European Disability Employment Week is an opportunity to shine the spotlight on the action taken by employers to welcome and support their employees with disabilities. Elior, the world leader in catering and services, employs 42,500 people in France, almost 7% of whom are disabled (compared to the national average of 3.5%1).

The Group has committed to:

  • welcome and train disabled employees in the same way as able-bodied employees;
  • support and maintain in employment employees who declare a disability over the course of their career (deafness, back or hand problems, reduced vision, etc.);
  • offer its employees a caring and supportive environment by training managers and raising team awareness.

Elior in its ninth year partnering the Passerelle program

The Passerelle Handicap program gives students with disabilities the chance to enjoy training as part of an alternating work-study course, financed by the CFA. In partnership with the Paris School Board, each year Elior welcomes eight apprentices concurrently enrolled at the Ecoles Parisiennes des métiers de la table. The aim of this program is to facilitate integration into the working world for the disabled.

For eight months, the trainees learn all about the professions in collective catering, while also benefiting from personalized support provided by a dedicated HR team.

To date, Elior has trained 52 people through this program, eight of whom are still with the company today.

Employees declaring a disability guaranteed to remain in jobs

The collective catering professions are physical by nature, engaging the body and the senses day in and day out. Elior has made it a target to guarantee continued work for all its employees, taking into account the constraints which they may face. When a disability arises midway through a career, Elior adapts the affected person’s job, without shifting the workload to another employee. 

For example, for any employees so requiring, Elior offers the JAPET belt, a device created by surgeons at the Ramsay Hospital Group, which supports the body in its motions and maintains the necessary spacing between the spinal discs. This belt is intended for people suffering from back pain, whether due to pathology or otherwise: from warehouse workers to delivery drivers, catering staff and cooks. Thanks to the support of AGEFIPH, Elior was able to deploy the first exoskeleton ever used in collective catering.

“At Elior France, the Job Maintenance Unit and the Diversity team work together daily with employees, managers and Human Resources managers to anticipate and prevent risks of career de-integration. It can help in technically complex job maintenance situations and liaises with external players on the ground, such as occupational medicine, Cap Emploi or other disability experts. ”

— Fyntha Parant

Head of Diversity and Disability at Elior France

Did you know? Since 2016, Elior France has set up a toll-free number available to all employees to address disability issues.

Raising team awareness and facilitating the integration of employees with disabilities

In addition to the action offered directly to employees with disabilities, efforts are made to raise awareness in teams and training managers. Disability awareness workshops are organized conveniently on site (restaurants or regional head offices) to inform, open up discussion and develop a foresight culture. The aim is to enable everyone to understand what a person with a disability is going through, and thus to develop a caring attitude within the teams.

As for the Job Maintenance team, it holds the know-how and tools necessary to support HR managers and line managers in dealing with individual situations and exploring workstation adjustments for employees with disabilities.


1. Sources/ AGEFIPH/DARES 2019)