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Benefits in Finland

Mandatory Benefits in Finland

Medical coverage

Employers are obliged to provide occupational health care for all their employees regardless of the terms and duration of the employment relationship.
 
Statutory occupational health covers work-related health examinations, workplace surveys, supporting work capacity, and investigation of symptoms and illnesses connected to work. The employer is legally required to organise regular health examinations for its employees in occupational health care if the work involves special health risk factors defined in legislation (e.g., noise, flour dust, or solvents) or is otherwise hazardous. The employee should attend statutory health examinations.
 
The employee’s occupational health care service must give the employee a health examination when it’s suspected that their work involves a health risk — e.g., because of unbalanced physical loads or psychosocial overload. The employee may request a health examination from occupational health care if there is a justifiable cause to investigate the workload. If the employee struggles with the work capacity, it’s possible to organise an occupational health review to discuss the work capacity and the ability to cope at work. An occupational health review includes the employee, the employer, and representatives from occupational health care.
 
Occupational health care services must be obtained from a public service provider. However, many employers want to use a private service provider because it’s a good measure for employee engagement.
 
The employer must sign a written service agreement with the occupational health care provider and draw up a plan detailing how the services will be implemented. The foundation of occupational health care is the workplace survey, which the occupational health care service provider performs and writes up in a report. Matters emerging in the workplace survey must be considered when drafting and updating the occupational health care plan. In addition, the employer and the occupational health care service jointly prepare a written description of procedures for work capacity management, monitoring, and early support.
 
The employer can get compensation for the costs of statutory preventive occupational health care and non-mandatory health care from the Social Insurance Institution (KELA) if:
  • The service is provided by personnel qualified for occupational health care (required in the Occupational Health Care Act)
  • The employer has a valid occupational health care service agreement
  • The occupational health care service plan is up to date, and the planned functions are being implemented
The occupational safety authority ensures that employers have organized and provided statutory occupational health care services.

Pension

The employer must arrange and pay the pension provision for their employees if they are between 17 and 67 years old and if the employee’s monthly earnings exceed the lower limit for compulsory insurance. As of 2022, the earnings have to be at least EUR 62.88 per month. In addition, employees are obligated to participate in their own pension provisions by paying the employee pension contribution.
 
As of 2023, the average pension contribution is 24.85%
 
To manage the pension insurance, the employer must inform without delay one of the pension insurance companies — Elo, Ilmarinen, Varma, and Veritas — of the employee’s employment agreements that have begun and ended.
 
Pension insurance covers a pension in proportion to the earnings during the period of employment if the conditions for the pension are met. The pension is paid due to disability or old age.

Accident insurance

Employers must take accident insurance for their employees against accidents at work and occupational diseases. However, if the salary doesn’t exceed EUR 1,300 in a calendar year, the employer is exempt from the obligation to take the accident insurance.
 
The obligation applies to all employees who are in an employment relationship regardless of their salary, age, or the duration of the employment relationship. Statutory accident insurance applies to remote work as well.
 
The amount of accident insurance varies in relation to how much danger the work and the sector in which it’s performed present, with the average contribution being 0.7%.
 
Statutory accident insurance covers accidents at work, and while travelling to and from work, certain injuries considered accidents at work and occupational diseases caused by work.
 
The employer can take accident insurance from any insurance company providing accident insurance.

Mandatory benefits in collective agreements

Collective agreements may contain benefits that the employer must provide. For example, some collective agreements oblige the employer to provide a nutritional benefit — i.e., a lunch allowance. Employers should always check collective agreements to see whether they contain mandatory benefits that are binding on the employer.
 

Non-Mandatory Benefits in Finland

Any non-mandatory benefits the employee receives from the employer in addition to the salary are taxed as earned income. The value of these fringe benefits is added to the employee’s earned income. Their value is determined each year by the Tax Administration. If there is no confirmed taxable value for a benefit, the benefit is taxed at its fair market value.

Accommodation

An employer may give an apartment as part of the employment agreement, or the salary may include a room or a board.

Company car or other vehicles

An employer may give as a benefit a car, a commuter ticket, or a bicycle.

Telephone

An employer may give a telephone, which the employee can use for private purposes.

Meals

The meal benefit may consist of the following:
  • workplace meals subsidised by the employer
  • canteen meals
  • meals provided for employees supervising the dining area
  • meals provided for employees at a hotel, a restaurant, or an aeroplane
  • lunch vouchers

Sports and culture benefits

Employers can provide their employees with tax-exempt sports and culture benefits payable by vouchers or other means of payment for up to EUR 400 a year. Employees don’t need to pay any tax on the benefit; the employer can deduct the amount from taxation.

Bonuses

A bonus is a cash payment in addition to the basic salary. Payment criteria are defined in advance, generally for one year. The bonus amount may be based, for example, on the result of the work or the achievement of (financial) targets.
 
Payment indicators for the payment should be clearly defined.
 
Bonuses are taxed in the same way as salaries.

Stock options

Employee stock options refer to a right presented in an employment agreement to receive or buy shares or stakes in a corporation below the market price, based on an agreement or other commitment. The system consists of two steps: (1) subscription and (2) option use.
 
Income received from a stock option is taxed as earned income. The option's benefit is taxed when the arrangement is made if the subscription price is below the current fair value. For this reason, the subscription price is almost invariably set at or above the fair value. In this case, taxes are fully assessed in the year options are granted, or shares are subscribed for. If the taxpayer sells options, the taxable income is the sale price since options are usually received free of charge, with no deductible acquisition cost. If, on the other hand, the taxpayer acquires shares under the option, shares are valued at that day’s value, and the earned income is calculated based on that value.

Other

Other fringe benefits may include professional development and learning opportunities, supplementary health insurance, and wellness benefits.
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