What's new in the ASIA’s employment counseling

02.06.2024 | News, SAVALnews


“ASIA, Employment counseling, Heikki Kähkönen.” Those are the words with which I usually start my workday. Our Employment counselling exists to help members with the issues presented through the more than 2,000 phone calls and same number of email messaglegales received by ASIA each year.

ASIA’s Employment counseling services are a vital membership benefit. The union’s Employment counseling serves members every weekday by phone and email.  We have three labour law experts who can help with issues and problem situations concerning employment.

Employment counselling can provide help in many situations. The most frequently asked questions by members concern the terms and conditions of employment contracts, working hours, annual holidays and family leave. Members often ask questions related to the legality of dismissals or layoffs. Finland’s weak economic situation is also reflected in our daily work in the Employment law unit. Currently, the questions from our members are more focused on the termination of employment. During a period of economic upswing, we spend more time reviewing new employment contracts and their terms and conditions.

Shop stewards often approach us proactively, while union members ask more individual and specific questions.

An increase in issues concerning inappropriate treatment and discrimination

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of questions dealing with inappropriate treatment, discrimination and equality. It is difficult to say whether this indicates that these types of situations are on the rise or whether people simply are more aware and willing to raise these issues.
I hope it is the latter.

Often, we are able to answer a member’s question quickly with one phone call or email message. We endeavour always to respond to email messages by the next weekday at the latest. Sometimes, however, the matter may require a longer period of time to settle if multiple factors must be taken into consideration. In complicated situations, it is worthwhile to submit all the relevant documents, for example, by email. As these documents are often sensitive in nature, we also have a secured email service, the instructions for which can be found on the ASIA webpage at www.asia.fi/en/contact.  When handling a matter with our Employment counselling unit, we recommend that you use your own personal email rather than your employer’s email, particularly if the matter concerns a possible conflict situation with the employer.  For example, in a situation in which there is a threat of dismissal, the employer may, in extreme cases, cut off the employee’s access to work email.

Employment counseling provides personal support

In addition to extensive telephone and email guidance for ASIA members, Employment counseling services include reviewing documents such as employment contracts and employment termination agreements, drafting notices and participating in settlement negotiations with you. Our lawyers always assess needs, sensible measures and timetables on a case-by-case basis.

Our lawyers are ready to offer you advice from your first day of membership. If you are involved in a dispute, Employment counseling provides comprehensive legal services – including document reviews, the drafting of notices and settlement negotiations – as long as the dispute is based on events that have occurred during membership. When transferring from other trade unions, the services of Employment counseling are available to their full extent immediately if the member has belonged to the previous union prior to the event that led to the dispute. If the dispute is not resolved through negotiation, the member has the possibility to seek legal aid from ASIA in order to take their labour law matter to the court for resolution. If legal aid is granted to the member, the work of ASIA’s own lawyers, including court proceedings, will be free of charge to the member. Furthermore, ASIA will pay the following expenses on behalf of its members:

In cases brought to court, ASIA will also cover any possible court-determined costs of the opposing party at all instances, in excess of the deductible, up to the maximum amount.  The deductible is 15 per cent and the maximum is EUR 17,000 per dispute.

The prerequisite for legal aid is that the member seeking assistance has been a member of ASIA for at least six months prior to the event leading to the dispute. This waiting period does not apply when the member has transferred to membership in ASIA directly from another trade union if they were a member of the previous union for at least six months prior to the event leading to the dispute. Other prerequisites are that the individual’s membership is valid for the entire assignment and the membership fees have been paid. The case is not of small interest and the dispute is not minor. The member has not, prior to or during the process, refused a settlement recommended by ASIA. The demands must be in line with Finland’s legal order and demonstrable. The legal forum must be in Finland and the law applicable to the dispute must be Finnish law.

ASIA can also make a decision on the granting of legal aid in other situations, in which case there may be a deductible and/or a maximum amount for the member’s own court costs, and there may be a higher deductible and/or lower limit for the reimbursement of the costs of the opposing party.

The majority of the dispute situations handled by Employment counseling are settled, even though the settlement generally calls for compromise.

Many phone calls to Employment counseling begin with the statement: “I don’t know if I called the right place.” Employment counseling is the right place to contact for all matters related to employment. If we can’t provide you the advice you need, we will at least be able to guide you in the right direction.

We encourage you to call us without delay if you want to know more about where you stand – that's what Employment counseling is here for.

The article has been published on ASIA magazine 2/2024. Text: Heikki Kähkönen

Employment counseling contact

ASIA lawyers help you with the legal matters of work life:
Mon-Fri, 8:30 a.m.–12 noon
Tel. +358 9 2510 1350
Email: tyosuhdeneuvonta@asia.fi

Read more about ASIA membership benefits

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