Public discussion around the Finnish employment legislation has recently focused on the Government driven Competitiveness Pact, bypassing the less dramatic legislative changes that have already taken place. These recent legislative changes should not be overlooked. The changes affect the daily working life, HR-processes and even personnel costs of majority of Finnish employers.
The Waiting Period for the Right to Postpone Annual Holidays due to Sickness Reintroduced
The employees’ right to postpone annual holidays due to sickness has been strictened as of 1 April 2016. If an employee who has accrued full annual holiday (at least five weeks) is incapacitated for work during holiday, he/she has a right to postpone the ‘lost’ holidays only after a waiting period of up to six days, unless the applicable Collective Agreement states otherwise. The six waiting days are calculated on annual basis, i.e., the six waiting days can consist of consecutive six days’ period or up to six separate sick days.
The Accumulation of Annual Holiday during Family Leaves Shortened
As of April 2016, the employees accumulate annual holidays only during the first six months of paternity, maternity, and parental leave unless the applicable Collective Agreement states otherwise. The new, stricter rule is applied when the family leave begins after 1 April 2016.
New Obligation to Prepare a Non-Discrimination Plan
The New Non-Discrimination Act imposes a new obligation to prepare a Non-Discrimination Plan on employers employing at least 30 employees in Finland. The Non-Discrimination plan should be prepared by 1 January 2017 and it should cover, e.g., concrete measures for promoting equal treatment at the workplace.
The Employees’ Right to Job Alteration Leave Strictened
Since January 2016, an employment history of at least 20 years is a precondition for job alternation leave instead of the former 16-year-requirement. Also the maximum duration of the job alternation leave is shortened in half to 180 calendar days. Dividing the job alternation leave to separate leave periods is no longer possible.
New Obligations Related to Posting of Workforce
The new Posted Workers Act applies to arrangements where a Finnish employer temporarily uses foreign leased workforce, foreign employees from the employer’s group companies or foreign subcontracting.
The New Act imposes a practically significant new obligation. The employers are obliged to notify the authorities in advance of the posting of workforce to Finland. This obligation enters into force during 2017.
These are interesting times. Material legislative changes affecting the core of the Finnish working life will take place shortly. The Finnish Pension Reform will enter into force in the beginning of 2017. (Read More on D&I Quarterly Q1 2016). Also the Competitiveness Pact introduces new regulatory elements to Finnish working life, such as the possibility increase the yearly working time by 24 hours by (in most cases) concluding a local agreement at the workplace. Finnish employers should explore this possibility without delay.
We will continue following the development of the Finnish employment legislation and keeping You informed on the practical effects of the changing regulatory framework.