Finland is a country in Scandinavia, bordering Sweden to the west and Russia to the east. It is separated from Estonia to the south (the only country that speaks a language closely related to Finnish) by the narrow Gulf of Finland. Finland has belonged to the EU since 1995 and has used the euro since its introduction in 2002. Electronics is a major industry, and Finnish companies’ large investments in research and development have made them leaders in this field. Finland also produces industrial machinery (particularly motors), chemicals, wood pulp and paper. It is known globally for its clean government, transparency and its excellent business climate.
The standard workweek is 40 hours with eight hours a day, and a 37.5-hour workweek for white collared employees. The workweek, however, cannot exceed 48 hours over a four-month period. Overtime is paid at a percentage of the basic rate for the first two hours, and then double beyond that. Overtime can be exchanged for time off and employees can refuse overtime. Domestic workers have a nine-hour workday. This workday is eight hours long.
Employees receive nine days of fully paid sick leave after a month’s employment. After nine days, the employee can apply for sick allowance. Sick leave is funded by social security for up to 300 days. Those with less than a month of service also receive pay during sick leave.
Female employees receive 105 days of paid maternity leave which begins 30 to 50 days before the due date, while male employees can take 18 days during the maternity leave and a further 54 days of paid paternity leave, which is deducted from parental leave and to be taken before the child turns two. The contract of a pregnant employee while on maternity leave is protected.After maternity leave finishes, either parent can take up to 158 days of unpaid parental leave to care for their child.
There is no statutory minimum wage. Wages are usually regulated by industry-specific collective agreements. Bonuses are common but there are no official guidelines. Incentive plans cannot be discriminatory.
Employees receive two days of paid annual leave per month. This increases to two and a half days a month after a year of employment.
Finland provides universal healthcare.
The probation period is around six months and can be terminated without notice. There is no cap on the maximum length of a fixed-term contract. If it is renewed it becomes a permanent employment contract. The notice period is 14 days for up to five years of service and then a month up to four years, two months up to eight years, four months up to 12 years and six months beyond that. There is no statutory severance. Employers can terminate employees for misconduct, but the employee must be informed before the dismissal and there must also have been a written warning before.
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