Starbucks is introducing a sabbatical leave policy and housing allowance subsidy for its 30,000 Chinese employees.
The organisation’s ‘Career Coffee Break’ scheme enables employees with 10 consecutive years of service to take a sabbatical of up to 12 months. Although the leave is unpaid, employees will still be entitled to receive their workplace benefits and return to their jobs afterwards.
The scheme, which is already offered as a benefit to Starbuck’s US staff, aims to recognise the efforts of long-serving employees.
The coffee shop chain is also introducing a monthly housing allowance subsidy for full-time baristas and shift supervisors. The subsidy is available to employees after six months of service.
Typically, industrial companies in China will build vast dormitories for those moving from the countryside for employment. Kristi Heim, President of the Washington State China Relations Council, told The Seattle Times “[the practice] has been expected in China, especially for non-married workers.”
The program is currently only available to full-time members of staff, which is approximately 7,000 of its 30,000 Chinese workforce.
John Culver, Group President – China and Asia Pacific at Starbucks, said: “We listened very carefully to what the needs of the partners are, and one of the things they talked about was housing.
“You have a lot of people migrating into bigger cities, and the cost of living and rent in those cities is higher. We want to make sure we’re giving them the opportunity so that they can afford to live there.”
The benefit, which is expected to cover 50 percent of employees’ monthly housing expenses, is designed to help staff overcome the financial challenges they might face while starting out in their careers.
Belinda Wong, president of Starbucks China, said: “These and other industry-leading [employee] investments demonstrate our continued commitment to support our China [employees] to achieve their personal and professional aspirations.”