The profound impact that COVID-19 is having on Sodexo’s clients, customers and employees is undeniable. As a result, the company announced several new initiatives Thursday to help its employees find work, stay working and support them if they are out of work.
From moving employees from temporarily closed Sodexo sites to critical needs in hospitals, senior living centers and homecare, to partnerships with employers who are desperate for staff, Sodexo is pulling every lever at its disposal.
“The weight of this moment is being felt by all,” says Sarosh Mistry, Chair for Sodexo North America. “We have sent condolence notes to grieving families and team members, and at the same time are lifted back up daily by the heroic efforts our teams display. Watching our teams feed school children, set up field hospitals and keep the medical sector working gives us hope – which right now we desperately need.
“But we cannot live on hope alone. While some of our employees are working harder than they ever have – in hospitals, senior living and homecare, for instance – we have too many others looking for work. I would like to thank our external partners, vendors, suppliers and clients in addition to all our internal efforts that are doing what can be done to help people find work, stay working and support them if they’re out of work. While many employees will qualify for unemployment, we will never stop looking for ways to help our Sodexo family.”
Sodexo’s new support services include:
Sodexo Employee Relief Program
Despite all our efforts and even though the situation is rapidly changing, this once-in-a-lifetime crisis currently confronting us all will sadly mean we will have to lay off some of our on-site staff. As a result, Sodexo announced today the establishment of a 30-million-euro (~33 million dollar) global relief program to help.
As the fund was announced today, each region – including North America – is working out the most appropriate and fastest way to distribute those funds.
Workforce Resource Center with More Than 300,000 Job Opportunities
A new workforce resource center for displaced Sodexo employees launched this week providing access to more than 300,000 job opportunities across 33 vendor and partner companies. Some of those companies are expediting hiring because they know the quality of a Sodexo employee. Jobs are offered by Amazon, Kroger, PepsiCo and more.
Internal Placement for Sodexo Employees
Given the significant variation in on-site work – some sites are temporarily closed, others are operating at partial capacity and others are as busy as they have ever been – Sodexo has created an internal placement program to assign Sodexo staff who want to work at high-need sites. Sodexo will continue to match employees at units that have temporarily closed with our locations that need additional help. To date, we have matched thousands of employees to more than 200 Sodexo sites.
Pop-Up Grocery Stores for Staff
Sodexo teams in the U.S. and Canada recognize that extended hours and extra shifts within hospitals and senior living communities can often prevent employees, clients and customers to grab much-needed household items and supplies. As a result, some teams have converted space onsite into pop-up grocery stores complete with nonperishable items available at cost, including canned goods, toilet paper and paper towels.
Extended Sick Leave
In mid-March, Sodexo announced a new extended sick leave policy allowing up to 21 days of paid sick leave for any employee with COVID-19 or for those who are asked not to come to work because they have COVID-19 related symptoms.
Beyond the efforts listed above, our employees are doing amazing work across the region.
Our teams continue to feed local communities. For example, SodexoMAGIC teams in Fort Worth, TX, are providing lunches for 82,000 students in the school district, and the SodexoMAGIC team at Saginaw Public Schools distributed 4 tons of food to families in need. Our Schools and support teams rallied to support local school districts so that they can continue to feed students—many of whom would go hungry without those meals. Currently, we are preparing and sharing more than 270,000 meals each day.
As Sodexo units in the U.S. reduce services or temporarily close in response to slower demand, Sodexo teams have redirected excess food, resources and supplies back to the community. In March, more than 122,000 lbs. of food was donated to local food banks and area nonprofits, and more than 116,000 free meals were prepared for first responders, emergency personnel and medical teams.