Chinese Court Condemns ‘9am to 9pm for 6 days’ work culture

China’s top court on Thursday released a lengthy statement condemning what is commonly known in China as “996,” the practice of working from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week.

This practice is said to be common among the country’s big tech companies, startups and other private businesses.

“Recently, extreme overtime work in some industries has received widespread attention,” it said.
It added that workers deserve rights for “rest and vacation,” and “adhering to the national working hour system is the legal obligation of employers.
It mentioned several examples of companies it said violated labor rules, including an unnamed courier company that told employees to work 996 hours.
Instructing employees to work that much “has seriously violated the law on extending the upper limit of working hours and should be deemed invalid,” the court said.
Alibaba’s co-founder Jack Ma, was heavily criticized in China two years ago after he called 996 culture a “huge blessing.” Chinese labor law already prevents employees from working that long.
The latest statement from the country’s supreme court comes as China embarks on a massive crackdown on private business in the country. It rolled out new regulations and fines to lessen the influence of powerful corporations. The crackdown has been supported by President Xi Jinping and other top Chinese officials as a step in the right direction to tackle data security risks and inequality in education, and to prevent social instability.
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