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Working Hours Act to be updated

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 4.7.2019 14.18 | Published in English on 5.7.2019 at 11.02
Press release
Kuva: Ilari Pousi

The new Working Hours Act caters to changes in the labour market and working life, such as the growing popularity of time and location independent working. The Act also caters to the requirements of the Working Hours Directive and its interpretations. The amendments will enter into force on 1 January 2020.

Tools for workplace-specific solutions: flexitime, flexible working hours and a working hours bank

The new Working Hours Act provides workplaces with tools for individual working hours solutions that meet the needs of both the employer and the employees. The Act gives more latitude to employers and employees regarding agreements on regular working hours. Similarly, more flexible arrangements can be made regarding flexitime.

The Act permits arrangements regarding the new flexible working hours in the workplace. The employer and the employee may agree on flexible working hours if the nature of the employee’s duties is such that the employee may independently decide how to allocate at least half of his or her total working hours, as well as the location of work. Flexible working hours would be well suited to specialist work where specific goals and overall timetables are more important than working at specific hours.

The new Working Hours Act will include provisions on working hours banks.  These provisions allow the introduction of the statutory working hours bank at all workplaces even in cases where it is not included in the collective agreement binding on the employer. A working hours bank allows employees to save working hours, earned leave or monetary benefits exchanged for leave. In addition, the provision on working hours banks increases the employees’ possibilities to accumulate a longer leave and reconcile the demands of work and private life.

Working Hours Act provides a framework for employee working time protection

The Working Hours Act provides a framework for working hours regulation in all sectors. In practice, working hours are largely based on arrangements specified in national industry-wide agreements, which are permitted by the provisions of the Working Hours Act. Enterprise-specific collective agreements may be used to agree on regular working hours arrangements in such a way that the working hours balance out over 52 weeks.

The Government proposes that the new Working Hours Act be ratified in the presidential session on 5 July 2019. The amendments will enter into force on 1 January 2020.

Tarja Kröger, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, tel. +358 295 048 937

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