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Know your rights The Finnish Labor Market and Professional and Managerial Staff. 22.11.2012 Tampere Veikka Kuusisto Advisor, Student marketing Akava.

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Know your rights the finnish labor market and professional and managerial staff

Know your rightsThe Finnish Labor Marketand Professional and Managerial Staff



Veikka Kuusisto

Advisor, Student marketing


  • Akava, the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland, is one of the three independent trade union confederations in Finland

  • Akava’s 35 affiliates have a total membership of 577,000 including approx. 108,000 student members

  • Akava’s unionisation rate is about 70 per cent. Almost 30 per cent of trade union members in Finland are Akava members.

  • Akava represents the interests of professionals and managerial staff and others with a high level of education.

  • Akava oversees its members’ economic, professional and other common interests.

Employment relationships in finland in 2009
Employment relationships in Finland in 2009, %

Source: Statistics Finland, Labour Force Statistics 2009

Aova akava s student counsel
AOVA – Akava’s Student Counsel

  • AOVA is Finlands largest student organization with a voluntary membership

    • The number of student members is considerable: Akava's Student Counsel AOVA represents108 000 students from both university and polytechnic sectors

    • Every fifth member of Akava is a student

  • AOVA is a 30-year old organization working under Akava

    • represents all Akava’s affiliates with student activities

    • works as a link between student life and work life

  • The biggest co-operation partners are The National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL), The Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences - SAMOK and The Union of Finnish Upper Secondary School Students (SLL)

Veikka Kuusisto / Akava

Population by level of education 1975 2017
Population by level of education, 1975–2017


Population aged 15 and older

*) No educational qualification beyond compulsory education

**) Matriculation examination or lowest level tertiary education qualification

***) Lower or higher degree in tertiary education

Source: Statistics Finland, Educational Institutions

Veikka Kuusisto / Akava

The labour relations system in finland
The labour relations system in Finland

  • Around ¾ of employees belong to a trade union

  • Labour legislation and other terms of employment are best influenced by unionization

  • Every fourth employee is a member of Akava










Veikka Kuusisto / Akava

Akava s organisation for negotiations
Akava’s organisation for negotiations



and government

Central organisation


Tripartite agreements


Akava’s Public Sector

Negotiation Commission


Office for Government as Employer

Commission for Local Authority





(public sector)

The Delegation of Professional

and Managerial Employees


Confederation of Finnish Industries

EK and its affiliates



Commission for Local

Authority Employers

Employees in Technical and

Basic Service Professions KTN



(public sector)

Organisations’ collective


Employer organisations



Entrepreneurs and

self-employed persons

Parliament, Ministries,

Local Authorities


in legislation

Veikka Kuusisto / Akava

Why join a trade union?

  • Union offers:

    • Career support

    • Legal advice

    • Information on your own industry

    • Professional networks

    • Training

    • Guidance in industrial / working relations and Finnish regulations

    • Information and knowledge on employment

    • Advice on terms of employment and salaries

    • Safety and legal help in case of problems or unemployment

Veikka Kuusisto / Akava

Without trade unions we would not have these
Without trade unions we would not have these…

  • Four week annual holidays (1971)

  • Holiday compensation (1972)

  • Parental leave (1974)

  • Winter holidays (1977)

  • Earnings-related unemployment benefit (1984)

  • Resolutions on women and low-pay (1989-2005)

  • Job alternation leave (1996)

  • Paternity leave (2001, improved in 2011)

  • Flexible working hours (2001)

  • Restrictions on temporary employment (2003)

  • Change security (2005)

Veikka Kuusisto / Akava

Good to know
Good to know

  • The minimum wage stated in the collective agreement is a minimum – not the maximum.

  • There is a legal requirement to additional pay for overtime working. You are not obliged to work overtime if you do not want to do so.

  • Working on public holidays entitles you to special pay. 

  • Entitlement to annual leave on the basis of legislation on annual leave and holiday pay is based on the terms of the collective agreement.

  • All employees have the right to equal terms of employment.

Veikka Kuusisto / Akava

Employees also have responsibilities
Employees also have responsibilities…

  • To perform their tasks carefully

  • To follow the supervisors’ instructions

  • To refuse to take part in activities that are in direct competition with those of the employer

  • To keep business and professional secrets confidential

  • To observe the benefit of the employer

  • To abide by the agreed working hours

Veikka Kuusisto / Akava

Taxes and unemployment benefits
Taxes and unemployment benefits

  • Check and store your payslips: salary + benefits (holiday and overtime compensations etc.)

  • Join an unemployment fund as soon as you start working

    • Requirements:

      • Any kind of work for 34 weeks during a minimum of 8 month membership and last 28 months

      • At least 18 h per week or 80 h per month

      • No retrospective payments

Veikka Kuusisto / Akava

Find out more
Find out more

  • Social partners’ guide on Finnish Labor Markets

  • Working in Finland – an excellent guide by Ministry of Employment and the Economy

  • Finnish immigration service

  • Welcome to the world of work

  • Finding your own union:,

  • Taxation:

Veikka Kuusisto / Akava


Liisa Folkersma

Jenni Karjalainen / Akava