Shenzhen city has decided to implement the first local health regulations in China to better protect the physical and mental health of workers, as reported by Xinhua Net on November 17, 2020. The new rules will go in effect on Jan 1, 2021. This is part of an effort by the Shenzhen municipal government to promote the well-being of its local population. According to the regulation, employers are required to enforce a paid leave policy, and reasonably allocate human resources and work schedules to prevent physical and mental injuries. Human resource departments and trade unions are also expected to increase employer supervision and inspection for implementation.
According to a report conducted by the Biz Channel of China Media Group (CMG), in 2020, the average Chinese individual’s leisure time outside of work and sleep was only 2.42 hours. In 2019, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) published data, showing that employees working for Chinese companies work 46.5 hours per week on average, while the times in the US, Japan and Germany were 34 hours, 33 hours and 26 hours respectively. As to work overload, a 2019 survey from Zhaopin.com showed, in China, over 80% of white-collar employees work overtime. Among them, over 20% of white-collar workers have overtime of more than 10 hours per week, and over 70% of them do not get paid.
Good Health and Well-being are two goals of the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which serve as a blueprint to achieve a more sustainable future. In 2015, China adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development from the UN and committed to prioritizing these SDGs. To implement the agenda, Shenzhen’s Municipal People’s Government also set these sustainable development goals as part of its blueprint in March this year. The participation of the government from the top down will push enterprises in the region to comply with the rules, and also require enterprises to improve in their ESG performance.