Sonic Healthcare Limited (Sonic), together with all of its subsidiaries (collectively referred to as Sonic in this Policy), is an organisation committed to the respect of human rights and upholding labour standards. As a healthcare company, this respect and commitment is central to the success of Sonic’s entities in all the communities in which it operates.
This Labour Standards and Human Rights Policy is aligned with the principles established within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in combination with Sonic’s Core Values and Code of Ethics, reinforces the commitment to ensuring all internal and external stakeholders are treated with dignity and respect. As part of due diligence when entering into acquisitions, new operations and other contractual arrangements, Sonic seeks to abide by the requirements set out in this document to ensure any labour standards and human rights issues are identified and assessed.
The Board of Directors, CEO and senior executives are responsible for setting the ethical code and overseeing compliance, however it is the responsibility of each Sonic Employee to adhere to these standards.
This general company-wide Policy does not override specific policies, procedures, laws or regulations in the local jurisdictions, but instead serves to complement them. If there is a conflict between this Policy and a specific local policy, procedure, law or regulation then this conflict should be referred to the local CEO and Sonic’s Company Secretary in Australia.
The purpose of this Policy is to set out the responsibilities of Sonic, its Employees and Associates in observing and upholding our principles with respect to labour standards and human rights.
Associate means any third party (individual or organisation) who is not an Employee, but is performing work on behalf of Sonic Healthcare (or a Sonic Healthcare subsidiary). This includes but is not limited to, consultants, contractors, joint venture partners (and their employees), stakeholders and other business partners.
Means the chief executive officer, president or equivalent business head of a Sonic subsidiary.
Any person conducting business on behalf of Sonic Healthcare (or a Sonic Healthcare subsidiary), whether employed in a permanent, casual, fixed term, temporary or agency capacity.
‘Sonic’ means Sonic Healthcare Limited and its subsidiaries, being all companies within the Sonic Healthcare Group worldwide.
Third Parties are any individual or organisations with whom Sonic Employees or Associates come into contact during the performance of their duties for Sonic. This includes but is not limited to, customers (actual or potential), suppliers, health insurers, consultants, advisors, government agencies and other public bodies.
To whom does this policy apply?
This Policy applies across all Sonic subsidiaries as well as all Employees, Associates and Directors of those business units. Companies and joint ventures in which Sonic has a noncontrolling interest are also encouraged to apply this Policy.
Community and Stakeholder Engagement
As a provider of essential healthcare services, Sonic is acutely aware of its impact within the communities in which it operates. Sonic is committed to engaging with stakeholders within these communities to ensure that it is listening to and learning from their views on how Sonic conducts its business, including specifically as this relates to matters of labour and human rights.
Commitment to Local Employment
Sonic is structured as a decentralised federation of medically-led practices. An outcome of this federated model is that Sonic is committed to supporting the local communities in which it operates through the priority given to local labour recruitment. To this end, all Sonic entities are expected to attempt, in the first instance, to source job applicants from the local community in which the business operates.
Commitment to Diversity
As outlined within our Diversity Policy, Sonic Healthcare strives to maintain a healthy, safe and productive environment which is free from discrimination and harassment based on race, colour, deprived backgrounds, poor social status, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin or disability. In addition, Sonic is committed to Equal Employment Opportunity and the continued development and implementation of initiatives to remove barriers that disadvantage any person or group such that everyone is able to compete on equal terms.
Diversity is valued as it assists Sonic to meet its objectives, and ensures that its own people, at all levels, reflect the customers and the communities Sonic serves.
Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining
Sonic respects the rights of its employees to join or form a labour union without fear of harassment, intimidation or reprisal. The same applies to employees who elect not to join a union.
When dealing with legally recognised unions, Sonic is committed to facilitating constructive dialogue and bargaining in good faith with representatives of the employee group.
Workplace Health and Safety
Sonic is committed to guarding the health, safety and wellbeing of its Employees, Associates, contractors and visitors by preventing injuries and illnesses in the workplace.
Sonic commits to complying with all applicable health and safety laws and regulations in the jurisdictions in which it operates.
Sonic’s Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) System, Sonic’s Workplace Health & Safety Policy and SonicSAFE Improvement Program give effect to this commitment and include the continual assessment (and remediation) of potential hazards, and regular measurement of safety key performance indicators.
The use of child labour is prohibited by Sonic. ‘Child’ is defined as any persons under fifteen years of age, unless a national or local law stipulates a higher minimum working age, in which case the higher age will apply. Sonic is committed to upholding the
Children’s Rights and Business Principles through our involvement in the communities in which Sonic operates and in the communities where Sonic provides charitable assistance.
Employment of individuals under eighteen years of age (but over fifteen years of age and above the minimum working age) is permitted and appropriate in non-hazardous roles.
Sonic prohibits the use of all forms of forced labour, including but not limited to bonded labour, slave labour and prison labour.
Compensation and Employee Conditions
Sonic operates in full compliance with employment laws and regulations in all jurisdictions
in which it operates. This includes but is not limited to laws governing wages, working
hours, overtime and statutory employee benefits.
The Company compensates employees competitively relative to the industry and respective local labour markets. Sonic is committed to ensuring that no employee is paid below the legal minimum wage.
‘Respect for our People’ forms part of Sonic’s Foundation Principles. As part of this commitment, Sonic recognises its responsibility to ensure its people are able to enjoy a work-life balance and are provided with opportunities to develop professionally.
Reporting of Noncompliance
Sonic’s Foundation Principles, Code of Ethics and Core Values are tangible
demonstrations of our commitment to our people and the communities in which Sonic operates. Central to this commitment is fostering workplaces in which all employees are
valued and respected.
If instances of non-compliance with this Policy are suspected, Sonic encourages reporting to an immediate supervisor or local CEO. If circumstances deem this not appropriate, items of concern can be reported confidentially to the Business Assurance Manager and/or Sonic’s Company Secretary in Australia.
Sonic encourages openness and will support anyone who raises genuine concerns in good faith under this Policy, even if they turn out to be mistaken.
Training and Communication
This Policy is communicated to senior management in all jurisdictions and is made available on the Sonic Healthcare website and subsidiary intranet sites. It is the responsibility of senior management in each jurisdiction to ensure those reporting to them
are made aware of (and understand) this Policy.
Additional training of senior management is provided where deemed necessary.