Entering into the labour market and obtaining employment opportunities are important to graduates. However, finding employment is not always easy and therefore, when you are employed and encountering different problematic issues at work, the idea to speak up for yourself may be scary in the first place. This article gives you some ideas about where you can contact and to whom you should seek for advice when facing problems at the working place. These are all organisations in Finland that had been introduced in “Workers’ rights in Finland” webinar on 11th November 2021. More details and materials of the webinar can be found at https://www.tyosuojelu.fi/web/en/about-us/events/workers-rights-in-finland.
Information on occupational safety and health, taxation and pensions
You can search for necessary information on employment relationships, working conditions and occupational safety and health, and learn more about other issues, such as grey market, on the official website www.tyosuojelu.fi/web/en/home. The purpose of the occupational safety and health administration helps to ensure the healthy and safe working conditions and environment in Finland to maintain the work ability of employees. The administration also provides you with advice and guidelines concerning occupational safety and health and employment relationships.
Additionally, find out your rights to work at www.migri.fi. The situation of people who are exploited by their employers will improve as amendments to the Aliens Act that has been into force as of 1st October 2021. According to Migri, “if your employer has exploited you or neglected their obligations to a significant degree, you can apply for an extended permit or for a certificate of expanded right to work and change your employer”.
Information on your pensions can be read at www.etk.fi/en/. On the website, you will also get chance to calculate your future pensions based on the current income and receive news on this matter. Accessing tax information on www.vero.fi to know how much you need to pay income tax and how tax is calculated.
If you are not paid correctly, contact your trade union. There are about 80 unions in Finland that are divided into three trade union federations: The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), the Finnish Confederation of Professionals (STTK) and the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland (Akava). Employees have rights to become members of unions of their sectors. Some major trade unions in Finland are:
- PAM – Service Union United, representing the services sector
- Pro, the largest private sector union for clerical employees
- OAJ – Trade Union of Education, representing teachers in all levels of education
- Tehy, the union of health and social care professionals
- SuPer, the Finnish union of practical nurses
If you are not a member of any union, consider contacting the Legal Aid Office (www.oikeus.fi/oikeusapu/fi/). The office assists in different matters, including wage claim and employment issues. People pay for the legal aid they need, but if they are not able to accommodate the costs, it can be paid for them partly or fully with state funds.
Suspecting a crime
You can report a suspected crime to police, or firstly seek help and guidance at the Victim Support Finland (www.riku.fi). The service aims to improve the position of victims of crime, their closed networks and witnesses in criminal cases. On the website, you can also find guidance on specific cases that you might encounter at work and in your daily lives. Information on service cited from the official website describes particularly that: “Typical crimes for which our services are required include domestic violence, other assaults, sexual crimes, robberies, homicides, property crimes, crimes of honour, harassment, stalking and various personal property crimes.”
If you doubt that you are a victim of human trafficking, please not hesitate to seek help at www.ihmiskauppa.fi. Human trafficking is a serious crime in which victims are placed in a subordinate position and exploited for financial and other gains. In Finland, this act is a crime under chapter 25, section 3 and section 3a of the Criminal Code. Provisions on the assistance to the victims of human trafficking are given under chapter 4 of the Act on the reception of persons seeking international protection and on identifying and assisting victims of human trafficking (746/2011).
At work, human trafficking can be spotted in:
- Physical violence at workplace
- No chance to negotiate working conditions
- No employment contract or several employment contracts with different content for the same job
- No or too little payment/salary
- Excessively long days at work
- No days off or only a few random days off per year
- No sick leave