People employed for more than a year by government departments, institutions affiliated with the government or State-owned companies are entitled to an extra 20 days of leave every year to visit spouses or parents if they live elsewhere in China and cannot reunite with them during regular holidays, under regulations introduced in 1981.
But an online poll found that most such employees have never taken the extra days, even though the regulation was approved by China’s top legislative body, the National People’s Congress, more than 30 years ago.
The survey by Sina, a major Internet company, had received more than 32,900 responses by Sunday afternoon, and 50.8 percent said they dared not ask for the leave but would like to take it.
More than a third were not aware of the regulation, and 55 percent said their company does not allow such leave.
In failing to take their allotted vacation days, Chinese workers are similar to their American counterparts, who leave on average nine days of vacation time on the table every year.
John De Graaf, speaking about the American findings, warned that failure to take time off can have serious health effects:
“Women who don’t take regular vacations are anywhere from two to eight times more likely to suffer from depression, and have a 50 percent higher chance of heart disease,” he says.
For men, the risk of death from a heart attack goes up a third.
[Image credit: @kwl]