Finland - Labor

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The labor force numbered 2.6 million in 2000. Of these workers, 32% were engaged in public services, 22% in industry, 14% in commerce, 10% in finance, insurance, and business service, 8% in agriculture and forestry, 8% in transport and communications, and 6% in construction. From the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, the rate of unemployment fluctuated between 1.5% and 4% of the total workforce. Since then, however, the unemployment rate has crept upward, reaching 8.5% in 2002.

The law provides for the right to form and join unions.. As of 2002, about 79% of workers were members of trade unions and employers' collective bargaining management associations. These unions are not regulated by the government or political parties. Labor relations are generally regulated by collective agreements, usually one or two years in duration. Disputes over their terms are heard by a labor court, the verdict of which is final. Although mediation of labor disputes is provided for by law, work stoppages have occurred.

Child labor regulations are strictly enforced by the labor ministry. The law does not mandate minimum wages as it is established by industry in collective bargaining negotiations. The workweek is legally set at 40 hours with five days of work. Health and safety standards are effectively enforced.

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