Japanese electronics giant Panasonic has told its employees working in China that they will be receiving “smog pay” or extra compensation in light of the continuing pollution problem in the country. They have become the first international company to issue a hazard pay because of the air quality problems in many Chinese cities that have affected both the health of the residents as well as the businesses operating there.
A spokesman for the company confirmed that the extra pay is part of the deal reached in the annual labor talks among major Japanese companies, but refused to say how much the expatriates will be receiving as well as how many will be affected. A document from the talks said, “As for the premium for expatriates to compensate for a different living environment, the company will have a special review for those sent to Chinese cities.”
There is still no end in sight to the pollution problem in the world’s second largest economy, as pollution monitors in its capital of Beijing last month showed that the particulate readings have exceeded 15 times the recommended daily maximum by the World Health Organization. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang vowed that they will be waging a “war on pollution,” after an environment official said that the air quality in almost all of China’s major cities is below the national standards. The problem is beginning to affect the economy as a lot of international companies’ employees have refused to move there due to the hazards presented by the continuous haze.