Temporary Agency Work: Amendments to the Finnish Employment Contracts Act

The Finnish parliament has approved amendments to the Employment Contracts Act for the purpose of implementing Directive 2008/104/EC on temporary agency work. The amendments entered into force on March 1, 2012.

The purpose of the Directive is to ensure the protection of temporary agency workers and to establish minimum requirements for temporary agency work by ensuring that the principle of equal treatment is applied to temporary agency workers. This means, in practice, that the basic working and employment conditions of temporary agency workers shall be, for the duration of their assignment at a user, at least those that would apply if they had been recruited by that user to occupy the same job.

A user of temporary agency workers shall also, by virtue of the Directive, be informed of any vacant posts at the user to give them the same opportunity as other workers in that company to find permanent employment. This rule has been implemented by adding a provision thereof in Section 6 of Chapter 2 of the Employment Contracts Act.

The Directive requires member states to take any action required to ensure that clauses prohibiting the conclusion of a contract of employment between the user and the temporary agency worker after the assignment are null and void. A temporary work-agency can, however, still according to the Finnish Employment Contracts Act conclude a non-competition contract with the temporary agency worker under particularly weighty circumstances. The aforementioned requirement does not prohibit the temporary work-agency from receiving a reasonable compensation from the user for services rendered to the user for the assignment, recruitment and training of the temporary agency worker.

To ensure equal treatment of temporary agency workers a provision, according to which conditions concerning the salary, working time and vacation of temporary agency workers shall be at least the same as those that apply to workers recruited by the user itself, was included in Section 9 of Chapter 2 of the Employment Contracts Act. This rule applies, in particular, in situations where no collective agreements apply to the temporary work-agency or the user.

Temporary agency workers shall also be offered access to the amenities and collective facilities in the company, in particular any canteen, child-care facilities and transport services, under the same conditions as workers employed directly by the user.