Supporting and protecting our employees

Where possible, Novartis provides benefits to all full- and part-time employees. These vary between countries but generally include comprehensive health, well-being and retirement benefits; generous vacation policies; and a global recognition program. Our enterprise and digital training programs are generally available to all employees regardless of contract type.

All Novartis employees worldwide are eligible for a minimum 14 weeks of paid parental leave on the birth or adoption of a child, effective from their first day of employment. A total of 4 632 people took advantage of this benefit during the year, based on data that was available for 33 countries covering 63% of our employee population. Of the total employees taking parental leave, 59% were female and 41% were male.

In 2021, Novartis launched an Employee Share Purchase Plan, which enables employees to voluntarily purchase Novartis shares at a discounted price. The plan is global in scope: The first phase of its four-year rollout, starting in 2021, covers North America (the US, Puerto Rico and Canada), with subsequent waves in other countries and regions starting in 2022, 2023 and 2024. All permanent employees are eligible for the plan (with certain exceptions).

Keeping employees safe

In 2021, we took further steps to protect the health and safety of employees as the impact of COVID-19 continued to be felt worldwide.

In countries where sufficient vaccines were available – and where the guidance was in line with local laws and regulations – we asked employees to only come on site if they were either fully vaccinated or fully recovered from COVID-19 within the previous six months. Local management could decide to adjust these principles based on the local regulations and in-country situation. COVID-19 test results could also be accepted as a means to access sites if deemed appropriate by the local management team. When on site, employees were asked to continue to adhere to safety and hygiene measures, with an emphasis on closely following the rules introduced in 2020.

Meanwhile, we made the Everbridge global emergency communications tool available to 160 000 Novartis employees as well as chosen partners and suppliers in 2021. This provided advance warning of any security, health or environmental risks that could affect employees, whether working on site, at home, or in other remote locations.