Rights of personnel representatives
Provisions on the rights of personnel representatives are laid down in Chapter 6, sections 35-37 of the Act on Co-operation within undertakings.
Employee representative’s release from work and compensation
An employee representative is entitled to be released from their work for carrying out the duties referred to in the Act.
This release encompasses participation in meetings that are related to the dialogue or the change negotiations and that are participated in by the employer’s representative, too. Furthermore, it encompasses the time that the employee representative needs for preparations for negotiations with the employer.
An employee representative is also entitled to be released from their work, to a sufficient extent, for co-operation training. The employer must compensate loss of earnings for the duration of the release from work, corresponding the salary for regular working hours.
An employee representative is also entitled to compensation if they participate in co-operation referred to in the Act outside their working hours. In this case, too, the compensation must correspond the representative’s salary for regular working hours.
Similarly, employees’ administrative representative is entitled to be released from their work for meetings of the company’s bodies taking place during working hours, familiarising themselves with meeting materials and the representatives’ joint preparations directly associated with employee representation in company administration.
If an administrative representative participates in the meeting of a body of the company outside their working hours, the company has an obligation to pay appropriate expenses caused by the participation as well as an attendance fee.
Employee representatives’ right to use experts
Employee representatives have the right to consult and request information from the company’s experts when necessary for the topics addressed in the dialogue or the change negotiations. The right to use experts applies both to the preparations of the employee representatives and the actual negotiations.
The use of experts may be necessary, for example, when discussing information collected about employees, other legislation-based plans, principles and practices or matters re-lated to change negotiations.
Experts are entitled to be released from their work to provide assistance and be entitled to compensation for loss of earnings on the same grounds as employee rep-resentatives.
The right to use experts does not apply to employee representation in company administration in a body of the company.
Employee representatives’ protection against unjustified dismissal
When the employee representative is a shop steward or an elected representative, their protection against unjustified dismissal is determined either by the provisions of chapter 7, section 10 of the Employment Contracts Act or by the provisions of the collective agreement applicable to them.
A co-operation representative elected for a term of a maximum of two years as well as an administrative representative also have equivalent protection against unjustified dismissal.
However, a representative elected only for certain negotiation meeting does not have similar protection.