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02.04.2024 15:45

Too little pay

Unpaid wage supplements is one of the most common reasons for contacting PAM’s employment relationship hotline. Ahmed (name changed) worked as a cleaner and received his missing compensation for additional and overtime work back with the help of PAM.

– When I am being asked why it is worthwhile to be a member of a trade union, I usually tell people about my own experience from six years ago. I was paid too little at my previous job, but I was able to get the money back with the help of PAM.

Ahmed moved to Finland in 2015. He soon found a job as a cleaner in a cleaning company that employed 15–20 people at the time and worked there for two and a half years. During that time, he cleaned offices, stairwells, industrial sites and a health center.

At the very beginning of Ahmed’s employment, his friends recommended that he would join a trade union, just in case. At first, Ahmed was a bit skeptic about it as he did not have a very positive image of trade unions and was not sure if that could lead to possible problems.

– However, I soon realized that here in Finland, many people belong to trade unions and it is completely safe. In many other countries this is not the case.

Help from the regional office

At the beginning of his employment, Ahmed sometimes wondered if his salary had been paid correctly. He decided to start writing down all the hours he worked.

His suspicions grew stronger when he heard that his co-worker had received more pay, even though he had worked the same hours. So Ahmed headed to PAM’s regional office. There, he took with him the pay slips he had received for the entire period of employment and his notes of all the hours he had worked.

His suspicions were right all along as PAM’s union representative noticed that he had missed out on additional work and overtime compensation for a total of about two thousand euros.

– I was disappointed, sad and angry all at the same time. It didn’t seem fair, because I had given my all at work: been flexible with my shifts, worked overtime when needed and helped others.

Unpaid extras back

Ahmed gave the union representative permission to handle his dispute further. First, the cleaning company was reluctant to discuss the matter claiming that the salary had been paid as it should have been. However, time sheets and pay slips showed otherwise. The union representative settled the matter and finally the cleaning company paid Ahmed 1,900 euros in compensation.

– It felt good to be able to conclude the matter, he recalls.

Study your collective agreement

Ahmed, who now works as a supervisor of hotel cleaners in a different company, has since found out more about his collective agreement.

– When you have moved to Finland from abroad, it is not easy to understand what wage supplements you are entitled to as an employee. In PAM’s trainings, I have learned a lot about the collective agreement of my field, property services, as well as the Finnish working life.

In addition, Ahmed has participated in Finnish language courses offered by PAM and in different events.

– There are many events, trainings and benefits available for members – and for free. Don’t hesitate to get involved.

The name of the PAM member interviewed for this story has been changed.

Time sheet is the key

– Questions related to various supplements are one of the most common reasons for contacting our employment relationship hotline. Unfortunately, there are often errors in wage supplements paid for evening work, additional work or overtime. As this case showed, it is worth keeping a time sheet of all your working hours. This way you can later check whether the salary has been paid correctly. If you notice that too little salary has been paid, contact your employer and ask for the payment to be corrected.

Marja Salmivuori
PAM’s Legal Manager


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