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Työelämän ongelmat

Problems in working life

If you have problems at the workplace, talk to your supervisor first. You can also get help from a safety officer or shop steward at your workplace or your trade union. This page contains answers to problems that may arise in working life.

Where can I get help for problems in working life?

Discuss the problem with your supervisor first. If that does not help, contact the safety officer orshop steward of the workplace. If there is no shop steward at the workplace and you are a member of a trade union, contact your trade union. If the issue cannot be resolved at work, you can ask for help from the occupational safety and health authority.

The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) provides free employment counselling. You can use the service even if you are not a trade union member. Lawyers answer your questions in Finnish and English. Counselling is available by both telephone and e-mail.

In Finland, the occupational safety and health authorities supervise employers. They also provide guidance on work safety and health, as well as in matters related to the conditions of employment. You can ask them for help if you experience harassment or discrimination at work, or if you do not receive documents from your employer that you should receive (such as payslips or a testimonial of service).  You can contact them by phone or e-mail.

Support and advice on questions related to working life are also available from the experts of the Fair Labor (Reilu työelämä) project of the Finnish Refugee Council (Pakolaisapu). The project’s employees can help you if you suspect you have been a victim of labour exploitation and would like to discuss your experiences or get practical advice on your situation. You can discuss issues confidentially in Finnish, English, Ukrainian, Arabic, Persian, Kurdish and Dari. You can make contact anonymously. The contact information is on the Finnish Refugee Council’s website.

Read more on the InfoFinland page During employment.

It is dangerous at my workplace. What should I do?

Always inform your supervisor if you notice that something can pose a risk to employees. Such things can include a hazardous work method, a broken tool or inadequate personal protective equipment. You can also suggest a safer way of completing a work assignment.

If your supervisor does not react to the reported matter, call the telephone service of the occupational safety and health authority. Read more on the InfoFinland page Health and safety at work.

My employment ends soon. How does it affect my residence permit?

The situation depends on what kind of residence permit you have.

If your residence permit concerns only a certain employer, apply for a new residence permit for an employee. You must have a new workplace in order to apply for a new residence permit for an employee. You can also apply for a residence permit on some other grounds. Read more about the grounds for a residence permit in the InfoFinland section Non-EU citizens.

If your employment ends before the end of the residence permit, notify the Finnish Immigration Service in writing. Your employee can also submit the notification.

If your residence permit has been granted for a certain professional field, you may change workplaces within the field.

Information on residence permits for employees and entrepreneurs can be found on the pages Work in Finland and Moving to Finland as an entrepreneur. Read more about looking for work in Finland on the page Find a job in Finland. You can find more information on applying for unemployment benefit on the page Unemployment benefit.

Link redirects to another websiteFinnish Immigration Service

Information on residence permits

I have been underpaid. What should I do?

Always check your payslip to make sure that you have been paid correctly. Also, make sure that you have received compensation for, for example, overtime and work on Sundays. 

If you have been underpaid, ask your employer to correct the payment. If, despite your request, your employer does not pay your salary correctly, you can contact your trade union. If you do not belong to a trade union, you can ask for help from the employee representatives of your workplace or from the legal aid office.

If you are being paid less than Finnish employees, this can constitute discrimination against foreign employees. You can call the occupational safety and health authority’s telephone service or your trade union and ask whether your case constitutes discrimination.

If your employer is unable to pay your salary or wages, contact Pay security immediately. If your employer does not have money, you can receive your salary or wages through Pay security. Apply within 3 months of when your salary or wages should have been paid.

If no agreement is reached on salary payment, the matter must be resolved at court. This is, however, the last resort.

Link redirects to another websiteOccupational Safety and Health Administration

Information on the payment of wages

My employer only wants to pay my salary in cash. Is that allowed?

Your employer should pay your salary to your bank account. The salary may only be paid in cash when there are no other options available. This can be done, for example, if you do not have a bank account.

If your salary is paid in cash, you must give your employer a signed certificate of salary payment. This way, it can be proven that that the salary has really been paid to you.

My fixed-term employment ended but I was not paid my last salary. What should I do?

Ask the employer for the reason for the delay in payment. Demand that the employer pay your salary. Present the demand in writing.

If you are a trade union member, you can ask your union to help you. If you do not belong to a trade union, you can ask the legal aid office for help. See also I have been underpaid. What should I do?

I was fired. How can I find out if my dismissal was legal?

In the case of a fixed-term employment relationship, it cannot be terminated during the agreement period unless the terms and condition of the employment contract allow it.

In the case of a non-fixed-term employment relationship, the employer must have a justified reason for dismissing an employee. The reason can be one of the following:

  • the employee has seriously neglected work-related obligations
  • the employee’s situation has changed so that the employee is no longer able to cope with the work duties
  • the employer’s situation has changed so that the employer is no longer able to offer the work done by the employee and it is not possible to reassign or retrain the employee.

When the reason is that the employer’s situation has changed and when the organisation regularly employs more than 20 employees, change negotiations must be arranged at the workplace before the dismissal. An employee representative must be present at the change negotiations.

You have the right to ask the employee representative to accompany you in all discussions regarding the termination of your employment relationship.

If the contract of employment includes a probationary period, the employer or the employee can dissolve the employment relationship during the probationary period without a period of notice. However, the employment relationship cannot be dissolved on discriminatory or otherwise inappropriate grounds.

If you suspect that your dismissal was unlawful or resulted from discriminatory reasons, contact the occupational safety and health authority.

Read more on the InfoFinland page End of employment.

I ended my job at my previous workplace but did not receive a testimonial of service. How do I get the testimonial of service?

The employer does not have to give you a testimonial of service on its own initiative. If you want a testimonial of service, ask for it. The testimonial must be submitted to you as soon as possible.

If you have asked for a testimonial of service but have not received it, contact the occupational safety and health authorities.

I feel that I am treated inappropriately at my workplace. What can I do?

All employees must be treated equally. According to the law, no one must be discriminated against because of these reasons, for example:

  • form of employment
  • age
  • gender
  • ethnic background
  • health
  • religious beliefs
  • sexual orientation

Read more on the InfoFinland page Equality and equal opportunities in working life.

In addition to discrimination, other inappropriate treatment may also occur at workplaces, such as bullying or sexual harassment.

Talk to your supervisor first. If he or she cannot help you, contact the occupational safety officer (työsuojeluvaltuutettu) or employee representative (luottamusmies) at your workplace. If the situation does not improve, contact the occupational safety and health authorities or your trade union.

If your supervisor treats you inappropriately, report it to your supervisor’s supervisor or the occupational safety and health authorities. The occupational safety and health authority will not tell your employer that you have contacted it unless you give your written permission to do so.

My employer requires me to work too much. What should I do?

Make sure that your working hours comply with the provisions of the collective agreement and law. The working hours must not be too long. You are entitled to take breaks, days off and holidays.

If this is not the case, tell your employer that this must be fixed. If the situation does not improve, contact the occupational safety and health authority.

If you have been working too much and are exhausted, contact your occupational health care provider or doctor.

I am forced to work with no salary. My employer also threatens me with violence. Where can I get help?

You have the right to get help and protection. According to Finnish law, employees must be treated well and they must be paid salary. Human trafficking is a crime in Finland. Read more on the InfoFinland page Human trafficking and forced labour