Bell provides team members with total compensation packages that are competitive with the market, including salary, performance incentives, benefits and retirement plans. We also offer added savings and wealth-building opportunities, including a share purchase plan (with company matching), group tax free savings account (group TFSA) and a group retirement savings plan (group RSP). We also offer generous employee discounts on Bell services and purchases at The Source.
Bell offers a competitive compensation package that recognizes team members for their performance and aligns with our 6 Strategic Imperatives. Bell’s compensation package includes a competitive base salary, strong performance incentives and a range of benefits including long- and short-term disability leaves. Incentive plans reflect both the company’s success and individual achievements. The Achievement Incentive Plan (AIP) covers more than 20,000 eligible team members. Over the last few years, team members eligible for the AIP have benefited from payouts that consistently paid very close to or above targets. To maintain market competitiveness, Bell reviews compensation levels at least once a year.
Each year, team members receive a comprehensive total compensation statement providing a complete picture that goes beyond salary and performance-based bonus payments to include the value of the benefits, pension plan and team member savings. Delivered as a personalized statement, the document also serves to alert team members to other programs so that they may make the most of every benefit Bell offers.
The health of our team members is our top priority. It is paramount, therefore, that Bell invest in programs that give team members more coverage and options that fit their individual circumstances. Our program is among the most generous on the market but, more important, it gives team members choices to lead an optimal, healthy lifestyle, with initiatives that address both physical and mental health. Effective January 1, 2016, we introduced an enhanced benefits plan offering team members additional flexibility in choosing the healthcare plan and life and accident insurance that best suit their evolving individual and family needs. The updated plan includes:
We also introduced a state-of-the-art, mobile-accessible benefits and savings website featuring a fully personalized dashboard. This provides team members with their up-to-date personal situation in the company savings and retirement plans as well as their coverage under the life and healthcare plans. Through this site, team members can easily update their Life Event section, ensuring their benefits reflect key life or work events. More than 90% of our team members accessed the site and enrolled in the enhanced health plan. In addition, in order to improve accessibility to healthcare for our team members, we partnered with a network of medical clinics, resulting in faster access to physicians close to some Bell locations.
As part of Bell’s commitment to mental health in the workplace, Bell’s benefits program reimburses services provided by psychologists and social workers up to a maximum of $1,500 per year for each person covered by the plan.
Retirement and savings
Financial security is important to our team members and we are committed to making it easy for our team members to invest for both the short and long term. Most Bell team members benefit from a defined contribution pension plan that offers an automatic 4% employer contribution plus a 2% employer match as well as other savings plans such as a group RSP, a group TFSA and a share-purchase plan (the Employee Savings Plan, or ESP). Under the ESP, team members can have up to 12% of their annual earnings withheld through payroll deductions to buy BCE common shares. The company contributes $1 for every $3 a team member puts into the plan, up to a maximum of 2% of earnings. Shares purchased with company contributions are vested to team members after 2 years.
In 2016, we contributed $725 million to our various pension plans, including a $400 million voluntary contribution to our legacy defined benefit pension plan to enhance the security of pension benefits.
Key areas of our defined contribution pension plan were also refreshed in 2016. To encourage team members to save, the default team member contribution was set at 2% after 2 years of service, meaning team members may double their retirement savings compared to the previous default option. The investment fund line-up was changed to include an option which provides a more gradual reduction of risk over time. Because of these changes, more than 90% of team members are now maximizing the employer matching contribution and are invested in one of the Lifecycle funds.