Finland: Improvements to seasonal workers’ right to change employers and to employers’ amount of administrative work

NordenBladet — It will become easier for seasonal workers arriving in Finland from third countries to change employers as the amendments to the Seasonal Workers Act enter into force. Meanwhile, employers will be able to notify the Finnish Immigration Service of more than one employee at a time. The amendments relate to seasonal work carried out in an employment relationship within agriculture or tourism.

The amendment, which is in line with the objectives of the Government Programme, also reduces the risk of exploitation of seasonal workers from abroad as they will be able to change employers more easily. Previously, foreign seasonal workers have been bound to the employer registered in their seasonal work permit.“It is important that the amendments to the Seasonal Workers Act strengthen the position of seasonal workers by making it possible for them to change jobs. At the same time, employers will benefit as they will be able to hire familiar employees more easily and their reporting burden will be reduced,” says Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen.

Easier hiring of seasonal workers
The administrative burden of employers will be reduced, because they will no longer be required to notify authorities separately of each seasonal worker arriving in Finland at the same time for the same kind of work. Instead, the employer can notify authorities of all seasonal workers at one time.It will also facilitate the return of seasonal workers to Finland. Most seasonal workers in agriculture return to the same employer. Such seasonal workers will no longer be required to present a report on the conditions for employment, because the Finnish Immigration Service will have previously assessed the employer’s ability to act as an employer in accordance with the requirements of the Act.At the same time, the amendment will tighten sanctions for employers who fail to comply with the Seasonal Workers Act. The responsibility to comply with the Act will also lie with the person responsible for the company or organisation.

According to Parliament, the Government must also monitor the effectiveness of the sanctions imposed on employers who have committed serious violations and report on the matter to the Employment and Equality Committee by the end of 2022.On 8 April 2021, the Government proposed that the President of the Republic approve the amendments, and he is to approve them on Friday 9 April 2021. The legislative amendments will enter into force on 17 June 2021.

 


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