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 programme. In 2017, it is taking the next step in this direction with ‘Solvay Cares’, a common minimum package of benefits for the 30,000 people who work for the group.
Specifically, Solvay Cares covers four areas: Maternity and Co-parent/Adoption leave; Medical care; Disability; and Life insurance. How does this translate in terms of benefits? For each of these fields, employees are offered as a minimum:
● 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;
● At least 75% of medical fees covered in case of hospitalisation or severe illnesses, topping up public social security;
● Disability insurance in case of lasting incapacity, with two years of salary covered;
● Life insurance with coverage of up to two years of salary for the family or partner.
All of this will 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 is currently non-existent for many Solvay employees.
With this initiative, Solvay joins a small club of less than a dozen multinational corporations that have introduced global minimum benefits programmes. This initiative follows closely on the signature of a significant agreement with the IndustriALL Global Union in February 2017, reinforcing Solvay’s commitment to provide the same basic labour and social rights to all its employees.