Under the new policy, the company will make all new posts available on a part-time basis, reports newspaper Blick, with the clear aim of attracting more female employees.
“Even now we have many jobs available from 80 to 100 percent, but we want to expand this,” SBB spokeswoman Lea Meyer told Blick.
Today around 17 percent of SBB’s 30,000 employees are part-time, the majority of them women.
Around half the company’s female employees are part-time, compared with only 10 percent of its male workforce.
“We are doing this to attract more women,” said Meyer.
By offering interesting part-time jobs the company hopes to generate more applications from well-educated women, she said.
The new policy is part of a wider shake up of working practices at SBB, which also includes desk-sharing or ‘hot-desking’ at its new headquarters in Bern.
Jürg Wiler, an expert on part-time working, said the company’s new stance is “audacious but wise”.
Speaking to Blick, Wiler said full-time working is still very much part of the culture in Switzerland, but that things should change.
“Studies show that part-time working improves performance and loyalty towards a company,” he said.
Others are more sceptical.
Hans-Ulrich Bigler, director of workers’ union SGV-USAM, said an increase in part-time working requires more effort to coordinate the workforce, leading to higher costs which could be passed on to the customer.
“We will try to ensure these issues are kept under control at SBB,” he said. “It is important for us that this policy is cost-neutral and does not affect productivity.”