Summer job helpline
The Summer Job Helpline will offer advice again on May 2017. However, you can find further advice and guidance in the Summer job checklist. 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.
1. Written employment contract | 2. Ask for advice |3. Protect yourself | 4. Check your pay | 5. Ensure your holiday compensation | 6. Request a certificate of employment| 7. Get to know your shop steward and safety representative | 8. Join a union | 9. Further details
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.
1. Written employment contract
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:
- The parties to the agreement (name and address of the employer and employee)
- The length of any agreed trial period
- Whether the employment is open-ended or temporary, or a trainee position etc.
- The objective reason for the time limit in temporary employment
- The time when the work begins and the duration of any temporary employment
- The place where the work will be done
- The nature of the duties
- The pay, benefits in kind and payment period
- The working time – Try to avoid signing any employment contract for weekly working hours that vary between zero and some specified upper limit. Such a contract may leave you with no work or income in some weeks.
- The applicable collective agreement
- The period of notice of termination
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.
2. Ask for advice
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.
3. Protect yourself
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.
4. Check your pay
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 18 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.
5. Ensure your holiday compensation when a summer job ends
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 Guide to working in Finland website.
6. Request a certificate of employment
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.
7. Get to know your shop steward and safety representative
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.akava.fi/en/affiliates, 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/trade-unions.
The nationwide telephone service of the the occupational safety and health administration is open Monday to Friday 8 am–4.15 pm at 0295 016 620.
8. Join a union
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/trade-unions.