The annual working time lengthens by 24 hours: What does this mean in practice?

News article

Negotiations were held in many workplaces last autumn on how the extension in working time would be implemented.

One aim of the Competitiveness Pact that was made between the central organisations is to extend the annual working time by 24 hours without any corresponding increase in pay. The extension to working time came into effect at the start of this year.

During mid-2016 collective bargaining contracts in accordance with the Competitiveness Pact were negotiated for the various areas covered by the Pact. Amongst other matters, it was agreed in these negotiations on how the working time extension would be implemented sector-specifically.

In many sectors the primary objective was that the way in which the increase in hours would be implemented would be agreed upon locally.

In what way does working time increase?

If a collective wage agreement is in force for the field, then in principle the increase in working time applies to all the employees covered by the agreement. The Competitiveness Pact applies to about 85 percent of TEK members. In many private-sector areas practical implementation has been agreed upon workplace-specifically.

– Fairly generally it has been decided locally that the 24 hours will be deducted in full or partly from the flexitime balance, according to TEK’s head of negotiations Teemu Hankamäki.

More creative solutions have been devised, too. In about a third of all TEK workplaces it has been agreed that the extra hours will be used for training and promoting wellbeing. And in some workplaces the arrangement is that working time will not be increased at all.

– The increase in working time is always agreed upon through a local contract between the employer and the staff or a shop steward. It’s important to remember that under no circumstances can the working time increase be brought into the personal employment - in other words, personal job contracts will not be changed, Hankamäki emphasises.

Because the method of implementation varies from company to company, the best source of information on the practice in your own company is your shop steward or employer. It’s a good idea to ask to see the contract. And you can also turn to an advisor or lawyer of TEK’s negotiations unit for help.

What if there’s no collective wage agreement in your field?

If there is no collective wage agreement in effect in your field, the extension to working time does not apply to that field.

How will the extension be implemented in the public sector and universities?

For State employees, work time will be increased by six minutes a day, and in the municipal authorities the weekly work time will be increased by 30 minutes taking into account the different forms of work time. In accordance with the Competitiveness Pact, the agreement also contains a 30-percent cut in holiday pay. This temporary decrease is for three years, from 2017 through 2019.

In the universities, the increase in working time of teaching and research staff is 24 hours a year. For other staff the increase is six minutes a day or 30 minutes a week, depending on how working time is calculated in a given case.

Will Twelfth Day/Epiphany, Ascension Thursday and other midweek holidays be changed to working days?

The Competitiveness Pact of the central organisations does not include any arrangements requiring midweek holidays to be changed to work days. However, it could be agreed workplace-specifically that the increase in working time can be implemented by making a midweek holiday a working day.

Do you need help?
The advisors of TEK’s negotiations unit and lawyers are happy to offer help and advice in matters relating to work conditions.