The Summer Job Helpline offers advice again on May 2021. However, you can find further advice and guidance in the Summer job checklist and the Frequently asked questions below. When problems arise you may also talk to more senior colleagues and workmates, your local shop steward or employee representative, or the trade union for the industry concerned.
The Summer Job Helpline is provided by the national labour confederations of Finland: SAK, Akava and STTK.
Employment issues are something that you should sort out immediately when you get a new job. The following list sets out some basic points to take care of.
An employment contract is an agreement between the employer and the employee, whereby the employee agrees to work for the employer in return for wages or other remuneration and under the employer’s direction and supervision. Even though an oral agreement is already binding, it is always a good idea to set out the employment contract in writing as it is easier to settle any disputes when you can prove what was originally agreed.
An employer must anyway give the employee a written account of the terms and conditions of employment when an employment contract for work lasting longer than one month has not been made in writing.
The employment contract should specify at least the following:
Model employment contracts are available from unions, the website of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (in Finnish) and other sources.
The terms and conditions of employment that the employee enjoys under an employment contract may not fall below the minimum standards that are guaranteed under the collective agreement governing work in the industry concerned. The collective agreement (TES) for your working sector sets out the basic employment standards for that sector, such as the minimum rates of pay and various bonuses.
Details of the collective agreement are available from the shop steward at your workplace or directly from your own union. Most collective agreements are also published in the online Finlex collection (in Finnish only). Some of these agreements have also been translated into English and may be available from the union or employers’ federation that negotiated the agreement.
All employees are entitled to job orientation, and the employer has a corresponding duty to familiarise the employee with conditions at the workplace, the operation of machinery and other equipment, safety regulations and other important aspects of the work. Make sure that you are guided in your work and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
There are special laws that safeguard young employees by specifying such matters as the time and duration of work shifts. Age limits have been imposed to protect the physical and emotional growth and development of young employees.
Ask your employer whether you should use any protective equipment in the work and be sure to use any such equipment. It is important to remember that you are entitled to refuse dangerous work. A summer job is an opportunity to gain work experience, not serious injury.
An employee must be given a pay statement, itemisation or similar document at the time of wage payment showing the regular wages together with any special compensations and deductions. Make sure that the pay details are correct and that all special compensations have been paid for additional work and overtime, and for working in the evening, at weekends and under other irregular circumstances.
Details of pay levels in various industries are available from the SAK online service (in Finnish only) and other sources.
Remember that you earn pension benefits from all work, even in short temporary jobs. All employees aged 17 years or over earn earnings-related pension while working. Check your pay slip to make sure that your employer has paid your pension contribution. For further details see the website at tyoelake.fi.
If you have taken no days of paid holiday during your summer job, then you will be entitled to compensation for this when the job ends. Holiday compensation is payable on all employment, even when it only lasts for a few hours.
The holiday compensation payable will depend on the length of employment and on the monthly working time. For example, an employee who has worked on at least 14 working days per month for less than one year is entitled to 2 days’ pay for each month worked. Days of absence for acceptable reasons, such as illness, also count when reckoning outstanding holiday entitlement.
In addition to holiday compensation or days of paid holiday, you may also be entitled to a further holiday bonus based on the industry collective agreement. This is generally 50 % of the holiday pay.
Further details of holiday entitlement and compensation are available from the website of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Finland.
The certificate of employment is an important document for employees that can be highly significant as proof of previous work experience when applying for training or for a permanent job. You are legally entitled to a certificate after your employment ends.
The employees at a workplace should elect colleagues to represent them in the capacity of shop steward and labour protection delegate. These elected officials serve as a channel for help and advice when required. It’s a good idea, for example, to show any employment contract to the shop steward before signing it.
Employees of long standing can also provide invaluable assistance in matters of employment when there is no shop steward at a workplace. Even if you have not yet joined, it is always a good idea to contact the relevant trade union when problems arise at work.
Details of unions affiliated to the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland (Akava) are available online at www.jaseneksi.fi/en, unions belonging to the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) are listed at www.tradeunion.fi, and unions in the Finnish Confederation of Professionals (STTK) are shown at www.sttk.fi/en/mika-sttk/ammattiliitot.
The nationwide telephone service of the the occupational safety and health administration is open Monday to Friday 9 am–3 pm at 0295 016 620.
While there are many good reasons for young people and students to belong to a union, the main benefit is the union’s ability to defend the interests of its members in an industry by making collective agreements with the employers, providing legal aid to members, and lobbying on training policy issues.
Union unemployment funds pay earnings-related benefit to members who are out of work, and unions also provide advice, training and other activities for their members, together with a broad range of other benefits.
If you are already a student member of certain unions, then it is worthwhile joining the union’s unemployment fund when beginning your summer job, as this period of employment will then help you qualify for earnings-related benefit in the event of later unemployment. You can find online guidance in selecting the right union at www.jaseneksi.fi/en, www.tradeunion.fi and www.sttk.fi/en/mika-sttk/ammattiliitot.
Below you will find the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.
Once an employment contract has been made, the employer may terminate the employment of a summer employee only on grounds of redundancy or personal misconduct, and must observe the period of notice. It is irrelevant that the work has not yet begun. The coronavirus epidemic does not affect this basic principle.
An employment contract does not have to be made in writing. The employer can also be bound by a promise of employment made by word of mouth or communicated by e-mail.
An employer who really has no work to provide over the summer may dismiss the employee or notify a layoff (furlough). In such cases the employer must state the reason for dismissal or layoff, such as financial problems that emerged after the employment contract was made due to the coronavirus epidemic. The employer must also determine whether any other work is available for the employee, or whether the employee can be trained for other duties.
A temporary change in the law that took effect at the beginning of April now also allows temporary employees (including summer employees) to be laid off. This legal change also allows employers to make temporary employees redundant with immediate effect during an initial trial period. The change in the law and in corresponding collective agreement regulations will remain in effect until the end of June, but they do not apply to work in central and local government or the church.
It is important to register as a jobseeker at the TE Office by no later than the very first day of unemployment if your job is terminated either with or without notice, or if you are laid off. You should then apply for unemployment benefit from your unemployment fund or from Kela.
If no employment contract has yet been made, then an employer can withdraw a summer job that has been advertised or offered with no dismissal or layoff procedure. Summer job applicants then have no other option than to look elsewhere for work.
An employment contract should always be done in writing. A verbal agreement is also valid, but if any problem situations should arise, a written employment contract makes it easier to clarify what has been agreed.
If there is no written employment contract and the employment lasts longer than one month, the employer is obligated to give the employee a written version of the employment terms and conditions.
The employment contract should always clearly state the minimum terms and conditions of the employment, such as the duration of the employment relationship, the working hours, the specific work tasks and the salary/wages. It would also be wise to state which collective agreement is applicable to the employment relationship.
It’s the employer’s responsibility to ensure that a young employee is not overburdened at work.
The Young Workers’ Act (Laki nuorista työntekijöistä 998/1993) contains provisions that apply to employees under the age of 18. These provisions concern the working hours and their distribution, overtime work, breaks, as well as daily and weekly periods of rest.
An employee under the age of 15 years is allowed to work no more than 7 hours per day and 35 hours per week. The work shift can fall between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. and, for impelling reasons related to the organization of work, between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.
The regular working hours for those over the age of 15 years is a maximum of 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. The work shift can fall between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. If the work involves a double-shift plan related to vocational training, the working hours can be extended up to 12 midnight.
It is important to agree on the amount of the salary/wages when drawing up the employment contract. Finland’s minimum wage is not governed by any legislation, but collective agreements for different fields contain regulations regarding minimum pay.
The base salary is a salary without any additional compensation payments. The base salary must not include evening pay, weekend pay, Sunday pay, overtime pay or other compensations. Any additional compensations or benefits must be paid separately. Young people must also receive sick pay.
The salary/wages are paid into your bank account. In connection with the payment, you will receive a pay receipt or itemisation or other similar document that shows your base salary/wages, any additional compensations and the amounts collected on the basis of your pay, such as withholding tax.
Always check the pay document to make sure that the information is correct and that any additional compensations have been paid correctly. Also make sure that your employer has withheld your share of the pension insurance contributions, since pension funds accrue from all work done. Employment pension begins to accrue at the age of 17. If any aspect is unclear, ask for advice from your supervisor or the payroll department.
It is recommended that you save all documentation connected with your salary/wages.
If you are not able to take an annual holiday during your summer job, any accrued holiday time will be paid as a holiday compensation at the end of the employment relationship. Holiday compensation is paid on all work, even on employments that last only a few hours. When your job ends, check your final pay receipt to make sure that the holiday compensation has been paid correctly.
The amount of the holiday compensation is determined by the duration of the employment relationship and the monthly number of working hours. If you do not receive the holiday compensation or any other pay earned during the summer remains outstanding, you can claim them after the employment has ended.
The shift list must be drawn up at least one week in advance and salary/wages must be paid for agreed shifts.
You can take a photo of the shift list, for example, using your phone, as a record of what has been agreed. If your shift is cancelled at the last minute as a result of, for example, rainy weather, or you are sent home from work prior to the agreed end of your shift, you have the right to receive the salary/wages for the entire shift.
Employees have the right to be properly instructed on how to do their work. The employer should clarify what is expected of you and how you are expected to do your work. The employer should also tell you, for example, about the working conditions and safety regulations, and show you how to operate any necessary machines and equipment.
Make sure that you get sufficient instructions for your work. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice.
You can request information or advice on issues related to summer work, such as an employee’s rights and obligations, from the Summer Job Helpline. It’s a free service provided by the employee confederations SAK, Akava and STTK. The Summer Job Helpline is accessible by phone and by online form. Parents and employers can also contact the Helpline.
Remember that employees can also turn to the occupational health and safety representative or shop steward at their workplace. These individuals are elected by and from among the employees. They will provide you with advice and assistance whenever it’s needed. It would be wise, for example, to show your employment contract to the shop steward before signing it.
If your workplace doesn’t have a shop steward, more experienced employees are an invaluable source. If problem situations should arise, you can also always contact the relevant trade union for your field, even if you are not yet a member.
A zero-hour contract is an employment contract with indefinitely flexible working time and hours of work, meaning that the number of weekly working hours may vary between zero and 40.
You should try to avoid making any written employment contract that allows a minimum working time of zero hours. If the minimum is zero, then you may have no work or wages at all in some weeks. Employers are also not even permitted to propose any agreed minimum working time that is smaller than their true need for labour.
A trial period is a set period of time at the beginning of the employment relationship used to assess whether the actual work corresponds with what has been agreed in the employment contract. The trial period gives the employee time to consider whether or not the work is suitable and the employer time to assess the employee’s suitability for the work in question.
If either party feels that the work does not correspond to their agreement, the contract can be terminated with immediate effect. Following a terminated trial period, there is no term of notice and the employment relationship is considered to have ended. During the trial period, as throughout the employment relationship, the employment contract may not be cancelled on discriminatory or inappropriate grounds.
The trial period and its duration must be agreed on and stated in the employment contract prior to the beginning of the employment relationship. The maximum length of a trial period is six months, unless a shorter maximum has been dictated by the applicable collective agreement. In fixed-term employments, the duration of the trial period can be a maximum of half of the duration of the fixed-term contract.
As with any contract, a fixed-term employment contract is binding for all parties. This means that you cannot give notice to terminate the contract, unless a provision has been added to the employment contract that allows for this possibility. You can, however, ask your employer if it would be possible to terminate your current employment relationship earlier than the agreed end of the fixed term, but the employer does not have to consent.
On termination of the employment relationship, the employee is entitled to receive, upon request, a written certificate of employment.
The employment certificate can be in brief or extended form. A brief employment certificate contains only the information regarding your work tasks and the duration of the employment relationship. A comprehensive employment certificate contains the aforementioned information as well as the reason for the termination of the employment relationship and an assessment of the employee’s work skills and conduct.
If desired, the employee may request that the employer only include either the reason for termination or the testimonial on the extended certificate of employment. An extended certificate will only be issued upon the specific request of the employee. The employer is not entitled to include information that falls within the scope of an extended certificate on a brief certificate without the request of the employee.
The general rules of employment in Finland depend partly on the law and partly on collective agreements.
A collective agreement (often called TES, or tessi) is an agreement between a trade union and an an employers’ federation or an individual employer that establishes enforceable minimum employment conditions in a certain industry. Collective agreements specify such aspects as minimum wages and maximum working time. The collective agreement should not be confused with the individual employment contract made between an employer and an employee.
Individual employment contracts often specify the collective agreement that applies to the work or industry. Ask your employer or the local union shop steward if you don’t know which collective agreement governs your employment. The summer job advisory service can also help you learn more about collective agreements.
Many trade unions publish their collective agreements online.