Two companies in Zheijiang province, China are offering their single, thirty-something female employees some extra time off to find love this Lunar New Year.
In an announcement made this Monday, Hangzhou Songcheng Performance and Hangzhou Songcheng Tourism Management granted their over-30, unmarried female employees an extra eight days of “dating leave” on top of the traditional seven-day break, according to the South China Morning Post.
The experiment, which follows in the footsteps of a Hangzhou middle school that began offering its single and childless teachers two half-days of “love leave” per month earlier this year, is designed to boost female employee morale and, thus, productivity.
The companies, which operate a popular tourist attraction called Song Dynasty Town in Hangzhou, announced the dating leave in order to give their female employees more chances to interact with the opposite sex — a decision warmly received by the employees, according to Huang Lei, the human resources manager at Hangzhou Songcheng Performance.
“The ratio of men to women in our company is about the same,” Huang said to online news outlet Zhejiang Online, via SCMP.
“[But] women employees mostly work in internal functional departments and some are show 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.”
In China, single women over the age of 30 — commonly referred to as “leftover women” — are heavily stigmatized due to more conservative beliefs that unmarried women past their twenties are less desirably to men. It’s a traditional mindset that many have criticized as women trend into developing successful professional careers of their own.
China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs documented over 200 million single adults in 2015, and marriage rates have fallen every year since 2013.