Age, paid work and morality
Work Research Unit Statistics Finland Helsinki, Finland
Older, around 50 to 65 year-old, employees have been the labour reserve that have been pushed out and pulled into the labour market when necessary. The pension system together with the unemployment security system have been the age-dependent institution in Finland through which the labour supply has been regulated. The aims of the pension policies have followed the rhythm of the changes of the labour market, although pension system reforms have also included some new social rights. At the moment the aim of the labour and pension policies is to prolong work careers and postpone exit from the labour market by two to three years. The main tool to reach this aim has been the pension reform of 2005.
But what kinds of moral presumptions does the system retain in regards to age and participation to paid work? Who has the right to paid work, and who has a duty? How have these presumptions changed with time? Firstly, I will discuss what kind of generational contract is written within the pension system. Secondly, in the light of my qualitative interview data I will investigate what kinds of moral conceptions there exist with regard to participation to paid work and to age. I will examine what kinds of choices concerning exit from work and staying at work were considered right or wrong - just or unjust - by the older employees, shop stewards and personnel managers interviewed.