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Finnish National Prize for Innovative Practices in Employment and Social Policy goes to Berner Oy

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
15.1.2013 11.15
Press release -

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 wellbeing 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:

  The National Prize for Innovative Practices in Employment and Social Policy

Further information available from:


Päivi Sillanaukee, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 356, [email protected]
Ismo Suksi, Ministerial Adviser at the Ministry of Scial Affairs and Health,tel. +358 295 163 464, [email protected]
Tapio Anttila, Director, Sitra, tel. +358 294 618 283, [email protected]



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