Minimum terms and conditions of temporary agency work

Temporary agency work refers to employers hiring labour through a temporary agency. The workers are employed by the temporary agency but work for the company that hires them (“the user company”).

Any commission payable for temporary agency work must not be charged to the workers.

Any employment contract applicable to the work is always between the worker and the agency. The terms and conditions of employment are usually laid down in a written contract. The law governing temporary agency work stipulates that even workers who are hired for a period of less than one month can request written proof of the terms and conditions of their employment from the employer.

Temporary agency workers’ wages are paid by the agency, which also takes care of the responsibilities that usually belong to the employer, such as providing occupational health care. The company that hires the workers manages and supervises their work and is therefore also responsible for the workers’ occupational safety.

Minimum terms and conditions of employment are based on labour legislation or a collective agreement

Some temporary agencies have their own collective agreement. In the absence of such an agreement, the minimum terms and conditions of the work performed by the agency’s employees are determined on the basis of the collective agreement followed by the company that hires the workers.

If no collective agreement is applicable to an agency worker’s employment relationship, their wages, working hours and annual holiday allowance must, at a minimum, be consistent with any agreements or policies that the user company is legally bound to observe or that are otherwise observed in the sector in question. Any terms and conditions of employment that are not laid down in a collective agreement are agreed between the worker and their employer, i.e. the temporary agency. This means that the terms and conditions applicable to agency workers can be different from those applied to the user company’s other employees (in respect of, for example, lunch breaks and the right to a telephone).

Agency workers accrue holiday and pension benefits just like other employees. Agency workers can also take family leave.

When an agency worker falls ill

Agency workers are entitled to sick leave pursuant to the Finnish Employment Contracts Act.

The Finnish Employment Contracts Act does not differentiate between agency workers and other kinds of employees in respect of sick leave. In other words, the same rules apply to agency workers’ sick leave as to that of other kinds of employees. Some collective agreements also include more detailed provisions on sick leave.

Agency workers always need to notify their employer (the temporary agency) if they fall ill. The user company should also ideally be notified, unless there is a special notification procedure in place.

Workers whose employment relationship has lasted at least one month are entitled to nine days of fully paid sick leave. Workers whose employment relationship has lasted for less than one month are entitled to 50 % of their pay during sick leave.

The employer only has to pay these wages for as long as the employment relationship exists. If an agency worker’s temporary contract ends during their sick leave, so do their wage payments.