Work life balance

Finland FlagFinland is known for having a high participation rate of both men and women in working life. Altogether, 78 percent of men and 73 percent of women work. While this is almost the same as the EU-15 average for men, it is substantially higher than the EU-15 average of 57 percent for women.

Weekly working hours do not differ much from the EU average. However, working overtime is more common in Finland than in the EU whilst part-time working is less common.

Finland’s options for family leave are numerous. Every child under school age is entitled to municipal day care, which is organized in day care centres, in family day care and in playgroups. The family’s income level influences day care fees. There are also various private day care services available.

Gender equality is strongly emphasized in Finnish working life and is underpinned by legislation.

There are about 1.4 million families in Finland. Approximately half of these are families with children and 13 percent of them are single parent families. During the last 30 years, the number of childless families has almost doubled and now makes up 44 percent of all families. The number of divorces has also increased during last 20 years.

However, family life is highly valued in Finland, although the concept of family is becoming increasingly elastic. National holidays are often spent and celebrated within the family.

Legislators and employers in Finland have come up with structures which make combining working-life with domestic life less complex.

It is possible to stay at home and take care of your child until they are three years of age without fear of losing your job. Once your child has entered school, you can adjust your working hours to facilitate child care.

National holidays

For each month of full-time working Finns earn at least two days of annual leave. The most common time for summer holidays starts at the end of June when Finns celebrate the Midsummer holidays. You shouldn’t plan any business meetings to take place in the holiday period lasting from mid-June till mid-August.

It is common for Finns to also take a week of holidays in the wintertime, either around Christmas or in early spring when children have their winter holidays.

There are several official holidays in Finland. Some of them are Christian, some not. Annual official holidays in Finland are the following and all Sundays.

Holidays Date
New Year January 1
Epiphany January 6
Good Friday March / April
Easter Sunday March / April
Easter Monday March / April
Labour Day / May Day May 1
Ascension Day May
Pentecost May / June
Midsummer Eve June
Midsummer Day June
All Saints’ Day November
Independence Day December 6
Christmas Eve December 24
Christmas Day December 25
Boxing Day December 26

Working hours

Finnish weekly working hours are the same as the European Union average. Yet, there is more overtime and less part time work (although this has been increasing recently) Working hours vary among highly educated employees. Around 10% work a short week (less than 34 hours), and about 50% work a normal working week (35-40 hours). However, about one third of this category works 41 to 49 hours per week; and one sixth works over 50 hours per week.

From Monday to Friday office hours are usually between 8 am and 5 pm. Lunch is eaten between 11 am and 2 pm and lasts between 1 and 2 hours. At lunch, what might strike you is that the business talk seems to go on. Finns love to do business and during business hours there is no time for small talk. Dinner in restaurants usually starts around 7 or 8 pm.

Health insurance

Finnish health care seeks to ensure health and medical care services for all members of the public regardless of place of residence or economic situation. The services are based on public-sector services financed from tax revenues. Government owned Social Insurance Institution (Kela) supports the use of private services, too. There is also a certain amount of private medical care insurance.

The national health insurance for EU/EEA citizens gives access to medical care at the Municipal Health Care Centres in Finland. For this you will need a European Health Insurance Card but does not mean that the health care would be free of charge. If you want all expenses covered in the case of accident or illness, it is advisable to take out a personal insurance policy.

Non-EU/EEA citizens should check whether there is a social security agreement between Finland and their home country. In the event that there is one, they should also check what it covers. Even in the case that there is a social security agreement between the countries, it is advisable to have your own personal insurance, which covers all expenses including hospital treatment.

In the case of illness you should make an appointment to visit your local health centre. Public healthcare is available to all residents in Finland, regardless of their financial situation and includes primary healthcare, provided by municipal health centres, and specialized hospital care.

In an emergency, you should call 112 or visit your local hospital. In the case of a medical emergency, you will be admitted directly into a Finnish hospital. If the situation is not an emergency you should first contact a health care centre. In a dental emergency, go to the dental clinic in a health care centre and make an appointment.

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