Sur­vey: Over­time work a norm in city

China Daily (USA) - - SHANGHAI - ByWANGYING in Shang­hai wang_y­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.

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