Working in Finland?
Working Conditions in Finland
Working Conditions — From Trade Unions to Holidays
Trade unions are common in Finland and the majority of Finns belong to one. To become a member of the trade union in your field, you have to pay a fee, but this fee is tax deductible.
Most workplaces have a shop steward who represents all employees. This is your contact person for any questions you have about work.
There are ten public holidays in Finland. The minimum holiday allowance is two vacation days for each month worked, meaning the minimum is 24 holidays a year. The work week in Finland is 40 hours, so eight hours a day. There is, naturally, some variation across sectors.
Employers often provide occupational healthcare services (in addition to Kela). Some employers also provide meal benefits.
Equality in the Workplace
Workplaces in Finland both preach and practice equality between women and men and between immigrants and Finns. Female emancipation has strong roots in Finland. In 1906, Finland was the first country in Europe that granted women the right to vote.
Today, there are more female than male students in university and the majority of women with children work. Unfortunately, like in many countries, men still have higher salaries than women; however, there is legislation in Finland that is actively trying to change that.
The Finnish Non-Discrimination Act was introduced in 2004 and updated in 2015, which aims to promote and protect equality in all areas of society, especially the workplace.
Comprehensive Social Security
There are three different types of pensions in Finland. These are the guarantee pension, the national pension, and the earnings-related pension. Kela pays both the guarantee pension and the national pension as the two are for people without pensions generated by earnings, or for those who only have low earning pensions. The earnings-related pension is paid by authorized pension providers. The accrual rate for this pension is 1.5% for employees aged 18 to 52 and then accrual rate increases after the age of 52. The size of a pension reflects a person’s annual earnings.
Retirement age in Finland is between 63 and 68. For people with a pension from Kela, retirement age is 65. Retiring before this age will result in a permanently smaller pension payment.
To be eligible for social security as a resident from a non-EU/EEA country, your primary home must be in Finland. This qualifies you as permanently residing in Finland, which then also qualifies you for Finnish social security.
Coffee Loving Finns’ Business Etiquette
It is common for work colleagues to call each other by their first names; however, it may be more appropriate to use last names in formal meetings, especially with customers. Observe the behavior in your office and ask your employer or colleagues if you are not sure.
Finns value punctuality and it is especially important at the workplace. If you are supposed to start working at 8:00, you are expected to be at your desk at 8:00 and not rushing in the door. The Finnish expression for “be on time” is Älä myöhästy and it applies to both your social and professional life.
When someone rings you on the phone, it is impolite to answer by saying just hello. Instead, answer the phone by saying your name.
Finns apparently hold a world record when it comes to drinking coffee as, on average, Finns drink nine cups of coffee (not espresso, we’re talking about proper cups) a day! However, if you are not a coffee drinker, it is perfectly fine to decline a cup when offered.
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