Regional Offices serving persons liable for military service
When receiving an order for participation in a refresher training exercise
A letter from the Finnish Defence Forces (FDF) concerning either a refresher training exercise or a voluntary training exercise always requires reservists’ own measures. The FDF’s Regional Offices will offer aid and help in any problem situations.
The Regional Offices’ personnel will gladly aid you in all your questions concerning the reservists’ exercises. In matters relating to refresher training exercise orders and voluntary training exercise invitations, it is advisable to contact directly the particular Regional Office which has sent the letter in question. You may call us, send us email, or visit us in person at the Regional Office. The contact information of the FDF’s Regional Offices will be available online at the FDF’s site on the subsection for communications About Us. The FDF’s Regional Office also serves you on Facebook, and you may use its private message function to address your questions.
Please remember: neither the refresher training exercise order nor the voluntary training exercise invitation will be part of the social media, so please never share any photos or information related to these online. It is possible to follow the exercises online at maavoimat.fi/harjoitukset as well as in social media, facebook.com/maavoimat and twitter.com/maavoimat.
If significant changes end up taking place in your life concerning, for instance, your state of health, please notify your Regional Office on the changes also while between exercises. This ensures that the FDF maintains updated information on its reservists.
Refresher training exercise orders obligate
The FDF’s 12 Regional Offices are responsible for issuing the orders to reservists for participation in exercises. A refresher training exercise order literally carries an obligation to participate in the given exercise in accordance with the Conscription Act.
In conjunction with the order, the reservists also receive basic information on the exercise and instructions for further measures. The letter needs to be carefully read through. A reservist is obligated to inform the Regional Office that sent the order that he/she is arriving in the exercise. Therefore each reservist must respond to the letter received. The reservist fills out, signs, and then returns by post addressed to the Regional Office the return part of the letter, the postage of which has already been prepaid.
Attached to the order will be the travel tickets for public transportation needed for arrival in the exercise location. The order details where and when you are to report for duty. You may arrive by car as well but the reimbursement will only be made following the fees of public transportation.
In case a reservist is unable to participate in an exercise, he/she must apply for being exempt from the exercise and do so by submitting a written from to the Regional Office that sent the order. This written form must carry the grounds for being exempt and explicate the reasons that prevent participation in the exercise from the reservist’s viewpoint. If participation in the exercise is prevented by health reasons, the exemption application must include a medical certificate on the applicant’s state of health. If, for instance, an employer views that participation in the exercise results in unreasonable interference in running the company, the employer needs to draft a written statement on this interference that the reservist who received the order then submits to the Regional Office. When necessary, the Regional Office requests for additional assessments to make the decision as to whether or not to approve the exemption application. Other reasons for exemption may include, among others, grounds related to work, studying, family matters, or living permanently abroad. The applications for being exempt along with their reasons and attachments must arrive in the Regional Office no later than two weeks prior to the given exercise.
It is useful to keep in mind that, in accordance with the Conscription Act, the refresher training order always obligates its recipient, which means that if a reservist fails to show up in a given exercise (and has not been granted either exemption or annulment of a refresher training exercise order), the act will be punishable in accordance with the Finnish Penal Code. Therefore it pays off to be actively in contact with the Regional Office in any uncertainties concerning the refresher training exercise or the refresher training exercise order.
Participating in a refresher training exercise never affects your work contract. Rather, a reservist has the right to be on leave from work for the purpose of attending an exercise. Furthermore, reservists are protected against arbitrary dismissal. This means that you cannot face redundancy or your employment contract cannot be discontinued because of an exercise. The annual leave day quota from work also remains unaffected by a refresher training exercise. Additional information on the rights and benefits of those liable for military service as well as other relevant instructions will be available online on our website.
Participation in voluntary training exercises by invitation
Contents wise much like the refresher training exercises, the voluntary training exercises are organised to develop competence in emergency conditions also by means of training measures relying on reservists’ own activity. The voluntary training exercises tend to last for a shorter time and take place over the weekends. In the background of the voluntary training exercises is the FDF’s need for this training and sustainment of reservists’ competence. Often these voluntary training exercises are carried out in cooperation with the National Defence Training Association of Finland, the NDTA. As in the case of refresher training exercises, the voluntary training exercises also award refresher training days that merit promotion.
Although the voluntary training exercise invitation does not oblige its recipient as opposed to a refresher training exercise order, a reservist must still always notify the Regional Office that issued the invitation letter by sending the letter’s return part by post and indicating whether or not he/she is attending the voluntary training exercise. This will allow for swift and proportionate arrangements for planning the exercise. The invitation letter also includes exercise information as well as contact information for further details. Developing one’s competence according to the requirements of one’s emergency conditions duties is in the interest of the individual and the FDF. Thus, whenever possible, it is worthwhile to participate in exercises actively.
Apart from the FDF, training on advancing military skills is also provided by the National Defence Training Association of Finland, the NDTA. As the course selection available within the NDTA remains versatile, it is useful for the active and national defence oriented reservists to familiarize themselves with the local courses available organised by the NDTA.
Finland’s defence is based on general conscription
Finland’s defence is based on a capable and broad reserve generated by means of general conscription. Participation in refresher training exercises and voluntary training exercises sustains the reservists’ skills and capacity to function in wartime tasks. The readiness and capability of our military built on general conscription rest on regular training.
Usually the refresher training orders and invitations to voluntary training exercises tend to be sent by post six months prior to the intended exercise to give the reservists plenty of time to plan and schedule everything in light of departing for the exercise coming up. According to law, a refresher training exercise order may be issued at a shorter notice in case necessary because of the security situation.