Date
17 August 2017
Dim sum chef Law (right) says the best thing about her 4:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. job is that she gets to cook and share a meal with her son every day after work, a luxury for grass-roots workers in Hong Kong. Photo: RTHK
Dim sum chef Law (right) says the best thing about her 4:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. job is that she gets to cook and share a meal with her son every day after work, a luxury for grass-roots workers in Hong Kong. Photo: RTHK

Work-life balance a luxury in Hong Kong

Long working hours are the norm in Hong Kong.

Not only are many workers deprived of enough time to rest and refresh themselves; in some cases, it can upset family life and even lead to broken marriages.

Government statistics show about 30 percent of the working population have to work more than 10 hours a day, and 60 percent of them work for employers that do not offer specific compensation for overtime.

A dim sum chef surnamed Law got divorced a few years ago.

Although long working hours might not have been the direct cause of the breakup, the lack of the opportunity to communicate with her husband definitely had some negative impact, she told broadcaster RTHK.

She has since changed jobs, and her working hours are now 4:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The main attraction of the job is that she can take care of her son after work.

“It’s still early enough to do the groceries and cook for my son,” Law said.

“Having supper together is a precious moment — to actually have a face-to-face conversation with the family.”

Many grass-roots workers in Hong Kong are faced with similar challenges.

Having to spend most of their waking hours commuting and working, they barely earn a living but have no life.

Sharing a meal with her son is the daily highlight of Law’s life.

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FL

EJ Insight writer

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