Regulatory changes needed to improve the status of wild berry pickers from abroad


A study by Pellervo Economic Research and the University of Vaasa evaluated the economic impacts that two different regulatory options would have on foreigners picking wild berries, wild berry companies and public finances in Finland. The options are that pickers coming to Finland would either have a contractual employment relationship based on seasonal work or that they would work independently as self-employed persons.

According to the report, amending the legal provisions on the wild berry sector is justified in order to minimise the shortcomings in the sector. Seasonal work based on an employment contract appears a more realistic option than self-employment.

A contractual employment relationship would provide pickers with the benefits of such a relationship and the security of a minimum wage. Contractual employment relationships and the related obligations of employers would lead to higher costs for berry companies.

A working group of the Ministry has produced an additional impact assessment of the options to support decision-making. The working group emphasises that in future the pickers’ entry into Finland should be based on either a contractual employment relationship or self-employment. Consequently, picking could not be equated with tourism in the future. In addition to legislative amendments, both increased responsibility of the sector and cooperation between the authorities are required to solve the problems in the sector. 

The report will support political decision-making on the alternative models. The Government will decide on further preparation later. The changes are intended to take effect for the harvest season of 2025.

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Seasonal work

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Report: Regulatory changes needed to improve the status of wild berry pickers from abroad (