Should the government enact standard working hours?2017.03.17
Simon: My other colleague from another team, Jonathan, works 12 hours a day. I think that’s just wrong! There should be some kind of a regulation to stop people from working super long hours!
Catherine: I can’t agree with you on this. If the government officially sets a limit on working hours, then many small-to-mid-sized businesses would find it difficult to survive. These enterprises would have to hire more workers while those who wish to work longer hours for a better income cannot do so. I don’t think the government should intervene in the free market.
Simon: By having some kind of regulation, the workers are at least protected from some crazy bosses who intentionally hire less-than-normal manpower and ask existing employees to work super long hours. Currently there is no legal protection for these workers.
Catheirne: If such a policy were put in place then the cost for running a business would go up for the employers.No matter how small the cost, there would still be an unpredictable impact on small businesses. For instance, in the food and beverage industry, people work for 10 hours at minimum. If you set a limit, how could restaurants run their businesses?
Simon: Of course there would be variations amongst different industries but currently there is no such law to protect workers. Jonathan works 12 hours a day, are you suggesting he works super-slow or does he deserves such treatment?
Catherine: Without such a policy, some small businesses could impose a limit on working hours for their own company which could attract more talent. It also allows some workers who would like to work longer hours for better pay to have their own choice. If you had the policy written in stone, then all companies provide the same package and there would be no variations between companies. This impacts our competitiveness as a whole.
Key arguemnts (Simon)
1. Working for too long affect one’s quality of life.
2. A lack of regulation may encourage employers to hire less manpower to exploit existing workers.
Key arguments (Catherine)
1. It is impractical to set a rule as different industries have different standards.
2. Having a regulation in place would stop people who want to work longer hours from doing so.
minimum wage 最低工資
standard working hours 標準工時
shift hours 更期
Did you know?
THE discussion of standard working hours has broken down before.
Representatives of employees demanded a working hour standard of 44 hours per week and an overtime pay rate of 1:1.5. However, the employers believed that standard working hours would increase the operational costs of businesses, aggravate the problem of manpower shortage and affect the flexibility of the labour market.
In the end, the employees walked away from the roundtable and ended the talk.
1. Whose side are you on? Simon’s or Catherine’s?
2. ‘Employers would deliberately hire less-than-normal manpower to exploit workers.’ Do you agree?
3. ‘The government should not intervene at all in a free market society.’ Do you agree?
4. How would having a limit on working hours affect people in the food and beverage industry?