2022-03-22 11:00 Share:  Facebook Instagram

Žalvaris increases investment in the employee healthcare programme 3 times

Žalvaris increases investment in the employee healthcare programme 3 times

Žalvaris, one of the largest hazardous and non-hazardous waste management facilities in Lithuania, has significantly expanded its healthcare incentive programme for employees since March this year, which consists of supplemental health insurance and preventive health check-ups for specific groups of employees. This year, the company will invest EUR 30,000 in employee healthcare – three times more than last year.

Over the last couple of years, the general decline in access to healthcare has affected both the physical and psychological well-being of the population. According to the CEO of the waste management facility Žalvaris, the health system is still affected by the pandemic, so that people have to wait longer for consultations with a family doctor or specialists, which affects the diagnosis of diseases and preventive health check-ups, which has a negative impact on the ability to work and leads to longer treatment of delayed health problems.   

"We clearly understand that in today's labour market, an attractive salary or working hours aligned with an employee's personal needs are not enough to attract and retain employees, therefore, we are looking for opportunities to create additional value for our employees and we invest every year in improving the working conditions," Vitoldas Sapožnikovas, CEO of Žalvaris, says.

According to him, taking care of the health and well-being of employees has always been and will remain one of Zalvaris' top priorities. The company pays its employees the highest average salary among waste sector companies in Lithuania, and has introduced an employee healthcare incentive programme several years ago. Under the programme, employees of hazardous waste management units undergo preventive health check-ups and measurement of the effects of lead on their bodies twice a year, and are reimbursed for the purchase of food supplements. Managers and specialist in certain fields have also been covered by supplemental occupational health insurance for several years in a row. This year, as part of this trend, it has been decided to extend the measures to a wider range of employees, so that they would cover all those employed in the company without exception.   

"In reviewing and updating the healthcare incentive programme for employees, we have sought to ensure that everyone to whom it applies will personally experience and take advantage of the values received. That is why we decided to follow the tried path of expanding the range of beneficiaries of the incentive measures. This means that all warehouse employees will now have the opportunity to undergo a comprehensive preventive health check-up and all specialists of the administration will have the opportunity to take advantage of the supplemental health insurance," V. Sapožnikovas says.

Žalvaris operates in seven major Lithuanian cities and employs 150 people. More than 90 sorters, loaders, forklift drivers and auxiliary workers who have been working in the company's warehouses for more than half a year will have the opportunity to take advantage of a preventive health check-up, which includes a full health check-up, including blood tests, an ultrasound and a medical consultation. They will be reimbursed 100% of the value of the preventive healthcare services.

An advantage when competing for employees on the labour market

According to Inga Griniuvienė, Head of the Group of Employee Incentive Programmes at Aon Baltic, the leading insurance broker in the Baltics, the popularity of health insurance services is constantly increasing, as evidenced by 26% growth of the health insurance market last year. Health insurance as a part of fringe benefits and corporate incentive programmes is gaining ground and is becoming one of the ways to attract employees, which is currently in short supply in the market for many companies.

"We have noticed that companies in the manufacturing sector have recently become more and more interested in health insurance, which very often means that health insurance is becoming popular not only in major cities, but also in the regions of Lithuania. Employers are also choosing more diverse health insurance programmes and are increasingly allowing employees to choose the type of healthcare services that are most relevant to them," I. Griniuvienė says.

According to her, it is important for employers that their employees are able to work and receive prompt and qualified healthcare when needed. This has been particularly evident during the pandemic, when the availability of healthcare in the public sector has become even more limited – health insurance addresses this shortcoming by providing access to prompt and qualified medical care in private healthcare facilities.

According Aon Baltic's representative, the assessment of the impact of the pandemic on health insurance shows an increased demand for mental health services, which are covered by insurance companies as part of outpatient treatment. This type of services has become even more relevant since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. According to I. Griniuvienė, the COVID-19 pandemic has also led to the popularity of rehabilitation services, as people are working more from home, where the workplace is less ergonomically designed and can have an impact on related health complaints.

Health insurance as an incentive to take care of yourself

In the field of health insurance, Žalvaris continued its cooperation with Compensa Life Vienna Insurance Group SE in Lithuania. The new insurance contract not only extends the insurance coverage in terms of beneficiaries, but also renews the package of available services and increases the amount of money that can be used by the employees at their own discretion to purchase health and dental services, pharmacies and opticians' supplies.

"The supplemental health insurance we have chosen allows employees to go directly to the specialists they need, avoiding queues and saving time. Insured employees will be able to receive treatment at both public and private medical facilities throughout Lithuania," V. Sapožnikovas says.

Supplemental health insurance has other benefits, such as providing a lump-sum payment in the event of a critical illness, providing the opportunity to take care of psychological well-being, to improve health in gyms, to purchase food supplements, to get massage treatments and to receive other healthcare services.

"The CEO of Žalvaris points out that the psychological and emotional health of employees is particularly important in the current climate. “We provide free psychological counselling to colleagues who feel anxious or fear for personal reasons, the pandemic or the war in Ukraine, and even invite them to participate in remote psychological lectures in cooperation with our partners," he says.