The Group is developing a coherent and well-structured welfare system to meet the needs of the different personnel segments and to extend the best practices to the whole Group, also involving the Trade Unions. The programmes that have already begun are implemented though a series of initiatives focused on the needs of the individual and its household.
The health emergency has led to new social challenges and needs, with particular regard to the difficulties of access to health care, conditions of social and economic insecurity, new ways of organising work (smart working) and the problem of reconciling work and family. This situation has resulted in changes and new ways to develop the Group welfare plan. At the beginning of the year, an internal survey was launched to assess the perception of corporate welfare and the initiatives implemented by the Group to take care of its people and their health, with a particular focus on the effects caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The survey, which saw significant participation, was an opportunity to verify the considerable interest in certain services, particularly those concerning the health of employees and their families, and made it possible, during the year, to expand information and to carry out further initiatives on this subject.
Quality of life for quality of work
The Group pursues a management policy that promotes and supports the correct balance between professional and private life, providing employees with a range of opportunities that allows them to reconcile work commitments and personal needs: flexible working hours, teleworking, smart working, part time, ultra-daily flexibility, additional leave up to a maximum of 2 days to be taken, even by the hour, within the year of maturity resulting from the replacement of part of the Performance Bonus, short leave and short paid leave, integration of compulsory maternity leave, conciliation desks.
Thanks to these experiences of flexibility and the robust digitalisation process in the human resources area, also in 2021, the Group has responded effectively to the needs of the corporate population related to the pandemic, using the various forms of reconciliation.
Smart working: initially adopted as a way of working to better balance private and professional life, since the beginning of the pandemic it has taken on a different and more articulated meaning, offering the possibility of maintaining production capacity and continuity in the provision of the Group’s services while protecting employees from the risk of contagion. The improvement of the emergency situation has allowed, in September, the resumption of activities in-person also for the personnel who had been carrying out their activities in continuous smart working since the beginning of the pandemic, while maintaining the possibility of carrying out part of their activities remotely. This allowed for a resumption of personal relationships and social cohesion within the offices, fostering collaboration and active exchange of information. In 2021, 3,435 people were involved in smart working within the Group.
Teleworking: Group employees can take advantage, on a voluntary basis, of part-time remote working, which was introduced to the Company with specific agreements. The Group prioritises requests motivated by work-life balance needs (caring for children and the elderly, personal or family member health problems, the distance between their home and place of work, etc.). In 2021, 102 employees worked from home.
Part time: all employees can request part-time hours (horizontally, vertically, or mixed), on a voluntary and always reversible basis, without the exclusion of the benefits provided for employees with full-time contracts.
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Initiatives for employee welfare
With a view to promoting the well-being of its employees, the Group has chosen to meet employees’ needs in terms of health and conscious consumption in the eight active Company canteens..
In relation to the continuation of the Covid-19 emergency, the safety and hygiene measures were maintained, implemented to allow, as far as possible, the use of Company canteens: hygienisation of spaces, use of personal protective equipment, placement of plexiglass on tables to protect diners, restriction of access. Alongside disposable plastic materials, previously completely eliminated and necessarily reintroduced for health reasons, more eco-sustainable plastic- free solutions have also been made available, with metal cutlery wrapped in paper, to reduce waste production even compared to the use of compostable cutlery. As usual, careful checks and sampling were carried out to verify compliance with contractual and legal provisions in health safeguard, with particular attention to the quality of the raw materials used.
Additionally, the Group has implemented a benefit scheme to improve the quality of life of its employees: meal vouchers and discounted dining in the local areas, company cafés offering regulated prices (closed for part of 2021 due to the Covid-19 emergency), indoor parking for private cars, and subsidised tariffs or contributions for buying subscriptions to the local public transport network.
All employees are offered, voluntarily and following an agreement with the Trade Unions, the possibility of allocating part of the 2021 performance bonus to corporate welfare initiatives, benefiting, in this case, from a surcharge. Through the Iren Welfare Portal, employees can obtain, within the limits of the amounts allocated, refunds and/or goods and/ or services in the following areas: family, healthcare fund, mortgages, supplementary pension, sports, culture, leisure and trips. The services on the portal were presented through special live webinars open to all employees, a recording of which was made available. About 6,000 employees are already registered on the Portal, which managed around 2,180,000 Euro in 2021. Following a specific agreement with the Trade Unions, an amount to be allocated to supplementary pension funds or supplementary healthcare funds was provided to all those who converted at least 30% of their bonuses into welfare benefits. The portal also allows for registration and access to a discount area to which approximately 1,900 employees are enrolled.
In 2021, the Group renewed the collaboration with a wellness provider, a path geared towards improving employee health by encouraging physical activity and availability of a platform, which has more than 2,100 sports facilities nationwide (yoga, swimming, pilates and more), which can be attended with a single monthly subscription. The agreement guarantees the Group’s employees discounted rates and subscription plans of up to 60% off the market cost.
As part of this collaboration, the wellness provider has provided Group employees with new digital solutions available in response to the needs created by the pandemic to help people stay active and fit even at home.
As part of the mobility management activities, in 2021, the Group completed the drafting and sending to the competent Authorities of the Home-Work Travel Plans (PSCL), required by the regulations, relating to the main company offices in Genoa, La Spezia, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Turin and Vercelli. The elaborations, prepared on the basis of the results of a questionnaire submitted to employees in 2020, constitute the Group’s “Home-Work Mobility Plan“, a tool for the analysis and development of useful measures to rationalise the travel of Group personnel. In order to facilitate the daily sustainable mobility of employees, in the main company offices, to which the Turin office was added in 2021, special covered racks have been installed for the shelter and parking of bicycles and motorcycles.
From 2020, moreover, each employee can, through a specific IT tool, search, book or purchase travel tickets in real-time, in complete autonomy and compliance with company policies, doing a comparative search between the various travel services customarily required to manage a trip (flights, trains, hotels and car rentals).
Finally, all employees have the option of purchasing some of the IT and telephone equipment that they currently use at discounted rates, in the case of replacement when they become obsolete or when they terminate their service.
Iren Group promotes the health of its employees by facilitating access to a series of services and specific initiatives as part of a broader health and prevention programme.
The Wellness Project offers the possibility of a voluntary two-year preventive health check-up for an individual contribution of 10 Euro, which is donated in full to local Health Authorities. The project is structured in two phases (“Health Project” and “Heart Project”) (programme promoted by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità) and aims to identify in advance, through laboratory examinations and a visit aimed at preventing cardiovascular risk, the main health risk factors in relation to age and gender. A total of 971 employees were screened in 2021, making up for visits that were suspended in 2020 due to the health emergency.
In 2021, the Group launched an experimental telemedicine project in collaboration with Generali Welion. The innovative service, proposed to all employees, provides a tele-consultation support for general practitioners and paediatricians for the whole family, with the aim of providing answers in the medical field, safely and promptly, in a context that, due to the Covid-19 emergency, affects the timely availability of various services of the National Health Service. The service also offers access to a vast network of affiliated healthcare facilities at discounted rates, without the need to take out an insurance policy. In the first three months of the trial, 543 employees signed up for the service, making a total of 277 calls to seek medical advice.
Supplementary pension coverage
Since the legislation reforming the supplementary pension system came into force, employees have been able to decide how to use their post-employment benefits (TFR). They can either leave it with the company or put it in one of the pension funds provided for by law, which supplements the compulsory government-managed pension and ensures a higher social security coverage. Due to the number of participants, the ones that stand out are the pension funds established by collective bargaining, which can only be joined by workers applicable for certain collective agreements. The main funds for Iren Group employees are as follows: Pegaso (CCNL electricity or gas-water), Previambiente (CCNL environment), Fon.Te (CCNL Commerce and Services), Fondo Gomma Plastica (CCNL Gomma Plastica) and Previndai for managers. As part of the unification and standardisation process for economic and regulatory treatment, in order to promote the value of supplementary pension funds among young people and to encourage enrolment in the related funds, for employees hired on permanent contracts or apprenticeships an additional payment is made every year to the supplementary pension scheme in which they are enrolled. On 31 December 2021, 7,231 employees had joined the supplementary pension funds to which the Group had paid a total of 3,826,303 Euro during the year, by way of contribution at its own expense. Employees can also make use of a pension support and advice service.
Insurance coverage for personnel
Almost all junior managers, white-collar and blue-collar workers are insured by a policy stipulated by the Group for death or total or partial permanent invalidity due to accidents at and outside of work. Furthermore, special insurance policies have been taken out in the event of death and/or total permanent invalidity resulting from non-occupational ill-health for electricity and gas-water sector employees, in accordance with the provisions of the respective National Collective Labour Agreements. Insurance coverage in the case of accidents (even ones which occurred outside of work and in the case of occupational illness) and life insurance are provided for all managers, as per the provisions of the Confservizi National Collective Labour Agreements for Managers. A new policy has also been taken out to cover damages involuntarily caused to third parties by the managers or his/her family members in the performance of activities relating to private life (insurance cover for “head of household” liability).
Through membership of supplementary health care funds, employees are provided with health coverage in relation to the national collective labour contract to which they belong (FASIE for personnel with gas-water contracts, FASDA for personnel with environmental contracts, Utilitalia and Fise Assoambiente, Metasalute for metalworkers’ contracts, EST for trade contracts and FAS G&P for plastic rubber contracts). The National Collective Labour Agreement for the electricity sector provides for the payment of contributions to CRAL associations for healthcare activities. In Parma, and for members of the CRAL ARTA association in particular, employees can join a prevention programme that includes specific health checks. Specially constituted funds manage the payment of healthcare benefits that ordinary members (employees) and their dependents can benefit from.
All managers, for whom primary healthcare coverage is provided by their membership to Fasi, are also supplied with supplementary health insurance which refunds additional healthcare costs that are not reimbursed by Fasi.
Advance on employee severance pay
Employees may benefit on a reiterated basis – from better conditions than those provided by the legislation in force – by applying for an advance of their post-employment benefits (TFR) more than once to pay for healthcare, to buy their first house, renovate a property, restructure or modify buildings in order to remove architectural barriers and in other specific cases.
Retired employees, and their dependants, can remain members of Group leisure, cultural and sports associations and thus take advantage of a significant part of the offered services. Retired managers, whose last working relationship elapsed while holding the position of manager, which lasted not less than one year, can keep their subscription to the Fasi supplementary healthcare fund and make use of the benefits provided. The healthcare also covers any dependants and, in the case of their death, those who hold survivors’ pensions.
The electricity sector National Collective Labour Agreement provides for additional monthly payments to the post-employment benefits for employees who leave service with 40 years of contributions or are 60 years of age.
Leisure, cultural and sporting activities
Through the Company leisure clubs, recreational, leisure, sports and cultural activities are offered to employees, albeit with the limitations arising from the continuation of the pandemic in 2021. Aiming to increase sociability between employees, the following are available: the Employees’ Recreational and Cultural Club in Genoa, Adaem and CRAL AMIAT in Turin, the Quercioli Club in Reggio Emilia, CRAL AMPS and CRAL ARTA in Parma, CRAL ENÌA in Piacenza, the CRAL ADAM in Vercelli and the CRAL ACAM in La Spezia. Some associations contribute to the educational expenses of employees’ children, as well as allowing schoolbooks and stationery to be purchased at discounted prices. The clubs also enter into commercial agreements in the areas of interest to allow employees to purchase products and services at discounted prices. The clubs are almost entirely funded by the Group, which also makes the spaces and equipment required to carry out the activities available to them through a special free loan.
In regard to the regulations of the CRAL, discussions are under way with Trade Unions in order to harmonise the various economic and regulatory treatments provided by company supplementary agreements which have been subject to withdrawal.
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