Forms of employment

The various forms of employment are permanent employment, valid until further notice, part-time work, entrepreneurship, self-employment, temporary agency employment and fixed-term employment.

Full-time work

Full-time work refers to the kind of work where the working hours shall not exceed the maximum working hours stated either in the Working Hours Act or the employment contract.

According to the Working Hours Act that entered into force in 1996, regular working hours shall not exceed eight hours a day or 40 hours a week. The regular weekly working hours may also be arranged so that they work out to 40 hours on average over a period of no more than 52 weeks.

Working hours shorter than those in the Working Hours Act are generally laid down in collective agreements.

In the municipal sector, a full-time employee’s working hours are 38 hours 45 minutes a week.

In office work, a full-time employee’s working hours are 36 hours 45 minutes a week.

In so-called period-based work, the Working Hours Act and the collective agreement do not limit the length of the daily working hours. In period-based work, the working hours of a full-time employee are 116 hours and 15 minutes in the municipal sector.

Part-time work

In part-time work, the working hours are shorter than the full working hours laid down in collective agreements or legislation. The full working hours vary. However, by definition, the working hours in part-time work do not usually exceed 30 hours a week.

Shorter than usual working hours may be laid down in a part-time employee’s employment contract. Alternatively, the employee only works for part of the week or month.

In terms of unemployment security, the working hours in part-time work are at most 80% of the maximum working hours stipulated by the Working Hours Act or the sector’s collective agreement.

Employment valid until further notice

Employment valid until further notice refers to an employment relationship that will continue until further notice. There is a clause on the continuation in the employment contract between the employer and employee. Those who are in an employment relationship valid until further notice are often referred to as permanent employees.

Employment contracts can be both written and oral. However, from the employee’s perspective, making a written employment contract is usually the better alternative. When the terms and conditions of employment are put on paper, later on there will not be disagreements on, say, whether the employment relationship is fixed term or valid until further notice.

Fixed-term employment

A fixed-term employment contract refers to an employment contract in which it has been agreed that the contract is only valid for a certain calendar time. Alternatively, the contract has otherwise been made to be valid for a predetermined period of time.

If the exact starting and ending time of the work are written into the employment contract, the employment is fixed term. The reason for and the end date of the fixed-term employment will be written into the employment contract. If a trial period has been agreed on, the employment contract can be terminated during the trial period, regardless of when the fixed-term employment comes to an end.

Annual Holidays Act and fixed-term employees

Employees who have worked for the same employer under consecutive fixed-term employment contracts can take leave that corresponds to annual holiday. There is a statutory provision for holiday entitlement in the Annual Holidays Act.

More information about the Annual Holidays Act and fixed-term employees:
Annual Holidays Act (Finlex)

The acts on co-operation and fixed-term employees

The acts on co-operation within undertakings, municipalities and wellbeing services counties include stipulations that oblige the employer to give shop stewards information on the number of fixed-term employees in the workplace, and the grounds on which the employer has hired fixed-term employees. During cooperation negotiations, the employer is obliged to take up the principles related to using fixed-term employees.

The provisions in these acts provide workplace shop stewards with a tool with which to monitor the use of fixed-term employees. For example, the positions of some fixed-term employees have been made permanent by means of negotiation. This is the result of shop stewards having done a good job in many municipalities.

More information about the Act on Co-operation within Undertakings and fixed-term employees:
Act on Co-operation within Undertakings (Finlex)

Temporary agency employment

In temporary agency employment, an employer – such as a job agency – rents out its employees to work for another employer (such as a user company, client, whoever has ordered the work, or the municipality that is the contracting employer).

The employee works under the management and supervision of the contracting employer (such as a municipality). Most often the work takes place in the contracting employer’s workplace. The contracting employer (municipality) pays a remuneration to the job agency renting out employees, not to the employee.

The employee is paid by their employer, i.e. the job agency.

There is a difference between temporary agency employment and subcontracting. In subcontracting, there is a contractual relationship between whoever has ordered the work and the subcontractor. The contract includes a clause on a certain kind of final result.

Entrepreneur, self-employed

If a person works without being in an employment relationship, they are classified as self-employed or an entrepreneur.


An entrepreneur accepts the work independently without the client’s management and supervision. The entrepreneur has the right to have someone else do the work, and to work for several different clients.

Characteristics of an entrepreneur:

  • The person performing the work will acquire the necessary tools and place for work.
  • The person performing the work determines the working hours.
  • A remuneration for the work is paid based on the work result or invoicing. The entrepreneur is not remunerated separately for any expenses.
  • The remuneration does not include overtime pay or annual holiday pay.
  • The entrepreneur themself pays their pension and insurance cover.


A self-employed person works independently on the basis of a commission agreement or another agreement without being in an employment relationship.

Before a person becomes self-employed, the consequences and costs of doing so should be clear to them. The position of self-employed people has not been regulated or otherwise safeguarded in legislation or collective agreements.

Read about terminating an employment relationship:

Termination of the employment relationship