Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
Mars Veterinary Health North America will spend $500 million to improve employee pay, benefits, diversity and career opportunities across its brands, including Banfield, VCA and BluePearl animal hospitals and Antech diagnostic laboratories.
The initiative calls for minimum hourly pay of $15 by the end of 2022, student debt relief and up to 80 more hours of paid sick leave for employees affected by COVID-19.
“Recognizing the evolving needs of the veterinary profession and after considering feedback from more than 10,000 associates, we are investing in programs that further enhance their health and well-being,” said Doug Drew, president of Mars Veterinary Health North America. “While there is more work to do, we’re optimistic about the meaningful impact these changes will have in our associates’ lives.”
According to the company, which employs more than 55,000 people, the commitment through 2025 includes:
- Increased wages and benefits, and paid parental leave, disability and 401(k) matching. More than 10,000 employees will see their hourly pay rise to at least $15.
- Partnerships with InStride, Penn Foster and Appalachian State University to bolster educational and career pathways.
- Financial counseling for employees immersed in student debt as well as loan refinancing opportunities and contributions through programs such as Banfield’s Veterinary Student Debt Relief Program.
- Equity, inclusion and diversity initiatives such as training and mentorship programs and a partnership with the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine.
- 100% gender-balanced senior teams.
“We hope these commitments give associates the support and peace of mind they need to advance their careers and provide high-quality care to pets,” said Jennifer Welser, DVM, DACVO, the chief medical officer at Mars Veterinary Health. “But more than that, we hope our actions communicate to veterinary professionals, and especially our associates, that their voices are heard and valued as we continue to invest in programs and initiatives that are intended to directly impact their lives for the better.”
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