Employment in the government sector

As the main national negotiation organisation, JUKO negotiates the collective agreements. The state employs some 40,000 managers and experts belonging to unions affiliated with Akava. Approximately 2,000 Loimu members are employed by the state.

Working in central government sector

The advocacy work to protect the interests of members belonging to unions affiliated with Akava and who work for the state is handled via the Negotiation Organisation for Public Sector Professionals JUKO. It negotiates the collective agreement which set out salaries and other terms of employment. There are about 40 000 workers in central government sector covered by Labour Unions in JUKO ry. Loimu is a member of JUKO and about 2000 Loimu members work as civil servants or employees in States agencies and admnistrative branches.

JUKO has a state negotiation committee that decides on the collective agreements and advocacy work at the central state level.  The negotiation committee guides and supports the work of representatives via dedicated Agreements and Bargaining Officers.  Loimu has it’s own representative in the committee.

Advocacy work at the local level is also an integral part of JUKO’s operations. The organisation has more than 2,000 union representatives chosen by union members. They negotiate with employers at workplaces and assist members in employment-related matters such as:

  • Take care that the agreements and laws are followed (maintains peace at work)
  • Are  a link between the workers and the employer
  • Represent members in employee co-operation negotiations (possible lay-off, reductions but also other changes)
  • Represents members in co-operation group, equality group etc.
  • Negotiates with the employer about the directing of certain part of the (office, institute related) pay rise 
  • Support and help the member in all kind of dispute cases

Terms and conditions of employment relationships

The legal status of civil servants is laid down in the State Civil Servants Act and the related decree, and the legal status of personnel on an ordinary employment contract is covered by the Employment Contracts Act. The legislation on collective agreements for state civil servants is complemented by the main collective agreement, which includes an agreement on the collective bargaining regarding state civil servants.

The terms and conditions of employment relationships for civil servants and employees under contract are agreed in the Collective Agreement for State Civil Servants and Employees Under Contract at central level and in separate collective agreements for civil servants and employees under contract at agency level, in accordance with the government’s system of negotiation and agreements. Collective agreements for civil servants and employees under contract specific to agencies or administrative branches are made by the agreement agencies for themselves and their administrative branches; there are approximately 60 such agencies altogether. These agreements are mainly used to agree on specific issues regarding wages and working hours, and they are approved by the Ministry of Finance.

All of the valid collective agreements for civil servants and employees under contract, letters of appointment, instruction and recommendation, as well as Government resolutions, are unfortunately not available in English. For specific information contact your local Union Prep or Loimus lawyers.

Pay and incentive schemes

  • The pay policy in central government is mostly uniform but also partly based on the starting points, needs and applications of the different government agencies. Each agency has its own pay system. The pay systems form a basis for motivating, competitive and fair rewarding.

    The application and development of pay policy and the government pay systems are aimed at

    • promoting the realisation of the employer’s pay policy and agreement policy
    • enabling the use of rewarding as a tool for effective management and operation
    • enhancing the use of the other means of rewarding in addition to pay systems
    • ensuring that the pay system used in the central government is competitive so that competent personnel is available and will remain in service
    • ensuring equal pay for men and women

    In collective bargaining activities, the creation and development of pay systems is the most important form of collective agreement at the agency level in the central government. Agreements at the central level also play a key role in what direction pay policy and pay systems are developed in. In agency-specific agreements, agency-specific pay increases have been allocated to structural changes of pay systems, such as the development of the basic principles of task-specific and personal pay components, changes made to pay scales and the motivating grading of pay scales.

  • The pay is the most essential condition in the service relationship. It accounts for the majority of the labour costs and a large part of the operating costs of the government employer. Pay policy serves as a tool for effective management and the pay is aimed at promoting the effectiveness of central government and its operating units and at improving their competitiveness in order to ensure the availability and retention of competent personnel.

    In the government’s pay systems, the monthly pay is mainly determined according to the complexity of the tasks and the personal work performance. This and how well the pay responds to different changes form the basis for a motivating, competitive and fair rewarding system.

  • The pay systems in central government are agency-specific but drawn up according to uniform general principles. They are based on collective agreements specific to each agreement sector. In the pay system, the pay component determined according to the complexity of the tasks is divided into 10 to 20 levels of complexity, depending on the agency. Depending on the system of the agency in question, the personal pay component determined on the basis of work performance and qualifications may be 50% of the task-specific pay component at the most and also has between 5 and 15 performance levels.

    Agency-specific evaluation systems exist for evaluating the complexity of the tasks and the personal work performance. The factors determining the complexity of the tasks typically concern the expertise, interaction and responsibility required in the position. The factors defining work performance typically concern competence, productivity and cooperation. The complexity of the tasks and personal performance are assessed annually in development discussions conducted between the manager and the person concerned.

  • The two main elements of the government’s pay system, the task-specific and the personal pay component, are both aimed at making the rewarding system motivating. The system encourages personnel to apply for more demanding positions and to improve their work performance and expertise. The system also requires good supervisory skills and leadership. The government’s pay system is applied according to the requirements of effective operation, taking into account the changes in the complexity of the tasks in the changing operating environment and the better performance resulting from the increasing competence level.

    A fairly small part of the central government uses separate performance bonuses which are determined and paid annually.

Working hours

Central government has three forms of working hours: office, weekly and averaged over a period, as agreed in the collective agreement on working hours for government employees. Government agencies may have other working time arrangements intended for specific activities. Usually the Working Hours Act (872/2019) also applies to central government employees. However, some employees, such as judges in the court system, are completely outside the scope of working hours regulations.

  • Office working hours apply in ministries and in specialist and administrative roles at government agencies. The regular working hours are 7 hours 15 minutes a day or 36 hours 15 minutes a week. Working hours are usually based on the agency’s opening hours, which are from Monday to Friday 8.00–16.15. Flexitime and other flexible working arrangements are widely in place, enabling employees to decide, within certain limits, when to start and end work and to make other decisions.

  • Other professionals at government agencies follow weekly working hours, where the daily regular working hours vary from 6 hours 15 minutes to 8 hours, so that the weekly regular working hours are 38 hours 15 minutes.

  • Period-based hours apply in roles requiring 24-hour availability every day of the week, such as in police work. In period-based work, the regular working hours have been set at 114 hours 45 minutes over a three-week period. The daily and weekly working hours and times are given in the personnel scheduling system.

  • The working hours bank can be used for all types of working hours. Employees collect working hours or monetary benefits exchanged for leave, which can then be taken as leave. The introduction and details of a working time bank are agreed locally by the government agencies, taking into account the provisions of the collective agreement on working hours for government employees.

  • Employees can work remotely it is compatible with the nature and tasks of their role.

    Terms and conditions of annual leave for central government employees are provided in a collective agreement. In addition, the Annual Holidays Act applies to the holidays of public officials and government employees.

Annual leave

  • A full holiday credit month refers to a calendar month of the holiday credit year during which a public official has been in office for at least 18 days or an employee has been employed for at least 14 days. In some cases, it is sufficient that the public official or employee has been working for a minimum of 35 hours in accordance with his or her employment relationship.

    If the employment relationship lasts for less than one year, the employee earns 2 days of leave per a month, i.e. up to 22 days during the holiday credit year. Those who have served for at least one year but for less than 15 years earn up to 30 days of leave. Those who have served for at least 15 years may earn up to 38 days of leave during the holiday credit year.

    Day of leave is always a weekday 

    Days of leave may only include weekdays. Holidays are usually taken during the Finnish holiday period from 1 June to 30 September. However, holidays may also be taken during the rest of the holiday year or before the end of April of the following year. While government agencies may flexibly agree on the timing of their annual holidays, they have to comply with certain minimum conditions laid down in the collective agreement on annual holidays for government employees. Public officials and employees may also postpone a part of their annual leave to be taken later. Under certain conditions, annual leave may also be postponed due to incapacity for work. Annual holidays must be planned in advance and organised in such a way that they cause as little inconvenience as possible to the agency’s normal functioning.

  • Public officials and employees are entitled to their normal pay during their annual leave, unless holiday pay is determined on a percentage basis. Persons whose working hours and pay have changed during the holiday credit year are paid percentage-based holiday pay. Depending on the length of employment, holiday pay is then either 9.0%, 11.5% or 14.5% of the person’s pay for the normal working hours during the holiday credit year.

    Under the collective agreement, public officials and employees are also paid holiday bonuses equal to 4%, 5% or 6% of their monthly pay for the month preceding the month in which the holiday bonus is paid, multiplied by the number of full holiday credit months. The percentage is calculated on the basis of the length of employment in the same way as the number of annual leave days mentioned above.

  • The holiday credit year begins on 1 April and ends on 31 March. A day of leave is always a weekday. Weekdays do not include Saturdays, Sundays, Independence Day, Christmas Eve, Midsummer Eve, Easter Saturday or First of May.

    Carried-over holiday entitlement, or saved leave, means the days of leave to be taken later, during the next holiday year.

Official journeys

An official journey refers to work-related travel carried out by order of the public official’s supervisor. Public officials can make official journeys if they need to perform their duties in locations outside their workplace. The same rules apply to staff in contractual employment relationships.

The collective agreement on the reimbursement of public officials’ and employees’ travel expenses (State Travel Regulations) is updated every calendar year.

The State Travel Regulations define reimbursable travel expenses. They refer to the extra expenses that a public official has incurred for the official journey. Travel expenses include cost of travelling, per diem allowance, meal allowance and accommodation or hotel allowance. More detailed cost categories and the conditions for their payment can be found in the State Travel Regulations 2020.

In charge for advocacy work in the government sector in Loimu