Lähetetty työntekijä - Matka-, majoitus- ja ruokailukustannukset

Finland does not have any legislation stipulating the employer’s obligation to pay for the travel, accommodation and meal expenses of employees. In Finland, the terms of secondment work have been extensively agreed in collective agreements and they contain provisions on travel, accommodation and meal allowances, which, on the basis of general applicability, apply to all companies operating in the sector as mandatory terms of employment. In addition, the costs may also be agreed between the parties to the employment agreement.

Compensation of expenses during a posting in Finland

The obligation to compensate the posted worker’s travel, accommodation and meal expenses in the country of work during the posting usually applies to situations where the person is already in the country and the place of work changes during the work in Finland.

Travel, accommodation and meal expenses must be compensated when working in Finland when a posted worker has to move to different worksites from their normal place of work.

In other words, the obligation applies to a business trip

  • temporarily to another workplace or worksite (in Finland or abroad) than the normal place of work, or
  • between worksites during a posting in Finland.

The posting employer must compensate travel, accommodation and meal expenses arising from travel at minimum in accordance with the provisions of the generally applicable collective agreement.

Compensation paid to a posted worker is also determined on the basis of the applicable collective agreement if the posting company is bound by a national collective agreement under membership of an employer organisation or a signed contract to comply with a collective agreement in subcontracting situations or in transfers within a group of companies.

Double reimbursement of travel, accommodation and meal expenses should be avoided.

The costs reimbursed by the employer to the employee against actual expenses are not to be calculated as wages of the posted worker. If there is any doubt as to the nature of the payment made by the employer, the payment is regarded as compensation for expenses and not as remuneration.

Compensation of expenses from the country of origin to Finland

As a rule, the expenses of posting from the country of origin to the country of employment, i.e. to Finland, such as travel and accommodation costs, are reimbursed in accordance with the regulations of the country of origin. In addition, compensation may also be agreed upon in the employment contract. If the employer and the employee have signed a contract to commit to the compensation of expenses, the protection of the posted worker exists and is arranged on a contractual basis.

The occupational safety and health authorities cooperate with the authorities of the Member State of origin in enforcing the fulfilment of Finland’s wage conditions. In the wage comparison and in the assessment of the fulfilment of Finland’s terms of employment, it is essential to know which paid item must be considered as compensation of actual costs and which as wages. A report from the employer and, if necessary, a report received from the authorities of the Member State of origin are a means to ascertain the matter in case of doubt.

The protection provision differs from the principal rule

The posting employer must compensate the travel and accommodation expenses arising from the posting to Finland if, under the legislation of the country of origin, the posted worker would not receive compensation for the travel and accommodation costs or if the amount of said compensation would be substantially below the Finnish level. In this case, the compensation should essentially match the level of compensation in the collective agreement applicable to the employment relationship. The fairness of the level of compensation is assessed through the collective agreement to be applied in Finland.

The employer must compensate travel and accommodation expenses if

  • travel and accommodation expenses incurred on the basis of the law or practice of the Member State of origin will not be compensated at all, and no agreement on the compensation of the relevant costs has also been made in the contract of employment of the posted worker, or
  • the compensation determined in accordance with the provisions or practice of the Member State of origin or agreed in the employment contract is substantially below the level of the provisions of Finland’s collective agreement.

The protection provision ensures equal treatment of workers and equal competition between employers. The protection provision aims to prevent the possibility of speculating on high accommodation and travel costs, which can reduce the wage level of workers without the actual costs involved.

Under the protection provision, the occupational safety and health authority may intervene in the future in things such as costs being recovered multiple times for the shared accommodation of several persons compared to the actual costs.

Taxation of expenses arising from travel

The compensation of costs incurred by business travel paid by the employer are tax-exempt if they are based on actual expenses or the Tax Administration’s annual decision on daily allowances and kilometre allowances.

More information (in Finnish): Tax-exempt allowances for business travel. Tax Administration. 

Compensation for expenses in collective agreements

The Tax Administration confirms the amount of tax-free kilometre allowances, domestic and foreign daily allowances, meal allowances, accommodation allowances and night travel allowance annually by decision. The majority of collective agreements comply with the Tax Administration’s decision on the amount of compensation for expenses. Collective agreements specify when you are entitled to a daily allowance or other expense allowances.

Check the up-to-date information in the applicable collective agreement.

Provisions on compensation for expenses in the most common collective agreements concerning posted workers (in Finnish):