Among the most significant benefits of trade unions in Finland are the holidays and leaves negotiated by the union. The Annual Holidays Act prescribes a maximum of five weeks annual leave. The sectoral collective labour agreement may provide for a longer local holiday than 5 weeks. The Collective Agreement for State Civil Servants and Employees Under Contract may also include specific provisions on the determination of annual holidays. The wages or compensation as well as holiday bonus to be paid for its duration.
According to the Annual Holidays Act, an employment that has lasted less than a year provides you with two vacation days for each working month, and an employment that has lasted over a year, 2.5 days per month. When calculating the length of a holiday, half a day is rounded up to a full vacation day.
In Annual Holidays Act, full holiday entitlement refers to 4 weeks of summer holiday and one week winter holiday.
You may be entitled to a longer paid annual leave, in case it has been agreed at the workplace or in the collective labour agreement.
The employer must reserve an opportunity for the employees to express their opinion of the time for holiday prior to the employer determining it. The employer must, when possible, take employees’ wishes into account and act out fairness in the allocation of holidays.
According to the Annual Holidays Act, 24 days of the annual leave must be held during the holiday season (May-September), unless this causes difficulties to the employer’s operations.
The holiday time must be informed to the employee no later than one month prior to the beginning of the holiday. If this is not possible, the time must nevertheless be informed no later than two weeks prior to the beginning of the holiday.
The main rule is that summer holiday and winter holiday are taken as uninterruptedly as possible. If, due to the employer, the annual leave must be taken in several parts, it is good to remember that according to the Annual Holidays Act at least 12 days (two weeks) of the summer holiday must be taken uninterruptedly. Otherwise the holidays can be broken down into several parts. If you want to take your holiday in shorter periods, talk about it with your employer.
Remember however, that uninterrupted summer and winter holidays will help you recover and cope better with work! By law, you are entitled to an uninterrupted holiday, unless it is impossible with respect to the organization of work. Uninterrupted holidays are very much sector-specific and therefore they are often agreed in collective labour agreements.
What does a day comparable to employment refer to?
You earn annual leave from the beginning of your employment onwards according to the so-called months of employment. Also the so-called days comparable to employment accrue holidays.
Days comparable to employment are days when an employee has been absent from work but the employer is legally obliged to pay wages to that employee. Days comparable to employment include days when the employee has been on maternity leave, special maternity leave, paternity leave or parental leave or absent from work due to illness or accident (no more than 75 work days in the holiday qualifying year) or due to a temporary lay-off (no more than 30 work days at one time).
Collective labour agreements provide for a holiday bonus payable either before or after the holiday. The holiday bonus is usually 50 per cent of the holiday pay. It is paid in addition to the holiday pay or holiday compensation.
Holidays and leaves are one of the greatest achievements of trade unions for the working life.
Annual leave at the end of employment
As the employment is ending, a holiday bonus is paid corresponding to the holiday that was not taken (so-called holidays compensation).
It is a good idea to check in your pay slip that the missed holidays and holiday compensation were paid correctly in connection with the final pay.
Everybody has the right to a leave
If you work occasionally or you have few working hours per month, you will not necessarily earn any annual leave. For such circumstances the Annual Holidays Act provides for the right to a leave. This arrangement based on the Annual Holidays Act guarantees the right to a leave for those in short employment or with variable working hours. In that case you earn a leave as long as the employment lasts 2 days per calendar month. The number of working days or hours is not significant. It suffices that the employment is valid.
The accrual is then always 2 days per month, even if the employment lasted over a year. The employee is entitled to a four week leave, once the employment has lasted a year. You can decide if you want to take the holiday. If you want, you can also only take part of the leave. No wages are paid for the duration of the leave, instead you are paid a holiday compensation.
Employees’ right to get study leave from work is determined by law. If you have worked for the same employer for at least one year, you have the right to get a maximum of two years of study leave. If the employment has lasted less than a year but at least three months, you are entitled to a maximum of five days of study leave.
The employer has the right to change the starting time of the study leave by no more than six months, if granting the study leave at the time indicated in the application caused substantial harm to the employer. If the granted study leave is longer than 50 working days, you have the right to interrupt the study leave and return to work.
The precondition for a study leave is that the studies take place in an educational institution under public supervision (e.g. vocational school, university of applied science or university). You can apply for student allowance or adult education allowance for the duration of the study leave.
In Finland all women and men participate almost equally to the working life, but women use up the majority of family leaves – the long family leaves in particular. Everyone would benefit from more equally distributed family leaves and care responsibilities; it would for example promote women’s labour market position, their progress in careers and equal pay, facilitate parents’ reconciliation of work and family, enhance fathers’ parenthood and increase the wellbeing of families.
The reconciliation of work and family is a question of more than just taking care of small children. An employee can have elderly parents or a disabled adult child to look after. It is also important to remember that employees can have different families, and diverse families must be treated equally. Read more about the financial support available for the duration of family leave.