SME policy: reconciling work and family

Pregnant woman sitting on a bench, holding her rounded stomach

Taking family needs into account benefits companies. The Confederation encourages flexibility in personnel management within SMEs.

In Switzerland, more than one million employees juggle professional and family life on a daily basis. The Confederation makes reconciling these two realities in a company setting a priority. Through awareness-raising projects, it aims to promote working conditions that are favorable to family needs.

For SME managers, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) has designed a brochure, “SME Manual: Work and Family”. This publication shows an array of specific measures for creating an environment adapted to families, while taking into account the imperatives of company management. In particular, it contains testimonies from heads of companies that are already putting the SECO recommendations into practice. The document is available in electronic format:

A competitive advantage for SMEs

A personnel policy that meets the needs of family life often pays off for companies. SMEs can specifically take advantage of the following benefits:

  • Competitive advantage as employers
  • Increased motivation and engagement by employees
  • Higher productivity and reduction of absenteeism
  • Improvement of the environment in the company
  • Better image of the company vis-à-vis clients
  • Etc.

Even though SMEs do not have as many resources as large enterprises to implement initiatives to support families, they enjoy more flexibility due to their smaller size. Sometimes, a simple conversation with an employee makes it possible to find solutions adapted to the employee's needs. Other low-cost measures may prove to be particularly effective, such as:

  • Making working hours flexible
  • Part-time work
  • Adapted arrangements of work organization
  • Unpaid leave for parents
  • Etc.

Enabling women's careers

Women form an excellent reserve of qualified workers for SMEs. The Confederation strongly encourages employing women.

Work and family 

Reconciling professional life and family life appears among the policy priorities of the Federal Council. In addition, the SECO is mobilized to offer top-quality conditions by launching information and awareness-raising projects and by communicating good practices.


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Last modification 22.10.2018

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