The validity of temporary amendments to labour legislation was not extended
Sofia Härmä, lawyer trainee of the YTK Association
Temporary amendments were made to the Employment Contracts Act and the Act on Co-operation within Undertakings due to the coronavirus for the period from 1 April 2020 – 31 December 2020. The validity of these amendments will not continue, so at the turn of the year we will again follow the old familiar legislation.
The temporary amendments concerned the following items:
Cancellation of employment during the trial period
From 1 January 2021 on, cancellation of employment during the trial period must no longer be made on economic or production-related grounds. The purpose of the trial period is to give time for both the employer and employee to evaluate the suitability of the employee to a new job and working community. The reason for cancellation of employment during the trial period must not be discriminating or otherwise inappropriate regarding the purpose of the trial period. So as a general rule, economic or production-related grounds are not such appropriate reasons regarding the purpose of the trial period, and as of the beginning of January they cannot be used as reasons for cancellation of employment during the trial period.
Notice period of lay-off
Notice period of lay-off, i.e. the time between the date of giving of the lay-off notice and the start of the lay-off, will be extended again to 14 days in accordance with the Employment Contracts Act. If the lay-off notice is given on 31 December 2020 at the latest, the employer may apply the shorter, 5-day notice period of lay-off, even if the actual lay-off starts in January 2021.
Minimum duration of co-operation negotiations concerning lay-offs
From 1 January 2021 on, the minimum duration of co-operation negotiations under the Act on Co-operation within Undertakings will again be extended to 14 days and six weeks. The co-operation negotiations concerning lay-off shall be started on 31 December 2020 at the latest to allow the shorter negotiation period of five days.
Due to the coronavirus it also became possible to lay off fixed-term employees in the same way as employees with an employment contract until further notice. From 1 January 2021 on, fixed-term employees may only be laid off, if the employee who they are substituting could be laid off. So if a fixed-term employee is not working as a substitute for anyone, as a general rule they cannot be laid off. If the lay-off of a fixed-term employee started on 31 December 2020 at the latest, they can be laid off in the same way as employees with an employment contract until further notice.
The re-employment period of employees whose employment has been terminated due to economic or production-related reasons will return to four months (employment has lasted for less than 12 years) or six months (employment has lasted for a minimum of 12 years). Re-employment obligation means that the employer is obliged to offer work to employees whose employment has been terminated due to economic or production-related reasons, if the employer needs new employees for the same or similar tasks in which the dismissed employees worked.
NB! This blog entry concerns changes to the labour legislation, and does not apply to temporary amendments to the unemployment security legislation regarding earnings-related daily allowance. You can read about the temporary amendments concerning unemployment security in the Topical section of the unemployment fund and the Employment Advice section.
In the blog entries of the YTK Association we write about the benefits of our members and phenomena that affect the working life. The blog does not constitute advice, so if you have questions relating to the temporary amendments to the employment legislation and their expiration, please contact legal advisory service on employment relationships. This blog entry concerns legislation, so the collective agreement possibly applied to your employment relationship may include different terms.