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Estonian Supreme Court: Equal wages for Estonians in Finland

A Supreme Court ruling is Estonia is likely to raise wages for Estonians working on assignment in Finland and narrow the competitive edge that many Estonian companies have enjoyed in the Finnish market.

Rakennusmies käsittelee putkea
Image: Yle/ Juha-Pekka Inkinen

The Supreme Court of Estonia has ruled that Estonian workers sent by employers to work in Finland must be paid according to Finnish contract terms.

If there is no wage agreement in place in Finland covering the specific field of an employee, the court said that he or she must be paid a "reasonable" basic wage.

The ruling is the result of a legal action brought against WKSM Groupp Ltd by two of its former employees. The two worked as employees of the company in Finland in 2010 and 2011 and were paid an hourly rate of 8 euros. The company terminated their employment, paid them less than standard Finnish wages and refused to pay them for overtime work.

The court said that the two, who were sent on assignment to work in Finland, should have been paid according to the terms of employment in their field in force in Finland, that is between 10.30 and 11.30 euros an hour.

The court’s decision is now expected to have a major impact on pay for Estonians working in Finland. It will also narrow the competitive advantage that Estonian companies have had in Finish markets, since in practice they will have to pay higher wages.

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