Chinese Company Offers 10 Days of “Sad Leave” to Improve Work-Life Balance


To surprise everyone the chairman of Chinese supermarket chain Fat Dong Lai announced their employees can take up to 10 days of “sad leave” yearly and no manager approval will be needed. He also informed that their employees can take 40 days of annual leave maximum, with an extra five days of holidays during the Chinese New Year period. This is the only company that has declined the “996” work culture imposed by some Chinese companies, where workers must work from 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week.

Instead, they offer a worker-friendly work time, that is 7 hours, five days a week. The company even gives employees up to 5,000 yuan (S$950) for any job-related problem like customer insults or threats. Fat Dong Lai announced the company will send all employees on an overseas vacation. Employees who take care of management will get a European trip and other staff will get a chance to visit Japan. 

Mr Yu Dong Lai said, “Everyone has days when they are sad, that’s human nature, but interestingly when they have this ‘sad leave’, they can feel happy once more. This means that they sense the company’s understanding and support, and get a taste of work-life balance.”

People can work better when they feel happy and when their need for belongings is fulfilled. Initiative like this helps the workers understand that the company values them and takes care of them and this may lead to a reciprocal relationship between the company and the workers which is very helpful for a company’s improvement.

Employees’ well-being is essential for a company’s growth. Employees may suffer from various kinds of stress in their day-to-day life. For example, conflict with coworkers or bosses, adjusting to change, threats to job security, work overload, lack of resources and sometimes balancing personal and work life etc. Job stress can influence employees’ physical and emotional well-being. Job stress occurs when job requirements do not match the employee’s skills, or available job resources, or when the job fails to fulfil the needs of the workers. It can even lead to workers’ poor health.

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