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We have all experienced days where we feel extremely down or demotivated to go to work. Unfortunately, we have bills to pay.

In a bid to improve company morale and achieve a better work-life balance, a retail tycoon in China has introduced ‘unhappy leave’.

According to South China Morning Post, this ingenious idea was brought up by Yu Donglai, who is the founder and chairman of Pang Dong Lai, a retail chain in central China’s Henan province.

He announced in an event that his employees would be eligible to request 10 days of additional leave at their discretion.

“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.

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He added that the management are unable to deny these leaves and if they do, it is considered a violation.

These “unhappy leaves” are in addition to the employees’ existing 30 to 40 days annual leave and five days off during Chinese New Year. The lucky employees also only work seven hours a day and have their weekends all to themselves.

When he spoke about the future of his company, Yu admitted that all he wanted was for his “employees to have a healthy and relaxed life, so that the company will too”.

In March 2023, Yu made a speech in which allegedly condemned the culture of Chinese bosses advocating for long working hours.

Pangdonglai has earned a prominent reputation in China and is renowned for its meticulous and thoughtful service.

Today, the company with over 7,000 employees owns seven large supermarkets and warehouses and an extensive electronics store, as well as more than 30 branches.

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