Sanofi Launches Program Focusing on Support for Employees Battling Critical Illness

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Cancer & Work: Acting Together guarantees job security and full salary continuation for up to twelve months for Sanofi employees and family members diagnosed with critical illnesses.

A middle-aged breast cancer woman with clothing around her head effected from chemo therapy sitting on wheel chair and hold hand of her daughter with hope and trust in love

Image credit: Bangkok Click Studio | stock.adobe.com

Sanofi recently announced the launch of “Cancer & Work: Acting Together,” a comprehensive global initiative aimed at supporting employees affected by cancer and other critical illnesses. Features of the program include guarantees of job security and full salary paid to employees battling illness for up to a year, as well as social, emotional, and financial assistance, with flexible work arrangements.1

According to a company press release, the program stems from an employee initiative out of France that began in 2017. Since then, Sanofi has expanded it with the aim of creating an inclusive culture that values every employee's experience with a further commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.1

“Many of us will face cancer one way or another in our lives. The last thing you want to be thinking about when you are diagnosed with cancer, or going through treatment, is work,” said Natalie Bickford, chief people officer, Sanofi, in the press release. “And yet, half of people who receive a cancer diagnosis are frightened to tell their workplace. That is not right. I am delighted that Sanofi has gone further, guaranteeing job security and salary continuation for at least a year after diagnosis. Today, we also support every Sanofi employee facing cancer by training a global network of affinity groups who can provide safe spaces, and by helping managers understand the challenges their team members may be facing, and how best to approach them for reassurance and support.”1

As part of the program, throughout 2024 Sanofi said it will implement coverage for miscellaneous non-medical expenses. Permanent employees of the company will also be eligible for unpaid caregiver leave to provide care for a close family member with a critical illness.

“Of all chronic conditions, cancer had the highest prevalence of work loss. Research shows that the risk of losing a person's job in the EU increases 1.4 times after a cancer diagnosis,” the company stated in the release. “According to an article published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, cancer-related employment changes are experienced by more than 40% of cancer survivors who were employed at or after diagnosis in the US.”1

Back in 2021, Sanofi was first announced as an official partner for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, with the aim of sharing commitment to the values of inclusion, diversity and openness to the world.2 According to Fierce Pharma, Sanofi is using the Olympics sponsorship to make it appear that Sanofi is a different organization than what it used to be.3

“From the beginning, there's been an element of ‘we want to show that we are changing as a company.’ But we are going to do it in what we believe is the right way, which is brought by Sanofians, our own employees, rather than corporate messaging. We felt the Olympics was a more human interaction that you could have with people,” said Josep Catllà, senior vice president, head of corporate affairs, in an interview with Fierce Pharma.4

References

  1. Press Release: Peer support, flexible work arrangements, salary for a year: Sanofi launches global program for employees affected by cancer and critical illnesses. GlobeNewswire. February 5, 2024. Accessed February 6, 2024. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2024/02/05/2823219/0/en/Press-Release-Peer-support-flexible-work-arrangements-salary-for-a-year-Sanofi-launches-global-program-for-employees-affected-by-cancer-and-critical-illnesses.html#:~:text=This%20pro
  2. Sanofi announces Paris 2024 Premium partnership for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris. Sanofi. July 13, 2021. Accessed February 6, 2024. https://press.paris2024.org/download-pdf/60eef777dc47fe2d1340b1cf
  3. Sanofi guarantees employees one year of salary and support after cancer diagnosis. Fierce Pharma. February 5, 2024. Accessed February 6, 2024. https://www.fiercepharma.com/marketing/sanofi-guarantees-employees-1-year-salary-and-support-after-cancer-diagnosis#:~:text=Sanofi%20is%20stepping%20up%20support,of%20their%20location%20or%20role.
  4. Less corporate, more human: How Sanofi is using the Olympics to change public perceptions. Fierce Pharma. January 29, 2024. Accessed February 6, 2024. https://www.fiercepharma.com/marketing/less-corporate-more-human-how-sanofi-using-olympics-change-public-perceptions
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