Creating a Culture of Citizenship > Our Workplace Work-Life Harmony
Work-life harmony is an integral part of the Abbott culture. Many of our global businesses and locations have incorporated work-life initiatives such as flexible work schedules and telecommuting. We view these initiatives not only as important tools for talent attraction and retention, but also as key components of our approach to diversity and inclusion as we work to support employees in harmonizing work and family commitments.
Abbott understands that the overall employment experience is critical to attracting talent and retaining organizational knowledge. To that end, we continue to develop programs to support employees across their employment life cycles. We recognize that work-life priorities and challenges vary around the world, and we design our programs to be culturally sensitive and locally appropriate.
Some highlights of Abbott’s award-winning work-life initiatives include:
- Abbott Netherlands launched a number of flexible work hours practices at its various work sites in 2011, including partially working from home – with Abbott providing technological support and a small allowance to set up a home office – and flexible work hours between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Additionally, Abbott Netherlands involved its plant operators in the design of their work schedules, resulting in a significant reduction in the number of night shifts. This collaboration has benefited Abbott through cost reduction and employees by lessening the physical burden of working during night hours.
- Recognizing the challenge of caring for children during summer vacations from school, last year Abbott Italy hired a contractor to create a summer camp program for the children of Abbott employees. Abbott pays approximately half the child care costs at the camps, which run from June through July. Feedback from employees indicates very high levels of satisfaction with the quality of the camps. Indeed, some employees say the camps are one of the most valued benefits of their work at Abbott.
- The Abbott pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Barceloneta, Puerto Rico, has run its own summer camp since 2001 for children ages 4 to 12. The camp structure includes a free two-week program in June for public school children in the community of Barceloneta and a four-week subsidized program in July for the children of Abbott employees. In 2011, the camps enrolled 90 children from the community and 70 children of Abbott employees. For the duration of the program, we hire professional teachers and university students as counselors – often including the grown children of our employees. Along with games, crafts and other traditional camping activities, we offer opportunities for Abbott employees to visit camp and explain their work to the children.
Abbott’s comprehensive approach to child care helps our employees better manage their personal and professional lives. Our U.S. child care programs provide a variety of alternatives, including an on-site child care center at some locations, emergency child care assistance, on-site parenting and counseling services, full-day kindergarten programs and school holiday child care programs. Highlights of our programs include:
- Our Early Discoveries on-site child care center – based in our headquarters location in Lake County, Illinois – ranked in the top 8 percent of U.S. child care centers for quality in 2011. Early Discoveries is one of the five largest centers in the Bright Horizons network, serving more than 730 children from 550 families each month.
- Our Family Child Care Provider Training Program has trained more than 3,300 providers in our communities since 2001.
- Our child care discounts are offered at more than 2,500 centers across the United States.
- Summer Uproar, an annual community service program for preteens and teens, attracted 800 volunteers, who contributed 7,200 hours of service in 2011.
Abbott has received national recognition for our child care programs from Working Mother magazine and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Productive Transition to Retirement
We are especially mindful of the complex and changing definition of retirement today and of the first wave of baby boomers, who are retiring in record numbers. Abbott’s Freedom to Work program, available to eligible U.S. employees, offers employees who are considering retirement the option to scale back their hours and/or change their responsibilities without affecting their benefits, thus allowing for knowledge transfer. Since Freedom to Work was launched in 2008, more than 400 U.S. employees have enrolled in the program. Feedback has been strongly positive, with 98 percent of participants and 88 percent of managers reporting they are satisfied or very satisfied with the program and 85 percent of managers saying it helped them retain knowledge.
Freedom to Work offers employees two different options as they approach retirement:
- The Custom Schedule Program allows employees to reduce hours and pay/bonus without impacting benefits. This option allows employees to work four days a week all year or take up to an additional five weeks of vacation.
- The Emeritus Program allows employees to change their responsibility (for example, from managing staff to individual contributor) without reducing their pay or grade.
Abbott has been recognized over the years for this innovative program, including mentions in the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, Fortune, CNN Money and Money magazine.
Note: All data in the Global Citizenship section reflects activities prior to the separation of Abbott and AbbVie on January 1, 2013.