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Covid-19: Sodexo announces new employee relief programme

Sodexo has launched a €30 million (£26 million) relief programme to help its employees impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sodexo said: “Despite all our efforts, we know that this once-in-a-lifetime crisis currently confronting us will regrettably result in a reduction in our workforce and for this reason we have decided to establish a global Sodexo Employee Relief Programme to help on-site staff impacted by this.”

The Programme will be administered locally according to the specific needs of each country and support provided will depend on various factors, including the existence of government social protection schemes.

Sean Haley, Region Chair, Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “As we navigate the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, our focus is on the health, safety and wellbeing of our colleagues. Many continue to work supporting critical sites, delivering vital services that support the national effort, and they all have our utmost respect and support for their continued commitment.

“We want to support our employees through these extraordinary times and we are clear in our commitment to this. The new Sodexo Employee Relief Program will be used to do just that – support those who are most affected by the Covid-19 crisis. It is the right thing to do.”

From the very first signs of the December 2019 Covid-19 outbreak in China, Sodexo began mobilising its resources to ensure its consumers stay safe and healthy and that its business continues to operate for its clients.

Whenever possible, Sodexo says it has “reassigned” its people whose workplaces have closed to other sites urgently requiring additional team members.

Its 95,000 employees working across the globe in hospitals, senior residences and in areas of public administration are fully mobilised and have been supported by additional team members from sites with lower activity.

To date, almost 4,000 employees, primarily in North America and in Europe, have been reassigned to hospitals and retirement homes, which urgently required additional staff.

Sodexo is also working proactively with other business sectors like retailers, e-commerce and manufacturing firms to find jobs for its employees hit by the Covid-19 economic fallout, who cannot be placed with other clients.

The company has also “adapted” its operational management. This included closing down sites, lowering service frequency and cancelling or postponing some services.

This €30 million programme will be funded by senior executives and the company as follows:

  • Sodexo Chairwoman of the Board of Directors Sophie Bellon will waive 50 per cent of her remuneration over the coming six months
  • Group CEO Denis Machuel will waive 50 per cent of his fixed remuneration over the next six months as well as his variable remuneration for Fiscal 2020
  • Group Executive Committee members will give up 10 per cent of their fixed remuneration over the coming six months as well as their annual variable remuneration
  • The 200 senior executives from all segments and operations around the world will also waive their annual variable remuneration.

Sodexo Chairwoman of the Board of Directors, Sophie Bellon said: “Our teams are our most precious asset. In adversity, they demonstrate the strength of our values ​​and their professionalism without fail. I want to highlight my support and express my gratitude to them during these particularly difficult times.”

Sodexo CEO, Denis Machuel said: “Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, our employees have been exemplary under often difficult conditions serving our clients and consumers around the world, and I want to pay a huge tribute to them. This unprecedented crisis highlights the major role played by the service industry and our people in the global campaign to fight the virus. We are making every effort to support our employees, clients, consumers and suppliers as much as possible. The Employee Relief Program allows us to address the individual needs of the most vulnerable affected by this once-in-a-lifetime global crisis.”

Mindful of the difficulties encountered by its suppliers, Sodexo has also adopted support measures:

  • Taking into account the needs and constraints of suppliers as close as possible to the field: payment deadlines, logistics chain support, adaptation of its orders (volumes, consumption dates, etc)
  • Implementation of agile financing solutions, in particular for SMEs and local suppliers.

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