Finland — Age management at Saarioinen Ltd
Saarioinen, a Finnish manufacturer/distributor, had recognised an increase in prolonged sickness absence and early exit from work as a result of musculoskeletal disorders. In 2003, the company launched an age management programme aimed to reduce the costs associated with this problem. The programme is complemented with career planning for employees over 50, required by the collective agreement for the food industry from 2010. All blue-collar employees aged over 55 with five or more years’ service can apply for ‘senior’ status, triggering an individual plan including work adjustment, retraining and career planning. Additional benefits include salary-level guarantees, a reduction in shift work/work rotation, senior leave/temporary leave and part-cover of medical costs. Feedback shows that there is improved employee well-being and the retirement age has increased by three years. The company is considering extending the programme to white-collar workers. Success factors include supportive national legislation and involvement of all stakeholders, while challenges exist in career planning for older workers. The programme is transferable to public- and private-sector organisations, particularly its career planning element and the job satisfaction questionnaires.