the struggle for a higher retirement age is continuing in France even though
the pension reforms have come into force, early retirement has been largely
abolished in the far north and the retirement age for old-age pensions has been
linked to life expectancy. There were no French-style street fights – on the
contrary, the Finns continue to be the
happiest people on earth, even though they are supposed to work longer.
Finland’s starting position is comparable to many other European countries
European countries are familiar with the problem of the increasing inverted age
pyramid, i.e. the relationship between old-age pensioners and employed workers
is changing to the detriment of the contributors. Finland is no exception and
is currently even more affected than Germany, as the OECD
figures show. Like
Germany, the birth
rate in Finland is low; however, unlike in Germany, immigration
is also at a low level.
The Finnish way
The Finnish government reacted to
these unfavourable signs very early on. It launched pension reforms in 2005 and
2017 that are already showing positive results. It has taken some unpopular
measures, but they did not cause a storm of indignation amongst the population.
The Finnish pension system
consists of a
national pension system and an employee pension system.
The national insurance system provides all residents with a basic pension that
does not depend on their employment. Almost all of the country’s entire
employed population is covered by the employees' insurance system that runs in
parallel to the residents' insurance.
The early old-age pension and the
pension from unemployment were largely abolished or replaced by early partial
old-age pensions in both
Furthermore, the retirement age
was linked to life expectancy in both systems back in 2017. Moreover, those
whose pension from the employee pension scheme is more than 1,500 euros/month are not entitled to claim a national pension because both benefits are considered to be a total benefit.
On the right path
The reforms seem to be working as
more and more people are staying longer in the workforce, especially
low-skilled workers. The key to realising this objective is improving and
continuing advanced training and employee qualifications, which is also in
keeping with Principle 1 of the European
Pillar of Social Rights (ESSR). Furthermore, effective
early education as well as good childcare are also important aspects here.
These aspects were also confirmed by an expert group (high-level group) set up
by the European Comission as part of their ESSR Action Plan.
All of this is flanked by
flexible working time arrangements, so that older employees in particular can
remain in work longer and they can also take care of other family members