Bringing out the invisible
  ·  2024-02-06  ·   Source: NO.7-8 FEBRUARY 15, 2024

A Beijing court decision ordering a company to compensate an employee for working during non-working hours has recently sparked heated online discussions. The court has ruled that the time the employee has spent on sending late-night work messages qualifies as invisible overtime work,a term used to describe extra work done using Weixin, a ubiquitous super app,and other social media. The widespread use of Weixin has, on the one hand, made workplace communication much easier.However, on the other hand, it has blurred the boundaries between work and personal life.

This court ruling recognized the presence of invisible overtime work. It also stated two criteria by which it can be identified: There must be substantial work completed, and the labor must have taken up a considerable amount of a person’s private time.

For a long time, this kind of overtime work went unpaid, unacknowledged and unregulated. But now, it is one step closer to becoming a legal concept. In fact, many other recent court rulings have used the criteria mentioned above to decide whether a case qualifies as invisible overtime work.These standards are far from perfect, but they signify a remarkable progress toward better ensuring work-life balance.


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