employment relationship are different from those applicable to other employees. They are laid down in the Seafarers' Employment Contracts Act. The Act applies to work that an employee carries out under a contract on a Finnish vessel or, by order of the employer, temporarily elsewhere.

Working hours and annual holiday

The Working Hours Act contains provisions on working hours, including

  • the concept of working hours
  • regular working hours
  • additional work and overtime
  • maximum amounts of overtime
  • periods of rest, working hours adjustment system, shift schedules and the employer's duty to keep a working hours register
  • compensation for additional work, overtime and Sunday work
  • weekly free time compensation.

The Annual Holidays Act contains provisions on annual holiday rights, including

  • duration of the annual holiday
  • holiday pay
  • holiday compensation
  • granting of the annual holiday.

The Annual Holidays Act applies with certain restrictions to work in an employment or a civil service relationship.

Distance work

Distance work means that the work is partly or fully carried out at home or at some other location chosen by the employee.

Distance work offers opportunities for

  • improving the productivity of work and the quality of working life
  • reconciliation of work and family life
  • better coping at work
  • choosing the locations of your places of work and residence more flexibly
  • cutting down on time and money spent on commuting.

Protection of privacy in working life

The Act on the Protection of Privacy in Working Life regulates the protection of your privacy at work.

The employer typically collects the employees' personal data for their own needs. However, under the protection of privacy provisions, candidates for a vacancy, employees and civil servants have as extensive rights as possible to

  • be informed of and make decisions on how their personal data are processed and what they contain
  • be assessed on the basis of correct personal data.

Non-discrimination and equality in working life

The Non-Discrimination Act fosters and safeguards equality in various areas of society.

The Non-Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination on the grounds of

  • age
  • ethnic or national origin, nationality or language
  • religion, belief or opinion
  • health or disability
  • sexual orientation
  • other personal characteristics.

The Act on Equality between Women and Men contains provisions on gender equality.

Discrimination at work is punishable in an employment relationship and when the employer is advertising a vacancy and selecting employees.

The Employment Contracts Act requires employers to treat their employees equally. Equal treatment must be taken into consideration in an employment relationship and when the employer

  • grants benefits based on the employment relationship to the employees
  • assigns duties to the employees
  • recruits employees
  • ends employment relationships.

Cooperation in enterprises

The objective of cooperation activities is to collectively develop

  • operations of the enterprise and the working conditions
  • the employees' opportunities to exercise influence in decisions relating to their work and position.

Before making decisions on issues that affect the employees' position, the employer must negotiate with the employees or their representatives.

Cooperation in enterprises is regulated under the Act on Co-operation within Undertakings.

Collective agreements and arbitration of industrial disputes

A collective agreement is an agreement between employer and employee organisations on the terms to be complied with in employment contracts or employment relationships.

A system of arbitration in industrial disputes is in place to deal with conflicts of interest at work and to enable the resolution of disputes between the labour market parties through negotiation. In cases of arbitration in industrial disputes the negotiating partners are assisted by a national conciliator and other conciliators.

The arbitration procedure is laid down in the Act on Mediation in Labour Disputes.

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