Working hours shall be monitored, according to the Working Hours Act. Working hours are measured so that working days’ length remains reasonable, employees are fit to work and to ensure that long working days are appropriately compensated. The act is strongly based on labour protection.
Working hours are hours used to perform work and the time the employee has to be present in the workplace, available for work even though he or she wouldn’t actually work. According to the act, regular working hours may not exceed 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week.
Working hours are agreed in the employment contract. The most common regular working hours in Finland are 7.5 hours a day and 37.5 hours a week. The law obliges the employer to monitor the actual working hours and their compensation.
Most expert work is no longer time-bound and location-based. Work is performed in a mobile and flexible way, and in multiple locations. A working day is not necessarily an uninterrupted period of time but can consist of several time blocks of different lengths.
Professionals highly appreciate flexibility in their working hours. Possibility to have an impact in one’s own working hours is considered as one of the key factors in increasing well-being at work. Flexible working hours can be an asset in competing for best experts and talents. Flexibility is also needed in determining location of work and working methods.
There are many options to increase flexibility in working time arrangements. One of the most common is flexitime, i.e. the employee may, within certain limits, decide when to start and when to finish work. Also distant work, i.e. working outside the workplace is on the increase. In addition, the employer and employees can opt for a working hours bank where working hours, accumulated leave or monetary benefits swapped to compensatory leave are saved or borrowed.
Working Hours Act is currently under review. The law based on traditional factory work does not recognise all the modern ways of working anymore. Also the whole concept of working hours is changing as all work is no longer time-bound and location-based.
At the same time it’s good to bear in mind that even though ways to work change, the need for labour protection remains unchanged. Thus it is very important that the scope of the reviewed Working Hours Act remains as large as possible. Experts and managers need labour protection as well.
The Finnish Business School Graduates has influenced the preparation of the reviewed act via Akava, The Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland. The reviewed act will be discussed in the Parliament of Finland during spring 2018.