Employee relations

We are a signatory to the UN Global Compact and support its ten principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption. Many of our locations have active employee groups. These employee representatives play an important part in the company’s success by contributing valuable perspectives and by helping to identify employment-related challenges.

These bodies are elected by local employees and have clearly defined information and consultation rights. Although there are significant local differences in the applicable legislation, their rights typically concern:

  • Working conditions
  • Benefits
  • Reorganisation and restructuring
  • Redundancies
  • Disciplinary actions and conflict cases

At our Zurich headquarters, where almost a third of our total workforce is employed, we work closely with the Personnel Committee (PECO). Representing the interests of all Zurich employees, PECO aims to create and maintain a positive working environment. It is involved in changes or adaptions to the General Working Conditions or other important policies such as the Social Plan. The Committee also seeks to ensure the de facto equality of men and women, and places special emphasis on the challenges faced by employees with family obligations.

In the UK, Swiss Re has an Employee Liaison Group (ELG), made up of representatives from across all functions, who are elected by employees for a two-year term. The ELG provides a forum for employee representatives and managers to discuss company policy and practices which affect all employees. It is legally recognised as the collective consultation body for redundancy purposes. When a Business Unit is likely to be affected by proposed collective redundancies, the respective employee representatives are consulted.

At our Munich office we have a Works Council, with clearly defined co-determination rights in several areas. It has the legal obligation to support topics such as diversity, development and training, career opportunities and work-life balance. The eleven members of the Works Council are elected by employees for a four-year term.

Our smaller branches in Europe (eg in France, Italy, Luxembourg and Denmark) also have Works Councils or Staff Delegates, depending on the size of the branch and local regulations.