Getinge employees working voluntary for a better future
Getinge’s employees get two days of company paid time off per month for voluntary work. An offer that has made it easier for the medtech company’s employees worldwide to take concrete actions before, during or after catastrophic events.
In a pledge to help customers, communities and families in connection to catastrophic events, Getinge is offering employees paid time off work. And right now, with the ongoing war in Ukraine, financial support is offered to employee’s families who are hosting refugees seeking shelter.
In Karlsruhe (Germany), Karin and Linda had already been engaged since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Karin had been privately raising money for necessary supplies and Linda assisted Ukrainian refugees in the neighborhood by for example taking kids to the playground and assisting with official paperwork.
“Finding the time is always a critical factor, so when we saw the internal message we both felt it was an opportunity to do more. I had already been helping out at a clothing bank and when I asked Karin to join she didn’t hesitate. Neither did our managers when they signed the approval form for us taking the day off to do voluntary work,” says Linda.
The clothing bank is located in a big facility where refugees or other people in difficult situations get donated garments for free. Together, Linda and Karin spent a full day sorting and distributing shoes.
“I love the fact that the clothing bank doesn’t hand out things, the visitors can browse through items in different departments and choose which ones they desire most just like in a normal shop. It brings a level of dignity in this horrible situation,” explains Linda.
Both she and Karin are humble about their contributions and overwhelmed by meeting people who have fled for their lives, leaving most of their belongings behind in a war-torn country.
“It’s hard to imagine what these people have been through. It feels good to assist them in ways that I can and I am proud that my employer is supporting and encouraging us to do more,” says Karin.
Meanwhile in Poznan (Poland), Getinge employees are entitled extended paid time off due to the high number of refugees crossing the border. Many employees are helping in food kitchens and donation centers, and Mateusz is hosting two Ukrainian families in his home.
“During the first days of the war the refugees had not yet reached us, but my wife and I realized that eastern Poland would not be able to take care of everyone, and that they would eventually come to the west. We took a decision that we wanted to help,” says Mateusz.
It all happened fast and just two hours in advance of their arrival, Mateusz and his wife got a phone call about two Ukrainian women and their sons who were on their way to Poznan and needed a place to stay.
“We managed to prepare the facility in no time. When they drove up to our house, with all of the belongings they had managed to bring squeezed into a small car, the tension was real. We had never met before, but from this day on we would live together.”
Mateusz is grateful to his employer for making it possible for him to take time off to help the family settling in, and for supporting financially.
“Today, these four individuals have been with us for some time and we are now a family of seven. We talk a lot. Being here means mixed feeling for them, as their husbands, older sons and friends are still in Ukraine making resistance. They sometimes feel like they ran away, and are ashamed that they did not stay and fight which is heartbreaking. We are in contact with their families every day.”
Mateusz and his wife have helped their new friends get a job and their children are attending school in Poland. Hosting refugees at home has been challenging, both mentally and logistically, but at the same time very rewarding.
“Helping others makes me feel proud, needed and satisfied all at once. I am convinced that if you do good, then good will come to you.”