China’s short-video firm Kuaishou has formally cancelled its weekend extra time coverage, whereas its competitor, TikTok’s mum or dad ByteDance, is debating internally whether or not to do the identical.
The transfer by Kuaishou, which raised $5.4bn in a public listing earlier this yr, comes as China’s tech sector grapples with staff’ complaints of overwork and mistreatment. In January, the information of two deaths at ecommerce big Pinduoduo additional stirred nationwide debate over the infamous “996” schedule of working 9am-9pm six days every week.
Kuaishou and ByteDance had beforehand embraced the follow widespread to many Chinese language tech giants, often called “large/small weeks”, which means that employees work one Sunday each alternate weekend. After half a yr of doing so, Kuaishou introduced it might finish the follow as of this week.
Beijing’s regulatory tightening towards Massive Tech may very well be a motive behind the change, stated Shan Guo, Shanghai-based analyst at consultancy Plenum.ai.
“After President Xi referred to as to ‘stop disorderly enlargement of capital’ final yr and ‘strengthen safety of staff’ in April, it might be troublesome for policymakers to maintain a blind eye to tech giants’ labour practices, because the extra time coverage advantages capital-owners greater than staff,” she [Guo] stated.
Employees at ByteDance and Kuaishou additionally speculated that their firms had been motivated by slicing the excessive price of extra time pay.
“We encourage employees to strike a steadiness between work and relaxation, and spend extra time with your loved ones and pals,” wrote Kuaishou in an inside observe to employees reported by home media final week, including that extra time might nonetheless be requested when wanted. Kuaishou confirmed the coverage change.
Some Kuaishou employees rejoiced at having their weekends again. “Goodbye, large/small weeks!” posted one worker on skilled networking platform Maimai, sharing a screenshot of her alarm set to weekdays solely.
However many others questioned whether or not the transfer was something greater than beauty, saying that they anticipated their groups would demand they “voluntarily” proceed engaged on weekends.
If employees do in actual fact get their weekends again, the transfer means a big discount of earnings expenditures for Kuaishou. Chinese language labour regulation states that weekend extra time have to be paid at double the traditional charge.
Because of this, beneath the massive/small week coverage, employees are paid round 20 per cent extra, a bonus that some younger professionals would fairly preserve.
Kuaishou’s transfer stirred the expectations of employees at its competitor ByteDance that they might quickly observe swimsuit, with home media reporting inside discussions that weekend working could be led to July. ByteDance stated it didn’t touch upon market rumours.
At a company-wide assembly final month, ByteDance’s incoming chief govt Liang Rubo introduced that the corporate had been reconsidering its large/small week working coverage, which it has carried out for a few years. Nonetheless, Liang added, a survey of employees discovered one-third supported persevering with the coverage, whereas one-third had been towards.
“There’s a number of stress to deal with it, however they haven’t essentially selected the very best step ahead,” stated one worker. One other added that opinions had been divided among the many administration and completely different employees groups.
“Some don’t wish to lose the pay. Some worry that if [weekend working] is cancelled however the workload doesn’t change, then they’ll find yourself dropping out,” stated an worker.
Further reporting by Nian Liu and Qianer Liu