Service sector employers want to prevent access to early retirement

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The Finnish Employers' Confederation of Service Industries, PT, demanded in April 1999 that employees be prevented from retiring too early, so that further increases in pension costs can be avoided. In order to combat the problem of early labour market exit, PT suggests training, rehabilitation and other supportive measures. Trade unions admit the seriousness of the problem, but stress the importance of ability to cope at work and better protection against unilateral termination of employment for older workers.

In April 1999, the Employers' Confederation of Service Industries (Palvelutyönantajat, PT) expressed its concern that employees are retiring too early. It looks forward to a change in the system, which presently allows an employee to quit working life at the age of 55, receive incomes-related unemployment benefit up to the age of 60 and then automatically be granted an "unemployment pension" and, at the age of 65, a normal retirement pension.

PT is now urging that the goal of deferring exit from the labour market by two to three years - mentioned in the new government's programme (FI9904101F) - should be hastened, because it will take some time for a change in pensions insurance to take full effect. The first large age-group cohort is approaching the lower limit of the present system, 55 years of age, and will start to reach it in 2000. PT sees a danger that the costs of unemployment and pensions will rocket if measures are not taken to avoid this situation. As a remedy, PT suggests training, rehabilitation and other supportive measures for older workers.

Trade unions agree as to the seriousness of the problem, but lay more stress on the need for helping employees to cope at work. Furthermore they demand better protection against unilateral termination, stating that many older employees are dismissed against their will (FI9903198N). The new government's programme touches on this problem and promises action that will focus on it.

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