Employment relationships and their termination

University professors work under a contractual employment relationship. The work of a professors is regulated by, inter alia, the following provisions:

  • The Universities Act
  • University rules of procedure
  • Collective labour agreement for the universities
  • Research institute codes of conduct
  • General collective agreement for State civil servants and contractual employees
  • The Employment Contracts Act
  • Other labour legislation.

Selection of a professor

  • The post of professor must be publicly announced vacant when a person is hired into an employment relation in force until further notice.
  • The post of professor may be filled by invitation without pubic notice of vacancy when a professionally distinguished person may be invited to take the post or a person is appointed for a fixed period to the post. Only a person who indisputably fulfils the qualification requirements may be appointed to the post by invitation.
  • Statements concerning the qualifications and merits of persons applying for and invited to the post must be requested from a minimum of two experts where a person is appointed to a position in effect until further notice or for a fixed period of at least two years.
  • Provisions concerning the selection process are included in universities’ regulations.

Tenure Track

The recruitment of professors has shifted to a tenure track era and, as a result, recruitment other than tenure track recruitment is already an exception in Finland. Legislation does not recognise the tenure track as a separate selection procedure. It is, rather, based on the regulation of universities and the use of the invitation procedure as defined in the Universities Act.

In principle, tenure track recruitment is implemented in the form of fixed-term employment contracts at the two lower levels (assistant professor, associate professor) and does not guarantee full professorship once the fixed term ends. Unless otherwise agreed, a fixed-term contract ends at the conclusion of the fixed-term period without the need for termination or cancellation.

A person recruited to the tenure track system is intended to provide teaching and conduct research in accordance with predetermined goals, so that they will gain the necessary qualifications for the next level during the fixed-term period. In the assessment of the tenure track system, the Labour Court (TT 2023:32) found that it was necessary to assess, on a case-by-case basis, whether the use of a fixed-term employment contract for a particular position is justified in order to attract and engage persons who are motivated and capable in relation to the activities of the university and the work to be carried out. According to the Labour Court, the tenure track system can, in certain cases, be considered a justified reason for concluding an employment contract on a fixed-term basis as intended by the Employment Contracts Act (55/2001).

It is the Union’s position that employees should also be recruited at the full professor level in a more balanced manner.

Termination of employment

If an employer gives notice, the notice period depending on the length of the uninterrupted working time is as follows:

  • 14 days if employment has continued for no more than one year
  • 1 month if employment has continued for over one year but no more than 4 years
  • 2 months if employment has continued for over 4 years but no more than 8 years
  • 4 months if employment has continued for over 8 years but no more than 12 years
  • 6 months if employment has continued for over 12 years

If an employee gives notice the notice period is as follows:

  • 14 days if employment has continued for no more than 5 years
  • 1 month if employment has continued for over 5 years

The notice period begins on the day after notice is given.

A fixed-term agreement ends on the agreed date or after the end of the task without a notice period.

Employment ends beginning on the day when an employee has been granted old-age pension for an employment relation or in Finland full disability pension.

Half of the holiday allowance will be paid upon ending of an employment relationship, if the termination happens:

  • by cancellation by the employee herself/himself due to the probation period,
  • by resignation of the employee for other reason than retirement,
  • by deeming the employment contract cancelled (Employment Contracts Act 8:3 §), or
  • by termination or cancellation of the employment contract on grounds related to the employee’s person (ECA 7:1–2 §, ECA 8:1 however, not when the termination grounds are due to the employee’s substantial and long-term impairment of working capacity (ECA 7:2 § mom. 2, par. 1).