Until general pension reforms were introduced in the 1950s, retirement pensions were largely an issue dealt with directly by private companies in Sweden. The companies assumed responsibility and provided pension security for personnel with employment longevity. Ericsson was no exception, and a pension fund was established within the company as early as 1904, under the auspices of then Allmänna Telefonaktiebolaget's pension and gratuity fund. Ericsson and Stockholms Allmänna Telefonaktiebolag (SAT) initiated close cooperation on pension issues in 1901.
The fund was created through a donation of SEK 150,000 by H T Cedergren, SAT's founder and director. When SAT and Ericsson merged in 1918, Ericsson assumed responsibility for the fund that had been established by Cedergren's telephone company.
The objective of the fund was to provide pensions for employees who reached a specified age. The plan covered employees in the following personnel categories: telephone operators, office workers and factory foremen as well as network personnel, including repairmen, troubleshooters, inspectors and telephone exchange inspectors. Benefits were also paid to personnel who did not meet all criteria for retirement pension payments.
The qualification criteria for pension benefits varied for different personnel groups: telephone operators, for instance, were not required to work as many years as other personnel categories.
The original pension and gratuity fund was dissolved in 1936 after showing substantial deficits over a period of several years. The Swedish Employees’ Pension Society (SPP) assumed responsibility for the fund.
In 1945, an important step was taken when Ericsson introduced more beneficial conditions to provide financial assistance to employees and their families after retirement, in cases of early retirement due to disability and benefits for family members of deceased employees. Management personnel also received improved benefits. Financial assistance was also provided for old-age benefits, disability support and spousal support.
Author: Bill Sund