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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Rise in overtime expected from holiday crunch

By Guo Nei (China Daily)

09:52, January 11, 2012

BEIJING - Chinese workers expecting a relaxed month due to the high number of vacation days in January 2012 may be unpleasantly surprised by a heavier workload in the run-up to the Spring Festival holiday.

Though there are 14 days off in the month of January, including weekends, New Year's Day and Spring Festival, employees may need to work overtime throughout the 17 workdays to finish the whole month's assignments.

By shifting the weekend so that one day of time off is extended to a three-day holiday, Chinese people are off work from Jan 1 to Jan 3 to celebrate New Year's Day every year.

For the Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year in the lunar calendar, which is the most important traditional festival for the Chinese people, workers get seven days of vacation, including three days off and two weekends shifted. The one-week holiday starts the day before the festival.

Since it is determined according to the lunar calendar rather than Western calendars, Spring Festival can fall anywhere from late January to mid-February.

It comes especially early this year on Jan 23, which means the seven-day holiday will start on Jan 22, only 19 days after the New Year's Day holiday.

Of those 19 days, only 17 days are scheduled as workdays. But that does not mean that an employee's workload will shrink accordingly.

On the first workday after her lovely New Year's Day holiday, Zhao Qian was up to her neck sorting piles of invoices and bills to balance her company's accounts for the last month. The 24-year-old accountant in an advertising agency in Beijing worked until 8:30 pm - three hours past when her shift was set to end.

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