What to do when there’s no collective agreement with the employer?
When the employer is not subject to any collective agreement, utmost care must be taken when negotiating an employment contract. Your union can help you negotiate terms.
Text Eeva ylitalo Image istock Translation Marko Saajanaho
What is the significance of a collective agreement when negotiating an employment contract, FUURT lawyer Esa Schön?
A collective bargaining agreement is an agreement negotiated between the employer’s representative union and the employer’s respective association. It guarantees the employee receives more extensive rights in working life than legally mandated. For example, the collective agreement determines the industry’s salaries and raises, minimum wages, working hours, leave, and paid leave. It also dictates paid sick leave, family leave, and staff representation systems.
If the collective agreement is universally binding, any employer in the respective industry must abide by it as a minimum in all of their employment contracts. Universally binding collective agreements are listed in the Finlex regulation data bank.
If the industry does not have a collective agreement, employment terms are determined by labour legislation and personal employment contracts.
What should you do when signing an employment contract with an employer not subject to a collective agreement? What should you pay special attention to?
The collective agreement usually determines salaries, raises, working hours, leave, and paid leave. It also dictates paid sick leave, family leave, and staff representation systems.
If no binding collective agreement exists, everything is based on your personal employment contract, which means all matters regarding employment must be agreed upon in the contract. You should always have a written employment contract, even when there is a collective agreement. That makes it easier to remember what has been agreed.
Your employment contract must clearly define, for example, how pay raises and salary are determined. Paid leave, sick pay and the obligation to pay remuneration for family leave must also be addressed.
How many questions does the union get about employers not subject to collective agreements?
This is fairly uncommon for academics, usually concerning small associations or businesses without a collective agreement that have our members working for them.
What are the situations in which problems may arise with an employer not subject to a collective agreement if everything has not been properly defined in the contract?
Ending one’s employment may cause issues, along with employment terms. It might be unclear what has actually been agreed. People may also ask the union for advice in situations where the employer would like to change the employment terms. In such a situation, the union can provide advice on how to proceed. It is also recommended to make use of union services when first negotiating the contract. We gladly review and comment on employment contracts. This is likely to prevent any kind of conflict and avoid interpretation ambiguities and arguments. Usually, changing a contract after the fact is considerably more difficult.