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Study leave

Employees are entitled to take study leave while remaining in the service of the same employer. Study leave may be taken for a course of education under public regulatory supervision, trade union training specifically stated in the collective agreement, or training for farmers. The entitlement to study leave is based on the Study Leave Act.

Study leave entitlement

You may take up to two years of study leave over a five-year period if your employment relationship with the same employer has lasted at least one year in one or more periods. If the employment relationship has lasted at least three months, you are entitled to a maximum of five days of study leave. You can also take study leave in several periods or divide it in such a way that you are at work on some days and on study leave on other days. Apprenticeship students are not entitled to take study leave.

Applying and financing your studies

You must apply for study leave from your employer. If you need more than five working days of study leave, you must apply in writing at least 45 calendar days before your studies start. You can apply for study leave of up to five working days orally or in writing at least 15 calendar days before your studies start unless you and your employer agree on a different time limit.

Your application must state the timing of the studies and study leave, the form and goal of the education and study, the educational institution or other training provider, whether you need the leave to complete education you started during a previous period of study leave, and, for full-time self-study, an approved study plan.

You are not entitled to a wage or salary while you are on study leave. The Employment Fund pays an adult education allowance, which is intended to support self-motivated education for adults. The collective agreement or a separate agreement between you and your employer may include different provisions on paying wages or salaries during study leave.

Postponing or discontinuing study leave

Your employer may postpone your study leave if granting it in the period stated in your application would substantially harm your employer’s operations. Study leave may be postponed for a maximum of six months at a time or until the start of the next training or educational period if the training or education is arranged less frequently than every six months. Your employer may postpone your study leave no more than two consecutive times if the company regularly has at least five employees.

You may postpone a study period lasting more than five days by notifying your employer unless the postponement would substantially harm your employer. You may apply to postpone your study leave by a maximum of one year at a time, and you must apply in writing. If you do not want to use the study leave granted to you, you must notify your employer at least two weeks before the study leave starts.

You can discontinue study leave and return to work if you have been granted study leave for more than 50 working days. You must notify your employer of the discontinuation in writing at least four weeks before you return to work. If you discontinue your study leave, your employer is not obliged to take you back until they can legally terminate the employment relationship of the person hired as your substitute during your study leave. If your study leave lasts 50 days or less, you cannot discontinue it. 

Your employment relationship during and after study leave

Your employment relationship will continue as normal while you are on study leave, but you will not be entitled to a wage or salary. You will accrue holidays for up to 30 days of study leave in the holiday qualifying year (1.4–31.3) if you return to work as soon as your study leave ends. However, you are entitled to return to your previous position or an equivalent position after your study leave. Your employer cannot dismiss you for applying for or using study leave. However, study leave does not protect you from dismissal if there are legal grounds for it. For example, redundancies agreed upon during change negotiations may also affect employees on study leave.