Fairphone, the Dutch company that makes sustainable modular smartphones, has announced it has paid its first ‘living wage bonus’ to employees that assemble the Fairphone 3.

The workers at Arima, Fairphone’s Chinese production partner, received a bonus that is designed to bring their overall monthly wage up to the living wage, which in China is the equivalent of just €260.

Given the bonuses were €82 per person, the bonus is significant and will hopefully positively affect the lives of the works at Arima. It also shows how underpaid those workers are.

Fairphone paid all of Arima’s factory employees the sum even if they did not work on the production of its latest smartphone, the Fairphone 3. The company said the bonuses were financed by the sale of Fairphone 3 – for every Fairphone 3 sold, €1.50 is paid as a bonus to employees.

It means that the sum of €82 each won’t be consistent, and the scheme depends on Fairphone selling a substantial number of devices. The bonuses will be paid out quarterly in 2020 and beyond.

“Paying a bonus towards a living wage shouldn’t be revolutionary,” said Remco Kouwenhoven, Fairphone’s Social Innovation Lead. “The fact that it is still unique in the industry shows how much there is still to improve. It's only possible because of the great collaboration with Arima and the support of our customers "

Additionally, Fairphone said that as part of its ongoing partnership with Arima that it would invest USD $100,000 per year for three years towards the cost of improving employees’ working conditions.

We reviewed the Fairphone 3 recently, finding it a capable Android handset where you exchange top specs for ethical peace of mind – a trade off very rare in today’s capitalist consumer driven society.