Concluding an employment contract

Form and duration of employment contract

An employment contract may be made orally, in writing or in electronic format but it is recommended that the contract be made in writing.

An employment contract may be valid for an indefinite or fixed period of time. If an employment contract is made for a fixed term at the employer’s initiative, there must be a justified reason for it, such as a need for a substitute or seasonal worker. Only long-term unemployed people may be hired for fixed-term employment without a justified reason. Anyone who has been an unemployed job seeker continuously over the previous 12 months is regarded as being long-term unemployed. A fixed-term employment contract like that, covering at the most three periods, may last no longer than one year.

At the employee’s request, an employment contract may always be concluded on a fixed-term basis.

Trial period

An employment contract may contain a provision on a trial period. The maximum length of a trial period is six months. Either party may cancel the employment contract during the trial period, notwithstanding the grounds for termination laid down in the Employment Contracts Act. The employer has the right to extend the trial period, if the employer has been absent from work for more than 30 calendar days due to incapacity for work or because of family leave.

Fixed-term employment contract

A fixed-term employment contract is binding on both the employer and the employee for the whole duration of the contract period. A fixed-term employment relationship terminates at the end of the agreed period or after the agreed work has been completed. During its validity, a fixed-term employment contract may only be terminated on cancellation grounds.

An account of the principal terms and conditions of work

The employer must provide a written account of the principal terms and conditions of work to the employee, if these are not laid down in a written employment contract. The terms and conditions  include:

  • start date of the employment relationship
  • duration of and basis for a fixed-term employment contract or specification that the fixed-term contract is concluded with a long-term unemployed
  • employee’s work tasks
  • place of work
  • grounds for determining pay and other remuneration
  • regular working hours
  • determination of annual holiday
  • period of notice or the grounds for determining it, and
  • applicable collective agreement.

Further information:

Guidance and supervision of  labour legislation: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Osha)
Law-drafting: Tarja Kröger, tarja.kroger(at)tem.fi