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Principal amendments concerning employers in 2021

There are amendments to legal acts that entered or are due to enter into force in 2021 that are of importance to employers. This summary highlights the primary amendments related to labour law.

The first important amendment regards the working environment, namely risk assessments. Every employer is required to prepare a risk assessment in their company based on the working environment hazards and the law prescribes a requirement to update the risk assessment whenever there are substantial changes in the working environment and new important hazards appear. Since spring 2020, many employers have come to teleworking arrangements with their employees thus completely changing their working environment. In addition, this change in the working environment has been complemented by psychosocial hazards, i.e. working from home may take a toll on the mental health of employees. Employers who resolved to teleworking last year or this year now have to update their risk assessments. The need for such an update requires employers to assess the hazards of teleworking and use that assessment to improve safety in employees' working environments. All employers who are required to prepare a risk assessment in the company must submit a risk assessment to the Labour Inspectorate through the new TEIS information system of the Labour Inspectorate or in a format which can be reproduced in writing no later than by 01.09.2021.

Based on amendments thereto, the Occupational Health and Safety Act will expand to cover service providers to some extent, e.g. people working under an authorisation agreement or a contract for services (such as handymen or cleaners). The said amendment results from a need to ensure a safe working environment also for service providers providing services in the company's working environment. If there are such people providing services in the company, the service provider is required to notify the company of hazards related to their activity and the company is required to notify service providers of hazards present in the company's working environment and to introduce to them e.g. fire safety requirements and first aid training. The company is also required to investigate occupational accidents related to service providers.

The degree of liability of the employer for breaching the Employment Contracts Act has been increased. Compared to previous periods, penalty rates have increased by several times since the start of 2021. Previously, the maximum penalty that could be imposed on an employer was up to 1,300 euros, but since 2021 employers can be fined up to 32,000 euros.

From the start of 2021, parties to a labour dispute can take part in the hearings of a labour dispute committee via a video bridge.

Every year brings new amendments to legal acts that impact employers. Leinonen's legal advisers are always ready to assist companies in various legal issues to allow companies to focus more on matters related to their primary business operations.



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