Employment contract and age - Alasivu

An employer may hire a person in full-time employment, when the employee has reached the age of 15 and completed the basic education syllabus or if the employee has not completed the basic education syllabus they are turning 17 during the current calendar year. Employing a person aged 14 or younger always requires the guardian’s consent.

A person whose 14th birthday is in the current calendar year may be employed in light work for no more than half of the school holidays. During the school year, such a young worker may only work temporarily or in short-term duties. The work must not be hazardous to the health or development of the young worker nor hinder school attendance. The relevant Decree of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health contains a list of examples of job duties that are light work suitable for young workers.

The occupational safety and health division of a Regional State Administrative Agency may grant an exemption for a person younger than those referred to above to be temporarily employed as a performer or an assistant at an artistic or cultural performance or similar event.

Concluding and terminating an employment contract

An employment contract should always be executed in writing, although even a verbal agreement is legally binding. A 15-year-old may sign, terminate and cancel his/her employment contract himself/herself. For a young person under the age of 15, the employment contract may be signed by his/her guardian or by himself/herself with the guardian’s consent.

If the employment contract is not executed in writing and the employment relationship lasts for more than one month, the employer must at his own initiative give the employee a written explanation of the principal terms and conditions of employment, no later than the end of the first pay period. This explanation must contain the details specified in the Employment Contracts Act: wages, working hours, job duties, duration of the employment relationship and the applicable collective agreement.

Agreements on, for example, minimum wage and other important terms to be applied in the employment relationship, are included in the collective agreements. Different sectors have their own collective agreements. For example, the wholesale and retail sector, hotel and restaurant sector or strawberry field work comply with different terms and conditions of employment.

The employer must also issue a written explanation as referred to above in an employment relationship lasting less than one month if the young worker or his/her guardian so requests.

A young worker’s guardian is entitled to cancel the young worker’s employment contract if considered necessary because of the education, development or health of the young worker.

Wages may be specified in the collective agreements

There may be provisions in the applicable collective agreement concerning the minimum wage to be paid to young workers in the sector. Such wages specified for young workers are typically between 70% and 90% of the lowest wages specified for adult workers. Statutory evening work bonuses, Sunday work bonuses and annual holiday compensation must not be included in basic wages; they must be paid separately and itemised on the pay slip.


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