Ending a civil service employment contract – that is an employment contract governed by legi specialii, namely the Civil Service Act and the Act on Municipical Civil Servants – must be ended as per the aforementioned acts, for the Employment Contract Act does not apply. Nevertheless, the requirements to dismiss a person are similar in both acts.
Dismissing a Civil Servant
A public authority may dismiss a civil servant on the grounds related to the servant’s personal attributes and conduct. An illness or disability are not usually grounds to dismiss someone unless they integrally and permanently reduce the civil servant’s ability to carry out their duties and such reasons also institute a right to gain disability pension. The requirements to dismiss a person due to illness are set higher in the Civil Service Act than they are in the Employment Contract Act or the Act on Municipal Civil Servants. A civil servant cannot be dismissed on the grounds of their political or religious views or due to them having participated in a labor strike.
A municipal civil servant may be dismissed on the grounds of proper and weighty reasons relating to the servant’s personal attributes and conduct. Such reasons include misconduct or neglecting legal or contractual duties as well as major changes in the conditions necessary for working related to the employee’s person that render the employee unable to cope with their working duties anymore so that it is not reasonable to demand the employer to uphold the service contract. Matters such as religious views can never be used as grounds to dismiss a civil servant.
To dismiss a civil servant on the grounds of their personal attributes and conduct a warning must nearly always be issued first before making the dismissal decision. Also, the civil servant must be heard before any further steps. A civil servant may also be dismissed on the grounds of redundancy, that is if the civil service duties no longer exist or if there is insufficient work to provide and these changes are not merely temporary and they are wide in scope. The protections against unfair dismissal cannot be circumvented by means of the employer employing a new civil servant to the same duties as the dismissed one or if the rearrangement of work has not caused factual reduction of work. When a civil service contract is terminated the duties end after the notice period has passed.
Should the civil servant be dismissed unfairly the service contract is upheld without interruptions. This is a major and essential difference between civil service jobs and regular employment contracts, for the employee under an employment contract is not entitled to have their job back. The employee is entitled to receive compensation for unfair dismissal only.
Canceling a Civil Service Contract
In cases of serious or gross misconduct the civil service contract may be canceled, thus the dismissal is effective immediately without a notice period. The misconduct or negligence must be gross. The employer’s right to cancel the contract lapses after two weeks since the employer has become aware of the misconduct if no action has been taken.
It is possible to include a probationary period in the civil service contract. During this period the contract may be canceled by both the civil servant and the employer without a notice period. A limitation is that cancellation must not be unfair or discriminatory.
English translation by Lasse Jelekäinen