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.

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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.

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.

- Telegraph Group Ltd