Survey: Overtime work a norm in city
The majority of employees in Shanghai work more than 40 hours a week, and overtime work is extremely prevalent in foreignfunded enterprises, according to a survey conducted by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
The survey revealed that only 42.4 percent of employees in the city work less than 40 hours per week, with 45.4 percent working between 41 and 50 hours, 10.2 percent working from 51 to 60 hours, and 1.9 percent working more than 60 hours.
According to the latest edition of China’s labor law, Article 36 states that employees should not work more than eight hours a day, and their weekly working hours should not exceed 40 hours. However, based on the survey findings, more than half of those polled actually work extra hours in accordance with the labor law, meaning that overtime work has become the norm for many people.
According to the survey, 15.9 percent of employees in foreignfunded organizations work 50 hours or more per week, followed by 14.6 percent for private-owned companies, 8.9 percent for public institutions and 6.7 percent for State-owned enterprises.
China’s labor law states that companies must prioritize their employees’ health should they be required to perform overtime work, while the extra work duration should not exceed three hours per day and 36 hours per month. In addition, employees working overtime must be paid accordingly for their efforts, ranging from 150 to 300 percent of their original pay per day.
The survey also found that nearly 70 percent of employees receive full payment for their overtime work, up 17.7 percentage points from a year ago. Almost 20 percent of workers in Shanghai receive partial payment for overtime work while 8.1 percent are not paid at all, a decline of 20 percentage points from a year ago.
“Working overtime is very common in rapidly developing countries like China. Regardless of whether you are a taxi driver, a white collar, a doctor in a hospital or a university professor, you cannot avoid unwanted overtime work,” said Yu Hai, a sociology professor at Fudan University.
“If you exclude factors such as environmental pressure and pollution, extending work hours is the only thing we can do to compete with more developed nations, and it is also one way to guarantee a better salary for our employees,” added Yu.
Xie Nana, a public relations professional, said that she is willing to occasionally work overtime as she has realized that her superiors only gives additional tasks to those they deem capable.
“Working overtime is not a sin. You can gain experience and extra payment in exchange,” said Xie.
However, she conceded that working extra hours should not become a routine, especially when one gets married and is ready to have a family.
The survey also revealed the type of discrimination that people in Shanghai face at work. They include factors such as education (18.3 percent), age (11.2 percent), gender (5 percent) and registered permanent residence (4.9 percent). The majority of those polled (68.2 percent), however, indicated that they have never received any kind of discrimination in the workplace.