Working in Finland

Did you know this about your working hours?

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The new Working Hours Act takes effect on January 1, 2020. In our tutorial “Working in Finland” we go over Finnish labor legislation from start to the end of the employment relationship. The tutorial has a whole section on working hours in Finland. We recently updated that section to reflect the new law. In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the issues we cover in our tutorial.

Do you know all this?

When it comes to working hours in Finland, some of the questions you should ask yourself are:

  • How many hours do I have to work in a day, week, or a period?
  • Does my employer have flexitime? If so, what are the rules regarding the mandatory hours at work and hours of flexitime? How many hours more can I do? Is there a cap after which the system stops counting my flexihours? How many hours can I be below? What is the period within which my hours need to level? 
  • Am I in one of the fields that now can give their employees more flexibility in organizing their hours? What does this new form of flexible working hours mean?
  • Do I have to do shift work or work on Sundays? What kinds of shifts do I have? Do I get extra compensation for them?
  • What tasks are counted towards working hours and which ones are not? 

In this blog, we touch upon the answers to these questions but our course covers these more thoroughly. 

If you take our tutorial you’ll also know the answers to such working hours questions like:

  • What is a working-time account and how does it work? 
  • What is the difference between extrawork and overtime? 

Knowing the answers to all of these questions will help you fulfill your obligations at work. It will also help you know what kind of compensation you should receive in various situations. You will also be able to check your payslip and make sure that your salary is right. 

Get our “Working in Finland” online course now with 20 % OFF!
Go here to claim this unique offer.

Your required hours

The Working Hours Act sets the initial parameters for many aspects of working hours. However, collective agreements in effect in many fields modify those aspects usually to your benefit. Thus you should always be familiar with the main content of collective agreement applicable in your situation. 

For example, the Working Hours Act says that the normal number of weekly working hours is 40. In many fields, the collective agreement has lowered that weekly amount to 37,5 hours. Collective agreements often also limit the number of weekly workdays to five instead of the legal 6.

The five-day workweek is so common that I suspect most Finns don’t even know that a six-day week is perfectly legal. It’s just that a five-day week is the norm in most collective agreements.   

You don’t have designated working hours? That can be if you work high enough in company management or have an independent role with plenty of responsibility. In that case, I hope you have negotiated a good enough benefit or compensation package for yourself. Upper management positions without designated working hours cannot by definition do overtime. Hence they are not entitled to overtime compensation either. 

Arranging those hours

The law allows different ways to organize those required hours. You may be in a 9-5 Mon-Fri job. Your employer tells you when to come to work and when you can leave. Perhaps you work in a field that arranges working hours into rotating shifts with work also in the evenings, nights, or Sundays, and potentially also longer than 8 hours at a time. If so, your collective agreement most certainly defines different levels of compensation for those shifts. 

For employees and employers in the knowledge industry the law now allows arranging working hours more flexibly than before. This is something new in working hours in Finland. With the new law, the employee and the employer can draw up an agreement allowing the employee to organize his/her working hours as well as the location as he/she sees fit. The employer still has to make sure that the employee doesn’t overdo it. The employer has to make sure that the legal requirements for rest periods are honored. 

Before this, in office jobs, a common way to organize working hours in Finland was to use flexible hours. In this system, an employer sets a fixed period during the day when the employee has to be in the office. But around those fixed hours there is flexibility in terms of when the employee can come in or leave.

Not working hours at all

Did you know that some of that time you might get paid for is not necessarily working hours at all? The Working Hours Act enumerates some tasks that are work-related but are not included in working hours. 

For example, if you voluntarily take part in work-related training sessions at the end of the day those hours might not be considered working hours at all. And if they are not working hours they don’t, for example, count towards overtime calculations. Your collective agreement might still make those payable hours. Thus they may show up on your payslip. 

Other similar tasks include work-related travel. By law, the time you take to travel to a meeting outside your office is not included in working hours. Often collective agreements grant you compensation of some sort for those hours anyway. If yours doesn’t you can always try to negotiate with your employer. 

Working in Finland tutorial

This is only a tiny fraction of the content we have in our “Working in Finland” tutorial. Until the year’s end, the tutorial has two sections on working hours in Finland. One of the sections is valid until the year’s end and the other is valid from January 1 onwards. 

Our tutorial is great if you are just considering applying for a job here in Finland. It tells you where you can find information on the correct salary levels in Finland. It tells you the topics you should at least cover with your potential employer before you sign the contract.

If you are already employed in Finland this tutorial is for you as well. The tutorial is so thorough that once you come out at the other end of it you’ll know more about employment-related regulations than an average Finn.

If you are a new supervisor and perhaps not particularly well-versed in labor legislation yet, you can use this tutorial to build a foundation for your further education. 

In addition to publishing new tutorials, we keep our existing ones up to date. You can find the “Working in Finland” tutorial here

Get our “Working in Finland” online course now with 20 % OFF!
Go here to claim this unique offer.

The mission of Finnwards is to help you thrive in your life abroad. We provide coaching and consulting services that help you do just that. Check out our Inspiration Catalog for more information! While we serve internationals all over the world, our specialty is Finland. With our help, you can build a uniquely Finnish life for yourself and your family. In addition to the coaching and consulting services, we also offer a wide selection of self-guided online courses about Finland. Contact us and let us help you succeed in your professional and private life abroad and in Finland.

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