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Board-level Representation

Workers in companies with more than 150 employees have the right to participate in management decisions. The mechanism for doing so can be agreed between the company and the employee representatives. However, if there is no agreement, it is up to the company to decide the level at which employee are represented: in a single-tier board, in a supervisory board or at operating level.

In companies with 150 or more workers in Finland, employees have the right through their representatives to participate in the company’s key decisions.

 

The mechanism for doing this can be agreed through the cooperation procedure, although at least two of the employee groups (manual, non-manual and more senior staff) must agree and together they must represent a majority of employees for the agreement to be valid.

 

If there is no agreement with the company and provided at least two employee groups representing a majority of employees in the company ask for it, the statutory provisions for employee representation in decision-making apply. These give the right to the employees to nominate their representatives onto decision-making bodies. However, it is the company that decides whether these representatives participate at the level of the board of directors, in a specially set-up supervisory board or at management level for the company’s operating units.

 

Under the statutory provisions, there must be between one and four employee representatives, who must be employees of the company and they may make up one fifth of the body on which they sit (be equivalent to a quarter of the other members). They are chosen by the employee groups, with an election if the groups cannot agree. They have the same rights as other members of the board, or other body, although they cannot participate in decisions on industrial disputes, pay and conditions or the recruitment and dismissal of senior managers.

At any time the statutory provisions can be replaced by an agreement with the company, provide the conditions set out above apply.

L. Fulton (2015) Worker representation in Europe. Labour Research Department and ETUI. Produced with the assistance of the SEEurope Network, online publication available at http://www.worker-participation.eu/National-Industrial-Relations.