Since 2005, the Summer Job Helpline has been helping young people doing their summer job. The service is run by the three Finnish trade union confederations Akava, SAK and STTK.
Pay, working hours and employment contracts and how to terminate them, were the most frequently asked questions, says Hanna-Marilla Zidan on the SAK website. She ran the service from 2 May to 31 August.
Of those who contacted the Helpline, 72 per cent were summer workers. One out of five were parents and five per cent employers.
Most of those who made contact were young: 32 per cent were from 14 to 17 years old and 43 per cent from 18 to 23 years old.
As the service is open to all, 72 per cent were not members of any union. Many non-members were surprised when told that a non-unionised employee can only get legal help from their local public Legal Aid Office or by hiring their own lawyer. An exception to this is in cases to do with the occupational safety and health authorities.
“Unfortunately this year, too, it often happened that a young person got in touch to ask about one issue, but when sorting out things, it turned out that there were more problems in the workplace”, Zidan says.
Collective agreements were not well known among those who reached out to the service. There were even many cases where the collective agreement applied but was not mentioned in the employment contract.
“In the employment contract of some summer workers it was stated that the work is not covered by any collective agreement, even though it was clearly covered by a generally binding collective agreement”, Zidan says.
The hotline will open again in May 2023 and will continue until the end of August of the same year. Meanwhile, the summer job checklist and the frequently asked questions can be found on the service website kesaduunari.fi. The service is available in Finnish, Swedish and English.
Helsinki (27.09.2022 – Heikki Jokinen)