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The Supreme People’s Court of China ruled that the “996” overtime policy, which requires employees to work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week, is illegal, targeting a controversial policy practiced by many Chinese technology companies. China’s Supreme People’s Court and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security published guidelines and examples on what constitutes overtime labor on Thursday, stating that they were focusing on the subject because it had recently received extensive attention.
Authorities used a parcel delivery firm to show why “996” was unlawful, but for certain Chinese companies and employees, working such hours was seen as an honor. High-profile Silicon Valley figures including Mike Moritz of Sequoia Capital see it as a competitive edge that China has over the United States. As a result of public outcry in 2019, the discussion over work hours in China’s tech industry continues.
Two weeks after its short-video competition Kuaishou made a similar announcement, TikTok’s owner Byte Dance stated last month that it would officially abolish its weekend overtime policy on Aug. 1.
Aside from the court’s and ministry’s criticism of “996,” the crackdown on China’s technology companies has targeted everything from monopolistic conduct to consumer rights.