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Draft of a new working hours act submitted for impact analysis

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 21.5.2018 15.51 | Published in English on 23.5.2018 at 15.04
Press release

On 21 May 2018, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment submitted a draft government proposal for a new working hours act to the Finnish Council of Regulatory Impact Analysis (FCRIA) for assessment. The aim is to update the current Working Hours Act so that it better responds to the needs of working life in the 2020s.

The new act will safeguard employees’ working time protection, while allowing flexible arrangements agreed by employees and employers. Flexible arrangements would allow employees to reconcile the demands of work and private life and employers to respond to changing production needs.

The new working hours act would take into account the possibilities created by technological advances to work anywhere and at any time, while at the same time requiring compliance with the rules regarding working time protection.

The new act would apply to all employees in contractual or public-service relationships who need working time protection. It would not apply to employees who have full autonomy over their working hours and, therefore, can take care of their working time protection. The act’s scope of application would meet the requirements of the EU Working Time Directive.

Flexible working hours in work independent of time and place

The new act would introduce a new working time arrangement for flexible working hours. It would mean that at least half of an employee’s working time would be such that the employee can decide when and where to work. The flexible working hours arrangement would be based on an agreement between the employer and the employee. It would be well suited to specialist work where specific goals and overall timetables are more important than working at specific hours.

The new act would include provisions on working hours banks that would 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 would be a system for combining work and private life that allows employees to save and combine working hours, earned leave or monetary benefits exchanged for leave. It would increase the employees’ possibilities to accumulate a longer leave and reconcile the demands of work and private life.

The provisions on agreement-based working time would allow more flexible working hours arrangements. Enterprise-specific collective agreements could be used to agree regular working hours arrangements in such a way that the working hours average out over 52 weeks. Workplaces would have greater possibilities to introduce regular working hours arrangements based on an agreement between the employer and the employee. There would be more leeway to agree on flexitime, too.

The regulations and text have also been streamlined and updated throughout the act. The draft proposal takes into account the requirements of the EU Working Hours Directive.

The FCRIA will issue its statement within four weeks. 


Tarja Kröger, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, tel. +358 29 504 8937

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