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TAKING CARE OF OUR EMPLOYEES AND THEIR FAMILIES

We are committed to improving the quality of life of our people.
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Internal Social Responsibility

To help our employees and their families overcome more difficult times, the Group has implemented internal social responsibility (ISR) projects focusing on three areas of action: family well-being, health and education.

In 2021, the Group allocated 25.6 million euros to these projects, 29% more than the previous year.

Family well-being

The individual and family well-being of employees is especially important to the Group. We invested 20.1 million euros in this area in 2021.

  1. Social Emergency Fund
    Since 2011 the Social Emergency Fund has helped employees facing financial difficulties or at family or social risk. Social workers ensure the assistance we provide to our employees and their families. In 2021, aid was provided to 1,586 employees, bringing the total number of employees supported since the establishment of this fund to 4,852.
  2. You Can Count on Biedronka
    Launched in 2004, the Możesz Liczyć na Biedronkę (You Can Count on Biedronka) programme provides financial support to current and former employees facing difficulties. In 2021, more than 4,700 loans were granted under this programme, corresponding to an investment of 1.4 million euros. Nearly 68,000 employees also received pre-paid cards to be used in Biedronka or Hebe stores (an investment of 2.8 million euros). Approximately 18 million euros have already been invested since the programme was launched.
  3. Biedronka Seniors
    Retired Biedronka employees receive support in the form of pre-paid shopping cards, under the Na Biedronka dla Seniora (Biedronka Seniors) programme, in place since 2016. This initiative provides financial support to retirees who, because they are no longer working, have had a significant reduction in their income. Since this programme was launched in 2015, more than 50,000 euros have been invested, and 215 beneficiaries supported.
  4.  Fiado
    Launched in 2021, the Fiado programme gives Ara employees access to credit to buy essential goods in stores, which is then deducted from their monthly salary. In 2021, 4,903 employees made use of this programme. The Company also has the Fundo del Emplado (Employee Fund), an independent body that, among other purposes, supports the needs of employees and their families.
  5.  Support to the families of deceased employees
    Biedronka offers a lump-sum payment to improve the comfort and security of families with children up to 18 years of age whose parents (employees) died. Seventeen children received aid in 2021, corresponding to an investment of 75,000 euros.

Health

In 2021, 1.7 million euros were channelled to the health support programmes for employees and families.

The Special Families programme is aimed at employees’ children up to the age of 25 with special needs and/or neurological disorders in Portugal and provides access to complementary therapies. In 2021, it encompassed 113 children and young people.

To help employees suffering from cancer, the Mais Vida (More Life) programme gave 48 employees access to second-opinion consultations, help at home, transportation, and psychological support for their families in 2021. Since the programme’s launch in 2015, 132 employees have already taken advantage of this programme.

Mali Bohaterowie (Little Heroes) is an initiative to help the children of employees in Poland with special needs. In 2021, this programme supported 298 children by providing rehabilitation equipment, psychomotor rehabilitation programmes, and support for medical services.

The “Zdrowia’s Wracaj” (Get Well Soon) programme, which offers financial support for treatment of or recovery from serious, chronic illnesses, has supported 113 employees in Poland.

As regards oral health, the “SOS Dentist” programme, launched in 2012, supports employees in Portugal with oral health problems who do not have the financial capacity to bear the total cost of their dental treatment. A total of 374,000 euros was invested in this programme in 2021.

Education

In 2021, we invested 3.8 million euros in this area, three times more than the previous year’s.

  1.  Holiday Camps
    Holiday camps in Portugal were reinstated in 2021 after being suspended in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This programme was created out of the need to respond to employees’ concerns, who, in these periods, found it difficult to ensure care and occupational activities for their children. Between 2010, when the programme was created, and 2021, more than 13,000 places have been opened. Two programmes have been implemented in Poland. The first, “Wakacje z Biedronką” (Holidays with Biedronka), focuses on developing children’s creativity between the ages of 8 and 13, with an investment of 4.7 million and more than 11,000 openings created since 2005, the year it was launched. The second is Hello Biedronka, aimed at teaching English to young people between 14 and 17, with more than 880 places and an investment of 418,000 euros since 2015, the year it was implemented.
  2.  Scholarships and Tutoring
    In Portugal, the Online Study Hall was used by 426 children in 2021 and scholarships were awarded to 28 employees and 67 children of employees (an investment of 175,000 euros). This project is designed for those who do not have the financial means but wish to enrol or re-enrol in higher education.
  3.  School Supplies
    One of the initiatives since the beginning of the pandemic is the acquisition of equipment (computers and tablets) so that the children of employees in Portugal and Poland can attend classes online. In two years (2020 and 2021), 4,500 devices were acquired. The Group provides vouchers for purchasing school supplies by Portuguese parents and offers school kits to its employees’ children in Portugal and Poland.

Independent Verification

Information on the ISR measures implemented was confirmed by an external and independent entity for the Group’s 2021 Annual Report.

Independent Report

Read the 2021 Independent Limited Assurance Report.