China’s two-and-a-half-day weekend

China’s State Council is officially urging companies to give their staff Friday afternoons off. This would introduce a two-and-a-half-day weekend, with great benefits for the economy.

When workers enjoy longer weekends during the summer, it could mean a great boost to the tourism industry. Also, workers can travel more easily. Allowing people more flexibility would also "greatly ease the pressure on the transportation, tourism, commercial and catering sectors," Wu Wenxue, deputy head of China's National Tourism Administration has said.

Many attractions are extremely crowded with local tourists during public holidays. They either don't have, or don't take, annual leave at other times. Having longer weekends could mean a big change to the attractions as well as to Chinese workers. A report in the Shanghai Daily goes into the economic and cultural background of having time off from work. The author explains that Chinese workers do get paid holidays; but in practice many employees feel they can't take any time off for fear of being seen as lazy. On China’s social media many express their feelings about the new ‘flexitime’ guidelines of the state council, complaining that bosses will rarely give time off on Friday afternoon. The author even compares China’s ‘flexitime’ to the situation in Germany, where many workers have long holidays and often enjoy a day off. “Outsiders would surely be amazed at how the Germans manage to keep their economy going — and apparently going well — and sustain the socioeconomic costs of providing top-notch welfare to the country’s population.”

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