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Employment and public servants

Employment arises when you make either an oral or a written employment contract and begin working for an employer under the employer’s direction and supervision. This work may either be done at a certain workplace, or at one or more other places of work agreed with the employer.

Employment requires your employer to pay an earnings-related pension contribution and other statutory social insurance contributions on your pay.

The basic elements of employment are:

  • working in return for pay or other remuneration paid by the employer,
  • working under the direction and supervision of the employer,
  • working on the employer’s behalf, and
  • working on the basis of an employment contract.

Work in the public sector may also be part of a public service appointment. Public servants are appointed to service positions in national and local government and parishes. Their terms and conditions of service are governed by public service collective agreements made between public authorities and staff organisations. Most local authority staff are ordinary employees and not public servants in this sense.

What is temporary employment?

In temporary employment you agree the times when the employment begins and ends with the employer. There must always be a justified reason for temporary employment, such as serving as a substitute for another employee. The employment will be regarded as open-ended if there is no lawful justification for temporary employment. No such justification is required when hiring someone in long-term unemployment for no longer than one year, or when the employee specifically requests temporary employment.

A person may be appointed to a temporary public service position in national or local government or in a parish when there is a justification for doing so. This temporary public service position will end when the fixed period is completed. 

A public servant who has been appointed for a fixed period without justification may be eligible for compensation of between 6 and 24 months’ salary for unfounded temporary public service appointment after the employment has ended. A temporary public service appointment may be terminated with notice or with immediate effect on the same grounds as an open-ended public service appointment.

    Text edited by: Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions – SAK, Confederation of Finnish Industries – EK, Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland – Akava, Finnish Confederation of Salaried Employees – STTK, KT Local Government Employers, Labour Market Organisation of the Church – KiT, Office for the Government as Employer – VTML

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    Updated: 2/6/2019