Working hours means the time an employee spends on working or is obligated to be present at the workplace or otherwise at the employer’s disposal.
Working hours are regulated by the Working Hours Act and collective agreements. The Working Hours Act provides for working hours and their determination. Collective agreements may also contain clauses pertaining to working hours. The clauses in a collective agreement are often more favorable for employees than the Working Hours Act.
The Working Hours Act is a general law usually applied to nearly all employment and civil service relationships. The Act separately lists the exceptions to which the Working Hours Act does not apply. The Working Hours Act does not apply to work carried out by a company’s management (such as the managing director). Nor does the Act apply to work carried out in circumstances where the employer does not have a chance to monitor the arrangement of working hours. According to the new Working Hours Act, exceptions to the Act’s scope of application are always subject to the realization of working hours autonomy. Working hours autonomy means that the working hours arrangements of an employee are not monitored in actuality and that they may decide on the arrangement of their working hours themselves. Due to this reason, work carried out from home or other remote working may have previously been left outside the scope of the Working Hours Act. Nowadays, however, technology also allows for monitoring hours spent remote working.
The Working Hours Act aims to protect employees. It sets minimum times for rest and limitations on any overtime employers have employees carry out.
According to the Working Hours Act, the maximum regular working hours are eight hours a day and 40 hours a week. The collective agreements of senior salaried employees, however, usually agree on shorter working hours, most often 7.5 hours a day and 37.5 hours a week.
The weekly regular working hours can be organized as an average so that the working hours are balanced to 40 hours over a maximum period of 52 weeks. Even so, the maximum working hours even in a system of average working hours is eight hours a day.
Working hours may also be agreed on in a collective agreement, although not contrary to the mandatory provisions of the Working Hours Act. The clauses of the applicable collective agreement must be accounted for when agreeing on working hours.
Flexitime is a way of organizing regular working hours in which an employee can, within agreed limits and based on their work situation and individual needs, decide on their own working hours: the time at which they arrive and leave work, or, in other words, how long their working day is on any given day.
According to the Working Hours Act, regular working hours can be shortened or prolonged by a maximum of four hours a day.
The new Working Hours Act enables a model of flexible working hours in which an employee has the opportunity to decide on the arrangement of their working hours themselves in work that is expert or knowledge work independent of time and place. In flexible working, at least half of the working hours are hours whose timing and workplace location the employee may decide on independently. The employer, on the other hand, defines the tasks, goals and the overall schedule. Flexible working hours are based on a written agreement between the employee and employer in which they must agree on the working days during which the employee may arrange the working hours, the arrangement of the weekly rest period, any possible fixed working hours and on the working hours to be applied once the agreement concerning the flexible working hours has ended.
In flexible working hours, the regular weekly working hours may be no more than 40 hours during a four-month period. Working hours refers to the time an employee spends on working or is obligated to be present at the workplace or otherwise at the employer’s disposal.
Additional work means work carried out between regular working hours and the longest regular working hours permitted by the law (eight hours).
Additional work is carried out at the employer’s initiative and with the employee’s consent. Additional work entitles the employee to remuneration equal, at minimum, to the salary paid for regular working hours.
Employees may give their consent to additional working hours in their employment contract.
Collective agreements may include a clause for increased remuneration to be payable for additional work.
Overtime is work carried out in excess of the maximum regular working hours permitted by the law. Overtime is always subject to a separate agreement with one’s supervisor or a defined, shortish period at a time. Employees are not obligated to consent to overtime.
Daily overtime is work carried out on top of the maximum working hours a day (eight hours) permitted by the law. The first two hours of daily overtime are subject to a salary increased by 50 percent and any following hours are subject to a salary increased by 100 percent.
Weekly overtime is work in excess of 40 hours that is not simultaneously daily overtime. It is subject to a salary increased by 50 percent.
Collective agreements may define better remuneration for weekly overtime.