Work-life balance

We have introduced a range of initiatives to help our employees achieve a work-life balance. The focus is on flexible working times, supporting employees who are reliant on childcare or have a family member who requires care, and providing assistance during periods of poor health or social hardship. The various measures are designed to suit the specific local situation and requirements.

Flexible working models range from flexitime or part-time hours to teleworking. Part-time employees in the Group accounted for approximately 1.9 percent of our workforce in 2013. In our Greater China region, we introduced a flexible working scheme for around 700 office staff during the year under review. In Germany, we have agreed a teleworking model for employees in the Engineering Division who are caring for a family member or who are themselves recovering from ill-health. In some regions, we offer our staff the chance to acquire additional holiday entitlement or to take time off to complete training or for their own private projects. In the UK, for example, five employees in the region took a sabbatical during the year.

In Germany, we currently have a stock of 33 daycare places in Greater Munich. Elsewhere in Germany, our employees receive a subsidy towards childcare places. In addition, a family service bureau is available to help employees find appropriate childcare. In the course of 2013, this bureau was used more than 280 times by employees in Germany. At the Group's head office in Germany, a total of 344 employees took parental leave in 2013, 35.8 percent of whom were fathers. In the same year, more than 235 employees in the country returned to Linde after a period of parental leave. We are currently reviewing our concept for the support of childcare provision in Germany.

In order to promote the physical and mental health of our employees, we offer advisory services in many countries covering such areas as family crises and addiction problems, as well as initiatives designed to prevent illness. In North America, for example, all members of staff have the opportunity to take part in a health programme introduced in 2013. This programme is supported financially by Linde. Meanwhile, in the UK, we ran a workshop on stress management for our IT staff.