Why now? Consumers have long been concerned about purchasing goods produced by vulnerable workers in developing countries. Now, rising inequality and growing job insecurity in affluent countries means their empathy is expanding to white-collar workers, too. Who knew people cared so much about Amazon’s highly-paid developers, marketers and middle managers featured in the NYT’s controversial exposé?
In October 2015, clothes retailer Uniqlo took aim at Japan's culture of long work hours. Around 10,000 employees at Uniqlo’s Japan locations were given the option to work four days a week by switching to 10 hours per day instead of eight. The move is intended to help employees fit in family and study commitments.
GrabTaxi (a taxi booking app which operates across South East Asia) expanded its GrabLife driver welfare program to Thailand in May 2015, after launching a similar fund in Singapore. The initiative sees the company deposit 14% of the THB 7 (USD 0.21) journey fee it receives into the GrabLife fund. Drivers who meet the quality and loyalty criteria are then eligible for life insurance, income protection and crisis support. Further benefits include English language lessons and educational scholarships.