The Finnish National Prize for Innovative Practices in Employment and Social Policy went to
Berner Oy today. The award is handed out for activities or innovative approaches that have
supported well-being at work among older employees and their ability to cope, or their
prospects for employment. The prize, which is worth EUR 40,000, was presented by Prime
Minister Jyrki Katainen.
Seniors Programme means more years at work
Berner Oy is a family company founded in 1883. It pays particular attention to the wellbeing of
its older employees. Berner has drawn up a Seniors Programme, and, as a result, the average
age at which employees retire from the company rose to 63.6 in 2011.
The Programme, a collaboration between management, supervisors and staff, covers
employees who have reached the age of 55. Together with their supervisor, they draw up a
career plan that contains an assessment of to what extent their duties, working hours and
working conditions need to change.
Also included in the Seniors Programme are health checks, working ability programmes and
leave for senior staff. Those between the ages of 58 and 60 can take off five working days,
and those over 60 eight days a year. A condition of leave for senior staff is that the employee
takes part in a programme to maintain physical capacity organised by the occupational health
care unit and the employer.
Respect for older people – employment opportunities for the retired
Berner invests in age management – greater cooperation and interaction between people of
different ages, with the aid of leadership. One tool of age management is seniors management,
whose purpose is to allow supervisors to take a favourable view of people ageing, ensure that
tacit knowledge is passed on, and show respect for the experience, skills, competence and
commitment of older people.
Those who have already retired can register with the staff bank, and can be invited to fill in for
others when they are away or to do seasonal work.
Background to the National Prize for Innovative Practices in Employment and Social Policy
The Finnish National Prize for Innovative Practices in Employment and Social Policy is awarded
by the Fund for a National Prize for Innovative Practices in Employment and Social Policy,
established by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in association with the Finnish
Innovation Fund Sitra. The award’s patron is President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö.
The aim of the prize is to sustain the social dialogue on wellbeing at work among older
employees and on their ability to cope, and to create and share new good practices.
The award has now been handed out three times. Previously it was given to Professor Juhani
Ilmarinen from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (2008), and to Ruoka-Saarioinen,
the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries and the Finnish Metalworkers’ Union, who
shared it (2010).
More on the Finnish Working Life Award at:
Päivi Sillanaukee, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Tel. +358 295 163 356, email@example.com
Ismo Suksi, Senior Officer, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Tel. +358 295 163 464, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tapio Anttila, Vice President, Sitra
Tel. +358 294 618 283, email@example.com