Know your rights at work

Four people sitting and looking at a laptop

You have the same rights and responsibilities at work as a Finnish employee

Are you considering a move to Finland for work? You may be pleasantly surprised about the numerous rights and protections afforded to employees.

Finland has a strong reputation for protecting the rights of employees, ensuring fair wages, safe working conditions, and safeguarding against discrimination. Understanding your rights as an employee is essential for a positive work experience in Finland, especially since many of these rights are enshrined in law.  


In this article, we'll take a closer look at some of the key employee rights. At the bottom, we'll provide you with a link to the Fairplay at Work test and Work Help Finland mobile application, which can help you understand your workplace rights in even greater detail. Know your rights – let’s go! 

Two things to start with

First, as a foreigner, you have the same rights and responsibilities at work as a Finnish employee, even if you do not have a residence permit. As an employee you have tons of rights to protect and serve you. 


Second, always keep the documents related to your work, such as contracts, emails, and receipts. It’s advisable also to scan or take a photo of the documents, if they are on paper. Normally you should not encounter problems, but in case of dispute, you will need the documents.  

Work contract and starting to work

Your work contract should be written in a language you understand. It’s never a good idea to sign anything you don’t understand. All terms of employment should be documented on paper or email. Oral contracts are valid, but they are hard to prove. The employer cannot change the contract later if it weakens the terms of the contract. However, they can raise the salary and increase benefits. 


When can I start? You can start to work in Finland when you have received a residence permit, a seasonal work certificate or a seasonal work visa. For more information, refer to Finnish Immigration Service, Migri


When it’s time for a change, you have the right to resign anytime. The notice period varies usually from 14 to 30 days and will be stated in your work contract. 

The labor market system

The Finnish labor market system is transparent and fair – of course normal negotiating and arm wrestling is a part of it. The employer unions and employee unions agree on base level of wages and terms of employment. For example, the employer must insure you for accidents and the training periods are paid too.  


To get the most back rest in your work life, you can join a trade union. You can join an unemployment fund on the first day in your job and you’ll be eligible for possible compensation after a few months of working. A trade union can help you if you have problems with your employer. Belonging to a union will not cause conflicts with the employer. In the past few years, the share of Finnish workforce belonging to a union has been between 59-69%. The unemployment fund will pay you a daily allowance if you become unemployed and meet the other criteria of the employment fund.  

Information on the terms of employment in Finland is available in several languages in the As a foreign employee in Finland guide by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In Finland, the occupational safety and health authorities monitor workplaces. You can always contact them, also anonymously. 


In Finland, the occupational safety and health authorities monitor workplaces. The regular working hours are 8 hours a day. It’s a good idea to keep a record of your working hours, for example on your phone.  


Finland wants you to feel good, restored, and healthy so that you like to be at work and give your best and most focused effort when you’re writing code, evaluating green tech options, or when welding a cruise ship or treating a patient. You are entitled to annual holidays, which are paid. Check the number of holidays with your employer. You have the right to be paid a normal and reasonable salary for your work. 


Read more about the working hours, salary and compensation, paid vacations, and healthcare & workplace safety


Wages and taxes

Finland is a highly digitalized country and wages are being paid directly to your bank account. Your bank account is yours and yours only. No one else has the right to use your account, cards, or banking credentials. 


The employer must pay your salary on the agreed payment date. A pay statement is delivered to you with each payment either on paper or electronically. The statement shows wages, supplements, benefits, other charges required by the law and the taxes.  


Oh yes, the taxes. It’s your responsibility to pay them. Luckily, it has been made easy, and they are paid automatically from your salary. Read more about the Finnish tax system


In case your wage has been paid wrongly, try to resolve the matter with the employer first. The next steps to get help would be legal aid or your trade union. 

Know your rights

In addition to the highlighted elements in this article, there is a lot more information available. Please visit Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment site to read the brochures and guides. We recommend you also to download the very handy Work Help Finland mobile application that is intended for foreign talents coming to Finland and residing in Finland. 


So, do you feel you know a thing or two about your rights and responsibilities at work in Finland? Take a quick test and get to know the ABC guide to working in Finland at the Fairplay at work website by The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions.