Employment security during military or non-military service

An employee has the right to get leave from work for doing military or non-military service. A person called up for military or non-military service has the right to return to the same or equivalent duties after the end or interruption of the service.

There are legal provisions ensuring the continuation of the contractual or public-service employment relationships when an employee cannot refuse the call up without legal consequences. The forms of service are as follows: conscription and reservist training laid down in the Conscription Act and the non-military service and supplementary service laid down in the Non-Military Service Act. Employment security also applies to persons participating in women’s voluntary military service and persons taking part in crisis management in a civil role.

In order to be granted leave, an employee called up for service must provide his/her employer with details of the call-up and the start date of the service.  

The employer may not terminate a contractual or public-service employment relationship on the basis of military or non-military service. The employment contract of an employee carrying out military or non-military service can be terminated for financial and production-related reasons only if the employer closes its operations down entirely or discontinues its business activities.

Employer must be notified of the return to work

An employee who wants to return to his/her former duties after completing the service must, before the end of the service or upon its interruption, notify the employer of his/her return to work at least 14 days before the planned return date.

The employee must return to work within 14 days of the date on which he/she notified the employer of the return to work. The employer and employee may also agree on the date of return in a different manner.

Employees that have been called up for reservist training or extra service must return to work immediately after the period of training or service.

If the employee has failed to notify the employer of his/her return to work within one month from the date on which the service ended or was interrupted, the employer may regard the employment contract as cancelled. The employer has the right to obtain information about the date on which the service ended from the register of persons liable for military service or non-military service.

Further information:

Guidance and supervision of  labour legislation: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Osha)
Law-drafting: Sami Teräväinen, sami.teravainen(at)tem.fi