香港加班文化

Many people in Hong Kong work for long hours and some even stay in the office overnight. Write an article for your school magazine examining two reasons for this phenomenon. You should also discuss the impact of this on the workers who continuously work overtime.

The Cruelty of Working Long Hours

When asked why many parents always come back home late at night, many teenagers may come up with this -- they need to working overtime. Do you have any relatives or friends who are suffering from long working hours? Have you not realised that this phenomenon is worsening? It is high time to let as reflect on the external reason, internal factor and various effects on this matter.

First and foremost, if all jobs were of high salary, people wouldn’t have to rash about for living. In Hong Kong, a lot of jobs are based on the hourly wages. That means workers can truly be paid more by working more. Although the government has legislated that the minimum wage to be HK$37 per hour lately and the overtime subsidy is recommended to be 1.5 or 1.2 times of the hourly wage, it is still insufficient for people living in Hong Kong. For example, if you work in the McDonalds’ with an hourly salary of $40, you will only get HK$6400 for one month even you have worked for 40 hours per week. This is not enough to cover the living expenses, because the cost of living in Hong Kong ranks first in Asia and even in the world. Costs of food, clothing, housing and transportation are notoriously high. Hence, people needs to work more hours in exchange for money to maintain their quality of life in a city of high cost-of-living index.

On the other hand, apart from living pressure, there is also an internal reason that drives people to work many hours, which is striving for performance or promotion. Hong Kong also have other types of jobs with a fixed salary, such as teachers, office workers, accountants, etc. No matter how much time they devote, they can only get the same amount of salary. However, some of them often volunteer to dedicate more time to their jobs, because they want to elevate their work performance, to attract the attention of their superiors, and increase their chances of promotion. There are also some workers who are purely passionate about their own jobs. They are also willing to invest their own private time to work. At the same time, some people have a sense of accomplishment or joy from their jobs, so they always allocate more time to their jobs. It can be seen from the above that a lot of people work overtime for reasons like reaching their goals or interests.

In fact, working extensively long hours does not necessarily bring benefits, but adverse effects. First, when people sacrifice their sleep for work, their spirit will deteriorate. This can increase the probability of getting in an accident. For example, in 2017, a bus driver worked overtime for 13 hours for 5 consecutive days. He drove under fatigue resulting in an accident that leads to 3 deaths and 30 injuries. It can be deduced that working extensively not only affects health, but also endangers life and physical safety. Moreover, long hours working will lessen the time spent with family. When people spend most of their time at work, they will not have enough time to care for their families. In the long run, they will become increasingly estranger from their loved ones. Last but not least, increased working hours will in fact reduce productivity because long working hours can devastate workers’ health. It may increase the employees’ frequency of getting sick as well as the number of sick leaves taken. The actual efficiency and productivity of the labour force will decline.

All in all, this phenomenon has become a problem which should not be ignored. We must face up to the various effects of long working hours and stop extending our working hours.

Wong Shi Chuen John 5B

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