Young professionals in China are pushing back against employers who expect them to work around the clock, saying no to the decades old “rule of 996” — working from 9am to 9pm six days a week. From a report: At the forefront are millennials who are often better educated, more aware of their rights and more interested in finding something fulfilling than the previous generation. And as only children (China’s one-child policy wasn’t eased until 2015), they are also outspoken and pampered. “In my experience young people, especially the post-90s generation, are reluctant to work overtime — they are more self-centered,” says labour rights expert Li Jupeng, one of many who have observed some millennials challenging the 996 concept.
The relative affluence of their parents and grandparents is part of the reason. China’s rapid economic transformation has given rise to a sizeable middle class, with almost 70% of the country’s urban population making between $9,000 and $34,000 annually in 2012. In 2000, that figure was just 4%. As only children, millennials are receiving a lot of support from their families — including a financial safety net should their careers not go as planned. Although their options for pushing back are limited, some are no longer willing to put in long hours for a meagre paycheck.
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