Boeing Frontiers
May 2003
Volume 02, Issue 01
Top Stories Inside Quick Takes Site Tools
Special Feature

Pay & benefits outside the United States

Common philosophy with local competitiveness

Linda Seber provides human resources
support for Boeing locations in Europe.

Each country has its own culture, social and tax laws, competitive labor market, and employment practices," said Linda Seber, senior manager People Europe, in Brussels, Belgium. "That's what makes my job so interesting. I love working with such diverse issues and people, as well as being part of the Boeing team. Our name is a strong brand here."

Linda Seber joined Boeing in the fall of 2001. Prior to that, she worked at the European headquarters of large multinationals that included Toyota Motor Europe, Hercules Europe, Federal Express Europe and Towers Perrin HR Consultancy. Linda has a bachelor's degree in management from Chapman University (California) and a post-graduate degree in fiscal sciences from ICHEC (Brussels). A dual-national (Turkish/ Belgian), she speaks English, French, Dutch and Turkish fluently.

Seber's role has been changing to help Boeing implement a companywide compensation and benefits structure for all locally hired employees outside the United States in 2003.

"Our philosophy is to be locally competitive around the world and at the same time to put pay and benefits packages together based on a Boeing format," said Amy White, director of Global Compensation and Leadership Resource Planning. "Our global 'total rewards' program will support the company's People strategies outside the U.S."

"We provide competitive compensation and benefits across countries, but packages cannot be identical because of each country's taxes, labor laws and cost of living," White added. "For example, the company's retirement program may focus on savings in those countries where the government provides the pension plan. The same is true with modified company health benefits in countries with socialized medicine."

What are some of the People programs that are available worldwide? Most Boeing employees at non-U.S. locations are eligible for participation in the Employee Incentive Plan, the Learning Together Program, the Leadership Center, the Employee Assistance Program, the Learning Centers (including borrowing books and CDs from the library), recognition programs and some employee discount buying programs.

"Our overall competitive positioning is improving as Boeing strengthens its global presence," White noted. "The challenge is for our People policies and services to keep pace with this growth."

Working at Boeing in Belgium

Across Europe, Seber sees both similarities and differences between countries.

"We have monthly base pay in each country, but the number of times it is distributed can vary," Seber said. "Some countries have 12 monthly payments per year and others have 14 payments per year in which two payments are made in two of the months as per labor laws and/ or market practice. They take the shape of vacation pay and end-of-year pay."

The worldwide salary review cycle was aligned for most locations in March with the system being used in the United States. The performance evaluation process is also in place as an important tie to the compensation program.

She noted it's logical people would think having a new common currency (the Euro) would make salaries directly comparable across Europe; however, income taxes and local social security deductions still vary country to country.

"In fact, taxes have a big impact on how pay and benefits packages are put together," Seber added. "High taxes have led companies to provide other types of pay. For example, it's common in southern Europe for companies to provide daily lunch vouchers during the workweek to be used in restaurants or supermarkets… because they are either not taxed or not taxed as heavily as base salary."

On the benefits side, the basic components are the same across Europe: health care, life insurance, disability and pension.

"Here again, each country has its own system," Seber said. "In countries like Sweden, the government provides a larger amount of local social security and then mandates that employers provide supplemental retirement savings benefits. In other countries (like the United Kingdom and Belgium), there is a small local social security benefit which causes employers to provide company-based plans."

Seber points out that most Boeing offices in Europe recognize "winter break" and close between Dec. 25 and Jan. 2. Public holidays differ from those in the United States. For example, U.K. offices are closed Dec. 26 for Boxing Day. Personal vacation time in Europe is generally the same for all workers within a particular country and does not increase with seniority or position as it does in the United States. Some countries have flexible start and ending times for the workday.

"We consider ourselves to be Boeing people … regardless of country," she noted. "We receive Frontiers. We are connected with e-mail, and the Boeing intranet sites. I think employees outside the U.S. would like to be even more involved with U.S.-based activities and strategies. When we say 'global' or 'international,' we mean all 70 countries … including the U.S. …where our Boeing family works and lives."


Front Page
Contact Us | Site Map| Site Terms | Privacy | Copyright
© 2003 The Boeing Company. All rights reserved.