Caring for Employees

Heinrich Bertelsmann introduces a disability and pension fund.

In line with the patriarchal role of the entrepreneur, Carl Bertelsmann (1791-1850) took care of his employees from the start. At the beginning of 1887, Heinrich Bertelsmann (1827-1887) introduced the disability and pension fund for his employees at the publishing companies in Gütersloh and Bielefeld – two years before the relevant laws were passed. The disability and old age pension fund breathes the spirit of the Wilhelmine Empire: it was open only to men who were proven physically and mentally fit. They had to be in possession of their full rights as citizens, have completed their military service, been with the company for at least two years, and not be older than 40 years. The tradition of social responsibility continued throughout the 20th century at Bertelsmann and is an integral part of the corporate culture to this day.