About three-quarters of a million Hong Kong employees work 50 hours a week, five more than the recommended standard for weekly working hours.
Nearly three in four work overtime without pay, Sing Tao Daily reported Friday, citing a survey by the Standard Working Hours Committee.
More than 10,000 households, employers and employees were interviewed for the survey.
It found that if employees cut an hour of work each week to comply with standard working hours, employers would have to hire an additional 15,700 people to fill the slack, equivalent to 20 percent of the vacancies in the job market.
Consultants of the study are advising against legislation to standardize working hours, saying Hong Kong’s aging population and labor shortage will push up inflation as businesses pass the added costs to consumers.
Also, standard working hours would have a profound impact on Hong Kong’s competitiveness, they said.
In the wake of the consultants’ recommendations, the government is expected to proceed cautiously toward any legislation, the report said.
The survey found that one-fourth of the respondents work beyond their contracted number of work hours for a median of five hours and up to a maximum of 10.
More than 70 percent put in extra hours without pay. Some worry that their income could drop if the number of work hours is cut.
Hpwever, about 40 percent are willing to work extra hours but with pay.
Meanwhile, nearly half of the employers said standard working hours could boost staff morale but could also hurt their business.
They said they favor government guidelines on working hours over legislation.
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