Major rise in requests to SAK for employment advice

Enquiries to the SAK employee rights advisory service increased by more than a quarter last year compared to 2021, rising from 417 to 526. Many of these contacts came from people who had fled to Finland from Ukraine and other conflict zones.
02.02.2023 09:32
Employee counselling is part of the SAK Fair Play at Work service package.

Employee counselling is part of the SAK Fair Play at Work service package. The Ukrainian and Russian-language content of the service was substantially increased in spring 2022 following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“It would appear that people who fled Ukraine have found the SAK service. We have shared information on fair play at work through several NGOs, and we have also been involved in information sessions with Ukrainian language interpretation,” explains Maaret Pulliainen, a specialist at the employee rights advisory service.

As in previous years, most enquiries submitted to the SAK employee rights advisory service concern wages and salaries.

“Nearly half of all enquirers ask about wage-related problems or issues. These questions sadly tend to highlight ambiguities in the payment of wages,” Pulliainen observes.

The people who contact the SAK employee rights advisory service most commonly work in tourism, catering and leisure services, real estate services and the building construction industry. These sectors account for about a third of all enquiries.

Employee counselling is available in Finnish and English, with more than half of all enquiries conducted in English last year. The advisory service can also use digital interpretation to enable some assistance in other languages as well.

Advice is provided by phone and e-mail. Maaret Pulliainen has been delighted to see a rapid rise in the number of calls compared to previous years.

“Telephone calls enable direct contact with the adviser, who has an immediate opportunity to request key background details and issue initial instructions. The adviser can also verify that a caller has adequate language skills, and may ask an interpreter to join the call where necessary. Conversations are often clarified with a subsequent e-mail exchange.”

The SAK employee rights advisory service provides individual counselling, especially for employees of foreign origin and young people. The service is free of charge, open to everyone, and does not require membership of a trade union. Advice is available by calling the hotline on 0800 414 004 or e-mailing The telephone service is open from 14.00 to 17.00 on Mondays and from 09.00 to 11.00 and 12.00 to 15.00 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Besides advice on employee rights, reliable work life information is available on the website, which provides a comprehensive information package on regulations governing the world of work in Finnish, Swedish, English, Ukrainian and Russian. The service also provides basic background information on working in Finland in 18 other languages.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment provided financial support for developing the SAK Fair Play at Work service in 2021 and 2022.