The universally binding collective agreement has expired – what now?

19.1.2022 Written by GMoF

The collective agreement in the IT sector expired at the end of last November. The collective agreement was universally binding, meaning that it applied to all IT service sector companies and, where applicable, to some game companies. At the beginning of January 2022, a new nationwide standard binding collective agreement was negotiated for the industry. It is binding on those companies that are members of the Technology Industry Employers of Finland, which was founded in the autumn of 2021.

The universally binding collective agreement has served as the basis for the terms and conditions of employment in several game companies, and compliance with the agreement may be mentioned in the employment contract. The collective agreement defines, among other things, paid parental leave, sick pay, holiday pay, compensation for overtime and travel expenses, and general salary increases that are not, for example, specifically defined by law.

It is good to remember and realize that the purpose of a collective agreement is to safeguard equal status and to safeguard the interests and rights of the various parties. It is therefore an important employment cooperation agreement for both employees and employers. A collective agreement is always sectoral, taking into account the terms and conditions of employment that have been negotiated between the employees and the employers' representatives.

Does the employee lose the benefits of the previous collective agreement? The situation is tricky and the employee has to check the collective agreement entry in his or her employment contract. If it states that the employment relationship complies with the collective agreement in the field of IT service sector, the after-effect of the agreement is protected and certain practices may be considered to have become established practices (eg holiday pay). If it states that a collective agreement is binding on the employer at any given time, the situation is more difficult and it is worth clarifying it immediately with the employer.

In the above situations or if there is no mention of compliance with the collective agreement in the employment contract, but its terms have been complied with in some respects in the employment relationship, it is advisable to find out, agree and ensure the validity of these matters in the future. A workplace employee representative, ie a shop steward, a trustee or, for example, a health and safety representative, can be the first step in handling a matter. Game Makers of Finland also supports and helps to promote the matter.

Read the blog on making your own framework agreement for the gaming industry >> 

What is a collective agreement?
A collective agreement, or TES, is an agreement that sets minimum conditions. working hours, holidays, wages, overtime pay, parental leave and summer holiday pay. In companies that comply with a collective agreement, it is always possible to agree on things better than the TES regulations, but never less.

What is a universally binding collective agreement?
A universally binding collective agreement is one that must be complied with regardless of whether the company is a member of an employers' association. It is binding on all employers in the sector and applies to all workers in the sector. Collective agreement can become universally binding depending on how well the sector´s workers and employer are organized.

What is a standard binding collective agreement?
The standard binding collective agreement applies only to those parties whose employer is a member of the contracting employers' association, ie is a member of it. A standard collective agreement applies to all employees in a company, regardless of whether the employee is a member of a trade union.

What is a company-specific collective agreement?
Company-specific collective agreement only applies to a specific company. The collective agreement is usually negotiated with a potential employers' association and a company representative and only obliges that company to comply with its terms and conditions for all employees of the company.