Tencent studio introduces a new work policy to adjust its 996 working hour system

June 11, 2021 9:25 pm

Lightning & Quantum Studio Group, a game studio owned by Tencent Interactive Entertainment Group (IEG), fight against China’s notorious 996 work culture and issue new work schedule to encourage healthy work environment.

Detail: Starting from June 14th, Lightning & Quantum Studio Group will implement a new policy that encourage employees to go home at 6pm on Wednesday and leave the office before 9pm for the rest of the week.

Under the new policy, workers were guaranteed weekends off. If employees are required to finish urgent projects on Saturdays and Sundays, management needs to justify the schedule so that no employee work overtime for two consecutive days.

The studio’s initiative, dubbed “Happy Work, Healthy Life,” aims to encourage a healthy work-life balance that enable employees to improve work efficiency and spend more time with their families.

Context: Despite the improvement, many Chinese white collars remain skeptical about the new policy. On Chinese microblogging site Weibo, some highlighted that the new policy is sort of like a perk, rather than a regular part of labor law.

996 is an exceptionally long working hours schedule that force employees to work 12 hours from 9 am to 9 am for six days a week.

Although China’s labor law bars employees from working more than eight hours a day and 44 hours a week, big tech companies have yet to face punishment over implementation of 996 work schedule. Publicly lauded by tech leaders such as Jack Ma, the founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, many Chinese tech companies have employed the 996 system for many years.The national government also recently encourages citizens not-so-subtly to work more, recently criticizing the "laying down"(躺平) mentality that is popular among burned out workers.

Some companies pay employees handsomely for extra hours, but in 2019, a survey by online recruitment platform Zhilian Zhaopin found that more than 70% of 10,000 respondents said they had gone unpaid for overtime work.

The death of a Pinduoduo worker in January triggered a wave of intense criticism of the 996 system.