I believe, that no one will dispute the fact that the Act has increased the administrative burden imposed on businesses. Every euro is carefully thought-out in contracts and behind each contractual term is a price tag – even terms that are in accordance with the Act, especially if the immediate termination of the contract has been agreed under the Act if documentation is not submitted prior to signing the contract or the submitted documentation is incomplete.
Investigations take time (especially with foreign partners) and a number of concrete issues relating to service delivery should be worked out before signing the contract (often done under time pressure). Important points from the contractor’s point of view, such as the content of the service, and payment and delivery terms, should also be established. Figuring out, for example, the payment of pensions is probably not the first thing that comes to mind in such situations.
The Act’s existence may also be deliberately overlooked if it is perceived as difficult to apply and implement. Moreover, it is clear that the Act is still unknown in some areas. This is reflected in the Regional State Administrative Agency’s 2015 compliance report.
Contractors are also uncertain about what kind of foreign certificates are acceptable or what to do if the required information cannot be obtained from that country. The most challenging requirement in the latest amendments to the Act relates to obtaining reports on the organisation of occupational health care services.
Sure, there is always something good too. The Act has contributed to the fight against the black economy, as companies’ backgrounds are actively investigated and, for example, in the construction industry, use of the tilaajavastuu.fi service is commonplace. Investigations can give contractors an indication of whether problems in service delivery can be expected. Investigations show how the company operates in society in general and whether it performs its social responsibilities as an employer.
I admit that I too have questioned the effectiveness of the Act more than once during discussions with various entities and clients. However, since this is a mandatory law, we cannot bury our heads in the sand. Would it therefore be better from the contractor’s point of view to conduct these investigations from a risk management perspective during the procurement process rather than as a ‘last evil’ that must be carried out? It is for each contractor to decide whether contractor’s liability is a risk or an opportunity.