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Created on 29.05.2019

Reconcile work and family life

On 14 June 2019, thousands of women in Switzerland will be striking for equal pay, zero tolerance for sexual harassment and working conditions in which they can reconcile work and family life. An unpleasant thing for a company like PostFinance? Not at all, thinks Gabriela Länger, Head of Working Environment and member of the Executive Board.

Gabriela Länger, PostFinance plans to showcase the women’s strike day with a humorous short film on career and the reconciliation of work and family life. That’s courageous.

Gabriela Länger: In my opinion, the women who have started this day of action are the courageous ones. At PostFinance, we see it as our duty to offer our 3,250 employees fair working conditions with attractive terms.  Of course, this includes equal pay for men and women and many opportunities to reconcile work and family life.  That we have zero tolerance for sexual harassment, I take for granted.

  • We have had the wages from 2016 measured by an independent body.  The results show that we are good but need to get better. The wage difference, which we cannot explain by function, specialization or years of service, is 3.6%. The difference is small compared to the rest of Switzerland, and is within the limit of 5% set by the federal government for job descriptions.  But of course we want to further reduce this figure.
  • PostFinance has a clear pay system.  Line managers and HR specialists are regularly sensitized to the question of equal pay.  And at the annual pay negotiations it is always an issue.  This year too, we will be able to measure equal pay again – meaning we’re committed to this.
  • Job applicants pay attention to such labels.  And they help us to uphold our claims for reconciling work and family life.

    Our compatibility offers are not just for mothers, but also for fathers.  We are convinced that when it comes to equality, another big step will be taken if more fathers work part-time. We have already observed and supported the quiet beginnings of this trend at PostFinance.
  • At PostFinance, employees can work part-time without having to give up the exciting dossiers.  Of course, mothers return to work after their 18-week maternity leave at full pay – if their position allows it with the working hours of their choice. We offer two weeks paternity leave.  Home office is a popular choice.  This means a mother or father can work at home, for example if the children come home at lunchtime and want to eat together.  And those who want to spend more time with the children for a limited period of time can even buy vacation – it turns out that this is particularly popular with parents in management positions.
  • That’s correct for the team leaders in the collective employment contract: 51% are women. In the Executive Board, three out of nine members are women. That is very positive. For the top management we are not yet satisfied with the 17% share. And with the specialist and line management, it looks only a little better at 19%. Here we have clear need for action.  By the end of 2019, we will work together with the experts from the UND label to develop goals and measures to increase the share of women in management positions.
  • The women’s quota is an ambivalent instrument from the point of view of equality. But it does bring women into management positions.  However, most of the women I know do not want to feel like quota women and have to fight against doubts about their qualifications. I am confident that we will continue to improve at PostFinance even without quotas.  After all, we are in a good position compared with banks and insurance companies with our 28% of women in management positions.
  • Companies would do well to get more women into management positions because well-balanced teams are proven to deliver better results. This also applies to management bodies. Our aim is to increase the proportion of women in management positions with good working conditions and the right selection. It is well known that, on average, women assess their skills more critically than most men. That is why women are less likely to apply for management positions, even if they have good qualifications. It is therefore worthwhile to specifically promote women.
  • PostFinance adopts a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment. This means that every reported case is effectively pursued. The topic is anchored in the Code of Conduct, which all employees need to be familiar with. Every two years, the staff survey determines whether employees are affected by sexual harassment. In the last ten years, this value was 0.3%.  This is little compared to Swiss Post Group, but every case is one too many.
  • Swiss Post has compiled detailed guidelines for HR staff and management.  We have contact points for those affected at PostFinance and at the Swiss Post social services. According to the employee survey, nine out of ten employees are familiar with the contact points. So they know whom they can turn to.
  • For me it is clear: the topics influence each other – the clearer the equal pay and the more women in management positions, the fewer women will be harassed.  Because women are treated with respect.  That is why PostFinance supports the demands of the women’s strike.
  • Neither the women nor the men! Seriously, almost three quarters of our employees are subject to the collective employment agreement we have agreed with the social partners.  The collective employment agreement prohibits strikes during its period of validity.  Of course, every employee may strike in their free time. The employees – specialist and line management as well as senior management – are responsible for their time management. For them too: participation in the actions of the women’s strike is not considered as working time.  We welcome it when employees participate and wear a badge with the symbol of the women’s strike – this will also be allowed on 14 June 2019 in positions involving customer contact.
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