Welcia Kanto: 2014 AARP Best Employers International Award Recipient
Publish Date: October
Industry: Retail (Drugstore)
Location: Saitama, Japan
Employees: 11,653; Percentage of age 50-plus employees: 9.64 percent
Welcia Kanto, established in Fuchu City, Tokyo, in 1974, sells medicines, health care supplies, health foods, household products, and food. It also dispenses prescription medicines.
In light of an aging society, Welcia Kanto believes that it must provide job opportunities for older people who have a willingness to work and that doing so is key to the company’s survival and growth. Welcia Kanto and its subsidiaries employ older people and those with disabilities not because it is required, but because it is a matter of corporate social responsibility and it provides a quality workforce.
Extending Working Years
In 2008, Welcia Kanto raised their retirement age to 65. In 2012, it introduced a continued employment system, through which all workers over 65 may continue working at Welcia until age 75 if they wish. Workers, older than 75, may also continue to work. Working conditions for post-retirement employees are decided based on discussions between the employee and the company. As of 2012, 7.3 percent of Welcia Kanto’s employees were aged 55+. In the next 10 years, 7.6 percent of the employees will reach retirement age. The company’s oldest employee is an 88-year-old pharmacist who is working actively 5 hours a day for 4 days a week.
Because deteriorating health can lead to a decline in work efficiency and productivity in older workers, Welcia Kanto has introduced health checkups and a Pilates exercise program, which research shows can contribute to muscle strengthening and general health improvement among older people. To further promote employee health, Welcia Kanto disseminates relevant information to employees through internal newsletters. The company also subsidizes 10 percent of the cost of prescribed drugs dispensed at its drugstore.