Office of the Cooperation Ombudsman
Our mission is to promote and improve cooperation between employers and employees as well as to implement the objectives of related legislation.
The new Act on Co-operation within Undertakings entered into force on 1 January 2022
The reform of the act brings a new practice of continuous dialogue to workplaces and improves interaction. The act also increases employees’ opportunities to exercise influence and obtain information.
The new Act on Co-operation within Undertakings consists of three entities:
- Continuous dialogue between employer and employees;
- Negotiations in changing circumstances (change negotiations);
- Employee representative in company administration (administrative representative).
The act applies to companies and organisations employing at least 20 persons. The provisions on administrative representatives apply to companies that employ at least 150 persons in Finland. The act does not apply to central or local government agencies or public bodies.
Continuous dialogue helps develop the company and work community
As a result of the reform, the employer and employees or employee representatives should engage in a regular dialogue The dialogue could address, for example,
- The financial situation of the company or organisation,
- workplace rules and practices,
- personnel structure and competence needs,
- wellbeing at work.
The ways to carry out the dialogue in practice are agreed at workplaces. The dialogue should take place at least on a quarterly basis. In small companies of 20 to 29 employees, the dialogue should be held twice a year. However, if the company has not elected an employee representative, one dia-logue per year is sufficient. A plan for developing the work community is formulated as part of the dialogue.
Stronger role for employee representatives in change negotiations
Before the employer makes decisions on matters that have a significant effect on the employees, such as reductions in workforce, the employer must consult employee representatives or the employees. The revised act refers to this process as change negotiations.
The procedure for change negotiations will remain broadly the same as in the current act. However, the right of the employee representative to submit proposals and propose alternative solutions will be strengthened. The timing of the opening of negotiations will also be specified.
Employee representation in administration specified
Employee representation in the company administration promotes the flow of information and al-lows the expertise of the personnel to contribute to the decision-making. In the new act, the employee representative in the administration of a company is referred to as an administrative representative.
The provisions on representation in administration are largely in line with the current legislation, albeit transposed from the Act on Personnel Representation in the Company Administration to the Act on Co-operation within Undertakings. Personnel must be represented in administrative bodies that de facto deal with important business, financial and personnel issues.