AstraZeneca international flex allows for local variance

Case study: AstraZeneca

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca offers flexible benefits plans in a number of the countries in which it has an employee presence including its three main locations: the US, Sweden and the UK.

The company has a two-page document that outlines its global compensation and benefits aims, but doesn’t specify exactly what should be offered in a flex package. Malcolm Hurrell, vice president of human resources UK, explains: “There is nothing saying that you have to flex particular elements [for example] amount of holiday [entitlement] in all of your markets because it wouldn’t work. It would be a non-starter because culturally it wouldn’t fit across all the countries.”

He believes it is important that the company has a philosophy towards supporting flexible benefits globally, rather than replicating a package in each location. “We have actively sponsored the principle of flexibility in the package and then asked markets to look at the appropriateness of that in relation to the tax regime, the provision of state benefits and so on.”

The UK enables more salary sacrifice arrangements to be put in place, than for example, Sweden where the tax system has resulted in the need for a different scheme to be implemented.