Know your Rights

Taking on a Second Job When Working at the University Before the 2010 university reform, the universities’ employees were mostly civil servants and governed by the Civil Servants Act.

However, after 2010, the law applied to the university employees has been the Employment Contracts Act. By law, civil servants were required to ask their employer a permission in order to take on a second job. The Employment Contracts Act, however, requires of the employees no such thing. The university employees (or other employees under the Employment Contracts Act) are not required to ask for a permission nor are even obligated to notify their employer about their possible second job. The Employment Contracts Act only stipulates that an employee may not compete with the employer; ”Employees shall not do work for another party or engage in such activity that would, taking the nature of the work and the individual employee's position into account, cause manifest harm to their employer as a competing activity contrary to fair employment practices.” Naturally, employees must make sure they have sufficient time to fullfil their current work duties as well as the extra ones. The second job may not interfere with the first one in any way.

There still seems to be some confusion at the universities about the employees’ rights to take on a second job. For example some supervisors seem to be caught somewhat in the past and remember only that previously employees were required to get a permission if they chose to take on a second job even though that no longer is the case. It is the task of the universities to educate the supervisors about the changes the change of laws has provided.

Most of the teaching and research staff are working in the 1624 hour system, where the working time is very flexible. Taking on a second job, provided that they find enough time per day, week or month to work both their employments properly, is something they may well consider. Naturally all teaching, laboratory work etc. duties that require mandatory precense at the work place must be considered when allocating time to the employment relationships.

I have sometimes been asked whether it is possible to take on even another fulltime employment by a second employer. Eventhough in some cases that might even be possible, it is not very recommendable, since the employee must also ensure their recovery from work so they will not exhaust themselves and burn out. It is difficult to say what amount of extra work an employee can take on as a second job and manage all duties well, but usually if the percentage is lower than 30-50%, one should objectively be able to handle the extra work during their ”free time” such as after regular working hours or during the weekends.

text Mia Weckman
lawyer, The Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers

Painetussa lehdessä sivu 53