A Chinese company is facing public outrage for deducting money from employees who do not walk enough as part of health measures to keep them fit. The company expects each staff to take up to 180,000 steps a month, an average of 6,000 steps a day, or have their monthly salary deducted for every step thy could not complete. This has generated serious complaints from some employees who say they stay long in the office and the train station is close to their house, so finding space and time to complete the steps is a problem.
The real-estate company has been accused of taking a wrong approach to encouraging its employees to exercise. Workers claim that they have been fined 0.01 yuan for every step they failed to take to meet their monthly target of 180,000 steps.
According to Chinese newspaper Information Times, the unnamed real estate firm in the southern city of Guangzhou requires its employees to walk at least 180,000 steps per month. There is no reward for reaching that goal other than the obvious health benefits, but workers who fail to reach the set target must pay every missed step in cash.
The employees’ smart phones record the steps and at the end of the month the company will check the smartphones for the recorded steps and determine who should be fined or not.
An employee of the company identified only as Xiao C. told the Information Times that she missed the 180,000 step requirement by 10,000 steps last month, so her bosses deducted 100 yuan (0.01 yuan per step) from her salary. That’s just $15, but for people like Xiao C., every single yuan counts.
“It hurts a lot!” the woman said. “Our monthly task is 180,000 steps. According to the 30-day monthly calculation, the average is 6,000 steps per day. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is actually a big problem for me.”
Xiao C. claims that she works for the company’s human resources department and spends most of her time at a desk. The fact that the subway station is located close to her workplace doesn’t help either, and since she has to spend a lot of time commuting makes it almost impossible for her to complete the required number of daily steps. She tried counting the steps she takes during a regular day, and they were only 2,500, less than half the 6,000 required by her employer.
“I can understand that the company hopes that employees can exercise more and become healthier, but we can’t walk during work hours, and we have to work overtime in the evening,” Xiao C. said. “After going home and eating dinner, it’s already past 9 o’clock. Having to walk just to reach my daily quota has become an extra burden, and it has affected by sleep schedule.”
She further said that she and her colleagues reacted positively when the real-estate company announced the step evaluation system, but then many of them realized that reaching the 180,000 step target was harder than they thought, and some decided to quit.
“The requirement is too high and there are no rewards. It is purely for the sake of not being penalized. Everyone feels very tired,” Xiao C. said.
The woman added that apart from putting pressure on employees, the company’s scheme isn’t even making most employees healthier, as many of them use rocking devices to fool their smartphones into recording steps.
Xiao’s problem is that she works at the company headquarters, so she can’t use the rocking device there, because her bosses might see her, and using it only at home isn’t enough to reach the daily requirement. She can’t use it at night either, because the phone tracks when the steps were taken, so that would raise questions. So for now she has no choice than to accept the fines or find another job.
Via Oddity Central