Your union is your security net
YTN and its unions provide the security net for senior salaried employees.
In the Finnish labour system senior salaried employees are represented by trade unions, and at work places employee representatives and company level employee associations.
About 75 % of the total Finnish work force are members of a trade union. In Finland trade unions contain people from various political views.
All senior salaried employees should consider being members in a trade union.
Senior salaried employee
Technology companies in Finland has three groups of employees: senior salaried employees, salaried employees and factory workers.
What group you belong to depends on the content, tasks and character of your job. If you
- work in expert positions requiring specialised knowledge and skills, or in supervisory positions in middle management
- have high degree of independence and responsibility in the work
- have a university or polytechnic degree, or a qualification obtained at work
you are a senior salaried employee.
Why should I be a member?
Your company as an employer is a member of Federation of Finnish Technology Industries, which is a member of Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK). If your employer is organised into a union, why wouldn't you be?
Trade unions of all employee groups in the technology industry negotiate the collective agreements together with the Federation.
Collective agreements complement labour legislation, and they define, for example, collective salary raises and salary level in the industry.
Trade unions and EK both also take part in developing labour legislation together with the Finnish parliament.
The negotiations for senior salaried employees are handled by Federation of Professional and Managerial Staff (YTN) which is a Akava's collective bargaining organisation for the private sector.
Akava, The Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland, is a trade union confederation for those with university, professional or other high-level education.
So that YTN could fully engage in taking care of their task as a negotiator for our conditions of employment, its member trade unions need members.
Numbers bring YTN both a financial and quantitative advantage: it is a lot easier for a well-established trade union of 100,000 members to bring our viewpoints forth in the negotiations than for a union of 1000 members. Today YTN has about 135,000 members in its trade unions.
Also the employer organisations gain strength from money and number of member companies, and they don't negotiate with individual employees.
EK has been advocating more company or local level negotiations than collective industry-wide agreements. However, local agreements are also not made with individual employees, but at workplaces the counterpart for the employer are the employee representatives, who represent the senior salaried employees and trade unions.
Trade Unions provide services
Trade unions also provide several services, many of which may prove to be surprisingly important in the fast changing job market of today.
Such services are training, salary advice, career counselling, insurances, holiday cabins etc, and often the most valuable service is the legal counselling if there is a disagreement or conflict situation about the employment. If you are changing jobs, the union lawyer can also check the offered job contract.
When you join a trade union, you also join an unemployment fund which provides you salary-based unemployment benefit.
Starting from this year the senior salaried employee trade unions pay your membership fee for the company level employee association.
The associations represent senior salaried employees at your workplace, support the employee representatives, and organise activities for the members.
At least the biggest companies has employee associations for senior salaried employees.
What is an unemployment fund?
Trade unions don't pay unemployment benefits, but they have insured their members in unemployment funds.
When you join a trade union, you also join an unemployment fund which in case of unemployment provides you salary based unemployment benefit (provided that you have worked and been a member of the fund 10 months before you become unemployed).
If you have earned 3000 EUR a month and you have a family or loans, there is a big difference if you receive only the basic state unemployment benefit (25,74 EUR/day + certain supplements) or in addition you get the earnings-related unemployment benefit (which is ca. basic allowance PLUS 45 % of the difference between your daily salary and the basic unemployment allowance). You can find more accurate calculations from the web pages of unemployment funds such as www.iaet.fi).
Note the 10 month condition, you will not get the earnings related benefit if you join now and will be laid off in the next couple of months.
You don't have to be a member of a trade union to be a member of an unemployment fund, but the funds don't offer you the same services that unions. There's over 40 funds in Finland, one of the biggest ones is IAET which many YTN unions use.
IAET offers its members also training subsidies and allowance for job alteration leaves.
Job alteration leave is an arrangement where the employee agrees with the employer to take of a leave of absence while the employer hires an unemployed person to do the same work for the duration of the absence.
Which union should I join?
There are many unions which are suitable for senior salaried employees.
The Federation of Professional and Managerial Staff (YTN) has several
senior salaried employee unions as members, you can find a list here.
In principle you can choose whichever union, just as long as they accept you as member. Some unions only accept e.g. members who have a certain education.
You can join a union through their web page or ask the union for a form to fill in. You can also ask for more information from your employee representative.
PLEASE NOTE that the level of service you can get in English in unions may vary. For more information please contact the unions or your employee representative.
What does it cost?
The fees, as well as the benefits of unions, vary.
The fees contain the unemployment fund membership fee. Please note that the union membership fees are tax deductible, so if you e.g. earn 40,000 EUR a year and pay 300 EUR in union membership fees, the fees are deducted from your salary and the rest of your salary 39,700 EUR is then used as your salary in your tax calculations.
You can pay the fees yourself directly to the union, or in some cases if the fee is a certain percentage of your salary you can have it deducted directly from your salary.
For more information contact the union and your company's pay roll.
For more information contact your employee representative or the local employee association.