'Voluntary overtime' harms employers as well as employees
China Daily



Liaoning Provincial Department of Human Resources and Social Security recently said that employers do not need to pay their employees overtime if they work extra hours without being asked. Beijing News comments:
If longer working hours can lead to paid overtime, those who procrastinate and work the most inefficiently will be the biggest beneficiaries. And this is not fair to colleagues with high efficiency. After all, the indicator of a person's ability to work is the quality and efficiency, not how many hours a day they work.

According to the Labor Law, employers should arrange any extra work outside normal hours with their employees. But in reality it is more usual for employees to be forced to "voluntarily" work overtime. Some employers intentionally assign more work than can be finished within working hours, or the employees have to work overtime due to serious competition the company faces in the market.

Some enterprises even encourage voluntary overtime work as a positive enterprise culture. Some companies openly advocate the so-called 996 working system that works from 9 am to 9 pm, 6 days a week.

Employees should take steps to actively safeguard their own legal rights and interests. They should preserve evidence of their workload, and resort to the labor arbitration authorities to require payment for any excessive overtime.
The so-called voluntary overtime is also not good for the employers as it encourages the notion that making employees work extra is the way to make profits, which actually undermines the employers' vitality and creativity, which is of great significance to the enterprises long-term profitability.