Social partnership

Open dialogue enhances trust between employees and the employer


The employee representatives and Corporate Executive Board maintain close contact with each other. Since 1996, Swiss Life has had a European Works Council (Art. 13 of Council Directive 94/45/EC of the European Parliament and Council). The nine-person “Europa Forum”, a committee comprising delegates from four countries, meets regularly with representatives of the Corporate Executive Board at ordinary and extraordinary meetings.
It deals with transnational information and consultation on topics which affect all Swiss Life employees.

Group-wide initiative "Health"

There was, by way of example, an in-depth discussion in 2015 on the Swiss Life 2015 Group-wide programme. The Group-wide initiative “Health” launched in 2014 was brought to a successful conclusion during the year under review. The market units have already formulated many offers in recent years geared towards this field. Current offers were reviewed, consolidated and extended as part of the initiative. The jointly managed working groups (employer representatives of Swiss Life and representatives of the local works councils) were responsible for the implementation in the divisions.

The mandate agreed with the Corporate Executive Board on "Health" covers three areas:

  • Best practice sharing
  • Assessing synergies between market units
  • Encouragement and support in the area.

Delegates of the Swiss Life Group and Europa Forum are represented equally in the project organisation.

Swiss Life 2015 corporate programme: The country-specific framework conditions resulted in different activities in the market units.

Activities to promote employee health are based on three pillars:

Prevention and health promotion

  • Prevention


Health management, risk minimisation, use of resources → leads to health in the workplace

  • Early intervention


Prevention of occupational disability

  • Reintegration


The aim of the "Health" initiative is to review, consolidate and expand current offers. The jointly managed working groups are responsible for the implementation (employer representatives of Swiss Life and representatives of the local works councils) in the market units.

The planned roll-out for 2015 includes a new online offering under the motto "Health & Well-being" plus the offers already on the intranet, which are available to all employees. The topics coming under "Health & Well-being" on the new online platform are divided among three groups:

  • Meaningfulness
  • Dealing with stress
  • Dealing with other (superiors, colleagues)

Employees receive access to learning sequences independently of time or location. They also have an extensive pool of brief videos, checklists and learning programmes to choose from and combine together.

In Switzerland the interests of employees of Swiss Life Holding in Switzerland and its subsidiaries are represented by the staff committee. The staff committee works to promote mutual trust and understanding between the Executive Board or Corporate Executive Board and the employees. It is entitled to early information targeted to the situation by the Executive Board committees and is subject to the duty of confidentiality and loyalty. The staff committee has nine members each selected for a four-year term. In autumn 2015 new elections were held for staff committee representatives.

In Germany the sales force works council had to be restructured due to the new sales structure for intermediary distribution. This realignment resulted in a structural simplification. Instead of five individual works council committees for the five organisational offices, there is now one committee for the entire salesforce, comprising seven members.

In 2015 the works council participated in the German Works Councils Prize for the first time. In the “Innovative works council work” category the “Whistleblowing” works agreement and “Talent pool” internal agreement were nominated, and the “Occupational reintegration” works agreement was nominated in the “Good work” category.

The reduction of about 200 jobs organised with the works councils in 2013, involving a reconciliation of interests, social plan and voluntary programme at the Munich, Hanover, Bremen, Hamburg and Cologne locations, was completed by 31 December 2015.

In France, the close cooperation between the social partners progressed further during the
reporting period. Negotiations and agreements are conducted and concluded on an ongoing basis on the basis of “good partnership”.

In 2015, there were a total of nine negotiations on the following subjects (with an average of five meetings per negotiation topic):

  • An agreement on the union law establishing the number of hours for union representatives, the works council and the Committee for Health Protection and Security to fulfil their role is ready for signing (the unions have already signed);

  • An agreement on a forward-looking employment and qualification policy (obligatory in France) is ready for signing;

  • A company-wide agreement on psychosocial risks is ready for signing;

  • Annual mandatory salary negotiations: Two agreements for commercial employees and inspectors and one agreement for administrative employees are ready for signing;

  • An agreement about equality in the workplace has been signed by all the trade union organisations;

  • Agreement on carrying over days off (signed);

  • Agreement on health insurance for employees (signed);

  • Agreement on flat-rate hourly fees including the right to be “incommunicado” when not at work.