The Reform of the Working Time Act, Effective as of January 1, 2020

New Legislation Enacted

Author: Samuel Kääriäinen, Partner - Dottir Attorneys, Ltd.

The new Working Time Act addresses changes in the labor market and in working life. It also responds to the requirements of the Working Time Directive and its interpretative practice. The changes will take effect on January 1, 2020.

Supreme Court Rules on Validity of a Termination Agreement

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Author: Samuel Kääriäinen, Partner - Dottir Attorneys, Ltd.

On September 10, 2019, the Supreme Court of Finland ruled on the validity of a mutual agreement on termination of employment. The Court held that the otherwise appropriate signed agreement was invalid mainly because the employee had not received a fair chance to assess the offer before signing it. The parties entered into the agreement on the employer’s initiative and at the end of a two-hour negotiation. The employee was not allowed to assess the offer until the next day. The employee had not been informed in advance that the meeting was to deal with the termination of his employment. Since the employee had not been given sufficient time for reflection and access to expert assistance before committing to the contract, the Court held that the contract had been concluded in circumstances where it would make it incompatible with honor and good faith for anyone knowing of those circumstances to invoke the contract.

The National Employment Board: Opinion on the Consent and Agreement of Overtime

New Regulation or Official Guidance

Author: Samuel Kääriäinen, Partner - Dottir Attorneys, Ltd.

The Federation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) requested an opinion from the National Employment Board on whether the consent to work overtime (hours in addition to full working time) and additional time (hours in addition to agreed hours but until full working time) must be explicit or whether it is sufficient to agree on them in the employment contract or refer to the respective provisions of the applicable collective agreement. The National Employment Board ruled on August 20, 2019, that the consent to work overtime cannot be given beforehand and the employee’s separate consent for overtime is needed each time overtime work is rendered. However, additional time can be validly agreed already in an employment contract. It is also possible to validly agree on additional work in collective agreements, however, in such case, the employee shall have a right to refuse additional time for reasonable personal reasons.