The law on dismissals proceeds to Parliament reading – PAM content with the proposal
PAM’s Arja Pohjola points out that the Employment Contracts Act includes a set of requirements which have to be met for the dismissal to be legitimate.
The controversial bill on easing individual dismissals proceeds to Parliament’s debate. PAM’s Legal Manager Arja Pohjola concludes that the rationale of the law, drafted in tripartite negotiations with the unions, will protect workers from arbitrary dismissals.
The Sipilä Government has now submitted the new proposal of the so-called dismissal law to the Finnish Parliament. The Parliament should discuss the proposal next week, in the preliminary debate. The amended law on dismissals is set to enter into force on 1 January 2019.
PAM’s Legal Manager Arja Pohjola tells that the tripartite negotiations resulted in introducing no specific rules for small companies in the labour law on dismissals. In Pohjola’s opinion, the new proposal is a thoroughly prepared package and clearly better than the previous proposal.
”Dismissing an employee still requires clear regulation. The issue of first warning and the obligation to re-employ will remain. The current list of prohibited dismissal grounds, including stating one’s opinion and participating in industrial action remain valid. Nobody can be dismissed for illness, unless the employee’s capacity to work is reduced fundamentally and in long-term”, Pohjola explains.
Pohjola points out that the Employment Contracts Act includes a set of requirements which have to be met for the dismissal to be legitimate.
”As a rule, proceeding towards a dismissal always requires the issue of warning or examining options for offering alternative work “, Pohjola emphasizes.
The fundamental problems included in the first draft proposal, such as the widely criticized unconstitutional elements, have now been corrected in the new proposal submitted to the Parliament, says Pohjola.
If the proposed amendments will enter into force, will it ease dismissals in small companies?
The Sipilä Government and the trade union movement have fought over the proposed amendments to the Employment Contracts Act since this spring. The Government’s proposal to ease dismissals first in less than 20 employees companies and then in less than 10 employees companies was strongly criticized as it was seen as increasing working life insecurity and putting employees in unequal positions.
”The first proposal on introducing different rules for small employers would have led to interpretation problems, legal uncertainty and more disputes”, Pohjola points out.
Strict definitions of the number of employees have now been removed from the proposal but will it still be easier to dismiss employees in small companies?
”It will not. The new proposal rather confirms the current practice”, Pohjola says.
Pohjola explains that even though the number of employees of the company is one factor to be considered also in the new amending proposal, the overall assessment of the dismissal situation shall be decisive.
”The type and seriousness of the employee’s misconduct, the position of the employee, his or her attitude to the wrongdoing and the type and special characteristics of work are taken into account in the overall assessment. Compared to the present situation, the new proposal takes the personnel size of the employer into account in situations where the employee’s misconduct may lead to proportionally more serious consequences to the employer due to its size.”
”In practice, the possibilities for individual dismissals on personal grounds will remain very restricted in small companies”, Pohjola concludes.