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Annual leave/weekday public holidays in the commercial sector

Updated: 15.02.2022

The provisions on weekday public holidays were amended as from 1 February 2017 into an annual leave system, where employees earn annual leave according to hours worked. (Under certain conditions, it is possible to agree locally to continue application of the weekday public holiday system.)

Accrual of annual leave entitlement
For employment relationships starting on or after 1 February 2017, accrual of annual leave entitlement will only start when the employment relationship has lasted 6 months.

Annual leave is accrued for each calendar year by virtue of: the actual number of hours worked; any other time that is to be considered as working time as specified in Chapter 2, section 4 of the Working Hours Act; training required by the employer to the extent that the employer pays for loss of earnings from regular working hours; time during which shop stewards and occupational health and safety representatives are released from work; and trade union training undertaken by staff representatives in accordance with a training agreement and falling within the scope of employer subsidy insofar as the employer pays for loss of earnings from regular working hours.

For every 220 hours accrued, the employee earns annual leave in accordance with the table below:

Number of             Number of days          Number of hours
hours accrued        of annual leave          of annual leave
220                        1                                 7.5
440                        2                                 15
660                        3                                 22.5
880                        4                                 30
1,100                     5                                 37.5
1,320                     6                                 45
1,540                     6.5                              48.75

Granting annual leave
Annual leave will primarily be granted during the year of accrual, however, no later than by the end of April of the following year.

On the employee’s initiative, it is possible to agree in writing that leave days be granted no later than by the end of the calendar year following the year of accrual.

Annual leave must not coincide with annual holidays or other time off.

Whenever possible, annual leave should be granted in conjunction with other time off. However, leave may also be granted as single days, such as a weekday public holiday.

Employees must be consulted when granting annual leave days. Periods of three or more consecutive days of annual leave must be agreed with the employee.

Annual leave must be entered into the schedule of work shifts. No work shift may be scheduled to begin or end on a calendar day that coincides with annual leave.

Annual leave must be granted as full days off.

Absences will not alter annual leave planned in the schedule of work shifts.

Annual leave will be granted in the form of a 7.5-hour working day.

When an employee has earned the full 6.5 days of annual leave in a calendar year, the proportion of leave in excess of 6 days (3 hours and 45 minutes) must also be granted as a full day off.

However, the employer and the employee may agree that the proportion of leave in excess of 6 days be realised by means such as shortening one or more working days by the total number of hours in question (while still paying in full for the scheduled work shift); or paying cash in lieu of the hours in question in accordance with Collective Agreement section 6; or transferring the hours into a working time bank.

An agreement can be made to replace a planned shift with annual leave on the employee’s initiative. In such cases, the length of annual leave corresponds to the length of the shift. However, any potential impact on the amount of annual leave that can be taken must be explained as part of making such an agreement.

Pay for a period of annual leave
For periods of annual leave, employees will receive pay and fixed bonuses, excluding any hourly bonuses for working conditions and working time bonuses.

Employees paid a monthly salary or a proportional monthly salary receive their normal salary regardless of the length of annual leave taken.

Employees paid by the hour receive pay for the period of annual leave according to the length of annual leave taken.

Employees working on commission receive their average daily commission during periods of annual leave.

Payment of cash compensation in lieu of annual leave
Once an employee’s employment relationship has lasted 6 months, an agreement can be made in writing to pay cash compensation instead of granting annual leave (in accordance with Collective Agreement section 23). Whenever an employee earns annual leave, the employee will be paid cash compensation corresponding to the duration of the annual leave on the following pay day.

On the employee’s initiative, an agreement may also be made to pay cash compensation for an individual period of annual leave or part thereof. Such compensation will be paid on the following pay day.

The amount of cash compensation is calculated by multiplying the duration of annual leave by the hourly wage. The hourly wage includes the fixed bonuses normally included in the employee’s wage on the payment date, excluding any hourly bonuses for working conditions and working time bonuses.

The hourly wage of an employee paid a proportional monthly salary is calculated by dividing the amount corresponding to the salary for full-time work by 160.

Annual leave at the end of an employment relationship
When an employment relationship ends, cash compensation is paid in lieu of any annual leave that has not been taken.

If an agreement has been made on the employee’s initiative to take annual leave before the employee has accrued it, the employer is entitled to reclaim the compensation paid to the employee for the period of annual leave at the end of the employment relationship. Such reclamation is only possible in the event that the employment relationship ends for a reason attributable to the employee.

Compensation for working on weekday public holidays and eves of such holidays
Any work performed when a shop is open after 6 pm on Epiphany Eve, Maundy Thursday, Ascension Day Eve, Midsummer’s Eve, Halloween, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve will be compensated with an increase in pay equivalent to a Saturday bonus.

Any work performed on Sundays and Church holidays, Independence Day (6 December) and May Day (1 May) will be compensated with a 100% increase in pay.

Other provisions relating to weekday public holidays
Work may only be assigned on Sundays or Church holidays where this was agreed in the employment contract or where the employee has specifically consented to this work.

Sunday work should be assigned impartially with particular regard to the employee’s skills, expertise and aptitude for the assignment.

Introduction of a weekday public holiday system in a company in whole or in part in lieu of the annual leave system may be agreed at a workplace level (in accordance with Collective Agreement section 23).
A shop steward may agree on introduction of a weekday public holiday system after discussions with the employees that he/she represents. If no shop steward has been chosen for the workplace, the employer must agree on the system separately with each employee within the occupational group in question.

Provisions on the weekday public holiday system will remain in force for the duration of such an agreement, however, always at least one calendar year at a time, which means that the working hours system may not be changed in the middle of the year.

The weekday public holiday system will also apply to any employee recruited for a new employment relationship during a calendar year.

No amendments will be made to employees’ employment contracts.

The weekly working hours of full-time employees working 37.5 hours will increase to 38 hours. Consequently, the shortening impact of a single weekday public holiday on working hours will also be 7.6 hours instead of the previous 7.5 hours.

The weekly working hours of full-time employees working 40 hours will not increase, but their additional ‘Pekkaspäivä’ days off will be reduced by 3 instead.

The working hours of part-time employees will remain the same, as will the terms and conditions of the weekday public holiday system.

In 2018, working hours in the commercial sector will be reduced to compensate for:

Weekday public holiday reduction for full-time employees working 38/40 hours

New Year’s Day, Monday, 1 January: 7.6/8 hours

Epiphany, Saturday, 6 January: no working hours reduction due to falling on a Saturday

Good Friday, 30 March: 7.6/8 hours

Easter Monday, 2 April: 7.6/8 hours

May Day, Tuesday, 1 May: 7.6/8 hours

Ascension Day, Thursday, 10 May: 7.6/8 hours

Midsummer’s Eve, Saturday, 23 June: 7.6/8 hours

Finnish Independence Day, Thursday, 6 December: 7.6/8 hours

Christmas Eve, Monday, 24 December: 7.6/8 hours

Boxing Day, Wednesday, 26 December: 7.6/8 hours

In the commercial sector, working hours may be reduced for full-time employees by giving them a day off in a public holiday week or within the two preceding or two subsequent weeks. The day off may also be given during the adjustment period within which the above-mentioned day falls.

The cash compensation or working hours reduction for part-time employees will be calculated by dividing the number of weekly working hours specified in the employment contract by 5. Example: weekly working hours agreed at 30 hrs ÷ 5 = 6 hours. A reduction may be implemented by paying a cash compensation equivalent to the reduction or by giving a paid period off corresponding to the reduction during the reduction period.

Each employee is entitled to a weekday public holiday reduction, provided that their employment has lasted at least a month prior to the public holiday in question. An employee is likewise entitled to a working hours reduction for Independence Day, provided that their employment has lasted at least 6 working days prior to Independence Day.

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