Part-time workers can benefit from annual leave
At the turn of the year, public holiday time off will be replaced by an annual leave system in the commercial sector.
The amendments included in the Competitiveness Pact, forged as a result of arduous negotiations, will start to enter into force in different sectors at the turn of the year. The most significant change for stores is related to weekday public holidays: the old system will be replaced by a new annual leave system, unless otherwise agreed at a company level.
Moving forward, weekday public holidays will no longer lead to a reduction in working hours and no compensation will be payable for weekday public holiday reductions. Instead, you will earn one annual leave day for every 220 hours worked. This means that you can accrue up to 6.5 leave days per year, while the average amount earned by full-time employees used to be 8.4 days, depending on the days of the week on which public holidays fell. The reason for this change is the extension of annual working hours required in the Competitiveness Pact.
Any overtime and additional working hours are also counted as working hours. As a result, part-time employees can benefit from this change: if you work more than the hours specified in your own employment contract, you can also accrue more leave days than before.
- Our negotiations were carried out in quite a good spirit and all employees are switching to the annual leave system. Supervisors have also received appropriate training, explains Seija Jaatinen, commercial sector chief shop steward for Northern Karelia Cooperative Society (PKO).
- I have asked our employees about the change and no major problems have been raised. Then again, extended opening hours have also been discussed, but that’s a different thing altogether. We have lots of part-time employees and annual leave is a good thing for them, Jaatinen continues.
High demand for extra hours
Tarja Parviainen, a sales assistant at the Sokos department store in Joensuu working on an employment contract with 30 weekly hours, takes a positive view of the change.
- I haven’t had all that much time to learn about the new system, but it does sound quite good, she says.
- Most of our people, at least, want to work extra hours and that’s what we do too. Many of us only have employment contracts with limited hours.
Parviainen explains that she also regularly works extra hours, such as during the Christmas season. Therefore, the hours worked could be expected to accrue a good number of leave days.
Commercial sector businesses can agree locally to retain the weekday public holiday system while increasing weekly working hours to 38 hours for full-time employees. In this case, the working hours of part-time employees will not change.
In tourism, restaurant and leisure services, working hours will increase from 111 hours to 112.5 hours over a three-week period for full-time employees as a result of the Competitiveness Pact. The working hours of part-time employees will not change. In addition, the sector will introduce an annual leave system similar to the one in place in the commercial sector, but the maximum number of leave days would be 7 days per year. This would also apply to part-time employees. These amendments were covered in more detail in PAM Magazine 13/2016.
Self-notification still open
Another change brought about by the Competitiveness Pact is the joint recommendation by PAM and employers that workplaces should agree on the so-called self-notification of short-term sick leave: in other words, you would no longer need to produce a medical certificate for a bout of flu, for example.
According to chief shop steward Seija Jaatinen, self-notification has not yet been agreed in PKO. There have been some tentative talks with management, but it is yet to be determined when the procedure could be implemented and whether it would initially be introduced into a specific part of the cooperative society or throughout the entire business. In Tarja Parviainen’s opinion, this reform also sounds good – and might even reduce absence.
Last-minute talks in property service companies
In property services, the extension to working hours required as part of the Competitiveness Pact is primarily expected to be implemented as agreed locally at a company level. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, this will trigger a so-called fall-back model, where those working 40-hour weeks would see a reduction in their number of additional days off, while those working 37.5 hours per week would either face an increase to 38 hours, or the extension would be dealt with using training days.
According to PAM Bargaining Specialist Jarkko Viitanen, the majority of agreements reported to PAM follow this fall-back model. Bargaining on the issue has also been stretched to the last moments of the year even in many large companies. In SOL Palvelut, for example, the parties reached an agreement just before Christmas. According to chief shop steward Janne Forsman, each supervisor can now agree with individual employees to implement the working hours extension using training days or a specific work performance to be agreed separately, by exchanging holiday pay for time off on the employee’s initiative, or a combination of these. It is also possible to use the fall-back model.