Why does China suffer from the “996” phenomenon?

996 working system refers to a kind of employment system that requires workers to “start at 9:00 a.m., leave at 9:00 p.m., and work six days a week”. Sometimes it is also used to refer to a series of working systems in which the employers make the employees to extend their working hours without extra pay. This term was originally brought to us by the specialists in the network and software community.

Actually, overly long working hours are also prohibited in China. The legal working time is eight hours a day. However, due to a large number of unpaid overtime, the actual working hours are often much longer. Whoever doesn’t want to work overtime will lose their job. Some companies even formally introduced the 996 working system. In recent years, the negative consequences of such a system have made themselves evident.

Of course, the “996” phenomenon also makes more and more companies realize the importance of overtime pay and benefits.

996工作制,是指一种“早上9点上班,晚上9点下班,每周工作6天”的用工制度,有时也被用来指代一系列资方要求劳方延长工时而不额外给薪的工作制度。最初多因网络及软件行业的员工交流而产生此词。 事实上,超长的工作时间在中国也是被禁止的。每天的法定工作时间是8小时。但是由于有大量的无薪加班,实际工作时间往往要多得多。谁不愿意加班,就会丢掉工作。而有些公司甚至正式引入了996工作制。这种工作制会造成怎样的后果,过去几年已经有过先例。 当然,“996”现象也让越来越多的公司意识到加班费和福利的重要性。

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