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Not happy? Do not come to work: Chinese firm introduces ‘unhappy leave’ | World News


China’s retail tycoon has introduced a novel concept called “unhappy leave” for employees, aiming to foster a healthier work-life balance, reported the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

The founder and chairman of Pang Dong Lai, Yu Donglai, announced that employees can request an additional 10 days of leave, acknowledging that “everyone has times when they’re not happy, so if you’re not happy, do not come to work.” This change empowers employees to determine their own rest time, with Yu stating, “This leave cannot be denied by management. Denial is a violation.”

Under the company’s employment policy, employees are required to work only seven hours a day, have weekends off, and are entitled to 30 to 40 days of annual leave, along with five days off during the Lunar New Year. Yu emphasised, “We do not want to be big. We want our employees to have a healthy and relaxed life, so that the company will too.”

“Freedom and love are very important,” he added.

Earlier, the company also introduced a job-level certification system, announcing which Yu Donglai said, “Even a janitor can earn up to 500,000 yuan (US$70,000) annually as long as their professional capabilities reach a certain level.”

How did social media react to it?

Chinese social media users have shown strong support for the changes introduced by the company. One user on Weibo (Chinese social media) commented, “Such a good boss and this company culture should be promoted nationwide.” 

Another expressed a desire to work for Pang Dong Lai, saying, “I feel like I would gain happiness and respect there.”

According to a 2021 survey on workplace anxiety in China, more than 65 per cent of employees feel tired and unhappy at work.

Yu Donglai has been vocal in condemning the culture of Chinese bosses advocating for long working hours, stating, “Making staff work overtime is unethical and an expropriation of other people’s opportunities for growth.”  

First Published: Apr 15 2024 | 12:35 PM IST


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