THE trend among many of China’s women waiting later in life to get married has inspired some companies to give their female employees extra time off during the Lunar New Year so they could “date”.
According to the South China Morning Post, two companies behind a Song Dynasty-themed tourist attraction in eastern China are giving eight days of “dating leave” this festive for their non-frontline staff this festive season to complement the traditional seven-day break.
A notice on Jan 21 also allowed the workers to expend the dating leave.
Widely regarded as “leftover women”, China’s single women over 30 have a long-held stigma that they were less desirable to men due to their age.
The numbers of these women, who did not choose to marry in their mid-twenties have increased in recent years as many were focussed on their jobs to marry later or remain single.
The announcement comes as the country sees its lowest birthrate in 70 years and while 200 million single adults in China remain in 2015.
According to data from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the marriage rate has also dropped every year since 2013.
The companies operate Song Dynasty Town in Zhejiang province, a tourist attraction based on Chinese history dating back 1,000 years ago.
In the park, visitors are required to wear flowing traditional robes while traditiona “punishments” such as being put in stocks await those who refused.
Hangzhou Songcheng Performance human resources manager Huang Lei told a local news outlet that employees had greeted the leave decision with enthusiasm.
“The ratio of men to women in our company is about the same,” Huang said
“[But] women employees mostly work in internal functional departments and some are slow performers … some female staff have less contact with the outside world. Therefore, we hope to give more leave to female staff, to give them more time and opportunities to be in contact with the opposite sex.”
The manager said the company believed the women would be more productive at work if they were happier in their personal lives.
Separately, a high school in Hangzhou offered single and childless teachers an extra two half days of leave per month to find “love”.
The special leave dates have drawn mixed reactions.
“Who would the single women date if the single male employees aren’t given extra leave?” on Weibo user asked.