Unhappy today? Take a day off, says retail chain founder

A new policy from a retail chain founder regarding mental health days gives employees 10 extra days they can take at their own discretion.
By: | April 12, 2024

Do not come to work if you are not feeling mentally well.  

This was the latest announcement by Yu Donglai, Founder and Chairman of Pang Dong Lai, a retail chain in central China’s Henan province, who shared that employees within the organisation were eligible to request 10 days of additional leave at their discretion.

“Everyone has times when they’re not happy, so if you’re not happy, do not come to work,” said Yu, who announced this during China Supermarket Week, a six-day gathering to promote the development of the country’s supermarket sector. Yu is doing this to encourage employees to freely determine their own rest time, and for them all to have sufficient relaxation outside work.

“This leave cannot be denied by management. Denial is a violation,” Yu said.

With more than 65% of employees feeling tired and unhappy at work according to a 2021 survey on workplace anxiety in China, Yu’s newest announcement would mean that employees will still work for seven hours a day, have weekends off, are entitled to 30 to 40 days of annual leave, alongside the additional ‘unhappy day’ leave and five days off during Lunar New Year.

READ MORE: South Korea sees surge in workplace abuse reports

Speaking about the future of his organisation, Yu 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,” reported the South China Morning Post.

The average monthly salary of employees at the organisation is 7,000 yuan (US$970) which, in comparison, is twice as much as the average salary of retail employees in China was 3,566 yuan (US$492.81) in 2019, according to China’s retail news outlet linkshop.com.