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Finland — Trade unions propose holiday bank for temporary workers

02 September 2009

Trade unions ERTO and STTK have presented the idea of a holiday bank for workers on a temporary employment contract. The bank would secure the worker’s leave when changing jobs or when the employment contract expires. Leave accrued in one job would follow a worker into another. However, the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) has rejected the proposal of a holiday bank, stating that implementing the idea would be too expensive and that it would require a large bureaucratic apparatus.

About 400,000 employees in Finland are employed on fixed-term contracts, many of whom are in the public sector. Fixed-term employment contracts are particularly common among young employees. According to Finnish legislation, leave entitlement varies according to the duration of the employment contract. In contracts that last less than a year, the leave entitlement for every full month worked is two days.


However, in an employment contract lasting for more than a year, the leave entitlement amounts to 2.5 days a month. The problem is that an employee might work in several linked short-term employment contracts, one after another, thereby losing the right to the full leave entitlement of 2.5 days a month. Thus, it is obvious that the current leave system discriminates against those working on short temporary employment contracts.

Tapio Huttula, Chair of ERTO, said "we have to create a new system where an employee can accrue annual holiday from several fixed-term contracts to a bank that is, for instance, organised by the state. This way an employee does not have to have a long-term employment relationship to receive full holiday entitlement.

The bank would secure saved holidays when changing jobs or when the employment contract expires. Leave accrued in one job would follow a worker into another."
In addition to ERTO, individual trade unions and STTK have backed the idea and want the government to take up the issue in the next wage negotiations. Both the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) and the Confederation of Unions for Academic Professionals in Finland (AKAVA) have expressed their support for the bank.

The trade unions’ proposal is to be presented to the government before the end of the year. The new Minister of Labour, Anni Sinnemaki, has agreed to seek clarification about the need for a holiday bank.

 

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