Taking care global: universal minimum benefits for all
Solvay: A Global Corporate Citizen
True to its tradition of social protection, Solvay has rolled out a bold initiative: a minimum level of company social benefits extended to all its employees, wherever they are.
It’s no news that Solvay has always believed in providing its employees with more than just a job. Decades before the advent of the welfare state, the company was already running its own social security program.
That was in the 1880s. In 2018, Solvay took another step in the same direction with Solvay Cares, a common minimum package of benefits for the 30,000 people who work for the Group. As a Global Corporate Citizen, Solvay goes beyond local market standards and ensures the well-being of colleagues no matter where they are located.
In the past, one spoke of “social capitalism”; today the expression is “corporate social responsibility”. Whatever the terminology, the idea remains the same: believing that people come first.
Leveling up corporate employee benefits
Specifically, Solvay Cares covers four areas: Maternity and Co-parent/Adoption leave, Medical care, Disability and Life insurance. How does that translate in terms of benefits? For each of these fields, here is what is offered as a minimum:
- Maternity and Co-parent/Adoption leave: Full income protection during parental leave, established at 14 weeks for the mother - following World Health Organization recommendations - and one week for the co-parent and for adoption
- Medical care: At least 75% of medical fees covered in case of hospitalization or severe illnesses, topping up public social security
- Disability: In case of lasting incapacity, disability insurance with two years of salary covered
- Life insurance: With coverage of up to two years of salary for the family or partner
As one can easily imagine, all this is bound to substantially increase employee social protection in a number of countries. In the United States for example, Solvay Cares improves the standard for maternity leave. In China and Poland, it introduces disability insurance, and in India and Russia, life insurance. As for paternity leave, it was previously non-existent for a good part of Solvay’s employees.
Corporate social responsibility: ideals that don’t fade
With this initiative, Solvay joined a small club of less than a dozen multinational corporations that have introduced global minimum benefits programs. The program also aligns with Solvay’s signing of a significant agreement with the IndustriALL Global Union in February 2017, reinforcing Solvay’s commitment to provide the same basic labor and social rights to all its employees.
Both initiatives are expressions of the company’s long-standing awareness regarding social responsibility. You can trace it in Solvay’s DNA all the way up to the humanistic ideals of its founders. Back then, one spoke of “social capitalism”; today the expression is “corporate social responsibility”. Whatever the terminology, the idea remains the same: believing that people come first.