China wants to end the culture of excessive work in the country

THE China is notifying companies that they are overburdening their employees.

The country’s highest court issued a long-running condemnation of what is commonly known in China as “996”, the practice of working from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm six days a week, considered common among large technology companies in China. country, startups and other private companies.

“Recently, overtime work in some industries has received widespread attention,” wrote the Supreme People’s Court in its statement, issued to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. Workers deserve “rest and vacation” rights, adding that “adhering to the national system of working hours is a legal obligation of employers,” the court wrote.

The agency cited several examples of companies in a number of industries that violated labor rules, including an unnamed delivery company that told employees to work on the 996 model. maximum working day limit and must be considered invalid,” the court said.

Public backlash against the overwork culture is not new. Alibaba (BABA) co-founder Jack Ma, for example, was heavily criticized in China two years ago after calling the 996 culture “a great blessing.” And Chinese labor law already prohibits employees from working for that long.

But the latest announcement by the country’s high court comes as Beijing embarks on a massive crackdown on private business in China, introducing new regulations and fines to curb the influence of powerful corporations.

The crackdown was justified by President Xi Jinping and other senior officials as necessary to address the risks of data security and inequality in education, and to prevent social instability.

“There is nothing wrong with advocating hard work, but it cannot be a shield for employers to shirk their legal responsibilities,” the court wrote on Thursday.

The 996 culture debate was revived this year during the crackdown on private enterprise. In January, e-commerce company Pinduoduo (PDD) faced an intense backlash against accusations that it works too hard with its employees after two of its employees died unexpectedly, including a man who died of suicide.

At the time, the company did not respond to questions about the complaints made against its work culture, but informed that it has set up a team for psychological care after the suicide of a worker.

Recently, young people in China have also begun to reject an intense work culture, invoking the desire to “lay down” or “beat”. The philosophy invites people to reject social pressures to work hard, get married, have children or buy property because of the diminishing rewards of achieving such goals.