Protection of privacy at work and working with children

Data protection in working life

Employers can gather personal information on their employees for their own needs. However, the protection of privacy dictates that jobseekers and employees have the widest possible right to know and decide what kind of information is collected about them and how it is handled and processed. They also have the right to be assessed on the basis of accurate personal information.

The Act on the Protection of Privacy in Working Life lays down provisions on such matters as the processing of employees’ personal data, the processing of information on drug use, camera surveillance in the workplace, and retrieving email messages that belong to the employer.

The processing of employees’ personal data must also comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which entered into force on 25 May 2018. More information about the GDPR is available at the website of the Data Protection Ombudsman, for example.

There are provisions on the protection of employees’ privacy even in other legislation, such as the Security Clearance Act and the Information Society Code.

In the future, the processing of personal data will also have to comply with the forthcoming Data Protection Act. The bill is currently being discussed in Parliament, and once the new act enters into force it will repeal the current Personal Data Act.

The authorities overseeing compliance with the Act on the Protection of Privacy in Working Life are the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) authorities and the Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman.

The brochure describing the Act on the Protection of Privacy in Working Life is being updated following the entry into force of the General Data Protection Regulation.

Further information:
Law-drafting: Johanna Ylitepsa, johanna.ylitepsa(at)tem.fi; Elli Nieminen, elli.nieminen(at)tem.fi

Working with children

The Act on Checking the Criminal Background of Persons working with Children is an attempt to reduce the risk of children being sexually exploited, becoming victims of violence, or being tempted into using drugs.

The procedure of checking criminal background applies when someone is recruited for a job in which a nature of work provide a change for close interaction with children. A private person can obtain a criminal record extract on him/herself from the Finnish Criminal Records Register provided against a fee based on the actual costs arising from the provision of the extract if he or she is to be selected to work with children.

Publications

Guidance and supervision of  labour legislation: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Osha)
Law-drafting: Päivi Kantanen, paivi.kantanen(at)tem.fi