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Collective agreement reached for university employees: Includes most progressive family leave reform on the labour market

8.4.2022
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News article

“The university employers now stand out as family-friendly employers and pioneers of the family leave reform,” says Tarja Niemelä, the chairperson of the JUKO University Advisory Board.

JUKO, the Negotiation Organization for Public Sector Professionals, has approved the new universities’ collective agreement, which is valid from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2024.

The pay rises in the first year will amount to 1.9%. First, a general pay rise of 1.45% for all employees under the agreement will take effect from 1 June. Then, a university-specific pay rise of 0.45% will take effect in December.

The employees’ trade unions and Finnish Education Employers (Sivista ry) will negotiate on the pay rises in the second year by the end of January. If the parties do not reach a mutual understanding on pay rises, notice can be served to terminate the agreement with effect from 31 March 2023.

The compensation paid to shop stewards and occupational safety representatives will increase by 1.9% from 1 June.

The universities’ general collective agreement covers an approximate 34,000 employees. The parties that negotiated the agreement were JUKO, Pro Trade Union, the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL, and Finnish Education Employers.

Most progressive family leave reform on the labour market

The universities’ new collective agreement emphasizes equality: it will entitle employees to a paid pregnancy allowance period of 40 days, in addition to which each parent will receive paid parental leave of 32 days.

JUKO wanted to achieve gender-neutral language for family leave and an equal amount of paid family leave for each parent. This is in line with the legislative reform which enters into force on 1 August.

The objective set by the board of JUKO has been met. This was also a common objective of the entire Akava trade union community,” Katja Aho, the head of collective bargaining for the university sector at JUKO, says.

“The university employers now stand out as family-friendly employers and pioneers of the family leave reform,” Tarja Niemelä of the Finnish Union of University Professors and chairperson of the JUKO University Advisory Board, says.

The imminent family leave reform has been accounted for in pay rises and as a change in payment of holiday bonuses when an employee resigns voluntarily.

“Unfortunately, the reform means that it was not possible to negotiate compensation for the loss of allowances in the summer season in this negotiating round,” Katja Aho says.

She points out that another sign of the negotiations’ difficulty was the failure to negotiate an outcome by the end of the agreement’s validity, that is, 31 March.

“Concessions had to be made on both sides.”

Further information and requests for comments

JUKO University Advisory Board Chairperson, Executive Director at the Finnish Union of University Professors, Tarja Niemelä | +358 50 340 2725 | Twitter @TarjaPNiemela @ProfLiitto

JUKO University Sector Head of Collective Bargaining Katja Aho | +358 50 592 1646 | Twitter @aho_katja @JUKOry