Committed to non-discrimination: Kela Rainbow Alliance supports customer service specialists in treating all customers equally

Kela will be featured at this year’s Pride in a lot of different ways. Cooperation with Pride is part of Kela’s goals for non-discrimination and equality.

This year, Kela will be an official partner of Helsinki Pride for the sixth time. Cooperation with Pride is one practical example of Kela’s ongoing efforts to advance equality, non-discrimination and corporate social responsibility.

Kela Rainbow Alliance has put out a guide on customer interactions for Kela’s staff. The guide outlines for example on how to interact with customers without assuming their or their family member’s gender.

Outi Antila, Kela’s Director General, says that the equal treatment of all people and respect for their self-determination are part of Kela’s values. The long-awaited family leave reform will hopefully update the concept of family as it is used in the context of social security. That would allow parents in non-traditional families could share their individual parental benefit entitlements, Antila says.

Diversity at the workplace

This year’s theme at Helsinki Pride is Working with Pride, with a focus on ways to promote a diversity-friendly workplace culture. Kela has addressed this topic by joining forces with Helsinki Pride to offer training to management and communications specialists.

The training events have discussed the rainbow terminology and ways to further equality and non-discrimination at the workplace. Staff have also been taught concrete ways in which they can address diversity in customer service.

In autumn 2021, Kela will trial anonymous recruitment. The trial seeks to promote non-discrimination, equality and diversity by not disclosing an applicant’s name, age, gender or native language to the recruiter.

Rainbow Alliance provides peer support

Kela Rainbow Alliance currently has 75 members. Open to all Kela staff members, the Rainbow Alliance seeks to promote non-discrimination and to offer peer support.

Kaaren Erhola, who heads the Rainbow Alliance, says that “we know that most of the rainbow community still has to be at least partially in the closet at their workplaces. Keeping secrets takes energy, robs you of your creativity and makes you less effective at work. It’s also in the employer’s interest to support a diverse workforce and to ensure that the workplace is safe for all”.

Kela celebrates Pride Week in a variety of ways

Kela’s Pride Week celebrations include the traditional flying of rainbow flags at the main office in Töölö, Helsinki. Kela staff will go out on the streets of Helsinki on Wednesday, 30 June 2021, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and on Sunday, 4 July 2021, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. They will hand out rainbow lanyards while maintaining COVID safety. Kela’s staff members can be recognised by their rainbow-pattern caps and rainbow flags.

Kela’s customer service points will put up Pride Week posters, and the staff will be wearing rainbow lanyards. Kela’s internal staff communications will feature Pride themes.

Pride Week is also celebrated on Kela’s social media channels, especially the Instagram account @kela_fpa. Kela staff members will answer customers’ questions on Instagram on two days during the Pride Week.

On Friday, 2 July 2021, Kaaren Erhola of Kela will participate in the Pride in Progress panel discussion focusing on the promotion of diversity and non-discrimination at the workplace.

Learn more about the cooperation with Pride