The purpose of annual holiday is to provide employees with an opportunity to recover from the stress resulting from work. As a rule, employees are entitled to four weeks of summer holiday and one week of winter holiday. In short employment relationships the annual holiday is shorter.
Employees earn days of holiday by working during the holiday credit year (1 April - 31 March). Employees are entitled to holiday pay for the duration of the holiday. As a rule, the holiday pay is equivalent to the regular pay.
Many of the provisions concerning annual holidays are laid down in collective agreements.
The employer’s obligation to pay holiday bonus is based on collective agreements, employment contracts or well-established practices. Holiday bonus is 50% of the holiday pay. There are no provisions in the Annual Holidays Act obliging employers to pay holiday bonus.
Accrual of annual holiday
Annual holiday is accrued on the basis of the 14-day or 35-hour rule. Employees falling outside these rules are entitled to a leave equivalent to annual holiday (leave system).
Employees who according to their contract work for a minimum of 14 days each month are covered by the 14-day rule. They accumulate days of holiday for each calendar month during which they have accumulated at least 14 hours at work or the equivalent days at work.
The 35-hour rule applies to employees who according to their contract work less than 14 days each month but at least 35 hours during one month. They accumulate days of holiday for each calendar month during which they have accumulated at least 35 hours at work or the same number of hours equivalent to work.
Periods of absence resulting from the following are considered days or hours equivalent to days at work within the restrictions laid down in the law:
- annual holiday
- maternity, paternity or parental leave
- study leave or
Employees working for less than 35 hours each month are entitled to a leave equivalent to annual holiday. Under this rule, employees are entitled to two working days of leave for each month in which the employment relationship has been in force. In employment relationships that have lasted for more than a year, the employee is entitled to four weeks’ leave.
The leave system also applies to employees working at home and an employer’s family members when there are no other employees working for the employer.
Employees who have worked for the same employer under repeated fixed-term employment contracts with only short interruptions are also entitled to a leave.
Granting of annual holiday and paying of holiday pay
The annual holiday is earned and taken on working days. Saturday is also considered a working day even if the employee did not work on Saturdays. The summer holiday (24 working days) must be taken in the holiday season (2 May - 30 September). The remainder of the holiday (winter holiday) must be granted no later than by the beginning of the following holiday season.
At least two weeks of the annual holiday must be taken as an uninterrupted period. In other respects, the employer and the employee may agree on taking the holiday outside the holiday seasons. They may also convert part of the holiday into shorter working hours.
As a rule, the employees also have the right to receive their regular pay for the holiday. The rules concerning the calculation of the holiday pay depend on the pay system and holiday accrual rules applying to the employee in question.
The holiday pay must be paid before the start of the holiday. However, for a holiday not exceeding six days, the holiday pay may be paid on the employee’s normal pay day.
The holiday compensation paid to the employee at the end of the employment relationship for any holiday earned but not yet granted is calculated in accordance with the same rules as holiday pay. The holiday compensation of employees covered by the leave system is calculated in the same manner.
Guidance and supervision of labour legislation: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Osha)
Law-drafting: Tarja Kröger, tarja.kroger(at)gov.fi; Johanna Ylitepsa, johanna.ylitepsa(at)gov.fi