Wage and salary levels in Finland
Finnish law does not specify how much an employee must be paid. Employers and employees have agreed on wages and salaries in collective agreements (työehtosopimus). Job advertisements and contracts of employment may read that pay is in accordance with TES, i.e. collective agreements.
If there is no collective agreement in the sector of work, employers and employees may agree on the pay. According to law, the pay must be normal and reasonable, that is, you must receive the same wage or salary as other people who do the same work. You can compare wages and salaries, for example, in online services. You can also ask for more information about your sector’s level of pay from the trade union.
You may be asked about your desired salary when applying for a job. Read more on the InfoFinland page Job application and CV.
Read more about prices and other costs of living in Finland on the InfoFinland page Cost of living in Finland.
Payment of wages
Wages and salaries may be paid on an hourly, weekly or monthly basis. In some sectors, work is done on piecework pay, on the basis of results. In addition to money, employees may receive payment in the form of benefits. For example, the employer can give you a mobile phone or pay for your lunch. These are called benefits in kind (luontoisetu).
The employer must pay the salary or wage to your bank account on the date agreed in the employment contract. As a rule, payment is made once a month or every two weeks. If the payday falls during a weekend or holiday, the payment will be made on the previous weekday. The salary is also paid during sick leave and annual leave.
The employer must give you a payslip (palkkalaskelma) whenever you receive a salary or wage. Check that the payslip information is correct every time. Keep a record of your hours worked to make it easier to check. The payslip shows which period you have been paid for and how much. The payslip also shows how much tax and other charges have been deducted.
Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAKWages in FinlandLink redirects to another website
Occupational Safety and Health AdministrationInformation on the payment of wagesLink redirects to another website
Working hours refers to the time spent at work during which the employee must be at the workplace or at the employer’s disposal. In Finland, working hours are regulated by the Working Hours Act and collective agreements.
Working hours vary from one sector to another. According to law, regular working hours may not exceed 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week.
Sliding working hours means that you can decide for yourself at what time of day you start and stop working.
Work can also be shift work or intermittent work. This means that shifts vary and you can work, for example, morning shifts, evening shifts or night shifts. The employer must make a work shift list in advance and you must be able to view it no later than one week before the beginning of the working week.
If the employer asks you to work overtime, i.e. work that is done in addition to regular working hours, you must receive an increased salary for it. You can also agree with your employer to receive paid time off instead of overtime pay. You do not have to agree to work overtime.
Work can be full-time or part-time. Full-time work means that you work a full day, usually five days a week. Part-time work means that you only work part of the day or part of the week.
Variable working hours can also be agreed in the employment contract. In this case, the exact working hours are not agreed, and instead you agree on the number of hours, for example, 10–30 hours or 0–40 hours per week. If a minimum of zero hours has been agreed for a certain period of time, it is called a zero-hour contract. In this case, the employer calls you to work as needed, and the employer is not obliged to offer you working hours. If you do not get working hours, you do not get paid. There must be grounds for agreeing on variable working hours, and the agreement must be updated if the employer’s need for labour increases. If possible, do not enter into a zero-hour contract, and instead try to negotiate a minimum number of hours in the employment contract.
Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAKWorking hours Link redirects to another website
Occupational Safety and Health AdministrationZero-hour contractLink redirects to another website
Collective agreements lay down the terms and conditions of employment that must be observed in a particular sector. They cover salary or wages, working hours and holidays. The agreement was concluded by the employers’ and employees’ unions. Collective agreements are often abbreviated as TES. When the employer is a municipality or state, the collective agreement on civil servants’ salaries (VES) or the general municipal collective agreement (KVTES) is observed.
Almost all sectors have their own collective agreements. For example, the trade, construction and tourism sectors have their own collective agreements. Familiarise yourself with the agreement in your own sector. You can find it at your workplace, trade union or online.
The collective agreement lays down the minimum conditions to be met in the sector. The contract of employment cannot offer terms lesser than these minimums. For example, the pay cannot be lower than what has been agreed upon in the collective agreement. However, an employer and employee can agree on better conditions than those stipulated in the collective agreement.
The collective agreement is binding on employers’ and employees’ unions and their members. A collective agreement can also be generally applicable. A generally applicable agreement must be respected by all employers even if they are not members of any employers’ association.
You can also read the InfoFinland page Trade unions.
Contract of employment
Make a written contract of employment with the employer when you start a new job. The employment contract records the tasks, salary or wages and other terms and conditions as well as the benefits of the employment relationship, such as lunch or mobile phone benefits.
The employment contract can also be verbal. However, you should always make a written employment contract. This allows the employee and employer to check what they agreed on in cases of conflict at work.
Read the employment contract carefully before signing it. Ask your employer if you do not understand a point. When you sign the employment contract, you accept its terms. Read more about making a contract of employment on the InfoFinland page Contents of a contract of employment.
Occupational Safety and Health AdministrationMaking a contract of employmentLink redirects to another website
Written explanation of the terms and conditions of work
If you have not made a written employment contract, the employer must give you a written explanation of the terms and conditions of work. If your employment is less than a month in duration, the employer does not have to give you a written explanation.
The explanation must indicate:
- the employer’s and employee’s place of residence or place of business
- the work commencement time
- the duration of a fixed-term employment and the reason for its fixed-term nature
- probationary period
- place of work
- employee’s tasks
- the collective agreement applicable to the work
- salary basis and pay period
- regular working hours
- the way annual holiday is determined
- period of notice.
The employer may receive fines if they fail to provide the employee with an explanation.