Sunday, 07 Jun 2020

The history of controversial 996 work system which not started from China


IllustrationIllustration - Alibaba's founder, Jack Ma, suddenly becomes the center of attention for defending the controversial 996 working hour system. This work system is popular with technology companies from China and indicates that employees work from 9am to 9pm for 6 days a week. This work system is suspected to be the cause of many employees in there to be depressed due to lack of holidays and many do not get proper compensation.

Even though it doesn't carry the same name, this work system started first in Silicon Valley, USA when the internet was barely known in the 1990s. Employees who worked at technology startups have to work up to twelve hours a day to keep their company stood and operated.

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When the technology and startup sectors in China began to develop in the early 2000s, many companies asked their employees to work around the clock. This also succeeded in encouraging these companies to become one of the biggest in China, for example like Tencent. "In the past 10 or 15 years, the work culture is becoming very intense" venture capitalist William Bao Bean was quoted as saying by the BBC on Saturday, April 13th 2019.

Employees did not only have to work for twelve hours, but sometimes they also didn’t receive overtime pay. Because technology companies are among the first to implement this system and they managed to become one of the largest in China, which forced companies in other sectors also adopted this system. This system was finally considered normal, until finally the term 996 appeared.

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