Know your rights

About having a second job
Before 2010 most of the personnell employed by the universities were civil servants. Nowadays all employed by the universities are working under employment contracts.

As civil servants, university personnell were required to request a specific permission from the employer to aqcuire a second job. According to the Employment contracts Act, no such permission is, however, needed. Unless there is a specific clause in the employment contract about having a second job, the employee is not required even to let the employer know they are taking on additional work. However, the Employment Contracts Act does prohibit the employee to take on any work that is in competition with the primary employment relationship. Usually this means that the employee may not work for a company etc. that is in direct competition with the primary employer/the employing parties (companies) are competing for the same markets etc.

The Employment Contracts Act also requires the employee to use their work time fullfilling their work duties and the employee must make sure the second job does not affect the way they perform in their primary employment relationship. Sometimes there may be a clause in the employment contract which requires that the employee requests a permission from the employer when they want to get a second job. If such requirement exists, the grounds for the permission must be the same for all. Most of the time there are no reasonable grounds for the employer to prohibit the employee from taking on a second job.

To my knowledge, some of the universities have come up with a rule of their own that, for some reason, the second job could only consist of 10—20% of the full hours. That is, however, not based on any law etc. and is only the certain university’s own opinion.

It is true that it may be very difficult for an average person to handle two full time jobs, but it does not say anywhere in the law, for example, how much additional work an employee may or may not take on besides their primary employment. The Employment Contracts Act only states that ”Employees shall perform their work carefully, observing the instructions concerning performance issued by the employer within its competence. In their activities, employees shall avoid everything that conflicts with the actions reasonably required of employees in their position.” This means that the second job must not affect the primary employment in any way, as was stated earlier. Basically this may only be observed later on.

It is difficult to give a specific prosentage of how much additional work a certain employee could or could not manage to do satisfactory. Especially those, who work under the 1600 hour rule and whose work is not boud to a specific location or time of day, may handle additional work more easily than those who work according to regular ”office” working hours. If the work load is such that it could easily be managed ”a couple of hours during week nights and during the weekends”, it is very difficult to argue that it is not manageable and that it would affect the primary employment in any way. Therefore 10- 20 % is not a very convincing argument.

text mia Weckman
lawyer, the Finnish union of university researchers and teachers

Painetussa lehdessä sivu 42