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EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure FI-2020-12/1353 – measures in Finland

HOK-Elanto transferred 800 employees from restaurants to grocery stores in order to meet the needs of the rapidly changing market

HOK-Elanto siirti 800 työntekijää ravintoloista päivittäistavarakauppoihin

Country Finland , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 18 March 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Company practices
Category Reorientation of business activities
– Transfer or redeployment of workers
Author Amanda Kinnunen (Oxford Research) and Eurofound
Measure added 29 October 2020 (updated 13 May 2021)

Background information

As a response to the first wave of COVID-19 in Spring 2020, the Government ordered restaurants, cafés, and bars to be closed to customers. Meals could be only sold out to customers.

This had a significant impact on the Finnish restaurant industry and many employers had to either temporarily or permanently dismiss employees. Simultaneously, the pressure in grocery stores increased as people were no longer eating out. Many grocery stores experienced sudden labour shortages.

HOK-Elanto, a Finnish cooperative active in the restaurant and retail trade sectors was thus faced with two conflicting problems: on one hand, the restaurants part of the cooperative could no longer offer work for the employees and on the other hand, many grocery stores were understaffed as a result of the rapid increase in demand. To meet the needs of the companies part of HOK-Elanto, the cooperative transferred 800 employees from restaurants to grocery stores.

Content of measure

HOK-Elanto, a large Finnish cooperative operating mainly in the restaurant sector and retail sale, transferred employees from restaurants to grocery stores for the first time in March 2020. The first transfer happened rapidly: in less than two days 800 employees had been transferred.

Since then, many employees have been moving between restaurants and grocery stores. There is no set end date for the transfers. Unlike many other employers in the restaurant sector, the transfers have made it possible for the company to avoid temporarily lay-offs and dismissals. In comparison to a temporarily lay-off, the transfer has been beneficial for employees as they continue to receive full salary instead of receiving unemployment benefits.

Use of measure

No information available.


  • Work organisation

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Sector specific set of companies
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Company / Companies

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Unknown Unknown
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Company level


No information available.

Views and reactions

No information available.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      G - Wholesale And Retail Trade; Repair Of Motor Vehicles And Motorcycles G47 Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles
      I - Accommodation And Food Service Activities I56 Food and beverage service activities

This case is not occupation-specific.


  • 18 March 2020: HOK-Elanto closes its restaurant, employees transferred to grocery stores: “Sales have collapsed” (


Eurofound (2020), HOK-Elanto transferred 800 employees from restaurants to grocery stores in order to meet the needs of the rapidly changing market, measure FI-2020-12/1353 (measures in Finland), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.