Some 250 people sought advice from the Summer Job Helpline, run by the three Finnish trade union federations Akava, SAK and STTK.
Help is given to all who call or make contact; union membership is not necessary. Most of those seeking advice or help are young people, often students.
“Pay was the number one question,” says Anni Ritari who ran the service from early May to 28 August. “People asked whether their pay is as it should be and whether they get all the allowances.”
Questions concerning working hours were also common, like rest periods and breaks or the number of working hours.
Even though employers generally follow the rules and collective agreements quite well, this is not always the case. Ritari has experienced both positive and negative cases this summer.
Some employers are also calling the Summer Job Helpline to check regulations. “They might be private households, too, who are employing someone for the first time. That employers should call us is only something that can be viewed positively.”
Another positive aspect is that several people contact Helpline before beginning their summer job, Anni Ritari says.
“Perhaps this is because in this coronavirus pandemic summer many have been finding summer jobs in some other branch than before.”
In service since 2005
The service has been running every summer since 2005. In addition to the national languages, Finnish and Swedish, this service was also available in English.
A number of questions come in English. “The questions are similar in every language.”
The Summer Job Helpline trilingual web page www.kesaduunari.fi includes a checklist on the essential employment issues and FAQ.
Many people also ask about trade unions. They might seek advice on what union they should join and the unemployment funds or what kind of help the unions can give. These questions are naturally answered, too.
The number of contacts is pretty much in line with the recent years. Before opening the helpline Anni Ritari was wondering whether the coronavirus pandemic would affect the service as so many summer jobs had disappeared.This proved not to be the case, questions kept coming in as in previous years.
Summer Job Adviser Anni Ritari is a Bachelor of Laws and Master of Social Sciences and who is now working for the first time in this job. “My experience has been positive. It is good that people are reaching out and asking everything.”
Helsinki (02.09.2020 – Heikki Jokinen)