Health care and pensions

From the early years of its operation, the Jämsänkoski mills were forced to organise many services for their employees outside the actual production activity. The most important of these were securing availability of foodstuffs and taking care of employees' health.

The municipal doctor of Jämsä also worked as part-time works doctor, visiting the factory twice a month. The company paid a share of the doctor's salary costs by footing the bill for lighting and heating in the doctor's official residence. In 1912 the factory appointed its own nurse. Jämsänkoski only had a first aid station until the hospital was completed in 1937. All employees contributed to the Jämsänkoski works sickness fund established in the early 1900s. The membership fee was one percent of pay. A person incapable of working was paid a week's wages, free medical care and medicines. The funeral aid was 30 markka.

Consultation at the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare Jämsänkoski clinic in 1938. Photo: Foto Roos.When the factories became part of United Paper Mills Ltd, children's health care was addressed by setting up advisory clinics in all company mill locations. The costs of the activity were paid by the company and the practical execution was by the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, with the General's wife, Mrs Anni Walden as Chairwoman. In the 1930s, the Jämsänkoski clinic was open daily with the community nurse in attendance, and a doctor consulting twice a month.

In the factories, prevention and treatment of accidents and work-related illness took priority. People entering the company's service had to undergo a medical examination. From 1954, employees were also called up for periodic examinations. Possible impairments of eyesight and hearing were particularly monitored. The 1964 legislation on health insurance gave the employer the opportunity of obtaining reimbursement for costs of employee health care. Full-time doctors specialising in occupational health were employed in the factories in the 1970s.


In the early 1900s, pensions were assessed on an individual basis at Jämsänkoski. In the early 1920s there were seven people receiving pensions from the company. The pension was 100 - 200 mk a month, or about 20 percent of average earnings. Pensions were raised by a hundred markka at the end of the decade, and at the same time pension rights were given to everyone incapable of working who had been in the company's service for at least fifteen years. There was no actual retirement age, and many people worked as long as their health permitted, even up to the age of 80. Some of the last jobs for aged employees were as guards in timber yards or at factory gates. The oldest known employee at Jämsänkoski mill was Aleksander Peltonen, who retired at the age of 87.

Board of Jämsänkoski mills employee sickness and funeral fund in the 1920s.Pensions were increased in 1937, when the law on state pensions came into force. Supervisors' and office workers' pensions were decided on an individual basis until the 1970s. Because pensions were very small right up to the end of the 1950s, pensioners' workshops were set up in United mill villages and towns, giving pensioners an opportunity of earning a little extra cash.

At most, the pension might be 50 percent of wages after 20 years of service. The pension scale comprised four groups: husband and wife, single man, single woman and widow. Additional pension was paid for under-aged children. Employee retirement ages were 65 for men and 58 for women. A clerical worker's pension was 40 percent maximum, and after 1956, 50 percent of salary. Clerical staff had a flexible retirement age, so many managerial staff worked until they were 70. In 1962, legislation on employment pensions (TEL) came into force, which meant accumulation of a pension for the employee from service under different employers.