Helsinki (27.03.2015 - Heikki Jokinen) Four per cent of all employees in Finland work with zero-hours contracts. Statistics Finland estimates that some 83 000 employees aged between 15 and 64 fall into this category. According to a recent survey more than half of Finns would like to see a law passed to have zero-hours contracts proscribed.
Zero-hours contracts set the weekly working hours from zero to 40, also giving the employer the possibility to hire staff with no guarantee of work. Employees therefore work only when they are needed by employers and cannot usually know in advance how many hours they can expect.
A majority of those with zero-hours contracts, 57 per cent, were women. Those who worked on zero-hours contracts were mainly young: nearly one-half were aged under 25, and 65 per cent were aged under 30.
These contracts were most common among persons aged 15 to 19 with 20 per cent of them ‘employed’ on zero-hours contracts.
”The average weekly working hours for people working on zero-hours contracts was 23 hours per week. The average weekly working hours of those working part-time was 15 hours per week and for those working full-time it was 37 hours per week”, Statistics Finland says.
A majority, 72 per cent of those working on zero-hours contracts had an employment contract valid until further notice. The rest had a fixed-term employment contract.
The largest proportion of those working on zero-hours contracts were to be found in the wholesale and retail trade (15,000), human health and social work activities (11,000), and accommodation and food service activities (10,000).
Zero-hours work is not usually casual, 55 per cent of people who are on zero hour contracts said that their main activity was gainful employment. The second largest group (38 per cent) are those who reported studying as their main activity.
A recent survey revealed that 58 per cent of Finns would like to do away with zero-hours contracts by law. Only 24 per cent were against this kind of legislation. Even among entrepreneurs 45 per cent supported legislation to proscribe zero-hours contracts.
The survey was commissioned by the trade union youth campaign Operaatio vakiduuni (Operation steady job), which is campaigning against zero-hours contracts. In this endeavour they have undertaken to organise a citizens’ initiative for new legislation to outlaw these kinds of contracts. If they succeed in collecting 50 000 signatures the proposal will be addressed by parliament.
At the moment there are 30 494 signatures. The time to collect signatures will end on June 15th this year.
Citizens’ initiative to end zero-hours contracts (28.01.2015)