Integrated Annual Report 2015
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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, which was updated in 2015. Geberit aims to act as a role model for ethically unimpeachable, environmentally friendly and socially responsible operations. The  Geberit Code of Conduct updated in 2014 and implemented in 2015 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 labour 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 an attractive employer with an open corporate culture that offers international development opportunities at the interface between the craft, engineering and sales sectors, see > Career > What we offer.

Employees enjoy attractive employment conditions. In 2015, salaries and social benefits amounted to CHF 671.6 million (previous year CHF 483.9 million). The employees can also participate in share participation plans at attractive conditions, see  Financial Report > Consolidated financial statements Geberit Group, 17. 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 7.5% (previous year 5.2%). Including natural departures, it was 9.0% (previous year 6.5%). 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 5.6% or 140 women made use of this in 2015. 57 (or around 40%) returned to Geberit following their maternity leave.

98% of all permanently employed men are entitled to paternity leave, and 2.8% or 206 men made use of this in 2015. 203 (or around 98%) returned to Geberit following their paternity leave.

10.2 Occupational Health and Safety (LA)

Management Approach – Occupational Health and Safety

The health and safety of employees is of major importance. The vision of a zero-accident company still holds after the takeover of the Sanitec Group. However, the targets have had to be revised to take account of the new situation: based on the 2015 reference year, the aim is to halve the number of accidents by 2025. By then, the AFR (Accident Frequency Rate) is to be reduced to a value of 5.5 (accidents per million working hours) and the ASR (Accident Severity Rate) to 90 (number of days lost per million working hours). In addition, all plants are to implement the OHSAS 18001 standard for occupational health and safety by the end of 2018.

The greatest potential lies in preventing accidents due to carelessness, and a focus is therefore being placed here on changes in behaviour. To this end, as part of the Geberit Safety System (GSS), a comprehensive masterplan on occupational safety including a catalogue of measures was devised and adopted for the period from 2013 to 2015. Occupational safety has also been part of the annual appraisal of plant managers since 2013. Occupational safety is monitored at the production plants by means of monthly key figures.

The health managers at Rapperswil-Jona (CH) and Pfullendorf (DE) 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 programme 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 35 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 organisational point of view. 69% of all employees worldwide are represented through an occupational health and safety panel or safety committee at their site 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 4.33% (previous year 3.85%); illness-related absences accounted for 4.20% of this rate (previous year 3.75%) and 0.13% was related to occupational accidents (previous year 0.10%). 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. As a result of the acquisition, both the number of accidents and the number of days lost increased. A total of 238 accidents were recorded (previous year 103 accidents), equivalent to 4,314 lost working days due to occupational accidents (previous year 1,405 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 standardised manner. These rates are calculated as the number of accidents or the number of lost working days per one million hours worked. Due to the acquisition, the accident frequency rate rose to 11.4 in 2015 (previous year 9.6). The accident severity rate increased during the same period to 206.2, again due to the acquisition (previous year 130.5).

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 counselling, 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 counselling 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 the majority of production and 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 programmes 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 standardised global Performance Assessment, Development and Compensation process (PDC). The goal here is to reinforce the performance culture, increase transparency and better recognise and promote talent. Remuneration policies are based on standardised 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. Almost all employees of the previous Geberit Group – with the exception of manual workers – are now incorporated in the PDC process. The circle of participants is currently being extended to include managers of the former Sanitec Group; their employees in non-productive areas are to be fully incorporated in the near future.

G4-LA9 Employee education and further training

In the reporting year, employees across the Group attended on average around 15 hours of internal and external education and further training (previous year 16 hours). For key figures by gender and employee category, see  Key figures Sustainability > Employees and society.

The transfer rate of apprentices to a permanent employment relationship was 64% in 2015 (previous year 82%). The target is 75%.

G4-LA10 Programs for skills management and lifelong learning

The Potentials Management Programme remains a priority. The aim is to selectively identify talents throughout the company and support them along their path to middle or senior management. Initial experience of managerial or project management responsibility are part of this. The problems compiled as part of the programme are geared towards the reality at the company and sometimes provide decision-makers with concrete bases for action. The programme is intended to help fill at least half of all vacant managerial positions within the company with internal candidates. In 2015, this was achieved for 40% of all Group management vacancies (previous year 69%).

All apprentices are essentially required to work at several sites during their training. As a global company, Geberit promotes the internationalisation of employees. Experience abroad and the transfer of know-how are an advantage for both employees and the company. Therefore, apprentices have the option of working abroad for a period of six months on completion of their apprenticeship. Owing to a restrictive practice in the granting of work visas, the Chinese sites are not currently included in this. Due to this situation, such apprenticeship programmes increasingly took participants to the USA, India and South Africa.

There were also 158 internships (previous year 128) and 47 diploma placements (previous year 27) offered in 2015.

For further information, see  Business Report > Business and financial review > Financial Year 2015 > 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 70% of all employees received appraisal interviews in 2015 at which development opportunities were also identified and discussed. As part of the standardised global performance assessment, development and compensation process (PDC), employees receive a performance assessment and/or agreement of objectives at least once a year. This process is gradually being introduced at the former Sanitec companies.

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 creating 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 colour, 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 2015 was 25% (previous year 31%), and for senior management this figure was 8.2% (previous year 6.9%). The Board of Directors consists of six 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:

  • Job assessment by function in accordance with the proven Hay method on the basis of know-how, problem-solving and accountability. All jobs are pooled in a Group-wide grading system. The resulting grade 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.

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 manage these swiftly and reliably. By openly addressing such issues, 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 – including those of the former Sanitec Group – as a whistleblower hotline. The 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

Few cases were reported via the anonymous Integrity Line and other informal complaints procedures in 2015. There was one case of sexual harassment, which was settled amicably with the parties concerned. Three cases of workplace bullying were reported and investigated. Two cases were settled following discussions and one case resulted in the dismissal of the accused party.