As of 1 June this year, Starbucks employees across mainland China will be able to add their parents to the company’s health insurance plan. The new policy will benefit over 10,000 parents, the company says.

The Starbucks China Parent Care Program was announced by executive chairman Howard Schultz, and Belinda Wong, CEO of Starbucks China, at a Starbucks Partner Family Forum in Beijing. Parents must be below the age of 75 and residing in mainland China to qualify.

"Supporting critical illnesses for aging parents exemplifies what we believe is our responsibility as a global public company and honours the family values deeply-rooted in the Chinese culture," Schultz said.

Wong added: "Culturally, parents play an important role in the lives and career choices of our Chinese partners and they are a natural extension of our Starbucks family in China.

Through this new investment, we are stepping up on our responsibility to help our partners take care of their aging parents by alleviating the financial costs that may arise during a family emergency.”

The company made the decision to implement the new policy after analysis showed that more than 70% of Chinese staff members are concerned about the health of their parents as they age. Moreover, the company found those who are single - about 80% of the retail staff - are especially worried about their financial ability to provide for their parents’ long-term care in case of a critical illness.

With the new benefit, Starbucks hopes to offer better support and peace of mind to staff members. Additionally, it’s responding to calls from the Chinese government to advance the commercial health insurance industry to help support an aging population.

Starbucks currently has more than 2,600 stores in China across 127 cities, employing nearly 40,000 people.

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