Helsinki (14.11.2016 - Heikki Jokinen) It was agreed earlier this year under the national Competitiveness Pact that annual working time would be extended by 24 hours while pay should remain the same.

The pact covers some 90 per cent of Finnish wage and salary earners. Putting the pact into the practise at company level has not been an easy task and it seems quite a few companies do not need their employees to work more than before.

Turja Lehtonen, the Union Secretary of the Finnish Metalworkers' Union says in the newspaper Kansan Uutiset that at company level negotiations aimed at applying the national pact there have been several instances where working hours were not extended.

This is possible because negotiations on how to apply the national pact are in many branches conducted at company level.

These kind of local agreements have, according to Union Secretary Lehtonen, been made in many small and big companies. He does not, however, disclose any company names as the agreements are secret and remain confidential.

Employers associations do not want it to be broadly known that it is possible to jettison or simply ignore working time extension.

Turja Lehtonen says that solutions as to how to apply the national pact vary a lot at company level. There are companies extending the annual working hours by 16 or 18 hours, not 24 as in the national pact. In some companies the extra hours have been put in the working time bank to be used when needed.

The broad selection of methods at work in applying the national pact is down to the fact the fact that companies find themselves in different situations. Solutions are based on local needs, Lehtonen says and adds that this is the very goal of the Metalworkers' Union, too.

Extra hours for motion

Risto Kuustie, the Union of Professional Engineers shop steward at the IT-company Solteq proposed to the employer to use the extra 24 working hours on motion. It would benefit both employees and employers, he said.

The company agreed. So the responsibility for making up the extra hours is up to the employees themselves - flexibility being the key.

Another similar example is the consultancy firm Accenture. It agreed to use the extra hours for motion or some other way to advance well-being like studies or innovating. Every employee can decide on how to use the 24 hours.

Petteri Oksa, Director of Collective Bargaining of the Union of Professional Engineers revealed to the newspaper Turun Sanomat that some ten per cent of companies which have union membership have not bothered to extend the working hours at all.

Read more:
A broad labour market pact is born and the burden will be heavy for employees (29.02.2016)