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Aland Islands

Employee Rights and Protections

Explore workers' rights and legal protections in Aland Islands


In the Åland Islands, termination of employment must be based on valid and justifiable reasons. These reasons can be categorized into two groups:

These include persistent inability to perform work duties adequately, repeated violations of job duties or directives, misconduct or behavior that seriously jeopardizes workplace safety or harmony, frequent or unjustified absences, and substance abuse impacting work performance.

These include significant and lasting decline in work volume, company reorganization or restructuring, and cessation of business operations.

Notice Requirements

Both the employer and employee are obligated to provide sufficient notice before termination, unless there is a case of gross misconduct that warrants immediate dismissal. Notice periods are typically determined by the length of employment:

  • Trial Period: Notice may be shorter or waived entirely
  • Continuous Employment: Varies based on the duration of employment

Severance Pay

Severance pay is typically required when termination is initiated by the employer due to financial or production-related reasons. The amount of severance pay depends on the employee's length of service and age.


In the Åland Islands, anti-discrimination laws are primarily enshrined in the Autonomy Act of Åland, the Non-Discrimination Act (Yhdenvertaisuuslaki), and the Equality Act (Tasa-arvolaki). The Autonomy Act guarantees equality before the law and prohibits discrimination on several grounds. The Non-Discrimination Act is the primary legislation focusing on discrimination, prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and victimization. The Equality Act focuses specifically on gender equality and prohibits discrimination based on gender or gender identity.

Protected Characteristics

The following protected characteristics are covered under these laws:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Ethnic origin
  • Gender
  • Gender Identity and Expression
  • Health
  • Language
  • Nationality
  • Opinion
  • Pregnancy and Family Responsibilities
  • Religion and Belief
  • Sexual Orientation

Redress Mechanisms

Individuals who believe they have been subjected to discrimination in the Åland Islands have various options for seeking redress:

  • Non-Discrimination Ombudsman (Yhdenvertaisuusvaltuutettu): Serves as the primary authority responsible for addressing discrimination complaints. They can investigate complaints, attempt conciliation, and issue recommendations or binding directives.
  • National Non-Discrimination and Equality Tribunal (Yhdenvertaisuus- ja tasa-arvolautakunta): Has the authority to hear discrimination cases and can order remedies such as compensation or an injunction against discriminatory practices.
  • Courts: Individuals may also file a lawsuit in the general court system to seek remedies for discrimination.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers in the Åland Islands have specific responsibilities to prevent and address discrimination in the workplace:

  • Active Measures: Employers must take proactive steps to promote equality and prevent discrimination, which is required under both the Non-Discrimination Act and Equality Act.
  • Equality Plans: Employers with at least 30 employees are legally obligated to create and implement equality plans that outline practical measures for promoting gender equality and preventing discrimination within their workplace.
  • Addressing Complaints: Employers are required to investigate and address complaints of discrimination in a timely and effective manner. Failure to do so can result in legal liability.
  • Reasonable Accommodation: Employers must provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities or other certain protected characteristics to ensure equal participation in the workplace.

Working conditions

The Åland Islands, an autonomous archipelago within Finland, places a strong emphasis on social well-being, which extends to regulations regarding working conditions. These regulations ensure a healthy and productive work environment for employees.

Work Hours

The standard workweek in Åland aligns with Finland, which is 40 hours. Legislation dictates a maximum of 8 working hours per day and 48 hours per week, including overtime. Employers can request overtime work, but employees have the right to refuse it unless deemed exceptional circumstances.

Rest Periods and Breaks

Åland adheres to the EU's Working Time Directive, mandating a minimum daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours. Employees are entitled to an uninterrupted weekly rest period of at least 35 hours, typically including weekends. The law prescribes rest breaks during working hours. The duration and frequency depend on the workload and working hours, but there should be breaks totaling at least 30 minutes spread throughout the workday if working over 6 hours.

Ergonomic Requirements

Åland's working condition standards prioritize the well-being of employees by mandating ergonomic considerations in the workplace. The specific requirements are outlined in the Finnish Work Environment Act, which applies to Åland as well. Here are some key points:

  • Work equipment: Employers must provide suitable work equipment that minimizes physical strain and promotes good posture. This includes aspects like workstations, chairs, and computer monitors.
  • Work tasks: The design of work tasks should consider ergonomic principles to prevent musculoskeletal disorders. This may involve variations in posture, regular breaks, and proper lifting techniques.
  • Risk assessment: Employers are obligated to conduct risk assessments to identify potential ergonomic hazards in the workplace and implement control measures.

Health and safety

The Åland Islands, an autonomous region of Finland, maintains a strong framework for occupational health and safety. This framework is designed to ensure a safe and healthy work environment, with specific obligations for employers and rights for employees.

Employer Obligations

Employers in the Åland Islands are legally required to protect the well-being of their employees. Key obligations include:

  • Risk Assessment and Management: Employers must systematically identify and assess potential risks in the workplace, including physical, chemical, biological, psychosocial, and ergonomic hazards. Based on this assessment, they must implement effective control measures to mitigate these risks.
  • Workplace Safety Planning: Employers must establish a documented occupational health and safety plan. This plan should outline procedures for risk prevention, accident response, and employee training.
  • Provision of Safe Work Equipment: Employers must provide employees with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensure its proper maintenance and use.
  • Information and Training: Employees have the right to receive comprehensive information and training on health and safety procedures specific to their job roles.
  • Safe Working Environment: Employers are responsible for maintaining a clean, organized, and well-lit work environment that minimizes the risk of accidents and injuries.

Employee Rights

Employees in the Åland Islands have the right to actively participate in creating a safe work environment. Their key rights include:

  • Right to a Safe Workplace: Employees have the fundamental right to work in a safe and healthy environment free from unreasonable risks.
  • Participation in Occupational Health and Safety: Employees, through elected safety representatives, have the right to participate in workplace safety inspections, raise concerns, and suggest improvements.
  • Refusal of Unsafe Work: Employees have the right to refuse work deemed unsafe or unhealthy, provided they have reasonable justification for their refusal.
  • Access to Information and Training: Employees have the right to access information and receive training on occupational health and safety matters relevant to their work.

Enforcement Agencies

The Åland Islands Authority for Occupational Safety and Health (ÅHS) is the primary agency responsible for enforcing workplace health and safety regulations. Their responsibilities include:

  • Workplace Inspections: The ÅHS conducts inspections to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations and can issue improvement orders if necessary.
  • Investigations: The ÅHS investigates work-related accidents and illnesses to identify and address any underlying safety issues.
  • Providing Guidance: The ÅHS offers guidance and advice to employers and employees on occupational health and safety matters.
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