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Sodexo announces new employee relief programme in response to Covid-19 pandemic

April 02, 2020

Sodexo reaffirms its whole-hearted commitment to its clients, consumers, suppliers and employees in the 67 countries in which the company operates, to combat the health, economic and social fallout from Covid-19.

Everywhere, the health and safety of employees and consumers is Sodexo’s top priority. 

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:

  • Sodexo is on the front line with healthcare professionals and patients everywhere.
    • The 95,000 Sodexo employees working across the world in hospitals, senior residences and in areas of public administration under strain, are fully mobilised and have been supported by additional team members from sites with lower activity.
    • In China, with strongly reinforced health measures, Sodexo staff were on the front line to support healthcare professionals and patients in the hospitals of Wuhan.
  • Sodexo has ensured continuity of its operations according to local circumstances.

Sodexo is extremely proud of its employees who do a great job in often tough circumstances, and in locations that are on the front line. Sodexo recognises their dedication and professionalism and extends its heartfelt thanks.  

Sodexo immediately responded to the pandemic’s economic impact by adapting its operational management. This included closing down sites, lowering service frequency and cancelling or postponing some services. 

  • Whenever possible, we have reassigned our people whose workplaces have closed to other sites urgently requiring additional team members. 
  • 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 working proactively with other business sectors like retailers, e-commerce and manufacturing firms to find jobs for our employees hit by the Covid-19 economic fallout, who cannot be placed with other clients. 

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 Program to help on-site staff impacted by this.

Sean Haley, region chair, Sodexo UK & Ireland commented:

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.

Sodexo employee relief programme logoThe global 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.

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% of her remuneration over the coming six months ,
  • Group CEO Denis Machuel will waive 50% 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% 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.

Sophie Bellon, Sodexo Chairwoman of the Board of Directors commented: 

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.

Denis Machuel, Sodexo CEO added:

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 our orders (volumes, consumption dates, etc);
  • Implementation of agile financing solutions, in particular for SMEs and local suppliers.
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