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Recruitment

Advertising

What are the requirements relating to advertising positions?

No legal requirements apply to advertising positions or particular details about the job that must be provided in the advertisement.

However, the general principle is that the employer may require from applicants only those characteristics that are actually needed in the position advertised.

Further, discriminatory advertisements for jobs are generally prohibited.

Background checks

What can employers do with regard to background checks and inquiries in relation to the following:

(a) Criminal records?

In the majority of cases, a private sector employer is not permitted to receive an applicant's or employee's criminal record information directly or indirectly, unless it is expressly regulated by law. The law contains derogation with regard to, for example, people who work with children on a permanent and substantial basis.

General security clearances (including criminal record checks) are performed by the Finnish Security Police. The reason for this is that the checks are permitted only when they would help to prevent certain criminal offences. Prior written consent from the applicant or the employee is required before the employer can request security clearance. In practice, only private sector positions in which the employees are directly financially responsible for the employer's property or which for some other reason require considerable trust from the employer may require security clearance. This would most likely cover most executive positions.

(b) Medical history?

The employer's right to background checks related to the employee's medical history is limited.

As a general rule, the employer has the right to process information concerning the employee's state of health only if such information has been collected from the employee himself or herself, or elsewhere with the employee’s written consent, and the information must be processed:

  • in order to pay sick pay or other comparable health-related benefits;
  • to establish whether there is a justifiable reason for absence; or
  • if the employee expressly wishes his or her working capacity to be assessed on the basis of information concerning his or her state of health.

Information concerning the employee's state of health may only be processed by people who prepare, make or implement decisions concerning employment relationships on the basis of such information. The employer shall nominate such people or specify the tasks that involve the processing of health-related information.

The employer must store any information in its possession concerning the employee's state of health separately from any other personal data that it has collected.

(c) Drug screening?

The employer may process only information on drug screening which is contained in a specific drug test certificate supplied to the employer by the applicant. The employer must notify the applicant in advance that the nature of the job is such that the employer requires drug screening from applicants.

Drug screening is not allowed in all jobs. Screening is permitted only if performing the work while under the influence of or when addicted to drugs could endanger business or trade secrets or cause significant financial loss to the employer or its clients, and provided that this could not be prevented by other means. The employer may also request a drug test certificate if the applicant is to carry out tasks where special trust is required or where there is independent and uncontrolled access to drugs or a quantity of medicines that could be used for the purposes of intoxication. In addition, requiring a drug test certificate can be requested if the applicant is to carry out tasks that include teaching or caring for a minor.

(d) Credit checks?

Credit checks can be carried out, but only if the statutory criteria for such checks are fulfilled in each individual case. Typically, credit checks may apply to jobs where employees are directly financially responsible for the employer's property or which for some other reason require considerable trust from the employer. This covers most executive positions.

(e) Immigration status?

The employer is generally obliged to request information on foreign employees’ immigration status, or a reason why no employee residence permit is not required.

(f) Social media?

In general, an employee’s personal data should be collected from the employee him or herself, or from elsewhere with the employee’s written consent. Accordingly, the employer has no right to perform background checks based on the employee's social media activity.

(g) Other?

During recruitment employers may use information about job applicants that is in the public domain. However, this can be done only with the applicant’s prior consent. Further, the information requested and received must be directly necessary for the employment relationship.

Wages and working time

Pay

Is there a national minimum wage and, if so, what is it?

No, there is no statutory minimum wage. However, collective bargaining agreements typically contain detailed provisions on minimum wages.

If no collective bargaining agreement applies to an employment relationship, and the employer and the employee have not agreed on remuneration, the employee must be paid reasonable remuneration for the work performed.

Are there restrictions on working hours?

Yes. The general approach under the Working Hours Act (605/1996) is that normal working hours must not exceed eight hours a day or 40 hours a week. The act also regulates certain specific working hours arrangements which deviate slightly from this general rule.

The maximum amount of overtime work during a four-month period is 138 hours, and the aggregate hours of overtime work may not exceed 250 hours in a calendar year. An employer can agree additional overtime with employee representatives, employees or an employee group. The maximum amount of additional overtime is 80 hours per calendar year, but the maximum amount of 138 hours per four months cannot be exceeded.

Stricter regulations apply to young workers aged 15 to 18.

Collective bargaining agreements typically include detailed working time provisions which may also deviate from the Working Hours Act. 

Hours and overtime

What are the requirements for meal and rest breaks?

The Working Hours Act sets out the statutory rest periods. The rules are detailed and contain a number of exceptions, but the general principles are as follows:

  • The employee must be granted at least a one-hour break a day if his or her daily working time exceeds six hours. The employer and employee may agree on a shorter rest period of no less than 30 minutes. If the daily working time exceeds 10 hours, the employee is entitled to an additional rest period of up to 30 minutes following eight hours of work. Further, the employee must be given a daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours. In addition, working hours must be arranged to allow the employee at least 35 hours of uninterrupted rest per week, preferably including Sunday.
  • The right to daily rest, a rest break and a weekly rest period may be varied by a collective bargaining agreement. In addition, there are various exceptions for certain sectors and types of activity.
  • A person of 15 years or older must be allowed at least 12 consecutive hours of rest every day. Where the daily working hours of young workers exceed four hours and 30 minutes, the worker should be granted a rest period of at least 30 minutes in the course of work. Young workers should be granted a weekly break of at least 38 consecutive hours.

How should overtime be calculated?

The maximum amount of overtime work during a four-month period is 138 hours, and the aggregate hours of overtime work may not exceed 250 hours in a calendar year. An employer can agree additional overtime with employee representatives, employees or an employee group. The maximum amount of additional overtime is 80 hours per calendar year, but the maximum amount of 138 hours per four months cannot be exceeded.

As a general rule, the payment for daily overtime work in addition to normal pay is 50% for the first two hours and 100% for the following hours. For weekly overtime work, the surcharge is 50%. Overtime may be partly or completely converted into corresponding time off work if agreed between the parties.

What exemptions are there from overtime?

The Working Hours Act does not generally apply to the management or employees working at home.

Working time arrangements may affect how overtime work is determined and calculated (eg, in a flexible working hours system). In addition, collective bargaining agreements may also deviate from the statutory overtime provisions. 

Is there a minimum paid holiday entitlement?

Yes. The employee is entitled to two to two-and-a-half days’ paid holiday for each month worked, depending on the length of the employment relationship. In Finland, six holiday days constitute one full week of annual holiday. 

What are the rules applicable to final pay and deductions from wages?

In cases of termination of employment, the employer shall pay the final pay, including all receivables to the employee, on the last day of employment, unless otherwise agreed. The final pay must be available in the employee’s bank account on the agreed pay date.

In Finland, several deductions are made from wages. Employees’ obligation to pay income tax is established in the Income Tax Act (1535/1992). Indirect employment-related costs include social security contributions, employment pension contributions, accident insurance contributions, unemployment insurance contributions and group life insurance contributions, most of which are covered by the employer and the employee. The employer automatically deducts the relevant withholding and contributions from the salary payable to the employee.

The employer also has a limited right to offset certain amounts from the employee's salary.

Record keeping

What payroll and payment records must be maintained?

The employer will provide the employee with a payslip (in paper form or electronically) indicating at least the amount of all payments and their basis of determination, as well as the statutory deductions made.

The employer must maintain payroll accounting indicating the amount of all payments to its employees. The law requires the employer to keep the payroll accounting for 10 years. The notes and other documentation related to payroll accounting must be kept for six years.

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