Implementation of the Work-life Balance Directive to begin

Työ- ja elinkeinoministeriö 24.1.2020 14.43
Press release

A tripartite working group appointed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment started its work on 24 January 2020. The working group will prepare the amendments to Finnish labour legislation required by the EU’s Work-life Balance Directive. Carers’ entitlement to five days of leave included in the Directive requires amendments to the Employment Contracts Act.

The working group will also examine the Government Programme entries regarding the Directive. In addition, the working group will make any amendments required to the Employment Contracts Act arising from the family leave reform being prepared under the leadership of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

“The Directive makes no dramatic changes to family leaves in Finland but it is a significant improvement for many other European countries. For us in Finland, the new carers’ leave is an essential reform that improves the balance between work and family life at different stages of life,” says Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen.

The Directive contains provisions on paternity leave, parental leave, carers’ leave, flexible working arrangements and legal protection.

The working group will examine the Government Programme entries regarding the Directive

According to the Programme of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Government:

  • The prospects for increasing the flexibility of working time will be examined with a view to balancing the harmonisation of work and family and prolonging working careers. The aim in particular is to improve part-time working opportunities for parents of small children and for those who are caring for elderly relatives.
  • Discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy will be prevented. Legislation will be clarified to ensure that pregnancy and use of family leave may not affect the continuation of temporary employment.
  • The prospects for improving the job security of employees returning from family leave will be studied, with the findings applied in necessary legislative and other measures.

The Work-life Balance Directive must be transposed into Finnish law by 2 August 2022. The implementation of the Directive and the reform of family leave also require legislative amendments in the administrative branch of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. These will be prepared by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Labour market organisations and ministries represented in the working group

The working group appointed by the Minister of Employment is chaired by Seija Jalkanen, Chief Specialist from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. Other members of the working group are Risto Lerssi, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Office for the Government as Employer, Ministry of Finance; Katja Miettinen, Specialist, Confederation of Finnish Industries; Anne Kiiski, Head of Consultation, KT Local Government Employers; Albert Mäkelä, Specialist, Federation of Finnish Enterprises; Anu-Tuija Lehto, Legal Counsel, Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK); Anja Lahermaa, Lawyer, Finnish Confederation of Salaried Employees;  Lotta Savinko, Manager, Working Life Affairs, Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland (Akava); Sinikka Näätsaari, Director of Employment and Pensions, Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (joint representative of the central employee organisations); Riitta Martikainen, Senior Ministerial Adviser on Gender Equality, Gender Equality Unit, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health; Eva Ojala, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Jenni Karjalainen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, tel. +358 40 751 5496
Seija Jalkanen, Chief Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 048 952