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Working hours

Working hours refers to the time spent on work and the time that you are obliged to spend at the workplace at the employer’s disposal. The provisions and regulations concerning working hours can be found mainly in your sector’s collective agreement and the Working Time Act.


Overtime is subject to the employer’s order and your consent. Although it is provided for in the Working Hours Act, you should check matters related to overtime compensation in your collective agreement.


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Working hours bank

Working hours bank refers to the voluntary arrangement for saving and combining working hours, earned time off or monetary benefits that have been converted into time off.

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Regular working hours

When working as a salaried employee, your regular working hours can be no more than eight hours per day and 40 hours per week.

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Flexitime means that you can decide when your work starts and ends within agreed limits.

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Flexible working hours

Flexible working hours model allows you to decide when and where to work, whilst the employer defines the tasks and related objectives as well as the overall schedule.

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Unpaid leave in exchange for working longer hours

Certain collective agreements or local workplace practices allow for unpaid leave in exchange for working longer hours. This applies to salaried employees who work full-time and whose regular working hours are 40 hours per week.

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Are breaks, on-call duty, training or social events working hours?

If your daily working hours exceed six hours, a break of at least one hour must be provided during work. Collective agreements make it possible to shorten this break to half an hour by agreeing locally.

Working hours include all the time you are working or obliged to stay at the workplace, but not a break during which you have the right and also the actual opportunity to leave the workplace freely. Being able to spend a substantial part of the break away from the workplace is a prerequisite for excluding a break from working hours. If the above conditions are met, the break is not included in working hours even if you do not exercise the right to leave.

If your work forces you to eat during work or if you have agreed about eating during work, the break is counted as working hours.

Working hours include all the time you are obliged to stay at the workplace so that you are ready to start work at any time.

Standby refers to time during which your contract obliges you to be at your home or elsewhere, prepared to go to work if necessary.

Standby does not count as working hours. If you are on standby and are invited to work, the time spent at work is normally counted as working hours.

When agreeing on standby, you must also agree on its compensation. Collective agreements contain provisions on how the amount of standby compensation is determined. The more intense and binding the standby, the higher the compensation should be.

Strict conditions have been laid down for training that is counted as working hours.

Training, which is organised during scheduled working hours and done alongside work or closely connected to it, is included in working hours. Otherwise, participation in training can be considered as fulfilling the obligation to work when the training is ordered by the employer and compulsory, and the nature of the training is necessary in order for you to cope with your work tasks. A good rule of thumb is to consider training as working hours when it takes place at the workplace or in other work-specific conditions at a pre-defined time at work.

Before training, you should find out and agree whether it is included in working hours. The employer cannot assign you to training unless the time spent on it is counted as working hours.

As a rule, time spent on voluntary social events organised by the employer is not included in working hours. However, if your employer requires you to carry out tasks for these events, the time spent on them is included in working hours.

Time for a break?

Working Time Act and collective agreements contain provisions for three kinds of rest periods: break during a working day, daily rest periods and weekly rest periods during weekends.
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Additional work

Additional work requires your consent. It is done between the agreed working hours and the longest regular working hours defined in the Working Hours Act. The longest regular working hours are eight hours per day and 40 hours per week. As a general rule, additional work is only considered when the agreed regular working hours are less than 40 hours per week.


Sunday work

Sunday work refers to work done on Sundays, May Day, Independence Day and other national holidays. In addition to other pay for the same period, Sunday work is increased with the amount of simple basic pay. Overtime on Sundays or other national holidays, Independence Day, and May Day is also subject to compensation as regulated. According to most collective agreements, Sunday work compensation can be given as corresponding time off in regular working hours upon agreement. On Sundays, compensation for shift work is increased by 100%. Remember that Sunday work compensation, Sunday overtime increase, and the weekly rest compensation are not the same and their payments do not depend on each other.

Records of working hours

The employer must record the hours done and the compensation paid for each employee.

The employer can record the working hours by entering either

  • the regular working hours, additional, overtime, emergency and Sunday work, and the compensation paid for them or
  • all working hours, as well as overtime, emergency and Sunday work separately, and any increases paid for them.

The first method of recording is recommended for employees paid monthly and the second for employees paid by the hour. Exchanging overtime pay for equivalent time off does not affect the employer’s obligation to keep work-hours records. Overtime that will be exchanged or has been exchanged for time off must be shown in the work-hour records.

You, or a person you have authorised, have the right to receive a written report of the entries in the rosters and work-hour records concerning you.

The employer must keep the work-hours records for at least two years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was carried out.
The employer must show the work-hour records to the industrial safety inspector and the shop steward or occupational safety officer upon request.
Guide to working life

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