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JUHANI ARTTO
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Employers disturb almost half of foremen during their vacation

Helsinki (11.07.2011 - Juhani Artto) The from four to six week vacations enjoyed by Finnish wage and salary earners rank high among the achievements of the Finnish trade union movement. However, nowadays employers often interfere with vacationers' well-earned leisure time by
contacting them with various requests. Mobile phones and mobile net connections have made it technically easy for employers to contact their employees whenever the need arises.

A new survey made by the salaried employees' trade union Pro gives a detailed picture on how often these interventions take place. Among private sector salaried employees, in the worst case scenarios are foremen/supervisors, as employers are likely to contact 41 per cent of them during their vacation. On average 28 per cent of the private sector salaried employees can expect to be disturbed during their vacation by their employers.

Almost half of the respondents would like to have more influence on the decisions on vacation timing. Men have marginally more impact on those decisions than female employees.

A clear majority of the respondents (73 per cent) would prefer five more vacation days to a two per cent increase in their salaries. The cost impact of these two options is roughly identical. The highest proportion of those opting for longer vacation is among women from 30 to 45 years of age. An astonishing 80 per cent would rather extend their vacations than receive a pay hike.

Another recent survey (made by the communications agency Soprano) reveals that employees themselves are also to blame for interrupting their vacations by using their time on work-related matters. Over two thirds of employees belong to this category. The survey does not separate those who work voluntarily from those who interrupt their vacations because of employer's request. A comparison between the results of the surveys made by Pro and Soprano suggests that self-initiated work is roughly as common as that which is employer-initiated.

According to the survey made by Soprano, a fifth of the respondents' work places shut down for the vacation period. Although work goes on at 80 per cent of the work places, only 8 per cent of vacationers have a stand-in to do their work.