"Not Happy, Don't Come To Work" — Boss In China Gives Employees 10 Days 'Unhappy Leave'

"Everyone has times when they're not happy," said supermarket chain founder, Yu Donglai.

Cover image via Weibo/SCMP & Freepik

Follow us on Instagram, TikTok, and WhatsApp for the latest stories and breaking news.

A business owner in China has introduced "unhappy leave" for his company's employees in a bid to help them achieve work-life balance

"I want every staff member to have freedom. Everyone has times when they're not happy, so if you're not happy, do not come to work," said Yu Donglai, the founder and chairman of supermarket chain Pangdonglai in Henan province.

According to SCMP, at the 2024 China Supermarket Week forum in late March, Yu announced that his employees would be eligible to request up to 10 days of extra leave at their discretion.

The leave days are in addition to the employees' existing 30 days of annual leave at the company.

"This leave cannot be denied by management. Denial is a violation," he added, expressing hope that his employees could experience freedom in determining the amount of rest time they need.

Supermarket chain Pangdonglai founder, Yu Donglai.

Image via 知乎专栏

The retail tycoon is known for introducing company benefits that prioritises employees' interests and wellbeing

Among the benefits Pangdonglai employees are entitled to include seven-hour work days, no work calls after office hours and on weekends, and an added five days off during Chinese New Year.

Last year, Yu also publicly condemned other bosses in China that pushed for long working hours.

"Making staff work overtime is unethical and an expropriation of other people's opportunities for growth," he said.

A Pangdonglai departmental store in Xinxiang, Henan.

Image via Wikipedia

Founded in 1995, Pangdonglai now has over 30 stores in Henan, with Yu explaining that he has no plans to expand out of the province to maintain employee happiness

He said, "We do not want to be big. We want our employees to have a healthy and relaxed life, so that the company will too."

Pangdonglai is popular among the locals for being a "people-oriented" supermarket, featuring customer services such as pet storage areas with water dispensers and poop bags, bathrooms prepared with hand creams, hair pins, and combs, carefully arranged groceries, shopping carts with seats to rest, and of course, their friendly and helpful employees.

According to SCMP, the average monthly salary of Pangdonglai employees is 7,000 yuan (approximately RM4,600). In comparison, the average salary of other retail workers in China is half that.

The interior of a Pangdonglai supermarket in Xuchang, Henan.

Image via Nikkei

Yu's employment policies have since received much praise and support on Chinese social media

"Employees are real, living people with normal emotions too," said a Weibo user.

Image via Weibo

"No wonder more than 30,000 people applied for more than 200 positions," commented a netizen.

Image via Weibo

Meanwhile, another sadly said, "With Pangdonglai's business model where customers are satisfied, employees are happy, and the boss continues to make money... It seems impossible that they would expand to other places."

Image via Weibo

Watch Yu make the announcement in Mandarin here:

We love supportive workplaces:

Read more #work-related stories on SAYS:

You may be interested in: