Personal helpers for seriously disabled persons now have
a collective agreement
JHL (26.10.2010 - Juhani Artto) As of Monday a new group of employees
received their first collective agreement (in force from 1.12 2010 to
30.4.2012). The agreement covers almost 1,000 personal helpers attending to
seriously disabled persons. The agreement regulates compensation for
overtime, evening, night and Saturday work, for working hours and for many
are due to agree on wages by the end of February 2011. Currently most
personal helpers earn from EUR7 to EUR10 per hour.
Under the agreement, the employees are represented by the Trade Union for
the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL and the employers by The Personal
Helpers' Employer Association Heta, founded in 2005. Heta's members are
disabled persons who employ personal helpers independently. Right now, Heta
has about 400 such members. On average, they employ two or two point five
The agreement is not of a generally binding character as only a minority of
the employers are currently organized in the employer association Heta.
However, Jarmo Tiri, the President of Heta, believes that the collective
agreement will speed up the organizing of seriously disabled persons and
encourage them to join the employer organisation, which is there to
In Finland, current legislation guarantees seriously disabled persons
personal aid. There are approximately 6,000 individuals entitled to this
aid. The purpose of the legislation is to enable those who fall into this
category to be in a position to manage daily routines, to work and study, to
participate in social life and to have hobbies.
The legislation, as it now stands, obliges municipalities to finance
personal aid in accordance with what the legislation has laid down. The law
speaks about "moderate" expenses, and very often seriously disabled persons
prefer to exercise their right to hire personal helpers - directly employed,
as it were.
municipality has the right to choose other options. In which case, the
municipality itself can be the employer of the personal helpers or the
municipality may choose to provide the disabled persons with vouchers to buy
the necessary services from aid providers.