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työ- ja elinkeinoministeriö

Protection of privacy at work and working with children

Data protection in working life

Employers can gather personal information on their employees for their own needs. However, the protection of privacy extends to the right, in all cases where possible, of a jobseeker or employee to know and decide on the content of their personal data and how it is handled and processed, as well as the right to be assessed on the basis of accurate personal information.


The Act on the Protection of Privacy in Working Life lays down provisions on such matters as the processing of personal data, the processing of information on drug use, camera surveillance in the workplace, and retrieving email messages that belong to the employer.


There are also general provisions on data protection contained in the Personal Data Act and the Information Society Code which apply in professional life, in addition to those contained in this special law. The authorities overseeing compliance with the Act on the Protection of Privacy in Working Life are the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) authorities and the office of the Data Protection Ombudsman.


Data Protection in Working Life, brochure text, 2008Study on the Protection of Privacy at Work, 2008 (abstract)


Working with children


The Act on Checking the Criminal Background of Persons working with Children is an attempt to reduce the risk of children being sexually exploited, becoming victims of violence, or being tempted into using drugs.

The procedure of checking criminal background applies when someone is recruited for a job in which a nature of work provide a change for close interaction with children. A private person can obtain a criminal record extract on him/herself from the Finnish Criminal Records Register provided against a fee based on the actual costs arising from the provision of the extract if he or she is to be selected to work with children.


Act on Checking the Criminal Background of Persons working with Children, brochure, 2013

Study on the Functioning and Development Needs of Legislation on checking the Criminal Background of Persons working with Children, 2013 (abstract)


Page last updated: 18.04.2016

Further information

Protection of privacy at work,

guidance and supervision:

Occupational Safety and Health Admininstration (Osha), in English/Eesti keeles/По-русски


Privacy at work:

Susanna Siitonen,

tel. +358 29 504 8932

Checking the criminal background:

Sami Teräväinen,

tel. +358 29 506 0088

Call charges