Living in Finland

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Everyday life at the workplace

Internal communication at the workplace

Usually information about forthcoming events and changes at a workplace is given at meetings. Attending meetings gives you a chance to influence matters, suggest changes and develop your work. Democracy at workplaces is realised at meetings.

Every workplace also has other appointed channels of internal communication, such as notice boards, e-mail or mail boxes assigned for employees. Every employee is expected to keep track of communications in the way that has been agreed upon.

Breaks

Often a contract of employment gives information about when breaks occur during a working day and how long they are. Often there is a short coffee break in the morning, a lunch break in the middle of the day and another coffee break in the afternoon. The length of a lunch break varies according to workplace. It is a good idea to check the length of the breaks with your supervisor.

Eating during breaks is arranged in different ways at different workplaces: some have their own canteen, while at others employees bring their own food from home. At some workplaces, employees can buy affordable lunch vouchers that can be used at restaurants close to the workplace.

Taking care of personal business during a working day

It is not permitted to take care of personal affairs during working hours; instead, they have to be dealt with outside working hours. The number of working hours agreed upon in the contract of employment is binding and the agreed-upon hours have to be performed.

If for some reason you cannot, for example, get a doctor’s appointment outside working hours, negotiate with your supervisor about your absence and make an agreement about a way to compensate for the time you will be at the doctor’s. During a break, you can make, for example, important personal calls. You can also apply for unpaid time off, if the situation requires a longer absence from work.

Work-related training

Even if an employee already has the required training for the occupation when they start work, many employers encourage their employees to acquire additional training. Often it is possible to attend training programmes during working hours, and an employer may pay for costs caused by training. Most employers appreciate their employee’s desire to advance in their occupation and to learn new skills.

Presents

Usually presents are not given at the workplace. However, on special days (birthdays, marriage, retirement) workmates and the employer usually give a small present or bouquet of flowers to the person whose special day it is.

Holidays

In Finland, the holiday season begins at the beginning of May. The number of holidays an employee is entitled to depends on the number of years the employee has worked and when the contract of employment has started.

Language at work

At most jobs, you need to know Finnish. This is the case almost everywhere in Finland. At some regions, however, Swedish is more common. There are also some workplaces where the working language is English. However, if you speak Finnish, you have a lot more jobs to choose from.

Well-being at work and work-related recreation

Many workplaces want to support their employees’ well-being and happiness at work by arranging different kinds of recreational days and workplace celebrations. On recreational days, the staff usually leave the workplace, for example, to engage in some form of physical exercise, fish, swim or go to sauna together.

An employer may also offer employees various opportunities for leisure activities. For example, many workplaces have clubs for physical exercise where you can go to keep fit. Some workplaces may have a choir or orchestra, art club or some other hobby club.

Annual holidays

Days off from work:

  • New Year, 1 January
  • Twelfth Day, 6 January
  • Easter: the date varies, in March or April
  • May Day, 1 May
  • Ascension Day: in May, the date varies
  • Midsummer Eve: in June, always on a Friday
  • Independence Day, 6 December
  • Christmas Day, 25 December
  • Boxing Day, 26 December

At some work places, hospitals for example, these public holidays are also working days. Employees are paid a higher salary for the holidays during which they work. Check from your collective agreement what the compensation for working during the holidays is.