Summer workers: Check what sort of employment contract you sign – as a rule fixed-term employment contracts cannot be terminated
It is advisable to check through your employment contract carefully before you sign. If you are unsure, ask for more information on what the contract means. Photo:Gettyimages
"The employment conditions, such as wages and other conditions of work, applied in the work contract cannot be worse than what is stated in the sector's collective agreement. If the salary according to the collective agreement is 10 euros per hour, an employer cannot pay a summer worker less", PAM’s Chief Negotiator Juha Ojala points out.
Summer employment relationships are fixed-term, which means that the start and end dates of the employment are already known when the employment contract is signed. Even in summer job employments, it is essential to sign a contract in writing, which states employment conditions such as the duration of the employment, wages and working hours.
“It is advisable to check through your employment contract carefully before you sign. If you are unsure, ask for more information on what the contract means, recommends PAM’s Chief Negotiator Juha Ojala and adds
“Check at least the length of the employment relationship in the contract and note the start and end dates and what collective agreement applies to it. Fixed-term employment contracts can also include a probation period. In short service sector contracts lasting around 3 months, the probation period can at most be half of the length of the contract.”
Summer jobs are often for a fixed period, which means that they last until the date agreed in the contract, and as a rule cannot be terminated.
If a fixed-term summer job contract is made for 2 months from the start of May and the employee’s weekly working time agreed in the contract is 30 hours, the employment relationship cannot be terminated unilaterally before the end of June. Ojala points out that summer workers must be offered the number of working hours promised in the contract.
“Sometimes there are situations where a summer worker’s contract is terminated, citing the probation period. Employers must give a valid reason for terminating employment, also during a probation period. Terminating a summer job one day before the end of the probation period or saying that there isn’t enough work for everyone after all because too many summer workers were hired is not a legitimate reason to terminate a summer worker’s job, Ojala states.”
Every year PAM also deals with situations where summer workers want to end a fixed-term employment relationship mid-term. These cases can come up for example if, after a summer worker has signed their employment contract, they are offered longer-term employment with better working hours than what was agreed in the contract they signed before. A fixed-term employment contract is also binding on the employee.
“Employees can terminate their job during the probation period, but after that a fixed-term contract continues until the end date stated in the employment contract. With summer jobs there is often no agreed probation period, so getting out of them can be difficult. The only way to get out of a fixed-term summer job is to negotiate or agree with the employer, Ojala points out.
Employees must be offered the number of working hours promised in the contract
Sometimes summer jobs do not match employees’ ideas of what employment ought to be. When signing a summer job contract it is advisable to pay attention to the other job conditions than just the length of employment. As well as the length and binding nature of contracts, summer workers also have questions and unpleasant surprises with so-called on-call employment contracts.
“An on-call employment contract does not guarantee a summer worker a single shift or working hour. The worst thing about it is that the summer worker has a valid fixed-term summer job that does not give them any income at all. Then they are often left without the summer wages they were looking forward to. That is why when signing an employment contract it is advisable to check the conditions carefully and work out what the situation might mean”, Ojala recommends.
Please notice this when signing a employment contract
- In short service sector contracts lasting around 3 months, the probation period can at most be half of the length of the contract.
- Summer work is often based on a fixed-term employment contract, which in principle cannot be terminated.
- The employment conditions, such as wages and other conditions of work, applied in the work contract cannot be worse than what is stated in the sector's collective agreement.
What do the terms mean?
Employment relationship: When work is performed, an employment relationship is created between the parties. This means that the minimum requirements in the law and the collective agreement come into force, even if no written employment contract has been made.
Employment contract: A contract signed by the employee and the employer stating, among other things, the duration of employment, pay and working time.
Probation period: Period during which the employee and the employer can terminate the employment relationship. Rarely used in summer jobs.
Fixed-term employment relationship: Binding on both contracting parties, cannot be terminated during the contract period.
This news has been revised 22.3.2019.