Country Listing

Finland Table of Contents


Conditions of Service

The incomes of career military personnel were considered adequate, although not generous, in terms of the high standard of living in Finnish society generally. Officer and NCO salary scales combined with their allowances were intended to be equivalent to salaries in the civil service, which were regarded as somewhat lower than the remuneration for equivalent forms of employment in the private sector. As of 1986, the salary of a colonel was about Fmk13,000 monthly and that of a major general was about Fmk15,700 (for value of the Finnish mark--see Glossary). Family allowances, allowances for service under hardship conditions (e.g., during field exercises in the far north, on offshore islands, and at remote coast artillery sites), and special allowances (for certain categories of duty, such as those of aircraft pilots and naval personnel on sea duty) were also paid. The normal work week was forty hours; personnel through the rank of captain received overtime pay when on duty for longer periods. There was no extensive post exchange or commissary system. Most career military were privately housed; those assigned to base housing were charged a moderate rent.

Officers attaining at least the rank of major were eligible for full retirement twenty-five years after graduating from the Military Academy. Promotion through the rank of captain was virtually automatic. Those who had attended the Military Academy could expect to attain at least the rank of major and probably that of lieutenant colonel, but subsequent promotional opportunities then narrowed sharply. As of 1986, there were 672 career majors and lieutenant commanders, 250 lieutenant colonels and commanders, and 88 colonels and naval captains. There were only fourteen major generals and rear admirals and eight lieutenant generals and vice admirals.

Some captains chose to retire after twenty years of career service when their partial pensions were (in 1986) between Fmk6,800 and Fmk7,800 monthly. One personnel problem caused by modest pay was the loss of military pilots to commercial airlines. An experienced pilot with the rank of captain could expect a total income of about Fmk14,000 monthly as of 1988. By resigning to fly for Finnair, he could raise his monthly income to about Fmk20,000.

Conscripts received no pay, but they were paid a modest daily expense allowance, a source of some dissatisfaction. It had, however, been progressively increased from Fmk6.75 in 1981 to Fmk17 in December 1987. Many conscripts complained that they had been forced to fall back on their personal savings during their eight to eleven months of active service. Conscripts were, however, entitled to educational loans at the conclusion of their service, as well as mustering-out bonuses and other benefits, including up to ten paid trips home on leave. They were guaranteed reemployment at the jobs they had held when they entered active duty.

Data as of December 1988