What are the concepts, rules and regulations, and laws involved in working? The legislation, agreements and workplaces shape working practices. The most important labour laws concern employment contracts, collective agreements, working conditions, working hours, annual leaves, occupational health and safety, equality, and co-operation in companies.
People in work communities are team players and, as in any team sport, common rules are needed for the team to play effectively towards a common goal. Shared understanding of responsibilities and obligations also contribute to the continuity of a good employment relationship.
Generic competence for professional practice and cooperation in work communities, also known as work community skills, concern everyone, regardless of their status in the work community, gender, or age. Everyone is responsible for the good atmosphere in the workplace. Work community skills mean, for example, that everyone takes responsibility for their own duties and for matters agreed on together. In addition, they include good manners that everyone should master as well as taking other people into consideration. Greeting, thanking, apologising, and forgiving are extremely important skills and habits in a work community. Furthermore, giving and receiving feedback in a constructive way is part of interaction skills needed in a workplace.
Labour law and collective agreement (TES)
The operating conditions of both the employer and the employee are defined by labour legislation and the collective agreement of each field. Labour organisations and employers’ organisations conclude a collective agreement called TES in Finnish. It is a convention on working conditions in the field. The collective agreement to be followed should be stated in the employment contract.
Here are some examples of matters covered by collective agreements:
- the minimum wage in the field
- compensation for overtime (if different from the working hours legislation)
- general wage increases in the field
- social benefits the employee is entitled to have
If you wish to have some advice on issues regarding labour law, you can contact e.g. the shop steward of your workplace. If you are a member of a trade union, you can get help from the union free of charge. You can also search for information online, e.g. on the website of Finlex (finlex.fi). If you are unsure of the collective agreement applied in your field or the salary you are entitled to, check the websites of occupational safety and health authorities or trade unions.
Find the collective agreement of your field online.
Read about the wage, holidays, day offs etc.
Find out about the following:
- What are the largest labour organisations and employers’ organisations in Finland?
- By whom is the collective agreement concluded?
- What is the significance of collective agreement for the employer and for the employee?
- Which trade union does the majority of professionals in your field belong to?
- Who is the conciliator general in Finland? What is their aim?
- Which matters have trade unions recently discussed? You can search for information in news, media or, for example, websites of organisations.
Make sure that you and your employer sign an employment contract at the start of a new employment relationship. This is also important for summer jobs and other short-term employment relationships. The employment contract defines the principles and regulations related to the employment relationship, which both parties must follow in the workplace and when performing duties at work. You should read the contract carefully before signing it, since the contract is binding on both parties after it has been signed.
Both the employer and the employee must follow the rules and regulations of the workplace and the general work-related policies so that it is fluent and safe for everyone to work.
It is essential that the rules and regulations are clear and understandable for everyone and that everyone is committed to them. It might take some time to learn the policies, which is why the mentor (manager, supervisor, older employee, entire work community, or other person in charge of orientation) should set an example for the new employee, offer help and guidance, and be available to answer the mentee’s questions after the actual orientation.
The superior has the right and responsibility to manage the work and employees’ performance at work. The employer is responsible for ensuring that the work does not endanger the health or safety of the employee. Job orientation plays an important role in complying with this responsibility.
The orientation must cover at least the following:
- how to avoid dangers and harms
- duties at work
- circumstances at the workplace
- working methods and tools
- proper use of the equipment
- safety at work
Occupational safety and health
The employer is responsible for ensuring that the work does not endanger the health or safety of the employee.
The concept well-being at work refers to the feeling and experience you have of your workplace. It involves the feeling that the work is safe and healthy, you are appreciated for your performance at work, good management, and how different types of situations at work are handled in a professional way.
Occupational safety is governed by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which aims to improve the working environment and working conditions in order to ensure and maintain employees’ ability to work. The purpose of the act is also to prevent accidents at work, occupational diseases and other work-related harms and dangers to the mental and physical health of employees.
Source: Käännös. Sujuvat työnhakumarkkinat –hanke (Flexible Job Seeking project). Creative Commons Nimeä-EiKaupallinen-JaaSamoin 4.0 Kansainvälinen -lisenssillä.