Are you changing jobs?

News article

There are many factors that you need to consider in order for your transition to a new job to go smoothly. To avoid risks, you must also do certain things in the right order.

When you receive the notification that you have been accepted to a new job, the first thing you should do is ask to see a draft of the employment contract. Read it carefully. Make sure that the draft is understandable and matches what has been agreed upon in the negotiations. Often a person selected for a position presents their comments on the draft and the draft is then altered. TEK's legal data bank contains a comprehensive guide titled Making an Employment Contract that details everything an employment contract must include and what kind of often used yet harmful terms the employee should try to avoid. As a member of TEK, you can send the drafted employment contract that you have been offered to TEK's lawyers for comment.

Length of the period of notice

In principle, the beginning date of the new job should be timed so that the previous employment relationship ends before the new one begins. The length of the period of notice is most often defined by what has been agreed upon in the employment contract. Certain collective labour agreements include decrees that limit the employer's and the employee's right to agree on the length of the period of notice, but these decrees are rare in the collective labour agreements for senior salaried employees. It is important to note that the periods of notice mentioned in the Employment Contracts Act are only adhered to in the event that the employer and the employee have not made any agreement with regard to the period of notice.

The periods of notice mentioned in the Employment Contracts Act are only adhered to in the event that the employer and the employee have not made any agreement with regard to the period of notice.

If you are transferring to work for a competitor, check if you have entered into a non-compete agreement with your current employer. If you have, then the non-compete period must also pass, in addition to the period of notice, before you can begin working at your new job without risks.

Giving notice should be done in a way that allows you to prove when you did so, if necessary. Giving notice must be done in person; you may draft two identical notices of termination, one for the employer and one for yourself. The employer's representative will sign your copy of the document to signify that they have received it. In the event that giving notice in person is not possible, it can be done by email, for example, but not by text message. Notice that is given by email or letter is considered to have been handed in after seven days have passed from the day the notice was sent. However, if the employer has provably received the notice earlier than that, the period of notice is considered to have begun from that moment. This is why you should ask the employer's representative to confirm that they have received your notice.

If the period of notice has been given in weeks or months, the employment relationship ends on a day of the same name or number as the day when the notice was handed in. For example, if your period of notice is two months and you hand in your notice on 10.2.2020, the last day of your employment relationship is 10.4.2020.

If the period of notice has been given in days, the period of notice does not include the day when the notice is handed in. If your period of notice is 14 days, for example, and you hand in your notice on 1.3.2020, your employment relationship ends on 15.3.2020. The employment relationship can end on any calendar day.

You should only terminate your existing contract of employment once you have signed an employment contract with the new employer. If you give your notice too early, the worst case scenario is that you are left completely without a job. This could occur, for example, in a situation where the potential new workplace has to suddenly withdraw the recruitment drive or if you and the new employer cannot come to an agreement regarding the terms of the employment contract.

Notice of termination

The notice of termination document should contain the dates of terminating employment as well as giving and receiving the document. 

Notice of termination
I hereby give notice of terminating my employment on April 10, 2020.
Helsinki 10.2.2020
Elisa Employee and a signature

I have received this notice in Helsinki 10.2.2020
Diana Director and a signature 


Duty to work and holidays during the period of notice

The employee's rights and duties remain in effect as usual during the period of notice. You have the duty to work for the entire period of notice unless the employer relieves you of this duty. In the event that you are relieved from your duty to work, you should absolutely ask the employer to provide this release in writing so that you can prove that you have permission to be away from work, if push comes to shove.

The Annual Holidays Act remains in effect throughout the period of notice. In other words, your resignation does not expand the employer's right to order you to take annual leave. On the other hand, if you wish to be on holiday during the period of notice, you must come to an agreement about it with your employer.

Terminal salary and compensations

Terminal salary must be paid at the end of the employment relationship unless otherwise agreed upon. For this reason, employment contracts often state that the terminal salary is paid on a later date, such as the employer's next regular pay day, for example. If the payment of the terminal salary is delayed, the employee may have the right to compensation for the waiting period, in addition to penalty interests. However, this compensation may only be paid for six days at the most.

You may have unused days of leave left at the end of your employment relationship. The holiday compensation for these days is included in the terminal salary. Usually this holiday compensation does not include holiday bonuses because the payment of bonuses often requires that the employee actually takes a holiday. Other possible receivables, such as excess flexitime hours or hours collected into work hour banks, must be paid according to the (workplace-specific) rules concerning them.

Testimonial of service

Employees have the right to request and receive a testimonial of service at the end of the employment relationship. Let your employer know whether you want a brief or extensive testimonial. A brief testimonial of service contains the duration of the employment and the quality of the job tasks. An extensive testimonial of service contains the aforementioned information as well as the reason for the termination of the employment relationship and/or an evaluation of the employee's professional skills and conduct.

The author works at TEK as an employment lawyer.

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