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Remote and Flexible Work Options

Learn about remote work policies and flexible work arrangements in Finland

Remote work

In Finland, there isn't specific legislation governing remote work. Instead, the foundation lies in existing labor laws, including The Employment Contracts Act (2001), The Working Hours Act (1996), and The Occupational Safety and Health Act (2004). These laws establish a framework for agreement between employers and employees. Remote work arrangements are typically formalized through written agreements that specify details like work schedule and reachability, equipment and expenses.

Technological Infrastructure

For successful remote work implementation, Finland's strong technological infrastructure provides a solid base. This includes high-speed internet connectivity and a high level of digital literacy among the Finnish population. However, employers also need to consider utilizing cloud-based applications for project management, document sharing, and communication. Implementing robust cybersecurity protocols is also vital to protect sensitive company data while employees work remotely.

Employer Responsibilities

While Finnish law doesn't mandate remote work options, employers have a responsibility to foster a trusting and productive remote work environment. This includes maintaining clear and consistent communication channels between remote employees and managers. Establishing clear performance metrics and conducting regular performance reviews ensure remote employees are effectively contributing and meeting expectations. Employers can also offer guidance on setting up ergonomic workstations at home and encourage breaks to prevent burnout.

Additional Considerations

While remote work offers flexibility, employers may need to create virtual spaces or encourage occasional in-person meetings to foster social interaction and team cohesion. Providing training on remote work tools and best practices equips employees for success.

Flexible work arrangements

Part-time work offers a balance between hours and responsibilities. The Employment Contracts Act (2001) guarantees the right to request part-time work, with employers obligated to consider such requests objectively. Part-time employees are entitled to pro-rata benefits, including paid vacation time and sick leave, based on their working hours compared to a full-time employee. The general rule is that the employer provides the necessary equipment for work, unless otherwise agreed upon in the employment contract. Expenses directly related to part-time work, like travel costs exceeding those incurred during regular work hours, may be reimbursed by the employer.

Flexitime: Tailoring Work Schedules

The Working Hours Act (1996) allows for flexitime arrangements, where employees can adjust their working hours within a predetermined daily or weekly framework. A core period with mandatory presence is usually established to ensure team collaboration and communication. Similar to part-time work, the employer typically provides necessary equipment unless otherwise agreed upon in the contract. Expenses incurred due to the flexitime schedule, like additional travel costs, might be subject to reimbursement depending on the agreement.

Job Sharing: Sharing Responsibilities, Sharing the Workload

The Employment Contracts Act allows for job sharing arrangements, where two or more employees share the duties and responsibilities of one full-time position. Job sharing agreements should clearly define task allocation, working hours, and communication protocols between the job sharers. Employers generally provide one set of equipment for the shared position. Sharing or dividing reimbursement for expenses related to the job (e.g., travel) is determined by the specific agreement between the employer and job sharers.

Data protection and privacy

In Finland, employers are legally obligated to protect employee data. This responsibility is outlined in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU 2016/679) and the Act on the Protection of Privacy in Working Life (759/2004). These regulations require employers to process employee data lawfully, fairly, and transparently.

Employer Obligations

Employers must adhere to several obligations under these regulations:

  • Lawful Basis for Processing: Employers must have a lawful basis for processing employee data, such as fulfilling the employment contract or legal obligations.
  • Data Minimization: Only the data necessary for work purposes should be collected and processed.
  • Technical and Organizational Security: Employers must implement appropriate technical and organizational measures to ensure the security of employee data, including access controls and encryption.
  • Data Breach Notification: In case of a data breach, employers are obligated to report it to the Finnish Data Protection Ombudsman (FDO) within 72 hours if it poses a high risk to individuals' rights and freedoms.

Employee Rights

Finnish employees working remotely have several data protection rights under the GDPR:

  • Right to Access: Employees have the right to request access to their personal data held by the employer.
  • Right to Rectification: Employees have the right to request the correction of inaccurate or incomplete personal data.
  • Right to Erasure (Right to be Forgotten): Under certain circumstances, employees may request the deletion of their personal data.

These rights empower employees to maintain control over their data and ensure its accuracy.

Best Practices for Secure Remote Work

To create a secure remote working environment, employers and employees can follow these best practices:

  • Data Security Training: Provide training to employees on data protection principles, secure data handling practices, and recognizing phishing attempts.
  • Access Controls: Implement access controls that restrict access to company data only to authorized personnel. Utilize strong passwords and multi-factor authentication.
  • Data Encryption: Encrypt sensitive data at rest and in transit to minimize the risk of unauthorized access in case of a breach.
  • Clear Policies: Establish clear and comprehensive data protection policies that outline data handling procedures, acceptable use of company devices, and reporting obligations regarding data security incidents.
  • Remote Wiping Capabilities: Consider implementing remote wiping capabilities on company-issued devices to protect sensitive data in case of loss or theft.
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