Is the era of the cutthroat 72-hour work week in China over? TikTok’s parent company makes working days a little shorter

The Chinese tech company Bytedance, known for the popular app TikTok, forbids employees to work overtime any longer after 7 p.m. The company wants to discourage staff from living and working according to the infamous 996 work ethic, writes Bloomberg news agency. This means that employees work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week. This cutthroat scheme has long been touted by tech companies in China, including billionaires like Alibaba’s Jack Ma and JD.com founder Richard Liu. While unpaid overtime has always been prohibited by law in China, 996 was encouraged among young workers – often as an unwritten rule – as a way to climb the career ladder. But the brutal work ethic also resulted in a lot of stress, a disturbed work-life balance and even led to suicides among staff. ‘996’ makes way for ‘1075’

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From now on, Bytedance employees are only allowed to work from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Or ‘1075’, as some users already call it on the Chinese social media platform Weibo. Anyone who wants to work outside these hours or days must request permission at least one day in advance. A spokesperson for Bytedance says the new policy discourages employees from working outside regular working hours,” according to The Washington Post. It is unclear whether the policy change at ByteDance will have the desired effect. According to The Washington Post, Weibo users are unsure whether employees will work less. Some Weibo users suggest that employees will be forced to request overtime as a sign of drive and commitment to the company. Something that employees will be judged on during evaluations.

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Xi Jinping wants to make the lives of Chinese people better

The move comes at a time when excessive work is being criticized in China, Bloomberg writes. In addition, President Xi Jinping has called on compatriots to work for “common prosperity.”

The Chinese government is increasingly warning employers to refrain from unreasonable overtime and other violations of labor laws. ByteDance and other Chinese companies have already canceled Sunday work and seven-day work weeks that alternated with five-day work weeks in recent months. The Chinese president’s mission is to improve the prosperity and quality of life of the middle class, China expert from the Clingendael Institute Ties Dams previously explained to Business Insider. “The Communist Party’s promise for years was that it would solve the extreme poverty in the country. We succeeded and now it is time for a new promise.Only in this way can he improve the quality of life of that group.”

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Less 996, more children?

Indeed, the disappearance of the extreme work ethic could improve the quality of life of Chinese people. Now parents can spend little time with their children due to their busy schedule and the Chinese often doubt whether they should start a family at all. That is not necessarily desirable in a country that is currently experiencing the lowest population growth since the 1950s. China threatens to face a premature aging population that is testing the successful economic model of recent decades. The Chinese government is therefore keen to do something about it.

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Author: Jobly