Union Gas employees
Chosen as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers and Top Employers for Canadians Over 40 for 2013:
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors
(Oct 9, 2012)
Some of the reasons why Union Gas
was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers for 2013
- supports new mothers with maternity leave top-up payments along with health benefit coverage during their leave as well as the option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence
- offers great financial rewards including signing bonuses for some, generous year-end bonuses, and a share purchase plan available to all employees, letting everyone share in the company's success
- invests in ongoing employee development with subsidies for tuition and professional accreditation, financial bonuses for some course completion and even manages a generous academic scholarship program for children of employees who attend post-secondary institutions (to $5,000 per child)
- new employees start with three weeks of paid vacation and the company considers previous work experience when setting vacation entitlements for experienced applicants
- helps older employees prepare for life after work with retirement planning assistance, contributions to matching RSP, defined benefit and defined contribution plans (depending on the position) and a health coverage plan that extends to retirees
- a great corporate citizen that supports a variety of local community initiatives with employees involved in the selection of initiatives and providing time-off to volunteer when needed
- also maintains an environmental focus with employee-led "Green Teams" at its head office and district offices who oversee its many in-house environmental initiatives -- and recently introduced a unique 'vanpool' pilot program that reduces three carpool groups into one van, driving down commuting costs and fuel consumption
Union Gas Limited is a Canadian natural gas storage, transmission and distribution company.
The company is a subsidiary of the publicly-traded and Houston, Texas-based Spectra Energy Company. Originally established in 1911, the Chatham, Ontario-based Union Gas serves approximately 1.4 million residential, commercial and industrial customers in more than 400 communities across northern, southwestern and eastern Ontario. The company also offers the largest underground gas storage facility in Canada (and one of the largest in North America), which is an important link in the movement of natural gas from Western Canada (and USA-based gas basins) to markets in central Canada and the Northeastern United States.
Industry: Natural Gas Distribution.
Major Canadian hiring locations: Chatham ON, Windsor ON, London ON, Waterloo ON, Hamilton ON, Kingston ON, North Bay ON, Thunder Bay ON.
Stock symbol: SE-N.
Revenues: $1,830 million.
Full-time at this location: 844.
Full-time employees in Canada: 2,192.
New jobs created in Canada last year: 37.
Part-time employees in Canada: 118.
Workforce engaged on a contract basis: 2.6%.
Number of applications received at this location last year: 12,246.
Average age of all employees: 46.85.
Longest serving employee: 45 years.
Union Gas' physical workplace is rated as very good. The company's head office is situated in a rural environment, along the Thames River and within minutes of Union Gas Park and the Thames Campus Arena. A walking path, community garden and bike corral were also recently constructed in response to employee feedback and consultation. Inside, the head office features an employee lounge (with comfortable seating and television); onsite cafeteria (featuring healthy menus and an outdoor eating area with barbeque); secure bicycle parking; free parking; The office is also located within an easy distance of several local amenities including elementary schools, health clinic, daycare centre, and fitness club.
Work Atmosphere & Communications
Union Gas' work atmosphere is rated as above-average. On the job, employees enjoy business casual dress; casual dress daily; can listen to music while working; employee sports teams; organized social events. The company-subsidized social committee, the "Blue Flame Club", has been in operation since 1968 and is responsible for organizing events throughout the year including staff appreciation days, ice-cream lunches, staff dinners, annual President's Christmas Social, and an annual second quarter club dinner, recognizing employees with 25 or more years with the company. Union Gas captures feedback and keeps employees up-to-date through a company newsletter; corporate intranet site; email suggestion box.
Financial Benefits & Compensation
Union Gas' financial benefits are rated as exceptional. To keep salaries competitive the company participates in outside salary surveys every 12 months. Individual salaries are reviewed every 12 months. In addition to ensuring competitive compensation, Union Gas provides share-purchase plan for all employees; signing bonuses for some employees; year-end bonuses for all employees; generous year-end bonuses (to $81,455), depending on the position; defined benefit pension with employer contributions (up to 5% of salary); defined contribution pension plan with employer contributions (up to 9.5% of salary); matching RSP contributions (up to 5% of salary); life & disability insurance; retirement planning assistance; phased-in retirement work options.
Health & Family-Friendly Benefits
Union Gas' health and family benefits are rated as very good. The company's health benefits plan is managed by Manulife Financial. The health plan is a flexible plan with adjustable premiums and coverage levels. There is no waiting period before coverage begins. Family coverage is available on the health benefits plan. Retiree coverage is also available on the health plan, with no age limit. The basic plan includes routine dental; restorative dental; orthodontics; eyecare ($325 every 2 years); traditional medicine coverage; alternative medicine coverage; employee assistance (EAP) plan; medical equipment and supplies; physiotherapy; massage therapy; homecare; travel insurance. (Note: As part of the flexible benefits package, the company may pays from 85% to 100% of the premiums associated with the chosen plan). Union Gas' family-friendly benefits include; maternity top-up payments (to 100% of salary for 8 weeks); health benefits during maternity and parental leave; extended unpaid parental leave option (beyond the first year). Adoptive mothers also receive 8 weeks of maternity leave top-up, with the percentage top-up varying. Additional family-friendly benefits include; post-secondary academic scholarships for children of employees; flexible working hours; shortened work week (fewer hours with less pay); compressed work week; telecommuting; reduced summer hours program; earned days off (EDO) program; job-sharing.
Vacation & Personal Time-Off
Union Gas' vacation and personal time-off are rated as average. New employees receive 2 weeks of vacation allowance after their first year. Vacation increases after 3 years on the job. Long-serving employees receive a maximum of 6 weeks of vacation each year. Employees receive 15 paid sick days every year. Employees can schedule 6 personal days off each year, as needed. Employees can also apply for an unpaid leave of absence. (Note: Some unionized, non-union and management personnel start with 3 weeks paid vacation).
Union Gas' employee engagement program is rated as exceptional. Employees receive individual performance reviews every 6 months. Managers receive training in how to conduct effective performance reviews. Performance feedback is also solicited from co-workers and other managers familiar with each employee's work. As part of the review process employees can provide confidential feedback on their manager's performance. Exit interviews are provided for departing employees. The company recognizes exceptional performance through a variety of award programs including incentive plans, which reward the achievement of department and overall company goals, individual high performance merit awards, company summit awards, and special recognition awards (SPOT bonus) that reward employees with cash bonuses in recognition of extraordinary accomplishments. Union Gas sponsors its own in-house employee satisfaction survey. (Surveys are conducted every 12 months); Union Gas hires an outside consultant to conduct confidential employee satisfaction and engagement surveys. (These surveys are held every 12 months).
Training & Skills Development
Union Gas' training and skills development program is rated as exceptional. Employees receive tuition subsidies for courses related to their position. (Employer covers up to 100% of tuition). Employees may also receive tuition subsidies for courses unrelated to their current position. (Employer covers up to 100% of non-related tuition). In addition to generous tuition subsidies (with no set annual limit), Union Gas offers subsidies for professional accreditations; in-house apprenticeship and skilled trades programs; formal mentoring program; financial bonuses for course completions; career planning services; in-house training programs; online training programs; online employee skills inventory; new employee orientation program; formal management training program. Union Gas also operates an education centre in Chatham, which hosts special recruitment initiatives and internship and training programs.
Union Gas' community involvement program is rated as exceptional. Union Gas and its employees support a variety of local, national, and international charitable organizations. Employees take part in the selection of charitable groups assisted each year. Employees receive paid time off to volunteer with their favourite charitable organizations. Last year, employees donated over 16,877 hours volunteering with charitable projects. Approximately 500 charitable and community organizations were supported last year. Every year, employees take the lead in supporting community improvement projects across Ontario through the "Helping Hands in Action" initiative. Employees participate in improvement projects such as refurbishing and landscaping of buildings for charitable organizations and schools, constructing playground areas, gazebos, camp shelters and walking trails, organizing clothing and food drives, and planting trees in community parks. Employees also support the annual United Way campaign (raising over $900,000 for 27 agencies last year) as well as the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life and BUZZ Off campaign.
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