Review of working hours in the retail sector collective agreement proves valuable
According to PAM’s collective bargaining specialists Marianne Friman, the right of part-time employees to extra hours will become an even more important issue if atypical employment models become more common. Photo: Liisa Takala
Regularly checking actual working time against the hours in employment contracts has benefited retail sector employees, according to a recent PAM study.
In last year’s collective agreement negotiations a clause was inserted in the retail sector collective agreement that the actual working hours of all part-time employees should be checked against the hours in their employment contracts at regular intervals. If it turns out that an employee’s actual working time is consistently more than the hours in the employment contract for no valid reason, the number of hours in the employment contract has to be increased.
Now, a year after this clause came in, PAM looked into how the possibility for improved hours offered by the clause has been used in shops and warehouses around Finland.
Many (80%) of the shop stewards in the sector who responded to the survey thought that the review clause has been useful. 67% of respondents said the number of hours in employment contracts had gone up due to the review. Moreover, a majority (75%) of respondents said that workplaces know about the review facility and try to use it.
The study also revealed various problems that prevent the possibility to review hours being brought in at all workplaces. The main reasons include unilateral interpretations by employers e.g. about the percentage of hours that give entitlement to higher hours and uncertainty about the number of hours entitling changes to an employment contract.
According to PAM’s collective bargaining specialist Marianne Friman, the study shows that the clause has been important.
“I believe that in future it will become even more important. Adding just one more working hour to your contract is essential, and employees are fully entitled to that if that’s the outcome of the review of actual hours”, Friman says.
“Now it’s important to complete this exercise and clarify practices at workplaces. The key thing is for employees to be active themselves and ask for their hours to be reviewed”, she points out.
The survey was carried out between 11 February-3 March 2019, and responses were received from 128 shop stewards.
Here you will find some practical hints on how to review hours: Reviewing working time.