Microsoft employees call for 40 hours a week work limit in China

The workers were raising their voice against the ‘996’ philosophy promoted by Jack Ma.


A group of Microsoft employees has raised its voice against the taxing ‘996’ work culture that supports a six-day week work schedule lasting from 9 in the morning to 9 in the night.

The employees have written a petition supporting a trending repository on Github, a web-hosting service, called ‘996.ICU’, requesting for the repository to be kept uncensored. The title of the repository refers to the working hours that technology professionals in China are protesting against, that is 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week. The ‘ICU’ refers to the intensive care unit where overworked employees who follow this exhausting schedule end up in.

The “996” philosophy was endorsed by Jack Ma, founder, Alibaba. According to Ma, the people of China should work for 72 hours in a week, which means 12 hours a day for six days. He feels that it is not difficult to adhere to ‘996’ if you are working on something you like or doing something after your own interest.

Many browsers in China, including Alibaba, Xiaomi, Tencent and Qihoo 360, have already blocked access to 996.ICU. However, Microsoft, owner of GitHub, has not blocked the repository till now, making its support to the ‘996.ICU’ movement somewhat evident.

Realising that multinational companies will try to take advantage of weak labour to earn profits, Microsoft employees have requested Chinese technology companies to adhere to local labour laws, which recommend a 40-hour work week.

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