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China plans 2.5-day weekends to stimulate tourism

February 11, 2016

Published on Feb 11, 2016

New scheme could allow workers to finish at midday on Fridays in summer months

The Chinese government is considering plans to create a new two-and-a-half-day weekend in an effort to boost domestic tourism.

The China Daily newspaper reports that a number of provinces and municipalities across China, including Hebei, Jiangxi and Chongqing, have issued new policies calling on companies to create 2.5-day weekends during the summer months.

Travel Daily AsiaUnder the plan, government institutions, state-owned companies, joint ventures and private companies will be given incentives to allow their workers to leave work at midday on Fridays.

China's State Council said it hopes to create "favorable conditions" to give employees more family time and stimulate tourism. But the initiative has been given a cautious welcome by Chinese tourism bodies.

"Three key points contained in this plan suggest it's only a benefit for a certain group of people. Firstly, it's not a rule, but rather a suggestion. Secondly, the plan is conditional. Lastly, it's only applied to the summer months, rather than all-year round. Because of these stipulations, the coverage of the 2.5-day weekend is going to be very limited," Liu Simin, deputy secretary general of the Beijing Tourism Society was quoted saying.

Qin Dingbo, vice-director of Chongqing's Tourism Bureau, also noted that not every company is going to be required to adopt the 2.5-day weekend.

"In implementing a 2.5-day weekend, companies will still have to comply with China's laws and regulations. This means the program can't effect companies' legal obligations, production or overall business," Qin was reported saying by China Daily.

If approved, the 2.5-day weekend could come into force by this summer. However a 40-hour working week is still required, meaning employees will need to make up the lost hours during the week.

A nationwide two-day weekend policy was first set introduced in China in 1995.

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