FACT 42 – Protecting our employees throughout the world

By ENGIE - 12 July 2022 - 10:24

Paternity leave, the right to disconnect, equal pay... What if all our employees, whether in France, Peru, Slovakia or Italy, had the same rights and the same level of social protection? With ENGIE, this “what if” is becoming reality.


With the signature of the new “international social agreement”, we are putting in place a shared set of social rights and welfare measures for all our employees in all our subsidiaries and in all the countries in which we operate.


Spreading ENGIE’s priorities throughout society

This international social agreement reflects the concerns and key challenge of today. Above all, it is in line with the Group’s purpose (“raison d’être”). “It ties our low-carbon commitment to social matters, through strong, practical actions,” declared Marc Deluzet, who is responsible for deploying the agreement throughout ENGIE. This agreement symbolises the Group’s philosophy and overall mindset.

This new agreement renews and reinforces the previous agreements, giving them even more strength and coherency, and making further progress in many areas. It applies globally, with no exceptions. It is a key, historic breakthrough. “It goes even further in terms of human rights, vigilance plans, CSR, etc. but also with regard to social dialogue,” explained Noémie Goussard, who participated in the negotiation process.

This agreement illustrates ENGIE’s social commitments in terms of both “content” -the themes covered- and “form” - the dialogue put in place to define shared objectives. There were plenty of seats at the negotiation table! The Group’s main trade union organisations, three major international federations and employees from around the world were invited to the table.  “We thought it was important to include Group employees from different geographic regions to get a better understanding of the realities in the field,” explained Noémie Goussard.

And if this agreement was born from dialogue, it is also because it is not limited to the Group’s employees. “What is unique here, is that the Group has promised to have this agreement recognised by its subcontractors, and to prefer service providers and suppliers that respect the highest standards in terms of human rights,” added Marc Deluzet. This is a way for ENGIE to multiply its impact worldwide, with a “snowball” effect.

The agreement is thus aligned with the changing requirements of global laws concerning duty of care, health & safety, and supply chain management. Within ENGIE, it is therefore a cross-disciplinary cooperation tool, which is why the Group’s Ethics & Compliance, Health & Safety and Purchasing divisions are all involved in and responsible for its deployment.


Major progress in all areas

For Noémie Goussard, the scope of this international social agreement is unusually broad: “Few French and international companies already have agreements that change the status quo. This one is very extensive and covers multiple subjects.” Focus on the 5 sections of this agreement.


The first part of the agreement concerns the health, safety and quality of life at work of the Group’s employees and subcontractors. This absolute priority is illustrated by practical actions:

  • Involving employee representative organisations in the analysis of workplace risks and accidents, even if this is not required by local legislation;
  • Raising managers’ awareness of improving quality of life at work, the balance between personal/professional life, work organisation, etc.;
  • Ensuring all managers are aware of the psychosocial risks, such as professional stress or harassment;
  • supporting the “right to disconnect” and all good practices related to the use of digital tools (email, cell phone, social media, etc.).


The second part proposes a shared set of social welfare measures. At ENGIE, we do not compromise the social welfare of our employees. “ENGIE CARE” proposes actions including:

  • 14 weeks of maternity leave and 4 weeks of paternity leave, fully paid. A major step forward in many countries, where the Group is viewed as a pioneer.
  • Minimum cover equivalent to 12 months’ salary in the event of invalidity;
  • Health insurance covering at least 75% of hospital fees;
  • Payment of capital at least equivalent to 12 months of gross salary in the event of death.


The third part of the agreement concerns the Group’s commitments in the area of diversity and inclusion. The company’s performance is directly related to the diversity of our teams - this is our ultimate conviction. The agreement includes:

  • A parity objective for management, with an initial target of 40-60% of female/male managers in 2030; 
  • Rejection of discriminatory remuneration practices and implementation of a transparent pay system;
  • Action against all forms of discrimination against pregnant women;
  • Promotion of equal opportunities, regardless of gender, skin colour, religion, handicap, sexual preference, etc.;
  • Rejection of any form of intolerance of differences, regardless of current national legislation;
  • Protection for persons identifying as LGBTI+, who may refuse a position in a country in which their rights are restricted with no impact on their career;
  • Implementation of measures for employees to report and gain protection in the case of moral or sexual harassment.


The fourth part of the agreement proposes action in favour of sustainable employment and skills development. It aims to foster the employability of all employees, thus generating serenity with regard to the future. It notably includes:

  • Objective of 100% of employees trained every year by 2030;
  • Fair pay for interns and apprentices;
  • Access to training programmes for all employees, without distinction;
  • Employees receive an employment contract written in an official language of the country in which they work and their salary is paid into a bank account in their name.


The fifth and final part of the agreement promises strict respect of fundamental rights and active measures to fight fraud and corruption. Being a stakeholder in a sensitive sector, like that of energy, and operating world-wide, we must be 100% exemplary in all social, fiscal and ethical matters. This means:

  • Strict compliance with International Labor Organization conventions on freedom of association and collective bargaining;
  • Creation of an Ethics Charter to encourage all employees to apply its principles to their professional activities;
  • Availability of e-learning courses on fraud and corruption;
  • Implementation of a vigilance plan to prevent the violation of human rights, fundamental freedoms, health and safety, and the environment;
  • Particular attention to human rights, employment law and trade unions, integrated into the stipulations of the Purchasing Policy;
  • Stringent requirements for suppliers and direct subcontractors to comply with the highest standards of protection in terms of human, trade union and workers’ rights.


Rapid actions and close monitoring of results

This agreement was signed on 20 January 2022, and is valid for four years. It will be deployed progressively. It determines a direction and enables adaptation to the realities in the field. “Concerning pay gaps or harassment, for example, the starting point varies from one country to another. The actions will therefore be different and adapted locally,” explained Marc Deluzet. “However, the objectives are the same for everyone. It is a way for us to help regulate globalisation... and include more social welfare.”

Far from being a mere declaration of good intentions, this ambitious agreement will be monitored closely. Organisation of a global forum will be the opportunity for a review - once a year, in each country, of the actions implemented and their results. The goal is to share good practices and to work together to create a society that is more carbon-neutral, more inclusive and fairer.

It is an agreement that conveys the Group’s global HR ambitions and illustrates the values and essence of the Group.