Refresher training exercises

Refresher training exercises sustain the capability of wartime troops and the national defence skills of reservists.

A person liable for military service who is part of the reserve can be ordered to attend a refresher training exercise. The refresher training exercises are legally based on the Conscription Act and thereby as compulsory as the conscript service.

You will be sent the order to attend a given refresher training exercise at least three months before the training exercise is due to begin. An exception to this three-month limit can be granted on your permission.

Once you have received an order to attend a refresher training exercise or a voluntary training exercise, you must follow the instructions as listed in the letter. Please fill out the Part B of the refresher training exercise order and send it in the mail to the Regional Office from which you received the order.

Refresher training exercises are the right of a person liable for military service

  • You have the right to be given leave from work in order to attend a refresher training exercise. You have to notify your employer of the exercise at least two (2) moths before the given exercise is due to begin. You remain legally protected against arbitrary dismissal.
  • If unemployed, you need to notify of the refresher training exercise the issuer of the unemployment allowance at Employment and Economic Development Office.
  • The refresher training exercise order tells you where you can obtain additional information on the training exercise. You must attend the exercise unless you have been granted an exemption from participating in the exercises by the Regional Office.

 

In case the security situation in Finland so requires, by decision of the President of the Republic, reservists can be ordered to attend a refresher training exercise at a shorter notice than three months. This enables raising military readiness when necessary. In this case, the order to attend a refresher training exercise will be issued for each individual reservist for the duration of 30 days at a time.

You may be ordered to attend training exercise while you are part of the reserve

  • Reserve officers, warrant officers and non-commissioned officers for 200 days
  • Those trained for demanding rank and file tasks for 150 days
  • Other rank and file for 80 days

Reservists’ benefits

During the refresher training exercise you are entitled to meals, accommodation and equipment as well as health services and medication free of charge. Also your travel expenses for arriving in and departing from the exercise will be covered with compensation that is equivalent to the most inexpensive mode of public transportation.

The brigade-level unit’s social welfare officer will offer aid in matters relating to legal rights and social security free of charge, and you can contact the social welfare officer already before the start of the refresher training exercise. Any injury incidents that have occurred during an exercise will be compensated.

Reservist salary and daily allowance

The Finnish Defence Forces will pay you a reservist salary and daily allowance for the duration of the refresher training exercise. The reservist salary will be automatically taxed and does not need to be separately reported. You will receive a pay slip stating your reservist salary to present to the employer.

The reservist salary for

  • Reserve officers and officer specialists 65.85 Euros per day
  • Non-commissioned officers 62.80 Euros per day
  • Rank and file 60.10 Euros per day

In addition, everyone will receive a daily allowance 5.10 Euros per day tax free. Women will also receive an equipment allowance 0.50 Euros per day.

Those invited to a voluntary exercise are entitled to all the benefits listed above excluding the reservist salary.

The benefits will be paid at least once a month on the bank account of those partaking in a refresher training exercise or a voluntary exercise.

Refresher training exercise and work

The objective is to send the refresher training order approximately half a year before an exercise is scheduled to start so that you would have time to tend to matters relating to civilian life.

Prior to the exercise start, you need to contact your employer or unemployment allowance payer. The refresher training exercise equals grounds for being absent from work for as long as the employer has been notified of the exercise over two months before the exercise. A person attending a refresher training exercise cannot be made redundant from work or public-service posts. Additional information will be available at https://tem.fi/en/employment-security-during-military-or-non-military-service.

For the duration of the refresher training exercise you may also be entitled for a full or partial pay, depending on your field’s Collective Bargaining Contract. It pays off to confirm this matter already before the exercise by your employer or by your trade union. An unemployed person will not have a waiting period in the unemployment allowance payments because of the exercise.

When ordered to attend a refresher training exercise, you are entitled with your family to apply for social assistance support at Kela and your municipality’s social services.

If you need extra financial support, you can apply for military allowance, which means that you will get housing allowance and compensation for interest on studying loans. Additional information on the military allowance will be available at https://www.kela.fi/web/en/conscripts.

Leave and exemption

For a justified and documented reason you can be granted leave. If the limitation to attend an exercise is temporary, you should apply for leave instead of exemption. You can apply for leave from the training exercise commander whose contact information will be provided as part of the exercise order or invitation.

You can be exempted from a refresher training exercise, for example, for

  • Health reasons
  • Reasons relating to work and studies
  • Personal reasons
  • Living permanently abroad

You cannot refrain from attending the exercise if you have not been granted exemption in writing. You must apply for exemption in writing at the Regional Office that sent the order.

Please fill out the form "Vapautushakemus kertausharjoituksesta" (Exemption from a refresher training exercise)

Health reasons

If you sustain injuries or contract an illness that prevents you from carrying the planned service tasks in a refresher training exercise, you must submit a written medical certificate indicating this to the Regional Office that sent the order. This certificate needs to specify the severity of the injury or illness as well as how it limits your fitness for military service.

Work

If your employer faces considerable operational limitations because of your participation in a refresher training exercise, the Regional Office may grant you exemption. In such a case, your employer needs to provide an account of proof of the necessity for being unable to compensate for the loss of your work contribution during the exercise and why this limitation is deemed to be considerable. You must apply for being exempt and attach the account of proof by your employer as part of your application.

The account must detail

  • Your task description and position in the organisation
  • The duties that will remain your responsibility during the exercise
  • The company’s size and annual financial year results
  • The impact of your absence on the company’s results or activities
  • Why the company is unable to compensate for your contribution by a deputy system
  • Your possible key personnel status: when granted and on which grounds
  • The procedures that the employer has undertaken so far in order to enable your participation in the refresher training exercise

The reservists who work as entrepreneurs must be able to give grounds for the considerable limitation that participating in the refresher training exercise would pose on their work. This application needs to account for, for example, the types of agreements with third parties that would be hampered. Farmers and reindeer herding entrepreneurs have to include in their application a statement from the municipal agricultural secretary or equivalent indicating the number of workers on a farm and the possibilities to arrange for a substitute on the farm for the duration of the refresher training exercise.

Studying

In case you are undertaking studies, you need to contact your educational institution well in advance and sort out the matters relating to the refresher training exercise. If you are unable to partake in the exercise, you must submit an account on this to the Regional Office. Those only about to begin their studies have to provide documentation that they have been admitted to an educational institution as a student and that during the time of the exercise they must be personally present in the educational institution.

If you apply for exemption on the grounds of study progress or completion, the educational institution must provide a statement indicating why you must continue studying or finish your thesis during the time of the exercise. You have to personally apply for exemption and attach an account of your studies as part of this application.

Family reasons and other personal reasons

The reasons for being exempt from a refresher training exercise may include, for instance, the birth of a child, becoming widowed, being a single parent to a child, having a family member sustain a documented severe illness, or functioning as a caretaker of a family member. In addition, one’s own wedding, the funeral of a family member, or participation in a recognized international competition representing Finland, can qualify as exemption grounds. In case you take care of a child or a family member at home and are entitled to homecare allowance, please include either a certificate of this issued by the municipal social service authorities or a copy of the allowance decision as part of your application.

If you have paid for a vacation trip before receiving the exercise order, and it is verifiably impossible to change the date of the trip, this may qualify as grounds for being exempt from a refresher training exercise.

Living abroad

If you live permanently abroad and the authority issuing the refresher training order had no knowledge about this at the time, you must submit to the Regional Office that sent the order a written certificate indicating your residence abroad as quickly as possible after you received the order.

The certificate must indicate

  • When you started living overseas
  • How long you continue to live abroad
  • What your permanent home address is abroad
  • On which grounds your living abroad qualifies as permanent.