Organising the dialogue
The dialogue is carried out in a meeting between the employer and the employee representative(s). The meeting arrangements and other facilities for the dialogue are the employer’s responsibility.
However, “a meeting” is a flexible concept and the workplace may create different ways to carry out the dialogue. The key issue is not the format in which the dialogue is organised, but the content and regularity of the dialogue. It is also essential to ensure that the way the dialogue is carried out involves the entire personnel.
Dialogue is regular
In companies or organisations with at least 30 employees, the dialogue meeting must be organ-ised at least once every quarter, unless the employer and the employee representative agree otherwise.
If the employer has fewer than 30 employees, the meeting must be organised at least twice a year.
The number and timing of dialogue meetings can be agreed upon
The employer and the employee representative can also agree on a different arrangement when it comes to the number and timing of these meetings. However, they may not agree on not having meetings at all. The dialogue may also be arranged in different ways for different personnel groups.
Dialogue must be carried out even if staff representatives have not been elected
If a personnel group has not elected a representative for themselves, the employer may, as a rule, fulfil the legal obligations together with all the employees belonging to the said personnel group. In this case, the issues falling under the dialogue obligation must be addressed in a joint meeting organised at least once a year. Instead of one joint meeting, it is also possible to organise several meetings by location or function, for example. This possibility of making an exception only applies to personnel who have no representative and it cannot be used as a ground for hindering the dialogue with employee representatives.
Obligation to contribute applies to both parties
Both parties are subject to the duty to contribute to the dialogue. The dialogue must be appropriate in nature and the parties must take each other’s interests, needs and position into account. The employer must see to the prerequisites of the dialogue, such as the sufficient and timely flow of information, the genuine realisation of the dialogue and a serious attitude towards initiatives pre-sented by the employee representative. For their part, the employee representative must have a constructive approach towards the employer’s business solutions and only make such proposals and initiatives that are feasible considering the employer’s resources.