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Home » Guide to working life » Employment relationships » Employment contracts » Types of employment relationships
Last updated: 17.08.2023

The form of employment is specified in the employment contract

There are different types of employment relationships: permanent, full time, fixed term and part time. Other forms of work include practical training, apprenticeship training and entrepreneurship, for example.

The type of your employment relationship affects your notice of termination and the termination of employment, as well as your working time and holidays. It also affects what happens if you become ill.  

The employment contract determines the form of employment. Employment contracts should always be made in writing. 

Read, what you should know about employment contracts.

Permanent employment  

A permanent or indefinite employment relationship is an employment relationship in which the end date has not been specified. Such employment contracts are valid until they are terminated by the employer or the employee. Notice periods apply to the termination of employment contracts.  

Full-time employment 

Full-time employment or full-time work means that work is done throughout the working day, usually five days a week. The maximum working time is 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. Full-time work usually means 7.5 hours per day and 37.5 hours per week. 

Fixed-term employment 

A fixed-term employment contract is valid until the fixed-term period expires or the agreed work is completed. The employer and the employee agree on the end date or the task at the beginning of the employment relationship. 

Fixed-term employment contracts can only be made for a justified reason. Fixed-term employment can be based on: 

  • Serving as someone’s substitute 
  • A fixed-term project 
  • One-off work 
  • Seasonal work 
  • Completing a practical training requirement for an educational institution 
  • Apprenticeship training 
  • Any other factor related to the employer’s operations or the work to be completed that requires fixed-term employment. 

The repeated use of fixed-term contracts without a justified reason is prohibited.  

If there is no justified reason to use a fixed-term employment contract, the contract is considered permanent despite any fixed term specified in contract. However, the Employment Contracts Act does not set any limits for fixed-term employment contracts made at the employee’s initiative. 

As a rule, neither party – the employer or the employee – cannot terminate a fixed-term contract. A fixed-term contract ends when the fixed-term period expires. The premature termination of an employment contract may even result in liability for damages. If you want to terminate a fixed-term employment contract as an employee, the best way is to discuss the matter with the employer and try to agree on the procedures jointly.   

A fixed-term employment contract may also include a trial period of up to six months. Check your collective agreement for the maximum duration of your trial period. However, in fixed-term employment relationships, the trial period may not be more than 50% of the duration of the employment relationship. During the trial period, the employee and the employer may terminate the employment relationship with immediate effect. There must be a justified reason for termination during the trial period.

According to the Employment Contracts Act, a long-term unemployed person may be hired for a fixed-term employment relationship without a justified reason. A long-term unemployed person is a person who has been continuously unemployed for the previous 12 months. No more than three employment contracts of this type may be made during a year, and their maximum total duration may not exceed one year. 

However, the employer must have a justified reason in accordance with the Employment Contracts Act for a fixed-term contract if the employer wishes to hire a long-term unemployed person for period longer than a year or if the employment contracts with the person do no not otherwise meet the limits laid down in the provision. 

If there are several fixed-term employment contracts, the employer must have a justified reason, at the latest when the employer and the employee enter into the first employment contract that is not an employment contract for a long-term unemployed person under the Employment Contracts Act. 

Part-time employment 

Part-time employment or part-time work means that you only work part of the working day or part of the work week. In part-time employment, there is less work than in full-time employment. 

If you are a part-time employee, you have the right to extra hours. This means that if your employer needs more employees, you must be offered extra hours before your employer can hire new employees.  

Let your employer know if you want to work more hours than what is stated in your employment contract. 

Temporary agency work 

In temporary agency work, the employer leases their employees to work for another employer. A company that needs more workforce enters into an agreement with a staff leasing agency. In a staff leasing employment relationship, there are always three parties: the employee, the staff leasing agency and the company.  

The employee enters into an employment contract with the staff leasing agency. The staff leasing agency serves as the employer for the employee.

Apprenticeship training  

Apprenticeship training is a form of training arising from the needs of working life. The employer and the student enter into a fixed-term employment contract. During apprenticeship training, the student is paid wages and gains work experience in addition to training. Most of the learning takes place in the workplace.  


An entrepreneur is person who engages in economic activities on her or his own account and under her or his own responsibility. An entrepreneur is responsible for her or his social security and pension contributions. A sole proprietor who earns a living without an employment relationship is also called self-employed or a freelancer.  

Zero-hour contracts and on-demand workers 

A zero-hour contract is an employment contract in which the minimum amount of work is zero hours (for example, 0–40 hours per week). Zero-hour contracts are not allowed in PAM’s collective agreement sectors. The employment contract must always state minimum working hours.   

However, in PAM’s collective agreement sectors, it is possible for employees to enter into on-demand employment contracts. If the employee only comes to work when called, each working period is a separate fixed-term employment relationship. 
Read more about zero-hour contracts and on-demand workers.

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