996 working, ICU waiting.
The "996" work schedule refers to an illegal work schedule in China. It has been gaining popularity among companies. The schedule starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 9 p.m. each day, for 6 days a week.
Serving in a company that encourages the "996" work schedule usually means working for at least 72 hours a week.
Laws and Regulations
A "996" work schedule is a direct violation to the Constitution of the People's Republic of China along with multiple other legislations:
Chapter II: Article 43:
Working people in the People’s Republic of China have the right to rest.
The state expands facilities for rest and recuperation of working people and prescribes working hours and vacations for workers and staff.
Chapter I: Article 3:
Labourers shall have equal right to employment and choice of occupation, the right to remuneration for labour, to rest and vacations, to protection of occupational safety and health, to training in vocational skills, to social insurance and welfare, to submission of labour disputes for settlement and other rights relating to labour stipulated by law.
Chapter IV: Article 36:
The State shall practice a working hour system wherein labourers shall work for no more than eight hours a day and no more than 44 hours a week on the average.
Chapter IV: Article 39:
Where an enterprise cannot follow the stipulations in Article 36 and Article 38 of this Law due to the special nature of its production, it may, with the approval of the administrative department of labour, adopt other rules on working hours and rest.
Chapter IV: Article 41:
The employing unit may extend working hours as necessitated by its production or business operation after consultation with the trade union and labourers, but the extended working hour per day shall generally not exceed one hour; if such extension is needed for special reasons, under the condition that the health of labourers is guaranteed, the extended hours shall not exceed three hours per day. However, the total extension in a month shall not exceed thirty-six hours.
Chapter IV: Article 43:
The employing unit shall not extend working hours of labourers in violation of the provisions of this Law.
Chapter IV: Article 44:
Under any of the following circumstances, the employing unit shall, according to the following standards, pay labourers remunerations that are higher than those for normal working hours:
- To pay no less than 150 per cent of the normal wages if an extension of working hours is arranged;
- To pay no less than 200 per cent of the normal wages if work is arranged on off days and no make-up off days can be arranged; or
- To pay no less than 300 per cent of the normal wages if work is arranged on statutory holidays.
Chapter XII: Article 90:
Where the employing unit, in violation of the stipulations of this Law, extends the working hours of labourers, the administrative department of labour shall give it a warning, order it to make corrections, and may impose a fine thereon.
Chapter XII: Article 91:
Where the employing unit commits any of the following acts infringing upon the legitimate rights and interests of labourers, the administrative department of labour shall order it to pay labourers remuneration of wages or to make up for economic losses, and may also order it to pay compensation:
(2) To refuse to pay labourers remuneration of wages for the extended working hours;
Chapter III: Article 31:
The employing unit shall strictly implement the norm set for labor quota and shall not compel the workers to work overtime or do so in disguised form. If an employing unit arranges for a worker to work overtime, it shall give him overtime pay in accordance with the relevant regulations of the State.
Chapter V: Article 62:
The receiving unit shall perform the following obligations:
3. To give overtime pay and performance bonuses and provide welfare benefits related to specific posts;
Chapter VII: Article 85:
Where an employing unit commits one of the following acts, the administrative department of labor shall order it to pay the labor remuneration, give overtime pay or make other financial compensation within a time limit; if the labor remuneration is lower than the local minimum wage rate, it shall pay the difference. If it fails to make such payment at the expiration of the time limit, it shall be ordered to pay an additional compensation to the worker at a rate of not less than 50 percent but not more than 100 percent of the amount payable:
- Failing to pay a worker his labor remuneration on time and in full as stipulated in the labor contract or as prescribed by the State;
- Paying labor remuneration at a rate below the local minimum wage rate;
- Arranging overtime work but giving no overtime pay; or
- Failing to pay the worker financial compensation pursuant to the provisions of this Law when revoking or terminating a labor contract.
Workers and staff shall work 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week.
No unit or individual shall extend the working hours of their workers and staff without authorization. When the working hours are necessary to extend for the purpose of special case or emergent assignment, it shall be implemented according to the relevant provisions of the State.
Gaining popularity and publicity
In early September 2016, numerous reliable sources reported that 58.com A.K.A.
58同城(NYSE: WUBA), a classified advertisements company, practiced the "996" work schedule without overtime pay on weekends. The company later claimed that the schedule was only practiced to manage extra workload during the peak season (September and October) and that this schedule would not be mandatory.
In January 2019, Youzan.com A.K.A.
有赞(HKG: 8083), a Hangzhou-based e-commerce company, announced in its annual gala, that the company would start enforcing the "996" work schedule. Bai Ya, the CEO of Youzan, responded,
"This will definitely be a right decision when we look back in a few years."
In March 2019, JD.com A.K.A.
京东(NASDAQ: JD), a major e-commerce company, started enforcing "996" or "995" work schedules in some departments. The PR of JD stated on Maimai (
脉脉, a Chinese business social network platform),
"[Our company culture is] the wholehearted devotion of ourselves [to achieve the business objectives]."
This work schedule is only gaining publicity recently. However, it has log been practiced as an "open secret" in many companies in China.
Compensation and benefits
According to the Labour Law, employees who follow the "996" work schedule should be paid 2.275 times their basic salary. Unfortunately, employees rarely receive this payment.
The origin of this repo's name --
Tolerating of the "996" work schedule will apparently result in creating health risk, which may send you to an Intensive Care Unit someday. (
6 rhymes with
U in Mandarin)
Developers' lives matter.