Let's talk about work contracts

So, you’ve danced through the interview hoops, dazzled them with your skills, and finally got that golden ticket – a job offer in Finland!

Before you pop the champagne, let’s talk about something less glamorous but ultra-important: your employment contract! Juho-Heikki Leppänen, lawyer at the Union Organization Akavan Erityisalat, shared his wisdom on this topic (and more) in a recent Herizon’s webinar.

If you missed the event, buckle up! We’re diving into the nitty-gritty of Finnish work agreements. 

1. The Almighty Collective Agreement

First things first, scan for a collective agreement mention. This gem holds the secrets to your rights: salaries, leaves, working hours, and more.
No collective agreement? Ask for a specific agreement of your choice to be applied. Alternatively, beef up that salary request to cover the loss in benefits, or ask specifics on perks like holiday bonuses, extended sick leave, or that well-deserved maternity leave.

You can read more on collective agreements here.

2. Define Your Domain

Don’t settle for vague job descriptions! Negotiate your role title to match your future career aspirations. Make also sure to have your tasks specified to avoid becoming the office Jack (or Jill) of all trades.

3. Details That Matter

Numbers talk, my friend! Your working hours, salary, holidays, raises, bonuses, benefits, and, oh yes, the payday– Get it all in black and white and leave no room for surprises.

4. Fixed-Term Flexibility

For fixed-term contracts, make sure it states you can break up with a certain notice period. No one wants to be stuck in a contract until the end date if the situation becomes uncomfortable! Also, remember that you have the right to paid leave days, since you will not have the opportunity to accrue them as in a permanent contract.

5. Notice Periods: Your Exit Strategy

Ensure your contract details a reasonable notice period for both you and your employer.

Here’s a little insider tip: the notice period may differ for the employer and employee! Aim for a notice period that gives you ample time to find your next big adventure if the employer decides it’s time to part ways. On the flip side, you wouldn’t want to be locked into the job for months if you decide it’s time to spread your wings.

5. Notice Periods: Your Exit Strategy

Ensure your contract details a reasonable notice period for both you and your employer.

Here’s a little insider tip: the notice period may differ for the employer and employee! Aim for a notice period that gives you ample time to find your next big adventure if the employer decides it’s time to part ways. On the flip side, you wouldn’t want to be locked into the job for months if you decide it’s time to spread your wings.

On the other side, these are some job contract quicksands you should try to avoid when working in Finland:

  • The Blurred Line Trap
    Watch out for vague descriptions that turn you into the office catch-all. If your role includes “everything the employer requests” or “other tasks to be defined”, you shall ask for that part to be removed. Clear lines make for a smooth start! 
  • The Trial Period Twist
    Contrary to popular belief, trial periods aren’t mandatory in Finland. You can negotiate their duration or try to skip them altogether. The trial period also allows for you as an employee to decide whether the job and company are suitable for you.

    You’re not here to audition, but to conquer!

     

  • The Phantom Contract Dilemma
    Don’t fall for the charm of verbal agreements or promises of contracts coming “later”.

    Verbal contracts are acceptable for Finnish Law, but leave no proof of the agreed terms behind.

    On the other side, a delayed contract weakens your negotiation stance, and might leave you powerless. Stay cool and insist on a written contract before diving into the work trenches!

Remember: Finnish contracts mean business once you sign on that dotted line, even if your work hasn’t kicked off. If you’re juggling multiple job offers, keep that in mind. Employers might let you off the hook, but signing in haste might not be your best move.


And hey, if you’re part of a Union, seize the opportunity to get an expert eye on your contract: they usually offer this service for free!

A big shout-out to Juho-Heikki Leppänen and Viivi Marttinen for organizing the event, and to the Worker’s Union Viesti for playing matchmaker in this knowledge rendezvous!

Hope these tips amp up your confidence as start your new job! Best of luck rocking your career in Finland—go crush it! 🚀

Written by Nicoletta Franchino, a Herizon Alumni and a true powerhouse.

Check her LinkedIn profile out 💜

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