Some have it easy at work

China Daily (Canada) - - COMMENT -

A Ts­inghua Univer­sity pro­fes­sor’s re­mark on a TV pro­gram that Chi­nese peo­ple will have one day off for ev­ery two work­ing days may sound un­be­liev­able, but it is cor­rect go­ing by the ex­ist­ing reg­u­la­tions. We have to con­cede, though, that the re­mark is based on the­o­ret­i­cal cal­cu­la­tion rather than prac­tice, says an ar­ti­cle in Yangcheng Evening News. Ex­cerpts:

A re­cent sur­vey shows that Chi­nese work­ers are the most dili­gent in the world; on av­er­age they work 44.6 hours a week com­pared with the na­tional stan­dard of 40 hours. This means Chi­nese em­ploy­ees work 5.5 days a week and get a break of 1.5 days.

Con­sid­er­ing the ob­vi­ous dif­fer­ence in the work­ing hours in dif­fer­ent pro­fes­sions, the work-rest ra­tio is much worse than what the sur­vey re­veals. Ac­cord­ing to a 2011 re­port on mi­grant work­ers’ work­ing con­di­tion, mi­grant work­ers on av­er­age worked 8.8 hours a day, 25.4 days a month, which tech­ni­cally means they got only two days off in a month.

In sharp con­trast is the group of civil ser­vants. Me­dia re­ports show that civil ser­vants at the lo­cal level work less than 8 hours a day. In fact, in some lo­cal gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, of­fi­cials have to work only 7 or even 6.5 hours a day. And given that the reg­u­la­tion on paid leave is best im­ple­mented in gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, civil ser­vants may be get­ting more days off than what the Ts­inghua pro­fes­sor said.

The dif­fer­ence be­tween work­ing and off days is not only one of the­ory and prac­tice (or ideal and real sit­u­a­tions), but also one of dis­par­ity in the wel­fare of dif­fer­ent work­ing groups. To bridge this gap, the gov­ern­ment has to es­tab­lish a fool­proof se­cu­rity sys­tem, which in­cludes paid leave and 8-hour work­ing day, through re­form mea­sures, and im­ple­ment rules to guar­an­tee that em­ploy­ees across all sec­tors get equal rights when it comes to work­ing and off days.

The opin­ions ex­pressed on this page do not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect those of China Daily US Edi­tion.

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