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Holiday? What holiday? Get to work!

10-04-2010 11:12 BJT Special Report:Happy National Day Holiday |

BEIJING, Oct. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- Liu Chao had been looking forward to traveling during the National Day holidays for a long time.

Yet she had to turn down a friend's request to go to Shanghai together because her company had arranged for her to meet customers in Beijing during the week-long holidays.

Liu, a sales rep with a trading company in Chaoyang district of Beijing, asked her manager for overtime pay but was refused.

She had to keep a lid on her anger out of fear of losing her hard-won job.

Just like many other 30-year-olds, Liu stayed on the job during the holidays without getting extra pay.

According to the Labor Law and the Provisional Regulations on Wage Payments, if an employer schedules employees to work on statutory holidays or rest days and the rest days could not be rescheduled, staff members get overtime at 200 percent of regular daily wages for weekends, or 300 percent for statutory holidays.

But the truth is that many citizens in Beijing have never received proper overtime pay during statutory holidays. China Daily reporters interviewed many people, but only found one manager in a multinational company who said his company followed the rules.

An online survey by Beijing News shows that more than half of the people surveyed worked overtime during the Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day holidays - among which more than 87 percent had not yet received any overtime pay.

The survey also shows that about 70 percent of people will slack off at work to express dissatisfaction, while only 6 percent will complain to managers. Just 3 percent said they would resign in protest.

The poll found that it is common for people to work one or two days during holidays, but there are still people who have to work for the entire seven National Day holidays. Workers doing overtime are mainly concentrated in service industries such as catering, entertainment, transportation, and beauty and hair salons.

"I've been working in Beijing as a chef for more than six years. I have to work over 12 hours a day, and I hardly remember getting a rest on the weekends, let alone the National Day holidays," said Wang Shuo, a chef from Northeast China's Jilin province who works in a Beijing restaurant.

"We have a fixed monthly salary. If we had overtime pay, I'm sure I'd have a lot of money now because I work overtime every day," said Wang, "I haven't gotten any extra money as overtime pay yet, and neither did my colleagues."

Experts say that China has increased efforts to protect the rights and interests of workers in recent years, but the problems of overtime work and failing to pay overtime remain serious.

"Not paying overtime wages according to law is a serious offence. The law is clear on overtime pay, but for many people it's something to yearn for but never attain," said Liu Junhai, professor with the law school of Renmin University.

"The root reason that most employers are able to default on overtime wages lies in the fact there are no strict punitive measures. Related government departments should increase penalties for violators and meanwhile investigate enterprises and do research among staff to protect common laborers' legitimate rights," Liu said.

Lawyers also called for workers to resort to the law to protect their rights.

"In recent years, more than 20 percent of labor-dispute cases have been related to overtime wages. People who fail to get overtime wages should report to the local labor security supervision department or lodge a complaint," said Wu Jianxin, a lawyer and legal aid volunteer in Beijing.

He also suggested that laborers have employers provide evidence of overtime work, which would be useful in claiming overtime wages.

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: China Daily

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