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Shift planning

Kirjoittanut: Meri Murtonen - tiimistä Kaaos.

Esseen tyyppi: Yksilöessee / 2 esseepistettä.
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 5 minuuttia.

At some point in their career, every entrepreneurial aspirant considers hiring new employees. Shift planning for employees immediately becomes more complex when you move from a 9:00-17:00 office job to a multi-shift job. The Service Union United PAM has produced legislation on shift planning, but it is only published in Finnish. The purpose of this essay is to explain and gather the main points of that legislation, to make it easier to set up your own business and follow the right principles from the start. I’m mainly writing about the collective agreement in hotel, restaurant and leisure industry since I have most knowledge in those. This is just a peak of an iceberg but let’s get started.

Working time legislation

The PAM, the trade union for the service sector, has introduced a collective agreement for hotel, restaurant and leisure industry to improve working conditions. As part of the collective agreement, there are provisions on legal shift planning. I myself have been a supervisor and have thus been able to organize shifts in several different branches of our company. At that time, I had to study the collective agreement on shift planning myself. It is surprising how many different things there really are to bear in mind when planning employees’ shifts.

Working time

Let’s start with working time. Working time is most commonly considered and defined in three-week periods. The maximum working time for a full-time worker is 112.5 hours over three weeks. Workers who work less than this are defined as part-time workers. Part-time workers agree with the employer either a fixed minimum working time for a three-week period or an average minimum working time for a three-week period.

A fixed three-week period means that the agreed working time must be completed in each three-week period. If your agreed working time is 90 hours over three weeks and you only get 83 hours, the employer must pay you for the missing hours. However, if you fall short for reasons attributable to the employee, the employer is not obliged to pay you for the missing hours.

The average minimum working time means that the agreed working time must be reached during the reference period. The employer and the employee examine the implementation of the average minimum working time over a period of one year, starting with the first full three-week period in January and ending with the first period of the following year. If the working time in your contract is significantly less than the actual working time in the annual review, the employer must adjust your contract to reflect the actual working time. If the working time falls below the agreed minimum, the employer will pay compensation for the hours not worked, as for a fixed three-week period.

Shifts and breaks

The shift offered by the employer must be at least 4 hours long. At the employee’s request, the working time may be shorter. The maximum length of a shift is 10 hours. With the agreement of the employee, the time may be extended. Shifts of 10 hours may not be worked unreasonably. At the request or with the agreement of the worker, consecutive 10-hour shifts may also be worked. However, the maximum daily working time may not exceed 16 hours.

The rest period between shifts must be at least 11 hours. With the worker’s agreement, other arrangements may be agreed, but not less than 8 hours. There must be a rest period of at least 11 hours between shifts of at least 10 hours worked on consecutive days; no derogation from this may be made with the worker’s agreement.

If the shift is longer than 4 hours, the worker shall be allowed at least one coffee break. The break shall be counted as working time and the employee may not leave the workplace during the break without the employer’s permission. For shifts of 6 hours or more, the worker is entitled to 2 coffee breaks. If the shift is longer than 7 hours, the worker is entitled to a half-hour meal break (commerce sector collective agreement).

Day offs

Two days of leave are earned per week of five working days, one of which is a weekly rest day V of at least 30 hours and the other is an additional day of leave X of at least 24 hours. Weekly rest day V must be granted for each full week of work. Additional leave day X may be taken either during the week in which it is earned or in combination with other leave during the same three-week period.

If the X Day is given during the week in which it is earned, it must, as far as possible, be given in conjunction with the V day. There shall be no more than seven working days between days off. Even in this situation, at the initiative of the employee, a different arrangement may be agreed on a case-by-case basis.

The shift preceding the days off shall be organized as a morning shift and the shift following the days off as an evening shift, if an even number of days off are taken consecutively. However, exceptions to this regulation may be made for business or work organisation reasons or at the employee’s own request.

In companies which are open every day of the week and where two and three-shift working is applied, this provision shall always apply. If a workplace only operates morning, evening or night shifts between days off, this provision need not be complied with.

At least every fifth weekend must be organized as a holiday so that Friday and Saturday or Saturday and Sunday are consecutive days off. The company I worked for took advantage of Article 30 of the TES, which allows for an agreement to be reached that time off may also be given as a combination of Sunday and Monday. This also applies to employees who are not entitled to V and X days, e.g. part-time students.

Publication of shifts

The shift roster must be drawn up in advance and made available to employees on a notice board or other similar place at least one week before the beginning of the three-week period, unless otherwise agreed on a workplace-by-workplace basis. The roster shall indicate the starting and finishing times of work and holidays. The published roster may not be changed without the agreement of the worker and the employer. For example, if the employer changes your shift without your consent, you do not have to work that shift, you can go on the original shift and the employer doesn’t have anything to say about it.

Cost management in shift planning

Cost management is big part of shift planning, so it’s important to know how you’ll be paid on different holidays. In Finland we usually celebrate public holidays on the previous day. For work performed after 15.00 on the eve of a public holiday, basic pay and night work allowances shall be paid, plus 50%. These kinds of days are: New Year’s Eve, Easter Saturday, eve of May Day, Midsummer Eve & Christmas Eve.

Sunday and public holiday work is paid at the basic rate of pay, with evening, night work and various allowances increased by 100%. These are: Sundays, other church holidays, May Day & Independence Day.

Extra work and overtime

Additional work is work carried out in a three-week period up to 120 hours in excess of the working time indicated in the shift roster in the employment contract. The worker’s consent is required for the additional work to be carried out. Additional hours of work are remunerated at the basic hourly rate of pay.

Overtime is work in excess of 120 hours in a three-week period. Overtime work is subject to the employee’s consent. Where additional work is paid by your hourly pay overtime is paid at the rate of 50% for the first 18 hours worked in excess of 120 hours and 100% for the following hours. For example, if you work 135h in three weeks you’ll get 15 hours with 50% increased salary. If you work 145 hours in three weeks, you’ll get 18 hours with 50% increased salary and 7 hours with 100% increased salary.

Salary during your day off

Work on the V or X day and on an annual holiday must be agreed between the employee and the employer. Work on a V-day is paid at 100% of the basic salary. Work on X-day and annual leave is paid at 50% of the basic salary. Try your best to avoid people working during their day offs.

It is extremely important to know these things as an employer but wouldn’t be bad to remember these as an employee as well. You have every rights to complain if your employer is not following these regulations.


Palvelualojen ammattiliiton työehtosopimus 2023-2025. (2023). Available 15.2.2024.



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