Study leave, job alternation leave and unpaid leave

Study leave

Employees are entitled to take study leave when their full-time employment relationship with the same employer has lasted at least a year in one or more period. In such cases, employees are entitled to a maximum of two years of study leave during a five-year period, in one or more batches.

Employees are entitled to study leave lasting for a maximum of five days if their employment relationship with the same employer has lasted at least three months in one or more period.

Study leave that lasts for more than five days must be applied for from the employer in writing no later than 45 days before the studies begin. If the application for study leave concerns a maximum of five working days, the application must be made to the employer in writing or orally no later than 15 days prior to the start of the planned study leave. The employer and employee may also agree on some other kind of arrangement.

If granting study leave for the period mentioned in the application would cause considerable inconvenience to the employer’s operations, the employer has the right to postpone the start date of the study leave for a maximum of six months at a time. If the study leave pertains to training that takes place more infrequently than at six-month intervals, the employer may postpone the study leave only until the next time the corresponding training session is organized. On this basis, the employer may postpone study leave a maximum of two consecutive times, provided that the employer employs more than five people. Employers do not have the right to refuse study leave.

Employers must inform applicants of the granting or postponement of study leave.

Employees are entitled to postpone the use of study leave granted for a maximum of five days by no more than a year, provided that this does not cause considerable inconvenience to the employer. The application concerning study leave that will not be used or will be postponed must always be made in writing, and it must be submitted to the employer no later than two weeks before the start of the study leave.

Employees have the right to interrupt study leave granted for more than 50 working days. The employer must be informed of the interruption in writing no later than four weeks before returning to work. If the employer has made a fixed-term employment contract with a substitute for the duration of the employee’s study leave, the employer is not obligated to employ the employee on study leave during the time for which the substitute’s employment contract must remain in effect pursuant to the law or relevant collective agreement. The employer must inform the employee, in writing and without delay, of the decision made in respect of the request for interruption made by the employee.

If an employee is incapacitated for work during study leave due to illness, childbirth or an accident, and if the incapacity for work lasts for more than seven days, any time in excess of this is not counted in the study leave, provided that the employee requests this immediately from the employer. In this way, the employee can use the interrupted study leave later.

Job alternation leave

Job alternation leave are provided for in the Act on Job Alternation Leave. Job alternation leave is an arrangement in which an employee, in accordance with the job alternation agreement they have made with the employer, is relieved of the performance of their duties for a fixed period of time and in which the employer simultaneously commits to employ, for a corresponding period of time, a person registered as an unemployed job seeker with a TE Office. Job alternation leave is voluntary.

Employees do not have an unconditional right to take job alternation leave. Taking such leave requires an agreement on it with the employer. The job alternation agreement must be made in writing.

The prerequisite for job alternation leave is that the employee has been employed for at least 20 years prior to the start of the job alternation leave. If the employee has previously received job alternation leave allowance, they must have been employed for at least five years since the end of the previous job alternation leave. The period of employment is calculated on the basis of the employee’s earnings under employment pensions laws (employment history requirement).

Another pre-condition for the leave is that the person in question has an employment and service relationship with the same employer that has lasted for at least 13 months without interruption for the period immediately preceding the start of the job alternation leave. These 13 months may furthermore include a maximum of 30 calendar days of unpaid absence. An absence attributable to an illness or accident is considered equal to being at work (working requirement). The working requirement can be met only by a full-time employee or an employee whose working hours amount to more than 75 percent of the working hours of a full-time employee applicable in the industry.

Unpaid leave

The law does not provide for unpaid leave agreed on between an employee and their employer. A period of unpaid leave does not accumulate annual holidays and it may also have other effects on benefits tied to time. It is advisable to contact the Union when considering taking unpaid leave.