Compatibility of career and family was for many years regarded as a private matter in Switzerland. As a result of economic and social change, demographic trends and changes in the forms and structures of families in Switzerland, a new way of thinking has gradually become established in the political, economic and social spheres.

Numerous individual measures have been decided by politicians. But there is still no overall picture of a Swiss family policy. There are divisions over what is the “right” family policy, depending on one’s political origin and political standpoint.

Integral corporate family policy

Migros long ago took a decision on what was in its view the correct family policy. It is based on an integral corporate family policy. In a family-oriented corporate culture, family and the world of work are two areas of life that must be sensibly amalgamated. Even if family policy is a task for society as a whole that demands the joint efforts of politicians, economists and society, there is ultimately nothing to suggest that essential preconditions and specific possibilities for reconciling career and family can only be created within companies, in the office and at the workplace.

A family-oriented personnel policy cannot, however, be limited to individual measures. Positive effects can only be achieved by the combination of many different measures. Moreover, the different framework conditions for career and family require solutions adapted to the different living and working environments of women and men.

This combination of pregnancy, maternity, paternity and parental leave, opening up to new family forms and lifestyles, targeted support for families with children with more extensive family allowances, commitment to providing jobs for disabled people and financial support in the use of family-complementary products, the development of family-friendly working time models, adaptation of the workplace or job offers to accommodate pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, support through company family and social counselling and the creation of a working environment in which employees with family commitments can count on a sympathetic attitude at work to their double burden: this is what makes the Migros family policy sustainable, effective, appropriate and fair to those it is aimed at. 

The Migros family policy – innovative and sustainable in the long term

A family-friendly corporate culture has to be nurtured, family policy measures further developed and family policy strategy regularly reviewed. How the Migros family policy is currently assessed, and what expectations will be placed on it for the future were therefore a central element of the combined surveys of the population and employees that took place in 2008 and 2009, conducted on the basis of socio-scientific principles.

The fact that Migros has been acclaimed by the population and employees alike as a better-than-average family-friendly employer, and the broad spectrum of measures to optimise the compatibility of career and family in the scaling of workplace quality rated as good (56%) or very good (44%), has clearly shown that Migros' family policy is in line with expectations in society and among employees, is widely supported, innovative and sustainable in the long term.

For Migros this was further confirmation that its progressive and family-friendly working conditions are not only recognised and valued by employees, but also by the public at large. More important from Migros' point of view, however, was the fact that the family policy had received a further platform and established itself as a measure of responsible corporate governance.