Workers incentivized to stay on the job during holiday

Gift packages are offered last week to workers who chose to stay on their jobs during Spring Festival in Huzhou, Zhejiang province, instead of returning home. (TAN YUNFENG / FOR CHINA DAILY)

Many local governments across the country are encouraging workers not to return to their hometowns for Spring Festival so that factories can continue production at normal capacity and avoid backlogs after the holiday period.

As this year is the first since 2019 that migrant workers will be able to easily travel back home to reunite with their families for Spring Festival, it is especially challenging for factories and the service sector to keep pace with demand.

In Nanjing, the provincial capital of Jiangsu, the government has introduced a raft of measures to entice workers to remain at their stations over the holiday, including providing a 500-yuan ($74) bonus to factory workers who do so.

Entry into many scenic spots in the city will be free of charge for remaining migrant workers, who will also receive free movie tickets, according to the government.

The government in Suzhou, Jiangsu, has asked factories to provide better food, higher pay and various recreational activities for workers who continue working during Spring Festival.

Many of the city's places of interest will open for free for all visitors, and public transportation, such as buses and the subway, will also be free, the government said.

Hoping that the Year of the Rabbit will get off to a great start, Suzhou officials said they have organized for inheritors of intangible cultural heritage to spend the holiday demonstrating their skills to the public. The series of activities, held under the moniker of "the Unusual Year of the Rabbit", will feature free gifts, experience sessions and lectures on intangible cultural heritage.

Yu Xiaofeng, director of the Suzhou Labor and Employment Management Service Center, said that the government measures aim to provide both financial and spiritual support to the workers who stay and work over the holiday period.

"We know that orders will increase in February and March, so factories need to keep up their production," Yu said. "By rolling out such measures, we hope more people will choose to stay in Suzhou."

In Shanghai, e-commerce platforms and delivery companies are also encouraging employees to remain on the job so that orders can be picked up, sent out and delivered in a timely manner.

ZTO Express said it will pay three times the salary to workers who continue working during Spring Festival.

Zhang Jun, who works for ZTO Shanghai, decided to stay and take his seven-day break after the holiday.

"The salary was very enticing," he said. "I want to help in achieving our company's goal of providing services in 300 cities during the holiday. Many of my colleagues have made the same decision."

In Quanzhou, Fujian province, migrant workers are being encouraged to invite their parents to the city for family reunions, and are even offering those who do so a reward of 1,000 yuan.

Not to be outdone, the government in Jinjiang, Fujian, will give each migrant worker that stays at their post over the holiday 1,000 yuan, capped at 150,000 yuan per factory.