Amendments to the Finnish Annual Holidays Act, effective as of 1 April 2016

By Maisa Nikkola, Eila Ryyppo


Certain amendments have been enacted to the Finnish Annual Holidays Act, Seamen's Annual Holidays Act and Health Insurance Act. The amendments relate to: 

  1. employees' right to postpone holidays due to illness;
  2. the accumulation of annual holidays during parental leaves; and
  3. employers' right to reimbursement of annual holiday expenses.

Employees' right to postpone their annual holidays due to illness or other incapacity for work will be restricted. An employee will only have a right to postpone his/her annual holidays to a later date after six days of illness. It should be noted, however, that the amendment will not apply to all employees. The restriction to postpone the holidays will only concern employees having more than four weeks annual holiday i.e. 24 days. This amendment will apply to propositions to postpone annual holidays as of 1 April 2016.

In addition, there will be some restrictions on how the holidays are accrued during maternity, paternity or parental leave. The Annual Holidays Act will be amended so that during these leaves only six months will be considered as a period equivalent to time at work accruing annual holidays. Currently the entire leave is taken into consideration as equivalent to time at work and thus the holidays are accrued despite the length of the leave. The amendment will be applicable to annual holidays accrued after 1 April 2016 meaning that it will not affect the summer holidays of 2016.

Furthermore, employers' right to reimbursement of annual holiday expenses arising from annual holidays accrued during parental leaves will be amended so that the right to compensation will only apply to annual holidays based on law and not to those based on collective bargaining agreements.

Due to the aforementioned amendments, it is recommended that employers review and update their holiday schemes as well as revise the relevant policies.