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Companies profit from family-friendly policies

A visit to the creche before work

(Keystone)

A government-sponsored study has found that Swiss employers have more to gain than lose by introducing family-friendly policies.

The findings of the report said firms could increase their yield by eight per cent with measures enabling employees to balance work and family commitments.

Presenting the findings on Monday in Bern, the economics minister, Joseph Deiss, said the preconception that childcare subsidies, granting mothers leave of absences, job-sharing, and part-time work resulted in higher costs was wrong.

Deiss, who said the government had made it its priority to reconcile family with professional life, added that it was the lack of family-friendly policies that drove up costs.

The findings of the study, carried out by the Basel-based company, Prognos, were based on data from 20 firms, which showed that the immediate positive effects of such measures outweighed the cost of implementing them.

Companies benefit, according to the report, because mothers are more apt to remain faithful to their employer and return to their jobs after maternity leave, saving the firm money on finding a replacement.

Savings

Allowing employees to work part-time also reduces costs incurred hiring replacement staff.

And the report said that enabling employees to continue their career with the same company increased the number of vacant posts filled internally by qualified personnel, saving on recruitment fees.

The authors of the report said companies also benefited from a number of soft factors, including increased loyalty and motivation, which was confirmed by the heads of the human resources departments.

The trade union umbrella organisation, Travail Suisse, welcomed the results but said they should not distract from the current political discussion to introduce higher, and harmonised child benefits.

The study was co-sponsored by Switzerland's largest supermarket chain, Migros, the pharmaceutical group Novartis, Swiss Post and the Raiffeisen group of banks.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

The study was based on companies with about 1,500 employees.
Firms spending SFr247,000 annually on family-friendly policies receive a return on investment of SFr266,900.
A similar study in Germany found much higher benefits amounting to 25%.

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