996 Becomes a Hot Topic Again.

On May 15, Japan proposed that enterprises should extend the retirement age to 70 so as to enable the willing horses to work to age 70 and promote reemployment and business starting support. Japan also proposed ideas like "no-retirement society" and "living a hundred-year-old life" to reduce the growing severity of population aging and sub-replacement fertility. This news reminded many people of the three-digit number which became quite popular in China and has been mentioned a lot recently – 996 (meaning working from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week). The other day, the statement "nothing about work should be talked about in the WeChat group after work" became one of the most searched topics and re-triggered the public's discussion on 996.

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About 996

Recently, 996 remained the most popular number in China, which means working from 9 am to 9 pm for 6 days a week.

It was originated from the day of March 27, when a programmer anonymously complained against the 996 working system of many Chinese Internet companies in Github, a code hosting site gathered by global programmers, writing "working by 996, sick in ICU".

Making a splash, the complaint was quickly responded by those programmers suffering from extra work for long time. The most famous Internet companies in China - JD, YouZan, Alibaba, ByteDance and others are on the list of 996 companies. Later relevant enterprises' response made the discussion continue.

Most of corporate responsible persons explained that the 996 working system was not compulsive and employees could voluntarily follow according to their own working rhythm. Jack Ma said, "I personally believe that the 996 working system is a huge treasure, while many other companies and people even have no chance to work by 996." JD also followed that "those dronish are not my brothers." Programmers reluctantly express that they have to work overtime under the survival and family pressure in big cities, while programmers are no longer scarce today.

Some financial and economic media pointed out that Internet had developed into the second half in China, resulting that programmers' salaries reached higher and higher and industrial competition became more and more fierce; "companies under the 996 system are obviously more likely to survive and develop better than those leisure ones without extra work." However, more media suspected the legality of the 996 system, holding that "corporate governance requires more civilized, more efficient and more employee-friendly schedule."

We often joke about plaid shirts - programmers' unified fashion choice, and their signs of balding, which actually is just slovenly without affecting the whole. What truly makes them hurt are illness and lack of family time, forcing them to be "ghost parents". Family problems caused by illness or parental absence in children's lives may probably be the social problems one or two enterprises unable to solve at all. In 1995, China adopted eight hours a day, five days a week work schedule. Today, after 24 years, we can understand enterprises' anxiety and we still feel proud of Chinese spirit of struggle, but we should try to slow down from this year's Labor Day. "Be kind to workers and let them feel fulfilled, happy and safe, and this is the best respect to laborers and the best development of the spirit of struggle."

People's Daily: While depending on employees' painstaking work, the enterprises are also obliged to motivate their inspiration; to drive employees work harder with higher efficiency; to provide overtime wage as incentive while provide quality family time, physical health and job satisfaction as reward.

Vista - View the World: The 996 working system is a market choice, which cannot simply concealed by a certain entrepreneur or enterprise. No one has such power. What really encourage them are those applicants queuing for offer.


See the Xinhua News Agency, People's Daily and Vista - View the World


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