All employers should take into account that the Finnish Act on Job Alternation Leave was changed from 1 September 2014 onwards.
If an employee and an employer wish to agree upon a job alternation leave in Finland, this will now require as much as 16 years of work history instead of the previous 10 years. This work history does not have to be accrued in the same employer’s service, but in the future also working in an EU/EEA country or Switzerland will be included in this work history. The most significant change is, however, that a very large percentage of employees will not be entitled to job alternation leave for some time now since the new work history requirement (16 years) is much longer than previously. Employers should take this into account as receiving job alternation allowance is tied to the prerequisites of granting the job alternation leave, and if the employer’s and the employee’s intention is not to carry out the job alternation in accordance with the Act on Job Alternation Leave, the job alternation allowance could be claimed back. An employer and an employee can therefore for example not agree on a shorter work history requirement.
The duration of the job alternation leave was extended slightly to 100-360 days from 1 September 2014 (previously 90-359 days).
In addition, a new maximum age limit was set, after which it is no longer possible for an employee to take job alternation leave. At the moment the maximum age limit is 60 years. Therefore it is no longer possible to make a job alternation agreement with the employee with the employee retiring right after the job alternation leave. The maximum age limit does not apply to those born before 1957.
The requirements for the substitute of the job alternation leave were also changed. From 1 September 2014 the substitute hired has to be an unemployed job applicant, who has been unemployed continuously or in parts for at least 90 days within the last 14 months before the beginning of the job alternation leave, when previously the requirement was one unemployed day.
This requirement does not, however, apply to unemployed job applicants, who are under 30 years and have graduated with a polytechnic or university degree no longer than one year ago, or to employed job applicants, who are under 25 or over 55 years in the beginning of the job alternation leave. In their case one day of unemployment is still sufficient.
The aim of the last mentioned changes is to improve the employment possibilities of the long-term unemployed as well as the position of the youth in the job market and on the other hand the re-employment of the aging.
The new Act is not applied to those whose job alternation leave agreement was made before 1 September 2014 and the leave starts by the end of year 2014.