10. Labor practices (LA)

Geberit’s most important ambassadors are its employees. They represent Geberit in their day-to-day contact with customers and many other stakeholders. To do so, they need to be aware of what their company stands for and what its objectives are. Geberit’s central corporate and brand values are defined in the Geberit Compass. Geberit aims to act as a role model for ethically unimpeachable, environmentally friendly and socially responsible operations. The  Code of Conduct updated in 2014 fills this objective with tangible content and offers an authoritative source of guidance.

Responsibility for all important aspects of the GRI guidelines with respect to labor practices at the Geberit Group lies with the Head Corporate Human Resources who reports directly to the CEO.

10.1 Employment (LA)

Management Approach – Employment

First-rate employees are key to the success of Geberit. Not only the best, but also the right employees are to be acquired and retained. Geberit sees itself as a company with an open corporate culture that offers attractive international development opportunities at the interface between the craft, engineering and sales sectors, see  Career > What we offer.

Employees enjoy attractive employment conditions. In 2014, salaries and social benefits amounted to CHF 483.9 million (previous year CHF 475.4 million). The employees can also participate in share participation plans at attractive conditions, see  Consolidated financial statements Geberit Group, 18. Participation plans and  Remuneration report.

G4-LA1 Employee fluctuation

The average fluctuation rate (in terms of employees with permanent contracts, without natural departures and long-term leaves of absence) was 5.2% (previous year 4.1%). Including natural departures, it was 6.5% (previous year 5.5%). For key figures on fluctuation by age group, gender and region, see  Key figures Sustainability > Employees and society.

G4-LA2 Benefits

Geberit essentially grants the same benefits to full-time and part-time employees. However, employees with temporary contracts are not always entitled to the same benefits as permanent employees. For example, employees in Switzerland with temporary employment contracts of less than three months are not insured in the pension fund. Geberit bases its employee benefits on country-specific standards.

G4-LA3 Return to work and retention rates after parental leave

Geberit implements the currently applicable legal framework conditions. It also attempts in individual cases to find solutions that are as suitable as possible for the affected person and their team.

100% of all permanently employed women are entitled to maternity leave, and 2.6% or 92 women made use of this in 2014. 78 (or almost 85%) returned to Geberit following their maternity leave and around 80% were still at Geberit one year after their return.

97% of all permanently employed men are entitled to paternity leave, and 1.6% or 57 men made use of this in 2014. 54 (or almost 95%) returned to Geberit following their paternity leave and around 74% were still at Geberit one year after their return.

10.2 Occupational Health and Safety (LA)

Management Approach – Occupational Health and Safety

The health and safety of employees is of major importance. Geberit has formulated the vision of an “accident-free company”. By 2020, the accident rate is to be reduced by 50% compared with the base year 2010. For this purpose, a comprehensive master plan for occupational safety has been developed and adopted. The greatest potential lies in preventing accidents due to carelessness, and a focus is therefore being placed here on changes in behavior. All efforts are managed as part of the Geberit Safety System (GSS). Occupational safety is monitored at the production plants by means of monthly key figures, and is strongly integrated in the management culture.

All plants will integrate the OHSAS 18001 standard for occupational health and safety management by mid-2016.

The position of health manager was newly created in 2014 at the largest site in Pfullendorf (DE) in order to provide fresh impetus to occupational health management. Successful occupational health management builds bridges between the objectives of the company and the needs of its employees. In particular, this also strengthens the vitality of the individual and of the team as a whole. A Vitality program was established to round off the areas of exercise and nutrition.

For objectives and measures concerning employees and occupational safety, see also  Sustainability Strategy.

G4-LA5 Percentage of total workforce represented in health and safety committees

Each of the 17 production companies and logistics has a safety manager. Wherever possible and sensible, this function is combined with that of the environmental manager or closely linked from an organizational point of view. 91% of the employees at all production sites and 86% of all employees worldwide are represented through an occupational health and safety panel or safety committee in which employer and employee representatives can discuss occupational health and safety issues. As a rule, national standards for the country concerned are implemented.

G4-LA6 Accidents, occupational illness and lost time

The Group-wide absenteeism rate for the reporting year was 3.85% (previous year 4.10%); illness-related absences accounted for 3.75% of this rate (previous year 4.00%) and 0.10% was related to occupational accidents (previous year 0.10%). These figures are based on the hours effectively worked. In 2014, these amounted to 10,765,191 hours (previous year 10,661,572 hours). The statistics show only those occupational accidents that occur during working hours or business travel and lead to lost working time of more than one day. A total of 103 accidents were recorded (previous year 109 accidents), equivalent to 1,405 lost working days due to occupational accidents (previous year 1,325 lost working days). There were no serious or fatal accidents. Employees at Geberit are not exposed to a particularly significant extent with regard to occupational illnesses. This category is therefore not covered.

Furthermore, the accident frequency rate (AFR) and the accident severity rate (ASR) are recorded in a standardized manner. These rates are calculated as the number of accidents or the number of lost working days per one million hours worked. The AFR dropped by 5.9% to 9.6 (previous year 10.2) and the ASR increased by 5% to 130.5 (previous year 124.3). Geberit is therefore not yet fully on track in reducing the frequency and severity of accidents by 5% per year or by 50% between 2010 and 2020.

All key figures concerning the absenteeism rate by region can be found under  Key figures Sustainability > Employees and society.

G4-LA7 Assistance regarding serious illnesses

At Geberit, there are no operational activities involving a particularly high risk of contracting a serious illness or with a high incidence of illness.

As part of its Group-wide efforts to support employees’ health and well-being, Geberit offers its employees precautionary healthcare opportunities through various offers and activities. These include, for example, sports facilities, anti-smoking training, health check-ups, massage services, dietary and health tips, and presentations on health-related issues. They also include reintegration counseling, which aims to get people back to work as soon as possible in the event of long-term illness. Managers are specifically trained in this respect. Examples of individual support include counseling in Rapperswil-Jona (CH) to assist with problems ranging from on-the-job pressure, partnership and family problems to debt issues, and the telephone helpline created in the USA to discuss problems at work in complete confidentiality.

G4-LA8 Health and safety topics covered in agreements with trade unions

Geberit attaches great importance to a high level of health and safety for its employees. To this end, it cooperates with authorities, trade unions and employers’ liability insurance associations on a country-specific basis. Written agreements exist at all production companies and individual sales companies with parties such as trade unions and employee representatives that normally cover topics such as personal protective equipment, complaints procedures, regular inspections, education and further training and the right to refuse unsafe work.

10.3 Training and Education (LA)

Management Approach – Training and Education

Qualified and committed employees are essential for the future success of Geberit. The company therefore sets particular store on the solid education and further training of all employees and on equal opportunities.

Young people can start their careers at Geberit with a commercial, industrial or technical apprenticeship. Whether plastics technologist or industrial clerk, the aim is to impart all the skills that are required for apprentices to pursue their chosen careers in a professional, independent and responsible manner.

New employees are introduced to the company and its products through various job orientation programs on joining the company. These range from individually designed introduction talks in various departments to the one-week basic course that provides practical knowledge about Geberit in small groups.

A focus is placed on the standardized global performance assessment, development and compensation process (PDC). The goal here is to reinforce the performance culture, increase transparency and better recognize and promote talent. Remuneration policies are based on standardized job assessments and salary levels for the relevant country. A central element of the process is that several supervisors assess the performance, development and compensation of an employee together. Although this group process is time-consuming, experience suggests a high level of acceptance and effectiveness. The PDC process was expanded in 2014 to include further employees on a country-specific basis and around 1,250 employees or 20% of the entire workforce are now involved.

G4-LA9 Employee education and further training

In the reporting year, employees across the Group attended on average around 16 hours of internal and external education and further training (previous year 17 hours). For key figures by gender and employee category, see  Key figures Sustainability > Employees and society.

In 2014, 232 apprentices (previous year 234) were employed. The transfer rate to a work position was 82%.

G4-LA10 Programs for skills management and lifelong learning

The Potentials Management process remains a priority. Its goal is to identify talent within the company and provide targeted support. Candidates for management functions within the Group are introduced to current issues from the core business as part of an “Action Learning” program. Young talents are prepared for their first management, project management or specialist functions. These measures are intended to ensure that at least half of the open management positions can be filled by internal candidates. In 2014, it was possible for 69% of all positions in Group management to be filled internally (previous year 70%).

The management training program at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne for some 160 members of Group management was completed in 2014. The course was tailored individually to Geberit’s needs and included further training on strategic management, leadership and finance. The participants also received assessment in the form of 360° feedback and were able to get to know Geberit better from a range of perspectives.

There were also 123 internships and 27 diploma placements offered in 2014.

For further information, see  Business Report > Business and financial review > Employees.

G4-LA11 Performance and career development of employees

In everyday working life, the personal and professional development of each individual employee is encouraged in a variety of ways. This covers all areas of work, functions and age groups. Around 80% of all employees received appraisal interviews in 2014 at which development opportunities were also identified and discussed.

10.4 Diversity and Equal Opportunity (LA)

Management Approach – Diversity and Equal Opportunity

In its Code of Conduct, Geberit sets store on promoting diversity and a culture that enables all employees to contribute their full potential to the company. The company strives for diversity and promotes equal opportunities irrespective of gender, ethnic origin, skin color, age, religion and nationality.

Geberit pursues a fair and non-discriminatory employment practice in accordance with prevailing national and international law. Recruitment, training courses and promotions depend solely on individual achievements, skills and potential regarding the requirements of the position in question.

G4-LA12 Workforce diversity

The proportion of female employees at the end of 2014 was 31% (previous year 31%), and for senior management this figure was 6.9% (previous year 6.5%). The Board of Directors consists of five men.

For key figures on diversity in terms of gender and age structure, see  Key figures Sustainability > Employees and society.

No further data on minority group membership is currently being collected as Geberit and its stakeholders do not consider this to be relevant.

10.5 Equal Remuneration for Women and Men (LA)

Management Approach - Equal Remuneration for Women and Men

Protection of the principles of equality is anchored in the  Geberit Code of Conduct. This includes the prohibition of discrimination against any employee on the basis of gender. Fair and equal pay for women and men is guaranteed as follows:

  • Determination of salaries primarily according to function, evaluated in accordance with the proven Hay method. A score is calculated based on the assessment criteria know-how, problem-solving and accountability. The resulting number of points is the basis for determining the salary. This guarantees fair salary structures irrespective of gender.
  • Binding wage agreements with set pay grades at many Geberit sites.

G4-LA13 Gender-based differences in salaries

According to the annual binding survey of all Geberit Group companies, no differences between the basic salaries of women and men exist anywhere within the Group.

An in-depth investigation carried out at four production companies in 2011 revealed no differences between the salaries of men and women. The investigation covered the pay levels of production employees within an established site in employee-friendly Germany, at a production site of many years’ standing in Slovenia and at the two Chinese sites where employee protection and fair wages are largely the responsibility of the company itself.

10.6 Supplier Assessment for Labor Practices (LA)

Management Approach – Supplier Assessment for Labor Practices

See  chapter Suppliers

G4-LA14 Screening of suppliers using labor practices criteria

See  chapter Suppliers

G4-LA15 Impacts for labor practices in the supply chain

See  chapter Suppliers

10.7 Labor Practices Grievance Mechanisms (LA)

Management Approach - Labor Practices Grievance Mechanisms

Employees who openly address irregularities which represent breaches of applicable law, ethical standards or this Code of Conduct are acting correctly and in accordance with the Geberit Code of Conduct. The Group Executive Board of Geberit must be informed of problems in the area of integrity in order to be able to resolve these swiftly and reliably. By openly addressing such issues, these Geberit employees are contributing to their own protection, that of their colleagues and the protection of Geberit’s rights and interests.

As a general rule, employees should seek a personal meeting with their supervisor. The  Geberit Integrity Line is available to all employees as a whistleblower hotline. This service is intended to enable employees to anonymously report cases such as sexual harassment or when a corrupt payment is being covered up. The Integrity Line is operated by an external company with experience in this area, and is available around the clock seven days a week.

G4-LA16 Grievances about labor practices

No major cases were reported through the Integrity Line in 2014. The few registered complaints were all dealt with and issues were settled swiftly.