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Työpaikan arki

Everyday life at the workplace

This page provides information about the customs and rules that are followed in Finnish workplaces.

Internal communication at the workplace

Usually information about forthcoming events and changes at a workplace is given at meetings. Attending meetings gives you a chance to influence matters, suggest changes and develop your work.

Every workplace also has other appointed channels of internal communication, such as notice boards, e-mail or mail boxes assigned for employees. Follow the communications at your workplace.

Breaks and rest periods

Often a contract of employment gives information about when breaks occur during a working day and how long they are. Often there is a short coffee break in the morning, a lunch break in the middle of the day and another coffee break in the afternoon. The length of a lunch break varies according to workplace. It is a good idea to check the length of the breaks with your supervisor. If you are allowed to leave the workplace during the break, the break does not count as working time.

Eating during breaks is arranged in different ways at different workplaces: some have their own canteen, while at others employees bring their own food from home. At some workplaces, employees can buy affordable lunch vouchers that can be used at restaurants close to the workplace. People do not usually work during lunch.

In most cases, breaks and rest periods in between work shifts must be as follows:

  • on working days longer than six hours, at least one half-hour break
  • at least 11 hours of uninterrupted rest between the end of the shift and the start of the next shift
  • once a week for at least 35 hours of uninterrupted weekly rest.

Taking care of personal business during a working day

It is not permitted to take care of personal affairs during working hours, instead, they have to be dealt with outside working hours. The number of working hours agreed upon in the contract of employment is binding and the agreed-upon hours have to be performed. During a break, you can make, for example, important personal calls. You can also apply for unpaid time off, if the situation requires a longer absence from work.

If for some reason you cannot, for example, get a doctor’s appointment outside working hours, negotiate with your supervisor about your absence and make an agreement about a way to compensate for the time you will be at the doctor’s. 

Work-related training

Even if an employee already has the required training for the occupation when they start work, many employers encourage their employees to acquire additional training. Often it is possible to attend training programmes during working hours, and an employer may pay for the training. Most employers appreciate their employee’s desire to advance in their occupation and to learn new skills.


Usually presents are not given at the workplace. However, on special days (birthdays, marriage, retirement) workmates and the employer usually give a small present or bouquet of flowers to the person whose special day it is.

Working hours and holidays

A normal working day usually lasts eight hours. An employee can also agree with their employer on different working hours. In Finland, employees usually do not work a lot of overtime. People work the hours agreed on in their employment contract.

In Finland, the holiday season begins at the beginning of May. The number of holidays an employee is entitled to depends on the number of years the employee has worked and when the contract of employment has started. In addition to paid holidays, you can apply for unpaid leave. In Finland, holidays are long compared to many other countries.

Well-being at work and work-related recreation

Many workplaces want to support their employees’ well-being and happiness at work by arranging different kinds of recreational days and workplace celebrations.An employer may also offer employees various opportunities for leisure activities.

Annual holidays

Some days are public holidays in Finland. Such holidays include:

  • New Year, 1 January
  • Twelfth Day, 6 January
  • Easter: the date varies, in March or April
  • May Day, 1 May
  • Ascension Day: in May, the date varies
  • Midsummer Eve: in June, always on a Friday
  • Independence Day, 6 December
  • Christmas Day, 25 December
  • Boxing Day, 26 December

Read more about these days on the InfoFinland page Finnish holidays.

At some work places, hospitals for example, these public holidays are also working days. Employees are paid a higher salary for the holidays during which they work. Check from your collective agreement what the compensation for working during the holidays is.