Feeling Unhappy? You Can Take Leave Known as “Unhappy Leave” in This China Firm

I know you clicked on this article just to see which firm it is so you know where to apply to, right?

But I don’t think your Chinese is good enough to work in a China firm, though.

Reader: How did you know I got C6 for O Level Chinese???

Well, watch this and you’d understand:

But anyways, the company name is Pang Dong Lai.

Employees At Pang Dong Lai Get 10 Days Of “Unhappy Leave”

Image: Canva

Yu Donglai, the founder and chairman of Pang Dong Lai (a retail chain in Henan, China) announced that employees can request up to 10 days of extra leave at their discretion.

“I want every employee to have freedom. Everyone has times when they are unhappy, so if you are unhappy, do not come to work,” Yu said.

Reader: What if there’s a very important event or meeting on the day I want to take Unhappy Leave?

“This leave cannot be denied by management. Refusal is a violation,” Yu said, as he wants employees to freely determine their own rest time.

Unhappy Leave has been met with a lot of support on social media.

Some are saying Unhappy Leave should be promoted nationwide, while others are saying they should transfer to Yu’s company.

On top of Unhappy Leaves, workers at Pang Dong Lai also enjoy seven-hour work days and have weekends off.

His staff are also entitled to 30 to 40 days annual leave and five days off during Chinese New Year.


Yu says Pang Dong Lai’s philosophy is “freedom and love”, which is definitely reflected in the many perks his employees enjoy.

Pang Dong Lai has earned nationwide recognition as “the ceiling of China’s industry” due to the high standard of customer service achieved over its 29-year history.

The Pang Dong Lai supermarket is equipped with pet cabinets at the entrance, along with dedicated pet water and cooling devices.

It also offers about 100 free services such as free blood pressure measurements, air conditioning cleaning, and handbag maintenance.

You could say Pang Dong Lai supermarket is the supermarket version of Hai Di Lao.

Unhappiness In China

Image: Canva

In the 2024 World Happiness Report released on 20 March, China ranked 60th out of the 143 places surveyed for the study.

Image: 2024 World Happiness Report

In comparison, Singapore ranked 30th, being the happiest country in Asia for the second year in a row.

Image: 2024 World Happiness Report

A trend has been noticed among China’s workers, where their younger workers in particular are becoming more and more unsatisfied with their jobs.

China’s urban youth (16 to 25 year olds) unemployment rate hit 21.3% last June, a number way up from pre-pandemic times. At the same time, factories are crying out for workers.

The cultural demands on Chinese workers are high – they are routinely expected to work “996“, referring to working from 9am to 9pm, six days a week.

If I were them, I’d be unhappy too.

The resulting burnout is a key contributor to the elevated and stubborn youth unemployment.

In the face of long hours for little pay, China’s youths are opting out, choosing to remain unemployed and be “professional children“, paid by their parents or grandparents to live with and care for them.

It’s not just China’s youths that are facing unhappiness in work, though.

Unreasonable bosses, burnout, low wages, overtime culture, and depression are challenges faced by a number of China’s workers.

One boss even threatened to impose seven-day work weeks?when his employees did not respond to his messages in a timely manner during the weekend.

Over the years, a number of articles have been published on unhappiness amongst China’s workers with their jobs:

  • Chinese Workers Unhappy with Jobs, Survey Finds (2012)
  • The whats and whys of “an unhappy China” in the past two decades (2013)
  • The 996 Work Culture That’s Causing a Burnout in China’s Tech World (2019)
  • China’s Toxic Work Culture Results In Deaths And Suicide (2021)
  • Why do Chinese Employees Complain at the Workplace (2022)

Given that China’s workers seem to be so unhappy, Yu Donglai’s Unhappy Leave will probably be used as much as possible by workers.

It’s even possible that some may quit their jobs and apply to work at Pang Dong Lai to enjoy Happy Leave privileges.

What do you think about Unhappy Leave?

Reader: I think my boss should implement it too sia. If he won’t, maybe I will apply to work at Pang Dong Lai.