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Terms of employment - 05.11.2021 klo 09.03

How to negotiate a good employment contract

Regional trade union official Ismo Karstinen thinks workers should try to negotiate good terms of employment in their contract, even though the employer has a stronger position. Picture: Tommi Kärkkäinen

What should you know as an employee when you start in a new job and make an employment contract? PAM’s regional trade union official Ismo Karstinen has some tips.

1.  Make an employment contract in writing or electronically

An employment contract is a contract between the employer and the employee. Always make an employment contract in writing or electronically so that there is no ambiguity about what has been agreed. Don’t settle for an oral agreement.


2.  Check if there is a reason for the job being fixed-term

A contract concluded for an indefinite period is the same as a permanent job. A fixed-term contract, on the other hand, lasts for a certain period, and there must be a valid reason for that, such as a substitution. Your employer might say the valid reason is that customer numbers are unpredictable. Don’t automatically accept this if the site has been operational for a long time.


3.  Insist on a certain number of working hours

Unless you get full-time work, agree a certain number of hours in your employment contract, such as 20 or 30 hours a week. Then your employer must offer you these working hours as a minimum. The number of hours agreed in an employment contract is binding on both parties. If you accept a zero-hours contract, remember that you don’t have to accept the hours your employer offers you if you don’t want to.


4.  Agree on a definite work location     

Try to get a single definite work location agreed in your employment contract. If the place of work stated in an employment contract is all the employer’s locations, your employer can move you to any work location corresponding to your occupation. This can be problematic if you don’t own a car and there’s no bus connection. This is also part of the negotiation. Pay attention to this.


5.  If you have a trial period, agree on as shorts a time as possible

If there is a trial period mentioned in your employment contract, try to negotiate as short a time as possible. During the trial period, the employment can be terminated immediately by both parties. But it is not allowed to cancel the contract on inappropriate or discriminatory grounds during the trial period.

6.  Agree your pay

Even though the collective agreement lays down the minimum wages for your sector, you can agree a better level of pay in your employment contract. If your employer is short of labour, it could be that they will pay higher wages than what’s in the collective agreement.


Mera information: Employment contract,  Fixed-term employement contract, Trial period

Text:: Hildur Boldt