The AVAINTES collective agreement, negotiated by OAJ and Avainta Employers, is in line with the labour market’s general policy. The duration of the agreement period, beginning retrospectively on 1 April, is 23 months and the agreement’s total amount of salary increases corresponds with the general policy. The working time regulations of the Competitiveness Pact will be removed from 17 August 2020 onwards.
The AVAINTES collective agreement, negotiated by OAJ and Avainta Employers, will enter into force retrospectively on 1 April 2020. The duration of the agreement period is 23 months, which means that the agreements are valid until the end of February 2022.
“Cooperation between the signing parties has been excellent and the negotiations were held in good spirit. The employer had a genuine desire to find a solution for the negotiations. From here, it feels good to proceed towards the cooperations in the autumn,” says the Labour Market Advocacy Special Advisor Kristiina Johansson.
Salary increases in line with the general policy
There will be two general increases and a locally distributed instalment during the agreement period. The amount of the general salary increase on 1 August 2020 is EUR 26 or at least 1.22 per cent, and the increase on 1 April 2021 is 1 per cent.
A locally distributed instalment of 0.8 per cent is available on 1 April 2021. The primary objectives of the instalment allocation are the development of pay systems and the revision of local flaws related to salaries. The local instalment will be used in increasing the employees’ personal basic salaries. If there is no agreement solution for the distribution of the instalment by 31 January 2021, the instalment will be distributed as a general increase.
The AVAINTES salary system will be further developed within a separately appointed working group.
“The task of the working group is to assess the functionality of the pay system and salary rating groups and to make suggestions for the development of the related provisions,” Johansson says.
Removal of the Competitiveness Pact, improvements to agreement provisions
The provisions of the Competitiveness Pact regarding increased working hours will be removed, and the regular weekly working time will be restored to 38 hours and 15 minutes from 17 August 2020 onwards. Until then, the working time provisions of the AVAINTES collective agreement 2018–2019 will be adhered to.
Changes made to the provisions of the AVAINTES collective agreement regarding working time are mainly related to the changes in the Working Hours Act that entered into force on 1 January 2020, such as regulations regarding being on standby.
“It has now been clearly recorded in the agreement provision that before agreeing about being on standby, the employee must be informed about the compensation percentage for being on standby and must be provided with written instructions stating their rights and obligations. For instance, the employee must be informed within what period of time they must arrive to the workplace,” Johansson explains.
Furthermore, the provision regarding working time that concerns training attendance during working time was further clarified.
All trainings ordered by the employer must be regarded as working time, which is in line with the objectives presented by OAJ. The amendment to the agreement regarding the reimbursement of travel expenses also proceeded according to OAJ’s objectives. In the future, all additional travel expenses will be reimbursed whenever the employer has ordered the journey,” Johansson emphasises.
Clarification to the working time provision related to planning, assessment and development activities
The content of the working time provision related to planning, assessment and development activities remained unchanged, but a further clarification was added to reinforce the fact that development tasks should be carried out outside of the working time spent with the child group.
“Approximately 13 per cent of working time of the eligible heads of day-care centres, early childhood education teachers and special education teachers is reserved for the planning, assessment and development of teaching and educational work of early childhood education and preschool education outside of the child group activities and for preparing the local curricula for early childhood education and care,” Johansson advises.
In addition to the working time required for the planning, assessment and development activities, a sufficient amount of time must also be allocated for the planning of parents’ evenings, parent meetings and collective planning activities in line with the instructions of the day-care centre in question.
The second part of the special provision regarding working time concerns the additional days off, so called tes -days, of the eligible heads of day-care centres, early childhood education teachers or special education teachers. These agreement provisions remained unchanged as well, which means that those working in these positions are granted one extra day off for each two full holiday credit months. However, no more than five extra days off per year will be granted.
An amendment related to the accrual and use of additional days off for part-time employees was added to the agreement provision regarding additional days off. A part-time employee accrues additional days off in direct relation to the time they work compared to full, regular working time. The additional days off accrued by a part-time employee are rounded up to the closest full day in line with the rounding provisions.
Improvements to the time use of the day-care centres’ shop stewards
Instructions were added to the time use regulations related to shop stewards working in small workplaces and representing fewer than 5 employees. The shop steward must be reserved temporary or regular fixed exemption in order to carry out their employee representative duties if the number of tasks so requires and if the shop steward is not able to carry out their employee representative tasks in connection to their actual work duties. If the shop steward has at least five persons to represent, the time allocated for representing employees is determined according to the table of the chapter covering shop steward instructions in the AVAINTES collective agreement, starting from 1.5 hours.
“Shop stewards working at day-care centres benefit from the amendment concerning small workplaces. The Avainta day-care centres are often quite small and rarely have five or more employees to represent. Due to the fact that shop steward tasks cannot be carried out in connection with carrying out early childhood education teaching tasks, the employee representative must regularly reserve time for carrying out their shop steward tasks,” Johansson says.
OAJ will later on instruct the shop stewards regarding agreeing with the employer about regular, fixed exemption for carrying out their duties.
The position of all shop stewards was further improved by establishing a period of “post-protection” in addition to the protection against dismissal during their employment that lasts for six months after the shop steward duties have ended.
The payment of compensation for the occupational safety and health representatives was clarified with an amendment to the agreement that further strengthens the previously established procedure, according to which an occupational safety and health representative working part-time will also receive a full compensation for their representation duties.
“In the future, the employer will provide the shop steward with the necessary Avainta collective agreements free of charge. Previously, OAJ has bought the collective agreements and sent these to their shop stewards,” Johansson explains.
The compensations of shop stewards and occupational safety and health representatives will be increased by 3.04 per cent from 1 August 2020 onwards.
A separate working group was established for improving the cooperation between the employer and their personnel and for promoting local bargaining.
“OAJ hopes that the working group will improve cooperation between the shop stewards and employers. It is now important to quickly get more OAJ shop stewards to private day-care centres for local bargaining to be possible in the first place,” Johansson emphasises.
New element for competence development and maintenance of working capacity
In the future, the employer may offer the employee six hours of other, additional work in addition to their regular working time per calendar year as well as allocate six hours of the employee’s time to competence development. Simple hourly salary will be paid for these hours and any potential compensations for uncomfortable working time will be paid in line with the collective agreement. The employee may refuse to work such hours. 3+3 hours are available to be used during the upcoming fall season starting on 1 September, subject to the same conditions.
“Competence development can mean the development of the work community’s operations or the maintenance or improvement of the employees’ preparedness and capacity to work. The purpose is to improve the productivity and profitability of work. For instance, this can be done by organising training and development opportunities for the entire work community or a certain unit,” Johansson explains.
However, competence development does not mean the training of a new employee in the beginning of their employment relationship or training related to standard equipment and procedures of the workplace.
In order to ensure that the working hours have been planned in advance together, the employer must offer additional work as early on as possible. The employee must also be informed in advance that the additional hours are subject to a simple hourly salary for each worked hour. Employees cannot be made to work additional hours on bank holidays or at weekends of weeks with bank holidays.
Furthermore, a working group was established for the agreement period to assess the possibilities of improving well-being at work and the maintenance of the capacity to work with the aim of extending the employees’ careers.
“A similar working group has operated during previous agreement periods as well. The working group has formulated collective instructions and organised seminars related to well-being at work, for example,” Johansson explains.
The AVAINTES collective agreement concerns a part of the early childhood education teachers of private day-care centres. Part of the teachers working in private vocational institutions, universities of applied sciences and liberal adult education institutions belong under the scope of the AVAINOTES collective agreement. Some 4,000 OAJ members belong under the agreement sectors of Avaintyönantajat.
Photo: Leena Koskela