Employment contract between an employer and an employee
An employment contract is a contract between an employer and an employee. The employee agrees to perform work under the direction of the employer and the employer agrees to pay a salary or other compensation for the work.
It is advisable to make an employment contract in writing. While an oral employment contract is also binding, written agreements cause fewer misunderstandings. An employment contract is made in two counterparts: one for the employer and one for you.
Always check the contents of an employment contract before signing. You can request from the employer some time to carefully read the employment contract before signing. If necessary, ask for translation help from friends with language skills and request the workplace shop steward or the trade union to review the contract.
A signed contract is valid as long as it complies with legislation and collective agreements, even if the conditions are unattractive from the employee’s perspective. The union can only interfere if the contract violates the law or the collective agreement.
If an employment contract specifies less attractive terms and conditions than stipulated in the collective agreement, it is illegal.
Permanent or fixed‑term employment
As a rule, employment relationships should be permanent, i.e. valid for an indefinite period. Sufficient grounds, such as substitution or seasonal work, are required for a fixed‑term employment contract.
A trial period allows an employee and an employer to consider whether they want to enter an employment contract. The maximum duration of the trial period is four months or no more than half of the duration of the fixed term. During the trial period, both parties can terminate the employment contract without a notice period.
The applicable collective agreement
The employment contract must include a mention of the collective agreement which governs the employment relationship so that the contracting parties know where to check the key terms and conditions of the employment relationship.
The salary may not be lower than specified in the collective agreement. The salary is also paid for sick days in accordance with the collective agreement.
The salary must be payable to a bank account and paid regularly on a specific pay day. In connection with salary payment, you must receive a pay slip indicating your basic salary, any paid benefits and any payments withheld from your salary.
Check that the taxes, statutory pension fees and unemployment security payments have been collected from your salary. Check that your salary has been correctly calculated and paid. Notify the employer of any issues or clear errors immediately.
Full‑time employment means a 5-day working week and an approximately 8-hour working day. Many of the Woodworkers’ Union industries, such as agriculture, involve weekend work. In the agricultural industry, the daily working hours may be divided into two periods: a morning and an evening period. Even though the working hours vary in periodic work, they must comply with the collective agreement. A separate compensation is paid for overtime, evening and weekend work in accordance with the collective agreement.
If you are making a part-time employment contract, make sure that you are provided enough working hours. If possible, do not sign an employment contract which says your working hours may vary from zero to a specific number.
Remember that you have to make yourself available to your employer throughout the agreed working hours. You may not leave the workplace on your own initiative even if you have completed your work early.
Record your working hours and preserve the records. Any pay claims you may have expire in five years. Your personal records constitute legal evidence in a dispute.