As a family-friendly company, we want to help our employees to achieve a good balance between their professional and personal objectives. For instance, we help them to maintain and strengthen their motivation and performance potential. In addition, we further their trust in our company. Therefore, our employees can make use of flexible working models and childcare options, making it easier for them to achieve their personal goals. We also offer our employees ways to better reconcile the demands of a career while caring for family members as well as health management support.
Flexible working models
In Germany and other countries, we offer numerous working model options. These include individualized working hours and locations.
In 2011 and 2012, our employees made use of more than 20 different part-time models, for instance varying weekly working hours and individually agreed working days. Globally, approximately 6% of our employees worked part-time.
At the Massachusetts sites of EMD Millipore in the United States, we introduced a new work concept called “FlexWorks”. Participation is voluntary and enables both full-time and part-time workers to decide for themselves when and where they work while meeting their contractually agreed working hours. In our view, this not only promotes the work effectiveness of our people, it also enables us to lower power consumption for unused offices and helps our employees avoid the stress of commuting. As of the end of 2012, 147 employees were taking part in the program. Only one month after the project started, the commuting savings amounted to an average of 72 km (or 70 minutes) per participating employee.
In 2012, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany introduced a new working model at the Darmstadt, Gernsheim and Grafing sites in Germany based on a working time honor system. Initially, we piloted the model in 14 areas of the company. Altogether, 350 non-exempt and exempt employees took part in the program, enabling them to flexibly shape their working hours and location. As of mid-2013, all exempts in Germany with qualifying positions can make use of the program.
Entitlement to parental leave
At numerous sites, our employees are able to take parental leave; this possibility is also provided for by law in some countries, such as Germany and the United States. Often, we offer our employees better conditions than those required by law.
In the United States, employees are legally entitled to a 12-week unpaid leave of absence per year in the event of the birth of a child or illness of a family member. In these cases, EMD Millipore offers its employees financial support. Overall, EMD Millipore offers eight weeks of paid maternity leave, two weeks of paid paternity leave, and five weeks of paid leave when adopting a child. Moreover, EMD Millipore will reimburse up to US$ 5,000 in adoption fees.
The number of employees working for our German companies in Darmstadt, Gernsheim and Grafing (representing around 24% of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany employees in 2012) who were on parental leave totaled 401 as of December 31, 2011 and 434 as of December 31, 2012. Fathers represented 30% of these totals. Parents returning to work after parental leave can find information on possible childcare options on the intranet. In addition, presentations and meetings with parents are held by us in Germany. Contacts are available at the Darmstadt site for individual consultations.
At various sites, our employees benefit from childcare options that we subsidize. A daycare center for children from the ages of one to twelve years has been operating at the Darmstadt site in Germany for more than 40 years. It is supported by the family of owners. The center is open year-round from 6:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. and offers 100 daycare slots. At the end of 2013, a further 50 slots are going to be made available. In addition, the operating hours will be extended. At our headquarters in Darmstadt, employees can also make use of our emergency childcare service if their regular childcare provider happens to be unavailable. For employees at the Gernsheim site in Germany, five slots are available at a public daycare center.
We have been offering vacation camps for the children of employees at the Darmstadt site since 2008 and considerably expanded the offer in 2011 and 2012. In 2012, a total of 275 vacation camp slots were available to parents, who could book them either on a daily or weekly basis. The vacation camp program consists of sports activities, art and research projects.
In the United States, EMD Millipore offers its employees assistance in finding the best childcare solution.
Reconciling demands of career and family
In an aging society, more and more employees will be required to care for family members with special needs. In Darmstadt, we have therefore been offering special information and consultation possibilities since 2009. This includes the services of the local Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany company health insurance fund, which provides information such as contacts to nursing staff and offers seminars on the challenges and costs of nursing care. In the United States, EMD Millipore supports its employees financially by enabling nursing care to be paid out of gross income.
Award for family-friendliness
In 2012, the charitable Hertie Foundation recognized our sites in Darmstadt and Gernsheim, Germany for the third consecutive time as being “family-friendly”. The distinction is based on an audit on family-friendliness, which was conducted using predefined criteria and is valid for three years.