Union Council duties

JHL’s Union Council decides on the union’s operations. It also decides on membership fees and the union’s budget, i.e. how the trade union will spend its money. In addition, the Union Council approves or rejects the most significant collective agreements.

1. What kinds of duties do the Union Council representatives have?

The Union Council is JHL’s highest executive body. Its term of office is five years. The current Union Council was elected in 2022.

According to the union’s rules, the Union Council representatives’ duties are:


  • the Union Council chair and two vice chairs amongst themselves
  • the union president and two chief executive officers
  • the members of the union’s Executive Committee and their deputy members
  • an audit firm to be the auditor.

Deciding on

  • the union’s strategic plan and long-term plans
  • the fees of Union Council and Executive Committee members
  • freedom of responsibility for the Executive Committee
  • the amount of the membership fee
  • the amount of the membership fee refund paid to member branches
  • the action plan
  • the budget
  • approving national collective agreements and essential changes
  • other matters presented by the Executive Committee.


  • the union’s operations and financial management.


  • the elections rules for electing the Union Council.

Investigating and resolving

  • possible complaints made about matters mentioned in the trade union’s rules.


  • the union’s annual report
  • the financial statement
  • the initiatives put forward by member branches and organisational members.

2. How often does the Union Council assemble?

The assembly meeting, i.e. the first meeting of new representatives, will be held within 60 days after the results of the elections have been confirmed. In this meeting, the Union Council will select its chair and vice chairs. It will also select the union’s president, chief executive officers, Executive Committee and an audit company. The assembly meeting of the current Union Council was held from 6 to 8 June 2022.

The autumn meeting (usually two days) is held in November–December. In this meeting, the Union Council will decide on the upcoming year’s action plan and budget. It will also process the initiatives put forward to it by branches.

The spring meeting (usually two days) is held in May–June. In this meeting, the Union Council will process the previous year’s financial statements and annual report. It will also process the initiatives put forward to it by branches.

Supplementary Union Council meeting (usually one day). In addition to the autumn and spring meetings, the Union Council will assemble in a supplementary meeting during the collective agreement years. The purpose is to process the negotiation results concerning the largest collective agreements (municipal sector, government, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and private social sector).

3. Is there any kind of training for representatives?

Usually, the Union Council has a meeting and training session once a year. The sessions normally take two days.

4. What about being absent from work, and salary payment during the absence?

As a rule, the meetings and training sessions of JHL’s Union Council take place on weekdays. For representatives, this means being away from work.

The Commission for Local Authority Employers has given a recommendation to municipalities and joint municipal authorities on granting paid public servant leave of absence or employee leave of absence.

According to the general collective agreement for government, government officials are granted paid public servant leave of absence, and employees paid exemption from work, if possible in terms of the government agency’s operations.

As for welfare services sectors, there are different agreements on absences and salary payment during time off from work in various collective agreement sectors. However, the general practice is that also the employers in these agreement sectors will grant the time off and pay salary for the time in question.

In case the employer does not pay any salary for the time of absence (whichever the collective agreement sector is), the union will compensate the loss of income to the Union Council representative (based on actual costs and a certificate from the employer).

The representatives have time to ask for time off and make arrangements, because the invitations to the autumn and spring meetings will be sent to the representatives 90 days before the meeting at the latest.

Practices on granting time off work vary from one employer to another. To be granted time off, you often simply have to present the meeting invitation to your employer.

5. Will other kinds of remuneration be paid?

The union will compensate the Union Council representatives’

  • travel expenses
  • costs of accommodation and meals, and
  • pay the representatives a daily allowance.

The Union Council representatives will also be paid a meeting fee for the meeting days.