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Company under fire for fining staff who don't walk 180,000 steps a month

chinaplus.cri.cn | Updated: 2018-11-30 11:01

A real estate company in Guangzhou has sparked heated debate on social media in China over its controversial rule that sees employees fined if they walk less than 180,000 steps each month. Staff members are fined 0.01 yuan for each step under the target - about $0.14 per hundred steps.

But many of the company's employees have complained that walking 180,000 steps every month – about 6,000 a day – is a nearly impossible task. Their argument is that they can't walk that much during company time, and their frequent late night overtime makes it hard to reach the target outside of work hours.

"I understand that the company wants to encourage us to get more exercise," said one employee, who didn't provide their name. "…but this walking assignment has become a burden for me. I don't even have enough time to sleep because I need to take walks to meet the target."

The decision by the company to impose fines on employees who don't reach the target has generated a lot of criticism online. "If the company wants to encourage its employees to exercise, it should award bonuses to those who meet the target," said one commenter. "Fines without rewards only makes people less willing to take part in the campaign."

Liu Fengmao, a lawyer from the Guangdong Fasheng Law Firm, said the company has no legal grounds to use the number of steps taken by an employee as a measure of performance that can result in a fine. He added that if employees are spending time outside of work trying to reach their steps target, they could be eligible for overtime, although this could be difficult to prove. Likewise, there is the possibility that employees who are injured from walking could claim that it was a workplace injury.

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