The Finnish labor legislation – an introduction part 10
The Renewed Act on Equality between Women and Men and the Non-Discrimination Act The const itution of Finland, section 6, st ates that “Everyone is equal before the law.
No one shall, without an acceptable reason, be treated differently from other persons on the grounds of sex, age, origin, language, religion, conviction, opinion, health, disability or other reason that concerns his or her person. Children shall be treated equally and as individuals and they shall be allowed to influence matters pertaining to themselves to a degree corresponding to their level of development. Equality of the sexes is promoted in societal activity and working life, especially in the determination of salary and the other terms of employment, as provided in more detail by the Act.” So the right to equality in Finland is of an elementary nature. Equality is defined as two different categories in the constitution: equality between women and men and equality between different groups, such as those related to health, age, nationality etc. Also the Employment Contracts Act contains several non-discrimination clauses.
Since the beginning of this year (2015) both the Act on Equality between Women and Men and the Non-Discrimination Act underwent some modifications. In both cases, a certain amount of preventive measures against discrimination were added to the requirements of the laws.
The Act on Equality between Women and Men now also contains sections about sexual minorities and sexual identity and also the definition of sexual harassment. The new law now has regulations about a mandatory equal salary evaluation at the work place, which has to be performed every two years. This is to ensure equal salary for same or very similar work between women and men. The demands of the equality plan and planning were redefined. They now reach also elementary- and high schools. Work places that employ at least 30 employees are required to make a mandatory equalityplan every other year.
In the Non-Discrimination Act, the definition of discrimination was renewed. As already stated, work places that employ at least 30 employees are required to make a mandatory equality-plan every other year. The employees must always be involved in making the equality-plans at the work place. The employer must make reasonable modifications at the work place so that also disabled employees may work at the work place safely. For example, ramps for wheelchairs may be installed. Discriminating work advertisements are not allowed and may lead to compensation for the discriminated job applicant.
Also a new National Discrimination and Equality Tribunal was set up after the termination of the old National Discrimination Tribunal of Finland.
If you feel discriminated at your work place, do not hesitate to contact your local shop-stewards or the Union.
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text Mia Weckman