The collective agreement, which was developed in full dialogue before and during the COVID-19 period, expresses innovative organizational approaches in the field of employment and workers' welfare and embodies updated insights which were formulated by the company management, the employees' committee and the Cellular, Internet and Hi-Tech Workers Union-Histadrut, in light of the frequent changes in the changing labour market.
The past year has brought many challenges for the world economy and the labour market, and precisely in a period in which the hi-tech industry, and the entire Israeli economy, are required to get used to a new form of work, SAP, its employees' committee in Israel and the Cellular, Internet and Hi-Tech Workers Union-Histadrut announced on 14.12.20 the renewal of the collective agreement, which implements organizational models that bring progress, innovation and flexibility while adapting to the changing world.
The agreement will apply on approximately 800 SAP employees in Israel and expresses high trust in the employees, encourages growth and excellence, and recognizes the unique rights of each employee, while adopting innovative models of flexibility, trust and empowerment of the workers.
The negotiations to formulate the agreement began between the employees' committee, the Cellular, Internet and Hi-Tech Workers Union-Histadrut and the management at the beginning of the year before the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis, which continued deep into the crisis, despite the lockdowns and the global crisis created by the pandemic. While the global market faced layoffs and putting workers on vacation, the global SAP and the company in Israel, who neither fired workers nor put any worker on unpaid leave, worked on creating innovative models in cooperation with the employees' committee as part of a continuous process of improving and adjusting the work conditions as market leaders in the Israeli and global hi-tech sector.
In the framework of the talks between the parties, innovative initiatives were raised that were woven into a unique agreement that was approved on 14.12.10 and signed by the SAP management in Israel, the employees' committee and the Histadrut representatives. The legal accompaniment for the agreement was provided by Hila Gever, Attorney, from the Legal Bureau in the Trade Union Division of the Histadrut, the offices of Herzog Fox Ne'eman on behalf of the company and Basha Zabida Savorai on behalf of the employees' committee.
Below are some of the key achievements in the agreement:
An equal and flexible benefits model, which recognizes the employee's diversity
A new benefits model in the field of employment, which SAP formulated together with the workers' representatives, is based on the understanding that different employees have different needs, and its goal is to allow the employees to define for themselves the benefits that they are interested in receiving. An array of benefits tailored to the unique needs of the employees requires operational flexibility and a built-in recognition of the diversity of each and every one of the company's employees. For example, benefits relevant to children are redundant among employees who aren't parents of children, or whose children are adults. According to this unique benefits model, each SAP employee will receive a fixed monthly sum that s/he will be able to implement in benefits courses according to his/her personal choice. The benefits course can vary depending on the employee's preferences, age, marital status and personal needs.
The model adopts innovative approaches of choice and recognizes the intra-organizational diversity and the uniqueness of all the company employees. The general benefits basket is equal, regardless of the type of position, seniority or status in the company. Moreover, the flexible benefits basket connects to the general change in the new work reality and the employees' changing needs.
Work from anywhere
SAP management in Israel and the workers' representatives reached a joint agreement that an organizational policy similar to the one existing in SAP in Germany should be adopted, which will allow work in new and flexible conditions. The transition to work in such a format is part of changing the employment model and examining the future of work in light of all the changes occurring in recent years which include traffic challenges, along with the general change in the approach of remote work, new needs of the workers and more. These insights, which were part of the dialogue between the parties even at the beginning of 2020, gained double validity after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The signed agreement expresses high trust in the employees, encourages work and productivity in a flexible employment path, recognition of each employee's ability, of his/her right and the company's ability to enable work from any location while adopting models of support, interaction, manager involvement and social connection between colleagues and to the workplace. In the new model, the center of gravity shifts from the company's offices to a hybrid route that combines working from home alongside working from the office.
In the framework of the agreement, among other things a new model of vacations was launched, "Restart Vacation", which will allow the employees to plan and create a vacation for an extended period. This model is added to the vacations quota available to the employee on a routine basis and its goal is to strengthen SAP's organizational policy that encourages a balance between life and work, in a way that will allow SAP employees to plan long vacations and the organization to prepare accordingly.
One of the significant sections in the agreement deals with support for employees who are in the process of surrogacy and adoption. According to the agreement, employees who are in the process of surrogacy or adoption will receive a grant worth NIS 50,000 (approximately US$15,385), which expresses the company's support for their efforts while recognizing the economic costs attached to such processes.
Expanding the investment in employees and the way they develop in the company
As expressed in a variety of sections in the agreement, SAP expanded its financial investment in the employees, recruited contract workers and improved the identification and support processes of employees' ability to continue developing with company and within it. Furthermore, the company increased its investment in the employee's welfare, and this will include, among other things, also dental insurance.
Upon signing the agreement, SAP management in Israel stated: "We thank the management members and the employees' committee who worked on this agreement. We believe that we created an exceptional organizational opportunity and are proud of the innovation that we have led for the employees. We succeeded in implementing flexible and updated approaches that are appropriate for the reality and dramatic changes that the world in general, and the labor market, in particular, are going through: our models have been proven to be relevant including in the conditions of a global pandemic.
The spirit of the company, the courage to adapt and the willingness to break through barriers - all these are now offered to our employees. We worked in cooperation and succeeded in overcoming the differences between the various factors in favor of the organization and the employees. This will have a very positive impact on the organizational culture, and we believe that it will also be expressed in strengthening the organizational connectivity, productivity and excellence of the company’s employees. We have significant competitive challenges and we will face them united and stronger than ever."
The Chairman of the Cellular, Internet and Hi-Tech Workers Union- Histadrut, Yaki Halutzi, said: "During this challenging period, we all discovered that only together it works: the unionizing and organized work, also in the Israeli hi-tech, is proving itself. We can break thorough barriers and renew organizational models at work via a dialogue of workers and managers. I would like to congratulate the SAP employees' committee and the management on successfully completing the agreement."
Chairman of the SAP Employees' Committee in Israel, Gad Ravid: "This agreement reflects the important place of an employees' committee in the Israeli hi-tech as a factor that initiates and encourages positive change in the occupational worldview, working in cooperation and synergy with the company management in Israel and around the world.
Throughout the entire way, we placed an emphasis on empowering thinking that puts the need for giving flexibility and putting trust in the worker in order to realize SAP's vision of excellence. We are proud of the groundbreaking agreement's achievements and SAP who continues to show commitment to the employees and strives together with the employees' committee to continue working in order to maintain its status as the best employer in Israel and around the world."