Film crews in Finland are among the most competent and professional in the world. Here we cover hours, wages, per diems, expected language skills and working permits.
The idea of filming in the Arctic can be daunting. There are extreme weather and epic unpopulated landscapes. But Finnish Lapland has some of the hardest working film crew on Earth, and their dedication and northern expertise are at your disposal.
Crew Hours and Wages
2023 update: the following represents the production’s responsibility to contracted Finnish union and non-union film crews working in Finland. Not all provisions may apply when using non-union non-Finnish film crews or freelancers.
The normal working time is 8 hours a day, 5 days a week (40 hours), Monday through Friday. The first two extra hours (9th and 10th) are paid time and a half. Any additional hours after 10 are paid double. 10-hour days are considered the most common here. An easy way to calculate a 10-hour daily salary is to add 37.5% to the daily salary.
Lunch breaks are mandatory for 6+ hour workdays. The break for lunch should be 30 minutes minimum and 1-hour maximum, on top of work time. Employees are also entitled to two 10-minute coffee breaks.
11 hours per day and 35 hours per week are the minimum number of hours to be allotted for rest. However, you can make arrangements to work in more flexible periods if necessary.
The pay grades for monthly salaries are determined by the demands and responsibilities of the job. This must be discussed and agreed upon by the employer and employee together.
Employers must also pay additional costs on top of the salary, including pension and health insurance contributions. Holiday compensation pay in the collective agreement is 13.5%. According to law, the minimum is 9%. Additional costs are altogether about 35% on top of the salary. For 2023, in addition to salary increases of 3%, 498€ will be paid in a one-off installment, or the daily wage table will increase +1% for employment under 21 days.
The following rates represent the average wage recommendations in Finland, as drafty by the unions. They are categorized into four grades by responsibility:
Pay Grade I: Production assisting (low responsibility, e.g. runner, lighting assistant etc.)
Pay Grade II: Practical professional work (camera assistant, electrician etc.)
Pay Grade III: Artistic and professional work (gaffer, key grip etc.)
Pay Grade IV: Responsible artistic, technical or design work (director, DoP, editor etc.)
Salaries for Film Production (2023, in euros)
|Pay Grade||2-10 days||11-24 days||25+ days||Monthly|
|I||137.39||126.11||116.09||2023.32 – 2393.95|
|II||241.36||206.30||177.48||2740.61 – 3484.43|
|III||288.96||220.09||191.25||3362.25 – 4172.56|
|IV||339.10||263.39||238.87||3893.55 – 5039.65|
Salaries for Television Productions (2023, in euros)
|I||118.40 – 141.48||2035.32 – 2393.95|
|II||167.16 – 235.25||2740.61 – 3484.43|
|III||195.07 – 313.38||3362.25 – 4172.56|
|IV||238.60 – 335.71||3893.55 – 5039.65|
Kilometer and per diem allowances
Lapland is big, and film crews rarely live in the middle of the forest. As such, employers should pay allowances to their employees to cover temporary business travel expenses, according to the Finnish Tax Administration. These expenses are affected by the length and destination of the trip. In Finland, an employer is entitled to pay their employees tax-free per diems if traveling more than 15 kilometers from the employee’s home or the main place of employment. However, the main place of work can be the main filming location if the production lasts several days.
Per diem allowances for 2023 in Finland
- Partial per diem: €22 (trips longer than 6 hours)
- Full per diem: €48 (trips longer than 10 hours)
- Meal money: €10.75
Tax-free meal money is paid to employees who do not receive per diem travel expenses on business trips.
The purpose of per diems is to reimburse the employee for higher-than-normal meal costs. Free meals or meals provided by the employer affect the per diem amount.
If your employee drives their own car on a temporary business trip, then the employer may pay a tax-free kilometer allowance. In 2023, the minimum allowance is 53 euro cents per kilometer (85.02 cents per mile).
Sisu and lingua franca
Finns have this concept called sisu. It roughly translates to determination. As a point of pride, Finnish professionals work diligently on their projects until their tasks are complete. It doesn’t matter if it’s a two-man camera team or a crew of hundreds. When you hire a Finnish film crew, you get sisu as a bonus.
Children in Finland begin studying English and other foreign languages in primary school and continue throughout their scholastic careers. Finnish crews usually speak fluent English, as well as a second foreign language such as Swedish, French or German.
Contact us to get in touch with hard-working multilingual freelancers across Lapland.
Citizenship is the determining factor for the right to work in Finland. It is the employer’s obligation to ensure that foreign citizens working in Finland have the required worker’s residence permit, or that the foreign worker does not require a permit.
Citizens of the EU/ETA do not need a worker’s residence permit to work in Finland. Citizens coming from countries outside the EEA usually require a worker’s residence permit.
As always, if you have any questions about wages, languages, working permits or something not covered here, feel free to contact us. Our services are free, and we’re here to help.