You can avoid problems at work by remembering some principles
The SAK employee rights advisory service for immigrants has prepared a checklist for employees of foreign origin. The checklist is available in plain Finnish, Chinese, English, Estonian, Polish, Russian and Somali.
1. Always make a written employment contract. Don’t sign any document that you don’t understand.
2. You are entitled to guidance from the employer when you start a new job. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice at the workplace.
3. Find the collective agreement that applies at your workplace. The collective agreement explains your rights and duties at work. There are also some industries in Finland with no collective agreement.
Your employer must still follow Finnish law, even when there is no collective agreement for your workplace. The law states the general rights and duties of an employee.
4. You must always get a pay advice note whenever you are paid. Make sure that the details on the advice note are correct. The advice note will state your pay, taxes and other charges.
5. If you work in shifts, then keep copies of your shift lists. Keep records of any changes in these lists.
6. If your employer offers a zero-hours contract, then be sure to agree your minimum working hours. A zero-hours contract means that the employer does not have to pay you for any working hours at all.
For example if your weekly working time is 0-20 hours, then you may not get paid at all for a week with zero working hours. The employer must always pay you for at least the minimum working hours guaranteed in the employment contract.
7. Make sure that your holiday compensation is paid correctly when your job ends. You can check your holiday compensation from your pay advice note. You get holiday compensation if you have not taken all of your paid holiday before the job ends.
8. Always ask for a certificate of employment when a job ends.
9. Get to know the elected employee representative at your workplace. The employee representative handles employment questions with the employer, and can help you if you have employment problems at work.
10. Join the union! A trade union is an organisation of employees working in the same industry. It agrees the minimum employment terms with employers in that industry.