Family-friendly forerunners: The Ombudsman for Equality encourages employers to develop policies of family leave

Family-friendly forerunners: The Ombudsman for Equality encourages employers to develop policies of family leave

The Ombudsman for Equality launched a campaign on 19 March, the Day of Equality, encouraging employers to develop good practices associated with family leave.

 Family-friendly values have a strong positive influence on employer image. A modern employer understands that the promotion of equality in the workplace motivates employees and makes them committed. When a satisfied employee returns from family leave, everybody wins, the Ombudsman for Equality Jukka Maarianvaara says.

The Ombudsman wants to encourage employers to become forerunners in the Finnish labour market by combining the campaign with the launch of a Forerunner test and symbol, which will be awarded to employers that develop the best family-friendly practices.

On videos and web pages related to the campaign, three large employers talk about their good practices: The city of Vantaa, Telia and Gofore, a producer of digital services.

Employers can test their own personnel practices at The test helps employers and personnel professionals to identify strengths and areas of development in their own organization.

The test includes questions on practices that strengthen equality, for instance, in recruitment situations, fixed-term employment relationships, or the start of family leave and returning back to work from it. The test has been designed in cooperation with Human Resources Group Henry ry.

 The law forbids discrimination on the basis of pregnancy or family leave. The Ombudsman is still continuously contacted especially by women whose employment is under threat due to pregnancy or family leave.

 Equality in working life moves forward more effectively if it is promoted systematically at workplaces rather than investigating suspected discrimination afterwards. An equal workplace benefits the employer, too, as the employees are committed and motivated. Employer reputation is built in deeds, Jukka Maarianvaara says.

 Practices combining family and work are highly topical issues that affect employer image. Change will not happen by itself, but requires continuous development and concrete measures from work communities. We want to be involved in the development of a better Finnish working life, says the Executive Director of Henry ry Marita Salo.


The campaign can be seen in March-April, for instance, on Yle channels, Facebook and Twitter. A Twitter chat in connection with the campaign will be organised on Friday 23 March at 10-11am.

Further information: +358 295 666 837,

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‘I got selected to a more challenging position, although people knew I was pregnant and about to go on family leave. It felt incredibly good.’ (mother, Telia Finland)

‘Half a year on family leave went fast. The family leave arrangements went well with my employer. People dealt with the issue in a positive way and I was also encouraged to stay on family leave.’ (father, Gofore)