Standard hours in Finland
As a rule, regular working hours mustn’t exceed 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week. The main rule doesn’t prevent employers from introducing arrangements based on shorter working hours.
Employees’ working hours can also be agreed upon based on an average. Daily working hours mustn’t exceed eight hours, but weekly hours can be averaged over six days.
Flexible working hours
Employees’ regular working hours can also be flexible. Flexible working hours allow employees to choose, within certain limits, the start and end times of their workdays.
Flexible working hours must always be agreed upon between the employer and the employee, ideally in writing. In addition to the employee’s regular working hours, the employee and the employer must agree on the following:
- an uninterrupted period of fixed working hours each day
- daily limits to flexibility and the “bandwidth” period within which all required hours must be worked
- times of the employee’s rest periods
- maximum overtime and minimum number of hours that have to be worked (“the flexible hours' accumulation”)
Maximum Working Hours & Overtime Laws in Finland
The ceiling for total working hours applies to all workers regardless of how working hours are organised. That includes flexible working hours schemes and flexible working time arrangements. The ceiling is calculated based on all hours worked, regardless of whether they are regular, additional, overtime, emergency, or handovers.
The general rule is that the employee’s total working hours, including any overtime, mustn’t exceed an average of 48 hours per week over four months.
The provision on the maximum number of working hours is mandatory and cannot be exceeded. Working hours are calculated per employee and across adjustment periods.
To comply with the provision of the regulation, the employer must systematically monitor maximum working hours, which can be part of or separate from the record of working hours.
Additional work and overtime
Additional work is performed outside the employee’s regular working hours but without exceeding the statutory maximum number for regular working hours. Overtime is work exceeding the maximum number of regular working hours in the regulation.
Performing additional work and overtime work always requires the employer’s initiative and approval. Similarly, the employer must have the employee’s consent for additional overtime work.
Additional work is compensated based on the pay for regular working hours unless the employee and employer have signed a separate agreement for higher pay. The employer and the employee can agree to convert the compensation for additional work into time off during regular working hours.
Overtime is compensated with a higher salary rate, which depends on the number of overtime hours and whether it’s daily or weekly overtime or overtime in the context of period-based work. Alternatively, employees can be compensated for overtime by receiving paid time off in lieu of the overtime hours worked.
Employees can be asked to work on a Sunday or a religious holiday only with their consent or if this is provided for in their employment agreement.
Work performed between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. shall be regarded as night work. Working nights on a regular basis is permitted in certain cases.
Rest periods and breaks
Employees who work for more than six hours a day in a job where their physical presence at the workplace isn’t a requisite for the uninterrupted workflow must, as a rule, be given a daily break of at least one hour. The employer can also agree on a shorter break with the employees, albeit no shorter than half an hour.
Daily rest period
Employees are entitled to an uninterrupted period of at least 11 hours off during the 24 hours following the beginning of each shift. An employee’s daily rest period can be temporarily shortened to seven hours for practical reasons with the employee’s consent. In addition, an employee’s daily rest period can be temporarily shortened to five hours for up to three consecutive daily rest periods for practical reasons. An employee whose daily rest period has been temporarily shortened must be given compensatory time off in connection with their subsequent daily rest period.
Weekly free time
Employees must be given at least 35 hours of uninterrupted, free time every seven days, preferably around a Sunday. Any employees who must be called in to work during their weekly time off must be compensated for the loss of their free time. This can be done by shortening their regular working hours to compensate for the time lost or by remunerating them in cash.
Time Tracking Obligations in Finland
Working hours account
Employers can introduce a working hours accounting system to keep track of working hours, holiday allowances, and any accrued time off in lieu of monetary compensation.
Introducing a working hours accounting system should be agreed upon in writing. The agreement must specify at least the following:
· information that can be entered into the system
· accumulation limits
· the way the system is to be dissolved and employees reimbursed for any accumulated entitlements upon the dissolution of the system
· the way holidays can be taken, and the procedures for taking time off in lieu of monetary compensation
The way of taking time off must be agreed upon when the working hours accounting system is set up. Time off is accumulated during working hours, and the account must be taken following the rules and procedures agreed for the system.
Working hours account may also be based on collective agreements, in which case its provisions should be observed. A working hours accounting scheme based on the applicable collective agreement is an alternative to a working hours accounting system based on the regulation. This means that a working hours accounting system based on the regulation can be deployed only once, and any working hours accounting scheme established based on the applicable collective agreement has been discontinued.
Employers can be penalized for not recording working hours or abusing the system in any other way:
- failing to keep records of working hours
- not recording hours properly
- altering records
- destroying or concealing records
- rendering records illegible
Various provisions on working hours may have been agreed upon in the collective agreement. The salary payable for Sunday work performed during regular working hours is the regular salary with a 100% increment. Sunday work bonuses can be converted to time off in lieu of agreement.