Starbucks Redefines Partner Benefits in China

New benefit will provide fully-sponsored critical illness insurance coverage to more than 10,000 parents of its Chinese partners

Program honors the strong role parents have in the success of its partners, while recognizing the deeply-rooted Chinese family values

BEIJING, China (April 11, 2017) – Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX) today established a new precedent for the role and responsibility of a public company leading through the lens of humanity in China – its largest and fastest-growing second market. Beginning June 1, 2017, Starbucks will offer a critical illness insurance plan for the parents* of its eligible** full-time partners (employees) in company-operated stores across Mainland China. This industry-leading investment will benefit over 10,000 parents of its Chinese partners.

The ‘Starbucks China Parent Care Program’ was announced by Howard Schultz, executive chairman, Starbucks Coffee Company, and Belinda Wong, ceo, Starbucks China, at a Starbucks Partner Family Forum in Beijing, the latest in a series of family forums the company has held with its Chinese partners and their families since 2012.

“Our core purpose and reason for being has always been driven by a set of beliefs steeped in humanity and I’m extremely proud to be able to support our Chinese partners and their parents through the Parent Care Program,” said Schultz. “Supporting critical illnesses for aging parents exemplifies what we believe is our responsibility as a global public company and honors the family values deeply-rooted in the Chinese culture.”

Addressing a key concern of partners

In 2010, the company introduced Starbucks Caring Unites Partners (C.U.P.) Fund in China which provides financial assistance to partners and their families in times of need. An analysis of the C.U.P Fund requests over the past seven years, as well as conversations with partners revealed that more than 70 percent of Chinese partners are concerned about the health of their parents as they age. Those who are single, making up 80 percent of retail partners in China, are specifically concerned about their financial ability to provide for their parents’ long-term care should a critical illness occur.

“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,” added Belinda Wong, ceo, Starbucks China. “Starbucks success in China is directly attributed to the passion and dedication of our partners as well as the unwavering support from their family.”

Redefining health care benefits in China

The ‘Starbucks China Parent Care Program’ is a unique, innovative plan created in collaboration with one of the top insurers in the country to complement the current China Social Medical Insurance Program. The plan leverages Starbucks considerable partner base in China to create a tailored program to alleviate health care and treatment costs associated with a critical illness for its partners.

“The active participation by the private sector is critical to China’s efforts to further enhance the social security system to support our aging population. Starbucks has responded positively to the Government's call to elevate the commercial health insurance industry, our social security network and to promote a ‘Healthy China’. It is also a firm demonstration of Starbucks social responsibility efforts to give back to the community in a meaningful manner,” said Mr. Jiang Chongguang, Deputy Secretary-General of the Insurance Society of China.

Li Ling, 29, a Starbucks store manager and Coffee Master in Deyang, Sichuan Province, and her family experienced the financial burden when both her mother and grandmother fell ill at the same time.

“I’ve always been concerned by the financial responsibility of caring for my family and now I have my Starbucks extended family here to support me,” said Ling. “It’s a great relief to me, and all of my Chinese partners, that Starbucks has taken a leadership position to support the health and care of our aging parents. I’m incredibly grateful to be with a company that understands our hopes, dreams and aspirations for the future.”

With more than 2,600 stores, across 127 cities, and nearly 40,000 partners across the country, the ‘Starbucks China Parent Care Program’ builds on Starbucks health insurance coverage available to both full- and part-time partners, their spouses and children across the country and its unparalleled, locally-relevant partner benefits, including: the Starbucks China University, Starbucks China Talent Exchange Program, a housing allowance subsidy for full-time baristas and shift supervisors, and a Career Coffee Break (sabbatical).

Starbucks has a long history of providing industry-leading benefits. Since 1988, Starbucks has offered comprehensive benefits, including affordable and comprehensive health care to eligible part-time and full-time partners in the U.S. To address the growing cost of higher education in the United States, Starbucks created the Starbucks College Achievement Plan in 2014 for eligible U.S. partners to earn bachelor’s degrees through Arizona State University with full tuition reimbursement. Announced in 2015, the innovative Home Sweet Loan programme in the U.K. provides an interest-free loan to help partners pay rental deposits when moving into a new home and, last year, Starbucks Korea introduced its College Achievement Plan to provide tuition support for partners who want to finish their four-year college degrees.

*Parents of Starbucks partners must be below the age of 75 to qualify for the insurance program. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing health requirements stipulated by the insurance coverage provider. It will cover the medical treatment of 30 common critical illnesses among the elderly in China.

**Fully sponsored critical illness insurance program will be extended to partners who have served at least two years in the company’s company-owned markets. The parents must also currently be residing within Mainland China.