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The Finnish National Prize for Innovative Practices in Employment and Social Policy was awarded on January 15th to Berner Oy, a family company founded in 1883. The biannual 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 40,000 Euros, was presented by Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen.
According to the Jury of the award, Berner Oy pays particular attention to the wellbeing of its older employees throughout its Seniors Programme. 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.
Berner Oy also invests in age management and interaction between generations. With its seniors management initiatives the company aims to change perceptions about ageing workers, ensure that tacit knowledge is passed on, and the experience, skills, competence and commitment of older people are respected.
The Finnish National Prize for Innovative Practices in Employment and Social Policy is awarded by a Fund 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.
In its previous editions the award was handed 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 in 2010.