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The Overtime Phenomenon in China

Working overtime has become a common phenomenon in China. IT companies even have the “996” work style (work from 9 am to 9 pm for 6 days a week). An Internet article provided an analysis of the “China-style overtime.” It said that according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, Chinese workers work on average 2,272 hours a year (or 9.2 hours per day). It listed eight characteristics of this “China-style overtime.”

  1. Overtime is usually forced though it may be called “voluntary.”
  2. Overtime usually applies to all employees (and therefore people won’t benefit from it since it is required of everyone).
  3. Overtime workers’ hours are usually unpaid or insufficiently compensated.
  4. Overtime in many instances occurs over a long term and is of a high intensity.
  5. Overtime can just be a formality and the work is not efficient.
  6. Overtime is a result of management’s lack of capability or low efficiency.
  7. Overtime sometimes is a vehicle to please the upper management or to suppress subordinates.
  8. Overtime may morph into a test of an employee’s obedience.

Source: China Digital Times, April 24, 2023