We offer our employees competitive wages and benefits, including medical, dental and prescription drug coverage; short- and long-term disability; life insurance and accidental death benefits; retirement plans; and a stock purchase plan. The company also offers other important benefits such as legal services (e.g., wills, powers of attorney), flexible spending accounts, adoption assistance, paid vacation and holidays, employee discounts, education savings accounts and scholarship programs.
The Waste Management Health and Welfare Benefits Plan allows employees to choose from among different levels and types of coverage. This allows each employee to put together a mix of benefits that meets his or her needs while receiving significant tax advantages by paying for benefits on a pre-tax basis (as allowed by law). About 96 percent of our employees participate in our health and welfare plans.
Waste Management pays the full cost to provide its employees with short-term disability benefits, long-term disability benefits, basic life insurance for the employee and dependents, and employee and family assistance benefits. The costs for some coverage, such as medical and dental, are shared with employees, with Waste Management picking up a majority of the expense.
We are particularly proud of our wellness programs. We have a team of “Get Well Guides” – a group of nurses and coaches who help employees and their families get access to the help they may need for a variety of life challenges. Employees can dial a toll-free phone number for confidential support and assistance from reliable, compassionate professionals who are trained as nurses, coaches, dieticians, clinicians and financial counselors. Employees and their families also have access to 2nd.MD, a virtual service that provides real-time consultation with doctors specializing in a variety of practices – and in 2016, we extended this access to cover an employee’s parents and his or her spouse’s parents.
Our wellness programs also include on-site flu vaccination clinics and health fairs, where we provide blood pressure tests, blood lipid tests and other screenings that aid in the early detection of health risks. A health coach also meets individually with all participants to review their results and suggest action items to improve their health.
Our Transition to Recovery program helps injured or ill employees return to work sooner in temporary assignments that are consistent with their medically documented capabilities. These assignments help the employees remain productive and speed their medical recovery.
We also provide plans to help employees save for the future. The Waste Management Retirement Savings Plan provides employees with diversified fund options in which to invest for retirement. Employees can choose to make pre-tax and/or after-tax (Roth) contributions, with the company providing a market-competitive match with immediate vesting. Employees receive free investment advice through a call center staffed with licensed advisors, as well as through a suite of online tools. About 61 percent of employees participate in our savings plan.
Another valuable program is our Employee Stock Purchase Plan, which provides employees an opportunity to buy shares of Waste Management common stock at a discount of 15 percent or more. About one-third of eligible employees participate in this plan.
Additional benefits, such as the legal services plan, flexible spending accounts and education savings account, are voluntary, and employees participate only if they choose to do so by making the required contributions.
Benefits for Canadian employees, as well as for certain collectively bargained U.S. employees, may differ in some respects from those described above. For example, in Canada, the broader reach of standard health coverage makes Get Well Guides less useful, and our Return to Work program is not identical to Transition to Recovery.