Two Chinese firms are giving single female employees over the age of 30 an additional eight days of annual leave to "go home and date".

Workers at a Song dynasty-themed tourist attraction can take the extra break during the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, according to a notice posted by the companies.

Single women in China in their late twenties and early thirties are considered "leftover women," or shengnu, given long-held traditional beliefs that women who aren't married off by then are undesirable.

But a burgeoning middle class and diversifying economy has led to a growing number of Chinese women focusing on their careers and choosing to marry later – or staying single altogether.

Advertisement

China's marriage rate has also fallen every year since 2013, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, leaving roughly 200 million single adults in the world's second-largest economy.

All this is adding strain to China's demographics, where the population grew at a slower rate last year, despite the abolition of the one-child policy, raising concerns that an aging society and shrinking workforce will hurt future economic growth prospects.

In 2018, there were 15.23 million live births in China, a drop of two million from the year prior, according to official data.

In a recent survey, nearly 80 per cent of female respondents born after 1995 chose to describe themselves as "economically independent, able and cool," whereas the remainder ticked the traditional "loving wife and mother" option, according to findings released by LinkedIn China and L'Oreal China in March.

The "dating leave" announcement comes after a high school, also in Hangzhou, a city in eastern China, reportedly rolled out a new policy to give single, stressed-out teachers an additional two days off every month of "love leave" to relax and help boost staff morale.

The holiday initiative by the Hangzhou Songcheng Performance and Hangzhou Songcheng Tourism Management firms will only by available to employees who have non-essential roles.

"Female employees mostly work in internal functional departments, and some are show performers," Huang Lei, a human resources manager at one of the firms, told the local news. "They have less contact with the outside world; thus we hope to give more leave to them to give them more time and opportunities to be in contact with the opposite sex."

This article originally appeared on the Daily Telegraph.

Advertisement