Opetusalan Ammattijärjestö

Temporary employment relationship

A public service or employment relationship is temporary when the termination date of the employment has been agreed on in advance. The termination may be tied to a specific date or to an event, such as the return to work of a permanent public servant or employee.
If there are legal grounds for a temporary employment contract, the employer can generally freely decide on the length of the employment relationship. The employer is not usually obligated to offer new employment after the legal temporary employment ends. Some exceptions may apply due to pregnancy and parental protection.
Temporary employment must be justified
There must always be legal grounds for a temporary employment contract. Legislation does not specify how many successive temporary employment contracts there can be or how long the chain of temporary employment can be.
The use of a temporary employment contract must always be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. In addition, an assessment must be made as to whether the work to be carried out requires permanent workforce.
The grounds for temporary employment are entered in the ‘appointment to office’ document or the employment contract.
Temporary employment cannot be used to determine the suitability of a teacher or kindergarten teacher – that is what the trial period is for.
When is temporary employment justified and when is it not?
A common reason for a temporary employment contract in the field of teaching and education is substitution. If the employer is permanently in need of substitutes to perform the tasks of a teacher or kindergarten teacher, the employer must hire the teacher or kindergarten teacher who repeatedly works as a substitute under a public service or employment contract that is valid for an indefinite period.
The employer has the right to hire a teacher or kindergarten teacher under a temporary employment contract if the teacher in question is not eligible for the task.
A temporary employment contract may also be based on the genuine temporary nature of the teaching need, for example, due to separate courses or trial periods. A trial period cannot be the only grounds for temporary employment. Temporary employment may also be justified in elective or voluntary subjects where the teaching requirement may be uncertain.
Other grounds for temporary employment are, for example:
  • A project
  • An organisational change that is under preparation
  • Genuine economic uncertainty
  • The teacher’s own request
  • Practical training related to studies
Temporary employment relationship
 The period of notice for temporary public service employment relationships in a municipality/joint municipal authority is 14 calendar days for both parties. This concerns, among others, municipal comprehensive school, upper secondary school and vocational school teachers employed temporarily.

As a general rule, a temporary employment contract cannot be unilaterally terminated by either party unless this option has been agreed on in the employment contract. A temporary employment contract ends when the agreed employment period ends, with no period of notice. Those in an employment relationship are, for instance, teachers who work in private schools, educational institutions and day-care centres. In general, kindergarten teachers and teachers in adult education vocational centres who work in the municipal sector are also in an employment relationship.

When a state civil servant employed temporarily resigns, the 14-day period of notice applies if the public service employment lasted no longer than five years. Otherwise, the period of notice is one month. When a civil servant resigns, an exception can be made to the period of notice if the competent authority grants approval for such.

The employer can terminate a temporary employment relationship on 14 days’ notice if the state civil servant employment relationship lasted no more than one year. When terminating a temporary state civil servant employment relationship that has lasted more than one year, the employer must observe the same periods of notice as for permanent civil service employment relationships.