Pay system in central government 

Basic principles of the pay system 

The pay is the most essential condition in the service relationship. It accounts for the majority of the labour costs and a large part of the operating costs of the government employer. Pay policy serves as a tool for effective management and the pay is aimed at promoting the effectiveness of central government and its operating units and at improving their competitiveness in order to ensure the availability and retention of competent personnel. 

In the government’s pay systems, the monthly pay is mainly determined according to the complexity of the tasks and the personal work performance. This and how well the pay responds to different changes form the basis for a motivating, competitive and fair rewarding system. 

Agency-specific systems 

The pay systems in central government are agency-specific but drawn up according to uniform general principles. They are based on collective agreements specific to each agreement sector. In the pay system, the pay component determined according to the complexity of the tasks is divided into 10 to 20 levels of complexity, depending on the agency. Depending on the system of the agency in question, the personal pay component determined on the basis of work performance and qualifications may be 50% of the task-specific pay component at the most and also has between 5 and 15 performance levels. 

Agency-specific evaluation systems exist for evaluating the complexity of the tasks and the personal work performance. The factors determining the complexity of the tasks typically concern the expertise, interaction and responsibility required in the position. The factors defining work performance typically concern competence, productivity and cooperation. The complexity of the tasks and personal performance are assessed annually in development discussions conducted between the manager and the person concerned. 

A motivating rewarding system 

The two main elements of the government’s pay system, the task-specific and the personal pay component, are both aimed at making the rewarding system motivating. The system encourages personnel to apply for more demanding positions and to improve their work performance and expertise. The system also requires good supervisory skills and leadership. The government’s pay system is applied according to the requirements of effective operation, taking into account the changes in the complexity of the tasks in the changing operating environment and the better performance resulting from the increasing competence level. 

A fairly small part of the central government uses separate performance bonuses which are determined and paid annually. The aim is to start to use them more widely. 

Other pay systems 

Other agency-specific or sector-specific systems are in place for a small proportion of government personnel. A very small number of pay systems in central government also use a component based on experience, which depends on the length of service. Individual salaries defined in euros are also used. 

The most senior civil servants in the agencies and ministries have salaries that have been outlined at the level of the Government. Their pay may include pay factors based on special conditions and compensations for working hours. 

Pay scales 

The pay scales are agency-specific and available at the agencies. They are not published centrally by the Office for the Government as Employer (VTML). 

Further information 

Link to the page on profit-based compensation

Introducing a motivating pay system, publication 1996 (in Finnish)

Contact details

Risto Lerssi
Senior Ministerial Adviser 
Tel. +358 2955 30022
[email protected]