Legal Alert – Changes To The Annual Holidays Act
The Finnish Parliament accepted on 3 April 2013 debated changes to the Annual Holidays Act. The most important changes concern postponing annual holiday in cases of illness and determination of annual holiday pay when the employee’s working hours have changed and the employee is working on monthly or weekly salary. The changes shall come effective as of 1 October 2013 or until the expiry of the terms of current Collective Bargaining Agreements.
An employee who becomes ill during his/her statutory annual holiday shall in future have the right to request postponement of annual holiday as of the first day of illness. According to former rules, an employee had the same right only after the illness continued uninterruptedly more than seven days.
The right to postpone annual holiday is, however, restricted to apply only to statutory annual holidays. Those extra holidays agreed in e.g. Collective Bargaining Agreements or company’s own policies which exceed the number of statutory annual holidays shall remain unaffected.
The new changes shall increase the employers’ total salary costs and the highest estimate amounts to over 200 million euros per year should the average sickness absences happen during the holiday season.
In addition, the employers shall most likely face certain misuse of the new rules by the employees. Thus, it is highly recommended that the employers should update their sickness absence and reporting policies well before the changes shall become effective.