If you’re a full-time Starbucks employee in China, the company will help pay your rent.
Starting this month, full-time baristas and shift supervisors in China’s Starbucks corporate stores will receive a monthly housing subsidy, expected to cover an average of 50% of monthly housing costs.
The announcement of the new program comes as Starbucks reveals major expansion plans in the country.
The Wall Street Journal reports Starbucks plans to open 500 stores a year for the next five years in China — more than doubling the current store count by the year 2021. Since Starbucks entered China 17 years ago, the company has opened 2,000 locations.
“Over time, it’s conceivable that China could become our largest market and I am grateful to our 30,000 dedicated China partners and their supportive families for the significant contributions they are making to Starbucks success,” Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said in a statement after announcing the initiative at Starbucks China Partner-Family Forum on Tuesday.
The practice of employers offering housing — often in the form of dormitory complexes for factory workers — is standard practice in China, reports the Seattle Times. The amount Starbucks plans to spend per employee will reportedly vary based on geographic and other factors.
In addition to housing subsidies, Starbucks China is also introducing a program, already in place in the US, that allows employees who have worked at the company for at least 10 years to take a sabbatical of up to 12 months of unpaid leave.
Starbucks offers various employee benefits around the world, tailored to fit the cultures of the more than 65 countries where the chain has locations. In the US, Starbucks offers free and discounted college tuition to employees. In the UK, the company has launched a housing loan program for staff.
In October, Starbucks announced that global same-stores sales increased 7% in fiscal 2015, thanks in part to China and Asia Pacific comparable sales growth of 9%. In 2016, half of all new Starbucks locations are expected to open in the region.
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