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Trade Union News from Finland

One out of six wage and salary earners work in temporary jobs

Helsinki (23.11.2012 - Juhani Artto) The public sector uses relatively more fixed-term employment relations than the private sector but the pay gap between permanent and temporary employees is wider in the private sector. This situation has remained unchanged for many years. In 2011, nearly 16 per cent of all wage and salary earners had a temporary job.

Almost 23 per cent of public sector employees were in fixed-term employment relations. At central government level the proportion was slightly higher than at local government level. In the private sector 12 per cent of the employees held temporary jobs. Less than 13 per cent of males worked as temporary employees, whereas 18.5 per cent of females had fixed-term employment relations.

The reasons as to why people find themselves in temporary work are roughly similar for both sexes. Almost two thirds of fixed-term employees would like to have a permanent job but have not been able to find one. Slightly over a quarter of fixed-term employees are content to work as temporary employees. About one in ten of the fixed-term employees is on a trial period or in practical training related to his or her studies.

In 2011, private sector permanent employees earned EUR 19.11 per hour on average, whereas fixed-term employees were paid an average of EUR 15.69 per hour. The gap stood at 18 per cent. For central government the gap was 9 per cent and for local government 8 per cent.

When private and public sectors are combined, the permanent versus fixed-term employees pay gap was 10 per cent among women and 17 per cent among men.

Trade unions regard the large number of people in fixed-term jobs as unwarranted and unacceptable and fight continuously to have fixed-term jobs transformed into permanent ones. Existing legislation supports this struggle as an employer can only legally use temporary labour if there are acceptable reasons for doing so. Employers may offer fixed-term employment, for example, in case of maternity leave or when looking for employees for a project that lasts for a certain period only.

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