Making an employment contract

Written employment contracts are an easy way to check what has been agreed on. Use this checklist to see what an employment contract should contain.

Employment contracts can be in oral, written or electronic format. Making a written employment contract is in the interest of both the employee and employer.

The contract is a way for you and your employer to agree on what terms will be applied when you enter into the service of your employer. Through the employment contract, you commit to working for the employer under their management and supervision for pay or some other type of compensation. An employment contract may be signed for a fixed term or until further notice.

Remember that after signing, the employment contract is binding. Before signing, ask if there is something in your employment contract that you do not understand.

One copy of the employment contract will be given to you and one to your employer. According to the law, the employment contract is valid whether made orally, in writing or electronically. Oral contracts can be problematic in that it can be difficult to remember what has been agreed or the parties may remember things differently.

If you make an oral employment contract or the terms of your employment are not laid out in your employment contract, you must be given written information of the principal terms of work without separate request. An account must be given of the principal terms of work if the employment relationship lasts more than a month.

If you repeatedly enter into employment relationships of less than a month with the same employer under the same terms, the employer must provide the above-mentioned written account of the principal terms of work at the latest one month from the start of the first employment contract.

More information on the written information is available in the Employment Contracts Act, chapter 2, section 4.

A trial period can be agreed on for the start of the employment relationship, which can be, according to the Employment Contracts Act, no more than six months and no more than half of the duration of the employment contract for fixed-term employment contracts.

If you have been absent during your trial period due to disability or family leave, the employer is entitled to extend the trial period by a month for each 30-calendar-day period in each disability or family leave period. In that case, your employer must inform you that your trial period will be longer before the end of the trial period.

The conditions in an employment contract cannot be less favourable than the conditions that have been agreed on in the collective agreement, whereas better employment terms than in the collective agreement can be included in the employment contract.

Check from your employer or shop steward which collective agreement your workplace abides by.

Employment contracts must include at least the following

Before you sign a contract, check that the following items are included:

  • The employer’s and employee’s name, social security number, home address and domicile
  • Starting date of employment
  • A possible trial period and its duration
  • The validity of the employment contract (is the employment contract valid until further notice or fixed-term or some other kind of contract).
  • For fixed-term contracts the duration of the employment contract and grounds for it being fixed term
  • Place of work
  • Working hours (full-time, part-time)
  • Type of work
  • Salary/wages and payment period
  • Annual holiday
  • Period of notice
  • Collective agreement to be complied with
  • Date and signature

Who can I ask for advice?

If you are unsure of the accuracy of your employment contract, turn to your workplace shop steward or your nearest JHL regional office to have your employment contract looked over.

Employment Contracts Act (Finlex)

Contract of employment form (Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI)) (