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Online companies entice staff with child care cover

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10/03/2017 | 10:59am CET

Internet companies are rolling out attractive healthcare and child care packages to recruit and retain staff.

In April, China's largest online retailer, JD.com Inc, launched a free kindergarten for employees' children, aged between four to 24 months, at the company's headquarters in Beijing.

Staff can now bring them to work and pick them up when they leave in the knowledge that experienced personnel are looking after their babies and toddlers.

"Many of my colleagues recalled that it was a precious childhood memory to follow their parents to and from work," said Liu Qiangdong, chairman and chief executive officer of JD.com when talking about the kindergarten project.

Traditional dress is worn as employees at Alibaba, including those from overseas, marry in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Provided to China Daily

An extra month's paid maternity is also part of the employment package along with the statutory three months.

Male employees will now receive an additional seven days to go with the statuary period of between a week to a month, depending on where you work in the country.

Indeed, the child care program is just part of a series of employment initiatives wheeled out by JD.com. A medical reimbursement plan was launched in June for staff who have worked for the company for more than five years.

In 2014, employees who had no option but to leave their children in their home towns received 3,000 yuan ($458) in traveling expenses to bring them to Beijing for the Spring Festival.

An additional 3,000 yuan was added for a second child.

"The company's program has made me very happy," said Yan Yong, a deliveryman at JD.com's Temple of Heaven office in the capital. "I got to see them and my customers still got their packages on time."

In the past four years, the company has spent about 200 million yuan to help more than 20,000 employees enjoy time with their families during the holiday season.

But then innovative initiatives such as these are not just the domain of JD.com.

Another e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has also introduced a series of tailored programs to entice staff and keep them happy.

The company's iHome scheme was launched to help qualified employees buy their own homes by offering them interest-free loans of up to 300,000 yuan.

Healthcare program iHelp has also provided employees, or their family members, suffering from serious illnesses with financial help of 100,000 yuan.

Alibaba then launched an additional scheme for families of employees living under the poverty line with aid packages of between 30,000 and 50,000 yuan.

Indeed, just like JD.com, Alibaba has also focused on child care by investing 500 million yuan to set up an educational fund.

This has helped staff solve pre-school and early education problems.

"There are also well-equipped mother-and-baby rooms in the office buildings," said Shang Shu, 24, a programmer in Alibaba'sHangzhou office in Zhejiang province.

"These facilities and policies reduce the stress of maintaining the work-family balance for young employees, and are an important factor when joining the company," he added.

Packages such as these are vital to attract and hang on to staff. But internet companies still need to do more to retain the brightest and the best as well as loyal employees.

"These welfare measures are helpful for grass-roots staff such as deliverymen," said Lu Zhenwang, chief executive officer of Wanqing Consultancy in Shanghai. "But more needs to be done to retain (in demand) talent.

"As for senior executives at internet companies, they tend to (only) consider their salaries, working environment and career development," Lu added.

[email protected]

(China Daily USA10/03/2017 page14)

(c) 2017 China Daily Information Company. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info)., source Middle East & North African Newspapers

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