Chinese Firm Grants Employees 10 Days Of “Sad Leave” For Better Work-Life Balance

Employees are free to plan when they want to take vacation

Feeling depressed or burnt out? Employees at Chinese supermarket chain Fat Donglai can take up to 10 days of “sad vacation” per year without requiring management approval.

“Everyone has sad days. That’s human nature,” Yu Donglai said. Straits Times. Mr. Yu started his first store in 1995. Since then, he has expanded to 12 stores in his birthplace of Henan.

Fat Dong Lai is no ordinary supermarket. Dubbed the “Haidilao of supermarkets,” the store offers impeccable customer service, including unique perks like blood pressure checks, handbag care, and even pet feeding stations. Much like Hai Di Lao, the hot pot giant famous for its nail polish and shoe shine, Phat Dong Lai prioritizes luxurious and unexpected customer experiences.

“But interestingly, when they take this ‘sad vacation’ they can feel happy again. This means they feel understood and supported by their company and enjoy work-life balance. ,” Yu said during the week-long training session. Supermarket competition held in Henan province.

According to a report in The Straits Times, Yu said employees are free to plan when they want to take time off.

The chairman announced that Phat Don Lai employees will enjoy up to 40 days of annual leave in addition to the five days of retail store closures during the Lunar New Year period. This is in stark contrast to the grueling “996” work culture prevalent in some Chinese companies, where employees are forced to work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week.

Fat Dong Lai’s dedication to its employees extends beyond the holidays. We typically work 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, providing a supportive work environment. The company also compensates employees up to 5,000 yuan (S$950) for work-related complaints such as insulting or threatening customers.

That’s not the only thing they are particular about! In a recent move that drew headlines, Phat Dongrai announced that it would send all of its employees on an overseas vacation, with management enjoying a trip to Europe and other employees visiting Japan. These efforts have solidified his Fat Dong Lai’s reputation as a leader who prioritizes the health of its employees.