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ESPN Thematic Report on Retirement Regimes for Workers in Arduous or Hazardous Jobs

Julkaistu 1.5.2016


In Finland, there have not been special regulations for workers in arduous jobs. There have been some occupations (e.g., sea farers, firemen, army officers and nurses) where relatively low pension ages have been legally specified for those groups. The occupational category, rather than the specific characteristics of the job, has been the basis for special treatment. However, there have been a number of options for early retirement from arduous and hazardous jobs: disability pension, unemployment pension, individual early pension, part-time pension, special pensions for farmers and individual early old-age pension. The relative role of these schemes as an early exit option has varied depending on economic conjunctures and changes in legislation. In the early 2010s about 15% in the age group 55 to 59 and 20% in the age group 60 to 64 used the disability pension route. The unemployment pension system was created in 1971 to smoothly transfer the long-term unemployed to pensions. Up to the early 2000s, the unemployment pension was as important an early exit pathway as disability pension. In 2000 about 20% of retirees in the age bracket 60 to 64 retired via unemployment pensions. In 2011 the unemployment pension system was closed down. Reforms tightening the eligibility conditions for disability and unemployment pensions increased the popularity of individual early old-age pension. In 2000 about 10% of those in the age group 60 to 64 utilised the individual pension path. In 2013 this early exit route was also closed. In addition, there have been many temporal changes, sometimes making the qualification criteria more generous, sometimes more stringent. During the last decades the tendency has been to make early exit more conditional, and many early exit routes have been abolished. The 2017 pension reform will unify pension ages by abolishing occupational pension ages and by further eliminating early exit routes – used more by workers in arduous and hazardous jobs – and replace them with “years of service pensions”, which demand a reduced work capacity certification and a work career of 38 years in arduous and straining conditions. There are several open questions and points for consideration: Given that at present the career length among new retirees is approximately 38 years, the employment requirement of 38 years in arduous jobs may be too strict – which necessitates some further remarks: to meet the criteria of 38 years, more effective rehabilitation measures must be developed and various reforms in the labour market are needed to better adapt the employee’s remaining work capacity to his/her tasks in employment. In order to be successful, the 2017 pension reform needs active labour market policies and measures at the organizational level, as well as changes in attitudes to retirement. In fact, social partners have agreed upon measures for prolonging working life in Finland. The lengthening of careers is the joint target for both the employers and trade unions. They have agreed that the improvement and development of working conditions for keeping older workers longer in the labour market is the key target. For the time being, the regulation of the years of service pension is not totally clear. Therefore, to avoid arbitrary decisions, it is necessary to specify in more detail how the career length will be calculated. This is an important point from the gender perspective: are all care-related leaves from paid labour properly taken into consideration when counting years in service?

Lue koko julkaisu (


Olli Kangas, Laura Kalliomaa-Puha

Lisätietoja julkaisusta

  • Vertaisarvioitu: ei.
  • Avoin saatavuus: kyllä.
  • Koko viite: Kangas, O., & Kalliomaa-Puha, L. (2016). ESPN Thematic Report on Retirement Regimes for Workers in Arduous or Hazardous Jobs. European Commission.

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