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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

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

Factsheet for case FI-2020-14/267 Updated – measures in Finland

Extension of the employee re-employment obligation to nine months

Työntekijän takaisinottovelvollisuuden pidennys yhdeksään kuukauteen

Country Finland , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 April 2020 – 31 December 2020
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery
– Flexibilisation and security
Author Amanda Kinnunen (Oxford Research) and Eurofound
Case created 03 April 2020 (updated 10 July 2020)

Background information

In accordance with chapter 6 of the Employment Contract Act (2001/55) and chapter 7 of the Seafarers’ Employment Contracts Act (756/2011), employees shall offer re-employment to former employers that have been dismissed due to financial and production-related reason in case the employer needs to hire to positions similar to those the dismissed employee had. This applies to all permanent contracts that have been terminated due to financial and production-related reasons within the past 4 or 6 months, depending on length of the contract. This obligation seeks to protect employees from unemployment.

This obligation has been temporarily extended to nine months in order to protect employees affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Content of measure

This measure applies to all cases of dismissals made due to financial and production-related reasons that have taken place during a time when the temporary provisions were in force. This applies to all employments, regardless of their duration.

Not applicable to the following employers: the State, municipalities, KELA, Åland Government, Evangelical Lutheran Church or Orthodox Church. These employers follow four or six months re-employment obligation.

Furthermore, in accordance with chapter 13 of the Employment Contract Act (2001/55), collective agreements do not have to follow the re-employment obligation set by the Employment Contract Act. In other words, the re-employment obligation regulated by collective agreements may be shorter or longer. It is up to employer's organisations and trade unions to make temporary changes to regulation on re-employment obligation.

This measure does not direct involve financial support but it seeks to protect employees who have been dismissed due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic from long-term unemployment and facilitate their return to the labour market when the situation normalises.

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

06 July 2020

In May 2020, the peak-level social partners proposed to the Government that the duration of the COVID-19 related labour market policies, including extension of the employee re-employment obligation, should be extended until the end of 2020 instead of 6 July 2020.

In June 2020, the Parliament accepted the Government's proposal to extend this temporary provision to 31 December 2020.

Use of measure

No information to date.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Unemployed
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Social partners jointly
No special funding required

Social partners

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

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

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

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level

Involvement

Despite the temporary legislative amendments, employers shall follow the rules regulated in the collective agreements. In accordance with chapter 13 of the Employment Contract Act (2001/55), re-employment obligation regulated in collective agreements may differ from re-employment obligation regulated in the Employment Contract Act.

However, many trade unions and employer’s organisations have temporarily changed collective agreements to match the temporary legislative amendments. Approximately 90% of employees working for members of Confederation of Finnish Industries EK are covered by collective agreements that have been changed accordingly.

Views and reactions

In March 2020, the peak-level social partners ( the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland, the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK, the Finnish Confederation of Professionals STTK and the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK) jointly proposed a set of actions for the Finnish Government. These proposed measures seek to amend labour law and facilitate adaptation of businesses to the new circumstances and to improve the financial situation of temporarily or permanently laid off employees. Extending the employee re-employment obligation to nine months was part of the proposed measures.

In May 2020, the peak-level social partners proposed to the Government that these policy measures should be extended until the end of 2020.

Sources

  • 26 March 2020: Hallituksen esitys eduskunnalle laeiksi työsopimuslain, merityösopimuslain ja yhteistoiminnasta yrityksissä annetun lain 51 §:n väliaikaisesta muuttamisesta (tem.fi)
  • 31 March 2020: Onko työnantajan takaisinottovelvollisuuteen tullut muutoksia? (tem.fi)
  • 14 May 2020: Labor market organizations agree on layoffs and unemployment security (Työmarkkinakeskusjärjestöt sopuun lomautuksista ja työttömyysturvasta) (ek.fi)
  • 05 June 2020: Government proposal HE 92/2020 vp (Hallituksen esitys HE 92/2020 vp) (www.eduskunta.fi)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Extension of the employee re-employment obligation to nine months, case FI-2020-14/267 (measures in Finland), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

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