A partnership with a local accounting firm can bring major benefits to international companies operating at Olkiluoto
Provisions for the control and minimum terms of employment of posted workers are laid down in the directives of the European Parliament and Council and the Finnish Act on Posted Workers. The same minimum terms of employment are mainly applied to posted workers and those who are performing corresponding tasks in Finland. When the employment contract of a posted worker is governed by the laws of some other country, certain provisions and regulations of Finnish law have to be applied to the worker, in so far as they are more favourable for the worker than the provisions otherwise to be applied. The minimum terms of employment are controlled by the Occupational Safety and Health authorities. At the Olkiluoto site, the matter has not only been given special priority by the project owner but by the subcontractors’ representatives as well.
Pursuant to the Regulations that entered into force on 1 January 2006, the company posting the worker to Finland must select a representative for the worker, in so far as the duration of the posting lasts more than 14 days and the posting company does not have a permanent business location in Finland. The representative shall be selected no later than the date when the posted worker starts working, and the authorisation shall be valid for a minimum of 12 months after the date at which the posted worker ceases working in Finland.
At the Olkiluoto site, the party who orders or commissions the work shall, through their contracts with the posting company or by other means at their disposal, ensure that the company who is posting the worker selects the representative referred to above. This has been reflected in the operation of the main contractors in performing their respective obligations. After the first priority of selecting the local representative has been completed, the registration obligations towards the Finnish Tax Administration and other official instances can be performed, and this process will be closely supervised.
The representative who is selected for the posted workers must have a permanent business location in Finland. The representative will serve as the official representative of the foreign company towards the authorities and has the liability to keep records of the information on the posted workers and their employers as required by law. In addition, the representative shall be authorised to act for the company who is posting the worker in a court of law and to receive, on behalf of this company, writs of summons and other documents issued by the authorities.
A local financial administration company that takes care of the registration, accounting and payroll administration of the company, in addition to flexibly performing other tasks as necessary, is worth its weight in gold. A profound knowledge of the local business world, operating environment and the way of transacting with authorities is indispensable. In addition to a familiarity with the practices of the tax administration and the occupational health and safety administration, knowledge of the practices and operation of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela), Finnish Customs, the insurance world and, in particular, the Olkiluoto site and Areva, along with the subcontractors working there, is required. The accounting company is fully conversant with the responsibilities of the representative of the posted workers and is able to efficiently fulfil them.
The local representative must have, in its possession, written material concerning the posted workers. Such material includes the details of the posted worker, information on the applicable working conditions and copies of the workers’ residence/work permits, as well as time sheets, employment contracts, and details concerning the payment of wages.
AsAs the Act is intended to improve the ability of the authorities to prevent undeclared work with a view to ensuring compliance with the minimum terms and conditions of employment and equal treatment of posted workers, the provider of the accounting and payroll administration services is also the best possible representative in this regard.