REWE Group Sustainability Report 2018


Demographic change and developments in digitalisation and globalisation are altering the work world and creating new challenges for companies. Dedicated and satisfied employees are the foundation of long-range business success – fostering these employees and gaining their loyalty are more important than ever before.

To permanently integrate sustainability into its company processes, REWE Group has developed an all-encompassing sustainability strategy that is made up of four main pillars: Green Products; Energy, Climate and the Environment; Employees; and Social Involvement. Five areas of action have been defined for the pillar Employees values and culture; training and professional growth; health and safety; job and phases of life; and diversity and equal opportunity.

GRI 401: Employment

Management Approach

REWE Group offers attractive and fair working conditions to its employees. These conditions include fair pay, additional company benefits that extend beyond the level of negotiated wages, flexible working models that can be adjusted to meet individual employee needs as well as tailored ways to achieve a work-life balance.

REWE Group welcomes the statutory minimum wage that was introduced in Germany in 2014. In their work with contractors, the companies of REWE Group focus on compliance with minimum social standards. In 2011, REWE Group introduced the “Guideline on Minimum Standards for the Use of Contractor Employees” on a national level. These guidelines apply both to working relationships with temporary employment agencies and to the use of contractor employees as part of work or service agreements. Under these guidelines, the company will work only with contract partners who pledge to apply minimum social standards and to pay any minimum negotiated wages as well as the statutory minimum wage for their employees. To ensure that the contract partners comply with the standards, REWE Group has worked with TÜV Rheinland, a leading international technical service provider in Germany, to develop an auditing process. This process is executed by TÜV Rheinland. The audits are conducted in areas such as product replenishment, picking and cleaning personnel.

Certification by career and family audit

Since 2009, REWE has been certified by berufundfamilie Service GmbH, an initiative of the non-profit Hertie Foundation, based on the “career and family audit”. About 2,550 REWE stores and retailer stores, six administrative locations and three logistics sites have been certified for several years. As a result, about 102,000 employees profit from the “career and family audit” certification. As part of store recertification, the new target agreement that is valid from 2018 was developed in numerous workshops and with the involvement of all interfaces.

In 2018, PENNY Markt GmbH became the first discounter in Germany to receive the “career and family audit” certificate for its strategic family- and life-phase-focused HR policies. This certificate applies to all 27,000 employees who work in stores, logistics and administrative offices.

Since 2012, REWE Group’s headquarters in Cologne has had “career and family audit” certification and it was recertified in reporting year 2018.
The stores, headquarters and logistics facilities of toom Baumarkt DIY stores, with the company’s approximately 15,400 employees, have been certified since 2016.
In Austria, REWE International Dienstleistung GmbH has been certified by berufundfamilie Service GmbH since 2013. Other members of the Group have received “career and family audit” certification as well: the Austrian sales lines BILLA (since 2015), MERKUR (since 2016), BIPA (since 2016) and PENNY (since 2018). As a result, about 40,300 employees in Austria profit from “career and family audit” certification.

REWE Group is the largest company in Germany to receive certification from “career and family audit”.

REWE Group has also received a number of awards, including:

  • Top Employer 2018 (Top Employers Institute)
  • Fair Trainee Programme 2018 (trendence)
  • Best Recruiter 2017/18 in the retail category (BEST RECRUITERS)

Employee Satisfaction
A key component of the appreciative HR management applied by REWE Group is regular employee surveys. They reflect company morale and identify problem areas. In the reporting period of 2018, REWE Group contacted more than 134,000 employees in the stores of selected sales lines. This group represented about 41 per cent of all employees (nearly 92,000 employees of REWE stores, about 23,000 logistics employees and 19,000 employees from other sales lines). Nearly half of them (45 per cent) responded to the survey. Analysis of the results showed that employees gave the highest ratings to the factors of identification with the company and transparency/clarity. In contrast, the topic of work organisation received a somewhat lower rating. Differentiated evaluations were provided to the individual sales lines. This information can be used to develop specific measures in individual stores together with employees. More than 3,000 store reports were prepared for REWE and PENNY alone.

Measures and Projects for a Good Working Relationship

REWE Group implements measures and projects that facilitate a work/life balance and foster an attractive work environment. A number of programmes have been developed to enable employees to create a more individual and flexible work day. These programmes include home office options, more flexible reduction of overtime (several consecutive comp-time days, also before or after holiday days), the elimination of core work times and the expansion of working hour windows. The measures were made binding by including them in various employer/works council agreements.

Child Care
To help employees as they return to work, the company’s own child-care support and cooperation agreements for kindergarten slots in some regions have been markedly expanded in recent years. The company day-care centres in Cologne have a capacity of 105 slots. DER Touristik has 23 slots for children under three years of age in a toddler group. In individual regions of Germany and Austria, cooperation agreements for kindergarten places and/or slots in private kindergartens at affordable prices have been developed. REWE Group continuously works to expand the number of cooperation agreements.

Achieving More with Partnerships: awo lifebalance

The partnership between REWE Group and awo lifebalance (formerly AWO ElternService) that was initiated in 2008 has been expanded across Germany. As a result, the services are now available to all employees in headquarters and regional locations as well as in stores and logistics facilities. All employees in Germany are reached by a wide range of assistance related to child care and support. In addition, REWE Group offers summer camps across Germany through the service awo lifebalance.

A large number of support options related to child care are also available during holiday periods in Germany and Austria. The headquarters in Vienna has also set up child care for “bridge days”. In 2018, on certain school-free days that are not days-off for parents, 50 children were cared for and occupied with activities that covered all aspects of plastic. Special programmes have also been set up at regional locations, including child care during company events, emergency child care, and game chests and children’s chairs in cafeterias.
Specially furnished parent-child offices at all headquarters locations enable employees to bring their offspring to work if necessary. As a result, employees can still perform their regular jobs while keeping an eye on their playing children.

In Cologne, 18 children attended a sports camp in the reporting year.

toom Baumarkt DIY stores also offer low-price tutoring to employees’ children. The aim of this programme is to provide affordable support and ease worries about children’s grades. A salary supplement of 100 euros gross is paid each month for a period of six months to support tutoring for an employee’s child. A total of 250 slots for employee children are available at the provider Studienkreis. Since September 2015, employees of BIPA in Austria have had access to reduced-price tutoring offered by the company Schülerhilfe.

Care for Relatives
Assistance with nursing-care situations is becoming a higher priority. To supplement the new German Family Caregiver Leave Act (Familienpflegezeitgesetz), REWE Group completed a new labour-management agreement in 2015 and 2016 that offers many benefits to employees. These benefits include:

  • Care and family-care periods, regardless of the number of employees, to the employees of all companies
  • Two hours of paid time-off to take care of visits to government offices and complete paperwork related to care
  • Assignment of employees to their original jobs following time off for care and family care, as long as no pressing company-related reasons prevent such assignments
  • Initial contact offices offered by advisers who can provide support to affected employees during meetings and provide some initial information

REWE Group offers breaks from work during sabbaticals and has received positive feedback about this programme: A total of 159 employees took advantage of this support in the reporting year. During such a sabbatical, employees can take up to six months off work within a period of 12 months without giving any reasons. During this period, employees receive an adjusted salary to ensure that social insurance coverage is maintained.

GRI 401-1:

New employee hires and employee turnover

The turnover rate among REWE Group employees has been relatively stable between 17 per cent and 20 per cent for many years. Compared with 2017 (18.2 per cent), the fluctuation rate rose slightly to 19.5 per cent in 2018. The industry average in Germany was 29.7 per cent in 2017*. The hiring rate of new employees at REWE Group rose from 19 per cent in 2017 to 20.9 per cent in 2018.

* Information reported by the Cologne Institute of Economic Research, 18th edition, 2018. Key performance indicator applies to the sectors retail, maintenance and repair of motor vehicles.

New Hires and Resignations

2018 ✓
Up to 30 years old 31–50 years old Older than 50 Female Male Germany Austria
New hires 20991 14541 3822 24274 15080 27968 11386
Resignations -17412 -13332 -6123 -22973 -13894 -26374 -10493
Up to 30 years old 31–50 years old Older than 50 Female Male Germany Austria
New hires 19367 13155 3238 22527 13233 25410 10350
Resignations -15745 -12022 -5256 -20872 -12151 -23302 -9721
Up to 30 years old 31–50 years old Older than 50 Female Male Germany Austria
New hires 18174 12028 2855 21116 11941 23149 9908
Resignations -14576 -10485 -4816 -19107 -10770 -21189 -8688


Personnel Turnover Based on Business Segment in Per Cent

Retail Germany Retail international DIY stores Travel and tourism Other Total (scope of application of the sustainability report)
2016 16.0 21.5 12.1 11.2 27.3 17.2
2017 16.7 23.7 12.4 10.7 29.3 18.2
2018 ✓ 18.0 25.1 13.2 11.7 33.4 19.5

Personnel Turnover by Gender and Age in Per Cent

2016 2017 2018
Total personnel turnover 17.2 18.2 19.5
Turnover female 15.6 16.3 17.4
Turnover male 21.1 22.6 24.4
Turnover age group up to 30 33.8 35.5 38.5
Turnover age group 31 to 50 12.8 14.2 15.3
Turnover age group over 50 9.9 10.0 10.9

GRI 401-3:

Parental leave

Expecting parents receive support both before and during their parental leave – including information meetings on parental leave and returning to work. In Austria, employees at BILLA receive a “BILLA Babybox” that contains information and products to complement information provided about pregnancy, maternity leave and return to work. During parental leave, an informal meeting of parents in parental leave and their children is held. At BIPA, an information package and a meeting are offered to expecting mothers. BIPA also supports the “dad’s month” and leave for fathers. Employees who are returning to work can use a range of part-time models and job sharing.

Return to Work after Parental Leave
REWE Group increasingly works to encourage a work-life balance and makes it as easy as possible for employees to return to their jobs following parental leave. In 2018, 10,967 employees in Germany and Austria took parental leave. The group consisted of 942 male and 10,025 female employees. During the reporting period, 3,818 employees returned to the workplace. A total of 86.5 per cent of employees who returned from parental leave in 2017 were still employed by REWE Group as of 31 December 2018. The right to parental leave is legally regulated in Germany and Austria.

Number of Employees Who Have Taken Parental Leave

2016 2017 2018
Female 9,155 9,564 10,025
Male 686 841 942
Total (scope of application of the sustainability report) 9,841 10,405 10,967

Number of Employees Who Returned to Work Following Parental Leave*

2016 2017 2018
Female 2,692 2,829 2,977
Male 578 727 841
Total (scope of application of the sustainability report) 3,270 3,556 3,818

* Full time, part time or marginally employed during parental leave

Number of Workers Who Continued to be Employed at the Company 12 months After Returning from Parental Leave (End of Parental Leave)

Total In % of all male and female employees who returned from parental leave in 2016 Total In % of all male and female employees who returned from parental leave in 2017 Total In % of all male and female employees who returned from parental leave in 2018
2016 2017 2018
Female Resignation within 12 months 233 12.4 227 10.5 326 12.9
Still employed at the company after 12 months 1,652 87.6 1,931 89.5 2,202 87.1
Total number of women 1,885 2,158 2,528
Male Resignation within 12 months 67 16.8 67 12.5 112 15.7
Still employed at the company after 12 months 332 83.2 470 87.5 603 84.3
Total number of men 399 537 715
Total Resignation within 12 months 233 12.4 294 10.9 438 13.5
Still employed at the company after 12 months 1,652 87.6 2,401 89.1 2,805 86.5
Total 1,885 2,695 3,243

Further topics in this area:

Labour/Management Relations

GRI 402

Occupational Safety and Health Management

GRI 403

Education and Training Programmes

GRI 404

Diversity and Equal Opportunity

GRI 405


GRI 406