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Discover everything you need to know about Finland

Hire in Finland at a glance

Here ares some key facts regarding hiring in Finland

GDP growth
GDP world share
Payroll frequency
Working hours
37.5 hours/week

Overview in Finland

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Finland is a Nordic country in northeastern Europe, bordered by Sweden, Norway, Russia, and the Baltic Sea. It is known for its dense forests, numerous lakes, and part of its territory lying within the Arctic Circle, which influences its severe climate with long winters and short summers. Historically, Finland was under Swedish rule, then became an autonomous grand duchy under Russia in 1809, and declared independence in 1917. It has a history of conflict with the Soviet Union during World War II but has since developed a neutral foreign policy and joined the European Union in 1995.

The Finnish economy blends free-market capitalism with significant government interventions to promote social welfare, making it a highly developed nation noted for its technological innovation, particularly in telecommunications and software. Forestry is a significant industry, and the country is also recognized for its high-quality design and manufacturing.

Culturally, saunas are an essential part of Finnish life, reflecting the values of cleanliness, social bonding, and resilience. Finland values education highly, resulting in a skilled workforce proficient in STEM fields and known for problem-solving and adaptability. The service sector dominates the economy, with significant contributions from technology, forestry, and metal industries. Finland emphasizes work-life balance, straightforward communication, and flat organizational hierarchies in the workplace.

The country is also a leader in sustainable practices, focusing on the bioeconomy and circular economy, and has a growing sector in healthcare and digital health solutions due to its aging population. The gaming and entertainment industry, including companies like Rovio and Supercell, is a vibrant part of the Finnish economy.

Taxes in Finland

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Summary of Employer Responsibilities and Tax Regulations in Finland

  • Social Security Contributions: Employers in Finland are responsible for making contributions towards pension (TyEL), unemployment insurance, and accident insurance, with rates varying by factors like age, industry, and workplace risk.

  • Occupational Healthcare: Employers must also provide and partially fund occupational healthcare services.

  • Contribution Limits: There are caps on how much can be contributed to these social security funds.

  • Reporting and Payment: Employers need to register with authorities, withhold contributions from employee salaries, and remit payments, typically on a monthly basis.

  • Employee Contributions: Employees contribute to pension, unemployment, and sickness insurance schemes.

  • Income Tax: Employers withhold income tax, which includes municipal, state, and potentially church tax components, based on a progressive scale.

  • VAT Regulations: The standard VAT rate is 24%, with reduced rates for certain goods and services. VAT obligations for services depend on the place of supply and customer type (B2B or B2C), with specific rules for digital and property-related services.

  • VAT Registration and Reporting: Businesses exceeding a revenue threshold must register for VAT and file periodic returns.

  • Tax Incentives: Various incentives are available for R&D, innovation, startups, and investments in less-developed regions, aimed at reducing tax liabilities and supporting business growth.

  • Eligibility and Application: Businesses must meet specific criteria and sometimes undergo formal application processes to qualify for tax incentives.

Leave in Finland

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In Finland, employee vacation rights are outlined in the Annual Holidays Act, where employees accrue 2 days of vacation per month, increasing to 2.5 days after 15 years with the same employer. The vacation year runs from April 1st to March 31st. Employees must accumulate 14 days of vacation to take winter leave and 24 days for summer leave. During vacation, employees receive their regular salary or average earnings.

Finland also recognizes several public holidays, including New Year's Day, Epiphany, Good Friday, Easter, May Day, Ascension Day, Whitsunday, Midsummer Eve and Day, All Saints' Day, Independence Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and St Stephen's Day.

Additional types of leave include sick leave, maternity leave (105 weekdays), paternity leave (up to 54 weekdays), and parental leave (158 weekdays). Other leaves such as study leave and family leave are also available, with specific conditions often determined by collective agreements or individual contracts.

Benefits in Finland

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Finland offers a robust social safety net and employee benefits system, ensuring financial security and well-being for its workforce. Key mandatory benefits include:

  • Income Security and Leave: Employers provide statutory earnings-related pension contributions (TyEL) for employees aged 17-67, complemented by a national pension system funded through taxation. Unemployment insurance is also mandatory, with benefits available for up to 300 weekdays.

  • Paid Time Off: Employees accrue a minimum of 2.5 days of paid annual leave per month, with additional sick and parental leave provisions.

  • Health and Safety: Mandatory occupational healthcare and statutory accident insurance are provided by employers, covering work-related health issues and accidents.

Optional benefits often offered by employers include:

  • Health and Wellness: Voluntary health insurance, travel and group life insurance, and subsidized gym memberships.

  • Financial and Work-Life Balance: Profit sharing, voluntary pension plans, subsidized meal benefits, flexible work hours, and extra vacation time.

  • Additional Perks: Staff discounts, company phones, and tax-exempt vouchers for cultural or sporting activities.

The Finnish healthcare system combines occupational healthcare services, mandatory for all employers, with a public health insurance system managed by Kela, covering essential medical treatments with a minor client fee.

The retirement system in Finland includes a national pension for basic income security and an earnings-related pension for income replacement based on salary and career duration, with flexible retirement age options between 63 and 68.

Workers Rights in Finland

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In Finland, employment law ensures a balance between employer flexibility and employee protection, particularly regarding termination. Employees can resign with appropriate notice without justification, while employers must have "valid and weighty" reasons related to personal conduct, capability, or economic factors. Notice periods vary by employment duration, ranging from 14 days to 6 months. Severance pay is typically reserved for dismissals due to financial or production-related reasons.

The Non-Discrimination Act (1325/2014) reinforces equality, prohibiting discrimination on various grounds including age, gender, and disability. Victims of discrimination can seek redress through mechanisms like the Ombudsman for Equality or the Non-Discrimination Tribunal. Employers are required to actively promote equality and prevent discrimination, including developing Equal Treatment Plans for workplaces with at least 30 employees.

Work conditions are strictly regulated, with laws dictating a maximum of 40 hours per week, mandatory rest periods, and ergonomic requirements to ensure employee well-being. Employers bear the primary responsibility for workplace safety, required to manage risks, provide training, and ensure a safe work environment under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Employees have rights to a safe workplace, can report hazards, refuse unsafe work, and participate in safety matters. Enforcement of these regulations is overseen by the Finnish Work Environment Administration and supported by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.

Agreements in Finland

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In Finland, employment agreements are categorized by duration and purpose, with the most common types being indefinite contracts, fixed-term contracts, apprenticeship agreements, and temporary agency work. Indefinite contracts are the standard, continuing until terminated by either party with a notice period, while fixed-term contracts end automatically at the term's expiration unless extended. Apprenticeship agreements combine vocational training with work, and temporary agency work involves assignments from an agency to various companies.

Collective agreements significantly influence employment conditions, including wages and working hours. Employment contracts, though not mandatory to be in writing, are beneficial when detailed, covering aspects such as job duties, working hours, compensation, and termination clauses. Special clauses like confidentiality and non-compete are regulated under Finnish law, with non-compete clauses requiring justifiable reasons and compensation for the employee.

Probationary periods are also a feature of Finnish employment, allowing both parties to assess suitability with a maximum duration that varies depending on the contract length and specific training provided. During this period, contracts can be terminated immediately without a specific reason, although some collective agreements might require notice.

Remote Work in Finland

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Finland does not have specific legislation for remote work; instead, it relies on general labor laws like The Employment Contracts Act, The Working Hours Act, and The Occupational Safety and Health Act to govern such arrangements. These laws help in formalizing remote work agreements that cover aspects like work schedules, equipment, and expenses. Finland's robust technological infrastructure supports remote work, but employers need to focus on cybersecurity and the use of cloud-based tools for effective management.

Employers are responsible for creating a productive remote work environment, which includes clear communication, performance metrics, and ergonomic home office setups. They should also consider virtual or occasional in-person gatherings to maintain team cohesion and provide training on remote work tools.

Flexitime and job sharing are options under Finnish law, allowing flexible work hours and shared responsibilities among employees. Employers generally provide necessary equipment and may cover additional expenses incurred due to these arrangements.

Regarding data protection, Finnish employers must comply with GDPR and national privacy laws, ensuring lawful processing, data minimization, and security measures like encryption and access controls. Employees have rights to access, rectify, or erase their data to maintain control and ensure accuracy.

Best practices for secure remote work include data security training, strong access controls, data encryption, clear data protection policies, and remote wiping capabilities for company devices to safeguard sensitive information.

Working Hours in Finland

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Finnish law, particularly through the Working Hours Act (Act No. 870/2004), regulates standard working hours to ensure a balance between work and personal life. The Act sets a standard of 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week, with provisions allowing for the averaging of hours over extended periods under certain conditions. Overtime is permitted with employee consent and is compensated at higher rates, with the first two hours at a 50% increase and subsequent hours at double the regular wage.

The law also mandates minimum rest periods, including an 11-hour daily rest and 35 uninterrupted hours weekly, with provisions for shorter rest periods in exceptional circumstances with employee consent. Meal and rest breaks are also regulated, ensuring breaks for shifts longer than six hours.

Night and weekend work are subject to specific regulations to protect workers' health, with night shifts restricted in terms of duration and eligibility, and weekend work compensated at double time. Collective agreements play a significant role in detailing work hours and compensation specifics, varying by industry.

Salary in Finland

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Understanding market competitive salaries in Finland is essential for ensuring fair compensation, attracting, and retaining top talent. Here are the key points:

  • Factors Influencing Salaries: Salaries in Finland vary by industry, experience, education, location, and company size. For example, IT specialists and pharmacists generally earn more than bartenders or bank tellers.

  • Researching Salaries: Useful resources include Statistics Finland for official wage data, salary surveys from recruitment agencies, and salary ranges in job postings. Finland does not have a national minimum wage; instead, it relies on collective agreements for minimum wage standards.

  • Collective Agreements: These agreements between labor unions and employers dictate minimum wages, working hours, and other conditions. If no agreement exists, employers must pay a "usual and reasonable" wage based on industry standards, employee qualifications, and geographic location.

  • Additional Compensation: Finnish companies may offer performance bonuses, holiday bonuses, tax-exempt allowances (such as meal vouchers and wellness allowances), and other benefits like company cars and stock options.

  • Payroll Practices: The typical payroll cycle in Finland is monthly, with salaries paid on the last day of the month. There are regulations for overtime pay and a 13th-month salary is commonly paid during summer.

  • Tax and Reporting Obligations: Employers must withhold income tax and submit detailed earnings reports to the Finnish Tax Administration. Employees receive a detailed payslip each pay cycle showing gross pay, deductions, and net pay.

Overall, Finland's compensation system is comprehensive, with a strong emphasis on fair wages and benefits, supported by collective bargaining and legal frameworks.

Termination in Finland

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In Finland, the Employment Contracts Act of 2001 dictates the notice periods required for terminating employment contracts, which vary based on the duration of employment:

  • Less than 1 year: No minimum notice period.
  • 1 to 4 years: 1 month's notice.
  • 4 to 8 years: 2 months' notice.
  • 8 to 12 years: 4 months' notice.
  • Over 12 years: 6 months' notice.

Exceptions to these notice periods include mutual agreement to alter the period, or immediate termination by the employer due to serious misconduct or breach of contract by the employee. During layoffs, employees can terminate their contracts without notice, except in the last seven days of the layoff.

Severance pay is mandated only when termination is due to economic, production-related, or financial reasons, with the amount based on the length of service:

  • 5 years: At least 1 month's salary.
  • 10 years: At least 2 months' salary.
  • 15 years: At least 3 months' salary.
  • 20 years: At least 4 months' salary.

Employment can end through resignation, employer termination with valid grounds, mutual agreement, or expiry of a fixed-term contract. The termination process includes a written notice, a consultation phase, and potentially a written statement of grounds if requested by the employee.

Special protections are in place for certain groups such as pregnant employees and union representatives, and wrongful termination can lead to compensation for the affected employee.

Freelancing in Finland

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In Finland, distinguishing between employees and independent contractors is essential due to differences in worker rights, tax obligations, and social security contributions. Employees are under the employer's control, integrated into the business, and financially dependent on their employer, receiving regular salaries with benefits. In contrast, independent contractors maintain autonomy over their work methods and schedules, handle multiple clients, and manage their own taxes and social security.

Contractors use various contract structures such as fixed-price, time-based, or performance-based contracts, and must carefully negotiate terms like scope of work, payment, and termination clauses. Independent contracting is common in sectors like IT, marketing, construction, and consulting.

Intellectual property rights are also a critical consideration; default rules grant ownership to creators unless otherwise stipulated by contract. Freelancers are advised to use written contracts to clarify IP ownership and protect their rights. They must also manage their own taxes, including national and municipal income taxes, VAT, and pension contributions, and may opt into unemployment insurance. Additional private insurance options are available to cover health, accidents, liability, and supplementary pension needs.

Health & Safety in Finland

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Health and safety in Finland are regulated by key legislations including the Occupational Safety and Health Act (738/2002) and the Occupational Health Care Act (1383/2001), which delineate responsibilities for both employers and employees to ensure safe working conditions.

Employer Responsibilities: Employers are mandated to identify and mitigate hazards, provide safety training and equipment, and arrange occupational healthcare. They must also report workplace accidents and illnesses to authorities and ensure regular health checks for employees exposed to specific risks.

Employee Responsibilities: Employees are expected to adhere to safety protocols, use protective equipment properly, report unsafe conditions, and participate in safety training and risk assessments.

Enforcement and Role of Authorities: The Finnish Occupational Safety and Health Administration oversees compliance, conducts inspections, and can issue sanctions for non-compliance. Workplaces with 20 or more employees must establish safety and health committees to monitor and improve workplace safety.

Additional Legislation: Other relevant laws include the Working Hours Act, Young Workers' Act, and the Chemicals Act, which provide specific protections and regulations based on the nature of the work and the workforce involved.

Risk Assessment and Prevention: Employers must conduct thorough risk assessments and prioritize hazard elimination and control measures following a specific hierarchy to prevent accidents and health issues.

Workplace Safety and Health: Stringent standards are maintained for equipment safety, chemical handling, and ergonomics to prevent accidents and occupational diseases. Employers must also focus on mental health and creating a supportive work environment.

Training and Information: Proper job-specific safety training and clear communication regarding hazards are crucial for maintaining a safe workplace.

Inspection and Regulatory Framework: Workplace inspections are critical and are carried out based on risk assessments, past records, and specific criteria to ensure compliance with health and safety standards.

Investigation and Compensation for Workplace Accidents: Employers must investigate serious workplace accidents to identify causes and prevent recurrence, and they are required to report these incidents to authorities and insurance providers. Employees injured at work are entitled to compensation through mandatory insurance covering medical expenses and other related costs.

Dispute Resolution in Finland

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Finland's Labor Court is dedicated to resolving labor disputes, handling both individual and collective employment issues, including wrongful termination, unpaid wages, and discrimination. The court process involves claim submission, conciliation attempts, formal hearings, and potentially, appeals to the Supreme Court of Finland.

Arbitration is an alternative, outlined by the Arbitration Act, offering a potentially quicker and more private resolution method, though it is less common than court proceedings.

The country also emphasizes labor law compliance through regular inspections conducted by Regional State Administrative Agencies (AVIs), focusing on high-risk industries and responding to worker complaints. These inspections can lead to fines, improvement notices, or more severe penalties for non-compliance.

Whistleblower protections are robust in Finland, safeguarding those who report labor violations. The legal framework includes the Whistleblower Protection Act and specific provisions in the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Finland adheres to international labor standards, having ratified key ILO conventions that promote rights such as collective bargaining, equal remuneration, and non-discrimination. These conventions are well-integrated into Finnish law, demonstrating the country's commitment to upholding fundamental labor rights and continuously collaborating with the ILO to refine its labor practices.

Cultural Considerations in Finland

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  • Communication Style: Finnish communication is generally indirect, relying on context and non-verbal cues, yet can be direct and factual when necessary. Maintaining harmony and avoiding confrontation are valued, with a preference for consensus and collaborative decision-making.

  • Formality and Hierarchy: Finnish workplaces are less formal, with a respect for hierarchy but an encouragement for open communication. Initial interactions require formal address by titles, and meetings are agenda-driven and punctual.

  • Non-Verbal Communication: Non-verbal cues are crucial, with Finns valuing personal space, using silence for reflection, and considering eye contact important but not overly prolonged.

  • Negotiation Style: Negotiations in Finland emphasize directness, honesty, and fairness. Offers should be realistic, and patience is required through potentially slow and detailed discussions. Collaborative decision-making and consensus are key, with multiple stakeholders often involved.

  • Business Structure and Leadership: Finnish companies often feature flattened hierarchies, empowering employees with more autonomy and fostering a participative, supportive leadership style. This reflects the cultural values of egalitarianism and consensus-building.

  • Statutory Holidays and Business Impact: Finland observes several statutory holidays that can affect business operations, with most businesses closing on these days. Understanding these holidays is essential for planning business activities in Finland.

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