A Chinese company has come under fire for fining “lazy” employees who take more than one toilet break per day.
Anpu Electric Science and Technology, a Chinese corporation based in Dongguan, Guangdong province, admitted to enforcing a bizarre once-a-day toilet break policy and fining employees who break it with 20 yuan ($3).
According to notices issued by the company and leaked on social media by disgruntled employees, at least seven staff members were penalized on December 20 and 21.
The rule has sparked outrage online, but company officials explained management’s decision to create the bizarre rule by saying that many employees were lazy and used toilet breaks to smoke and avoid their duties.
“We are helpless. The fact is that the workers are lazy at work,” a company manager, surnamed Cao, told Guangdong TV. “The management talked with those workers many times, but didn’t achieve a positive result yet.”
Cao added that the toilet break-limiting rule was deemed a better alternative to firing staff, because finding new workers would have been more difficult. He also clarified that offenders had not been asked to pay the 20-yuan fines, instead the amount was deducted from their monthly bonuses.
Interestingly, accordingly to company policy, workers wanting to take more than one toilet break a day, have to register with their boss before visiting the restroom, which only enraged Chinese netizens even more. However, there were some people who actually sympathized with the company.
“They are forced to do this,” one person commented on Chinese website 163.com. “Some employees use the toilet for too long and use it frequently. It will no doubt hurt the company’s productivity.”
However, most people blasted Anpu Electric Science and Technology and its management, calling the rule exploitative and humiliating.
“What era is it? The freedom of going to the toilet has become a luxury,” one Weibo user lamented.
News of the toilet-break penalty caught the attention of the Dongguan Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau. Officials there have started an investigation into the matter, but they have already told Chinese publication The Paper that the rule was illegal.
Apparently, toilet breaks are a serious issue in China, with private companies taking all sorts of weird measures to keep the time spent by staff in the restroom to a minimum.
Last year, we wrote about a corporation that had installed timers on bathroom stalls, and SCMP reports that in 2018, tech giant NetEase spent 2 million yuan to block internet service in its bathrooms.