Variable Working Time Contracts
The variable working time condition is defined as an arrangement in which working hours are determined between a minimum and maximum amount offered by the employer. Variable working time legislation covers the following working time arrangements:
a working time contract without a minimum working time but with a maximum number of regular working hours (e.g. 0-20 h/week, 0-40 h/week)
a working time contract with agreed minimum and maximum regular working hours (e.g. 10-20 h/week)
if required, a contract of employment of the worker to be called upon need, which does not provide for any regular working time (0 h/week)
Variable working time can't be agreed on the employer's initiative if the employer has a fixed need for labour. In addition, the lower limit of the working time condition must not be lower than the actual need for labour. If the employer knows that he or she needs the employee regularly, such as for 20 hours per week, the variable working time condition can't be used. The restrictions do not apply if the variable working time is agreed upon at the employee's initiative.
The employment contract or written statement of the main terms and conditions of employment must include information on working time. When using variable working time contracts, employees must be informed in writing of the situations in which the employer needs labour. The employees must also be informed of in what extent the employer needs labour.
At least every 12 months, the employer must review the working time conditions agreed in the employment contract and inform the employee of the date of the review. At the request of the worker or the worker’s representative, the employer must provide a written statement of the outcome of the review and the reasons of the outcome. If the number of hours worked during the period under review and the employer's labour force needs show that the minimum working time agreed in the employment contract could be set at a higher level, the employer shall, within one month of the review, offer the worker an agreement to change the working time arrangements to reflect the outcome of the review. The employee may refuse the change in the working time conditions. If the employer stops offering the job altogether, the employer must, at the employee's request, explain in writing the reasons for the reduction in the work offered. An employee working variable hours is entitled to sick pay if a shift that overlaps with the employee's sick leave has been entered into the work schedule. In addition, an employee is entitled to sick pay if the shift has been otherwise agreed on or it is clear given the circumstances that the employee would have been working if he or she had been healthy.
The employer is obliged to compensate the loss of earnings to the employee if the employer offers, during employee's notice period, less working hours than he or she has worked on average during the last 12 weeks.
An employee, who works on variable working time, can only be scheduled shifts in accordance with the agreed minimum working hours. If the employer wants to plan more shifts to the work schedule, the employer must obtain the employee’s consent before scheduling the shifts.
An employee who works variable hours cannot give permanent consent to take on extra work. Consent may only be given for each occasion separately or for a short period of time at a time.