Annual leave in Finland and recent amendments


In Finland, the length of statutory annual leave is regulated in the Annual Holidays Act. Accrual of annual leave depends both on how many full holiday credit months the employee has worked within the holiday credit year (1 April to 31 March) and on the length of the employment relationship.

An employee is entitled to two and a half (2,5) weekdays of leave per each full holiday credit month if the employment relationship has lasted for at least one year by the end of the holiday credit year. If the duration of the employment relationship has been less than one year, the employee is entitled to two (2) weekdays of leave per each holiday credit month. Hence, the maximum length of statutory annual leave is either 24 or 30 days per year. It is noteworthy that Saturdays qualify as weekdays even if the employee does not work on Saturdays, so in practise the usual 30 days would equal to five (5) weeks of holiday. An employee has a right to receive at least her or his regular or average pay for the time of the annual holiday.

To earn holiday, an employee must work following the regulations concerning holiday credit months. Pursuant to Section 6 of the Annual Holidays Act, a calendar month during which an employee has accumulated at least 14 days of work is considered a full holiday credit month. When an employee works for less than 14 days during one or more calendar months according to her or his employment contract, a full holiday credit month is considered to be a calendar month during which the employee has accumulated at least 35 hours of work.

An employee is granted annual holiday at a time determined by the employer. Before determining the timing of the holiday, the employer must grant the employees an op-portunity to express their views on the matter and as far as possible, take the proposals of the employees into consideration. The ultimate decision-making power, however, rests with the employer. A total of 24 days of the annual holiday must be given and taken in the holiday season that starts 2 May and ends 30 September (summer holiday), and the rest of the holiday (winter holiday) must be granted by the start of the following holiday season.

The most recent amendment to the Act entitles the employee to request postponing her or his annual leave in case of illness, childbirth or an accident. When an employee falls ill at the start of or during the statutory annual leave she or he retains the right to request a postponement of the annual holiday for the duration of the incapacity due to e.g. sickness. The right is based on an amendment to Section 25 of the Annual Holidays Act. Pursuant to the aforementioned Section, the incapacity shall be such that entitles the employee to sick pay. The employer has the right to request a medical certificate or equivalent reliable evidence of the incapacity to work. 

The right to postpone applies only to the earned statutory annual holiday (24 or 30 days) excluding any holidays exceeding said length.

The amendment has been applicable since 1 October 2013, however, if an applicable Collective Agreement contains contradicting provisions, such provisions may be abided by until the end of term of the applicable Collective Agreement.




Teea Kemppinen


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Maisa Nikkola


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