Tiktok Maker Bytedance: No Weekend Overtime but 20% Less Pay

That’s right, say bye to required overtime, but also the extra pay.

Employees at the parent company of TikTok and Douyin, ByteDance, are pissed about an average of 20% less pay in August under an adjusted work schedule, first reported by Chinese media outlet Caixin Global.

The pay cut is mainly due to cancelled overtime compensation. In early July, the company announced an end to its weekend overtime policy from August 1, two weeks after its short-video rival Kuaishou made a similar decision.

The weekend overtime schedule is known as the ‘big-small-week’ system and requires staff to work one overtime day every other weekend, with double pay on the extra workday.

ByteDance had been implementing the policy since it was founded in 2012. The practice has since become mainstream among China’s tech giants.

On August 31, the first payday after the company announced the overtime policy change, its employees discovered that their salaries had decreased by varying degrees compared to the previous month. They then promptly complained.

“I finally got the first general wage adjustment in my life at Bytedance, though it’s an average decrease of 17%,” one employee posted on social media.

“I got 20% less and instantly felt that two-day weekends were not that good,” wrote another.

Related:

Chinese Tech Companies Are Cancelling Required Overtime. Employees Want More

For many employees, the double pay is what attracted them to the company in the first place. Now, some worry that they’ll be left with the same workload with less pay and less time to complete their assigned tasks. 

The news immediately shot up the trending topic list on the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo with netizens discussing whether tech companies should issue compensation to their staff.

“Well, the work time is reduced, but the workload has not changed, and the salary is also reduced,” reads a popular comment under the topic. “Capitalists are capitalists. They won’t stop sucking your blood.”

“You work less, so you get lower pay. Is it hard to understand?” reads another. “So those who were happy about the cancellation and now get less pay, how do you like a full weekend? Will you ask for a return to the 996 overtime work schedule?”

The overtime practice of 996, working 9 AM to 9 PM six days a week, is probably gone for good. China’s Supreme People’s Court said last Thursday that the 996 schedule is illegal.

Chinese authorities have also published guidelines and examples on what constitutes overtime work, aiming to tackle the long-debated 996 practice in many Chinese tech companies.

Cover photo via Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash 

This post was last modified on September 2, 2021 6:55 pm

Lu Zhao is a bilingual and multimedia journalist with a focus on human interest and social issues. Her work has appeared in USA Today, UPI, SupChina, Pandaily, Chicago Reporter, and other publications.