Ethias was one of the first companies to offer a free Internet subscription to its employees. “Everything started 15 years ago with the Staff Friendly Society,” Laurent Jaspers, an accountant and tax expert, and the Society’s manager explains. “Since that time, we have been offering an Internet connection to our workers, who also benefit from discounts when buying a PC.” The package has changed over the years, and a telephony and digital television offer has been added. Ethias also provides a choice between various operators. “We offer the Packs for Employees via Proximus,” Jaspers explains. “The advantage for an employee is that everything is included in a single product.” The Packs for Employees are one of the four solutions for employees offered by Proximus, alongside Mobile for Employees, Devices for Employees and the Employee Privilege Program.
99% of employees have subscribed to the scheme
Proximus has developed a tailored solution for Ethias. Although employees on permanent employment contracts could already benefit from a free Internet connection, thanks to Internet for Employees, they can now upgrade to Packs for Employees. Accordingly, they benefit from the advantages of this new offer, while Ethias continues to bear their fixed and mobile Internet expenses. “Since then, a huge number of employees have switched to Proximus,” said Jaspers. “Ninety-four percent of new staff members subscribe to Proximus’ Pack for Employees. The Internet subscription is free, and even though the employee makes a contribution for the digital television and fixed and mobile telephony services, they receive a nice reduction.” The Staff Friendly Society’s initiative has therefore been an outstanding success. “Around 99% of our employees have been persuaded. The remaining 1% results from the fact that both the husband and wife work for Ethias, for instance,” said Jaspers with a smile.
Laurent Jaspers is the contact person at the Staff Friendly Society. This means that he is in constant contact with the employees. “This position enables me to see how much the workers appreciate this initiative,” he explains. “This is genuinely an additional service for the workers, which has nothing to do with the Internet connection made available to some managers and members of senior management in order to enable them to work remotely. In this case, we are talking about employees’ personal use.” However, the employer has obviously something to gain too. In fact, this offer amounts to an extra legal benefit that is attractive for both the company and the worker from a tax standpoint. “The main aim is obviously for the initiative to contribute to employee satisfaction,” Jaspers underlines. “Satisfied employees feel good about themselves. This means that they are more productive and more involved in the company, and show more commitment towards customers.”
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For the employee:
Ethias, which has over 1 million customers, is the third largest insurance company in Belgium. Over 200 advisers assist customers in 41 regional offices. Thecompany’s head office is based in Liège.
Laurent Jaspers is an accountant and tax expert at Ethias. He is also involved in the Staff Friendly Society, of which all employees automatically become members.
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