In the following letter to associates, President and CEO Arne M. Sorenson announces the company's latest actions:
Over 90 years ago, visionary pioneers started a company with a simple but powerful idea: "If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the customers, and the customers will come back." Our most important competitive strength continues to be our associates and the culture that you bring to life every day at our locations throughout the world. Please know the deep gratitude that Mr. Marriott, our leadership team, and I have for all you do to take care of each other and our customers.
In that spirit, I am pleased to announce exciting new investments to support associate wellbeing and career growth. Because of the new tax laws in the United States, Marriott International will realize certain economic benefits that we have determined to share with our associates. The specific actions include:
Global Career Growth Initiative. A great source of pride at Marriott is seeing people begin in entry-level positions, achieve success, and grow their careers. Most of our General Managers started this way, as have some of our most successful corporate executives. We want to do more to honor this important part of our company culture by expanding the support available to associates as they plan and prepare for career growth. To that end, we will launch a multi-year initiative to provide more and better career development resources for non-management associates.
TakeCare Relief Fund. Since its inception in late 2017, the TakeCare Relief Fund has provided over $5M in monetary assistance to thousands of associates who have been the victims of hurricanes and other natural disasters, as well as other personal hardships. The program is currently operational in the United States and Mexico. Marriott will invest $5M in the TakeCare Relief Fund and begin the process of expanding the program globally. When our associates and their families need us the most, we want to stand ready to help.
Retirement Savings Plan (U.S. Only). One of the most significant life stages is entering retirement years. This should be a time to enjoy family and friends, to cherish fond memories and discover new things, and to feel financially secure. An essential element to achieving this is a personal commitment to retirement savings. Given its importance to financial wellbeing, for every $1 that associates save in Marriott's primary retirement saving plan in 2018, we will contribute an additional $5 (up to a maximum of $1,000). This supplemental contribution is above and beyond the regular plan match. We plan to make an equivalent contribution in U.S. locations that have a different retirement program.
If you are a participant and save at least $200 in 2018, you are set to get the additional $1,000. If you are not currently participating, enroll in the plan now as this is an incredible opportunity to jump start your personal retirement savings. To be eligible, associates must have been employed by Marriott on December 28, 2017, and meet the requirements of match eligibility by the end of this year. Management associates who are "highly compensated executives," as defined by the Internal Revenue Code, are not eligible.
At Marriott, we know that our success starts with the wellbeing of our associates. I am thrilled to announce these exciting actions and look forward to communicating more information soon.
Thank you for all you do!