The Finnish Employment Contracts Act states the employer may terminate the employment contract if the work to be offered has diminished substantially and permanently for financial or production-related reasons or for reasons arising from reorganization of the employer's operations. These are called ”collective” grounds for terminating the employment contract. However, if the employer needs new employees within nine months of termination of the employment relationship for the same or similar work that the employee given notice had been doing, the employer must offer work to the former employee/employees. If there are several employees suitable for the work, the employer may choose amongst them.
The employer must actively offer the opening positions to terminated employees. A general list that is available for example at the employer’s website is not sufficient. To be eligible for this mandatory re-employment practice, the employee must be registered at the employment office as a job seeker. However, there is no rule that the employee must be unemployed at the time. Even if the employee has found new work, the law still applies, as long as the employee is registered at the unemployment office as a job seeker.
Terminated employees should try to monitor the opening positions at their old workplace to make sure there is no work that should be offered to them according to the Employment Contracts Act. Although, sometimes it may be difficult to recognize whether the new positions offered by the old employer fall under the category of ”same or similar work”. The work does not have to be exactly the same, but it must be something the employee would be suitable for due to the previous employment relationship. However, there is no longer any obligation for the employer to provide additional training after the employment relationship has ended, vs. during the notice period.
If the employer fails to offer the opened position to the terminated employee when the work is same or similar to the work the employee did earlier, the employee is entitled to a compensation that is equivalent to their 3—24 months salary.
If you have been terminated due to collective reasons, follow the new positions offered by your employer or have a colleague to follow the recruiting at the work place. Contact the shop steward or the trade union if you have any further questions.
text mia Weckman
lawyer, the Finnish union of university researchers and teachers
Painetussa lehdessä sivu 48