Health must come first

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 May, 2011, 12:00am


Overworking is a new social problem. Most people think a white-collar job is the best, because it earns people a high salary. People also think these jobs don't require much effort, as you sit in an office all day.

But a young girl who worked at a famous accounting firm died suddenly. She had only joined the company a year before. She worked very long hours, even when she was running a fever. The news triggered public concern about stress caused by work fatigue.

I think it is silly to sacrifice one's life for work. Health should come first, because without it, you can't do anything, including work efficiently. Employees should speak to their bosses if they have too much work. They should also learn to be as efficient as possible so that they're not at work for too long.

Some people may say workers cannot refuse their bosses' requests. But bosses are human. Besides, if people become ill due to work stress, it is bad for the company's reputation.

Octavia Hung Sai Sai, Pooi To Middle School

From the Editor

Thank you for your letter, Octavia. The constant, gnawing fear of losing one's job is a stress that many Hongkongers live with. This means that they feel they should not leave the office 'on time' in case their boss thinks they are lazy. They feel they have to work when they are ill, in case their boss gets annoyed. In fact, some bosses even intimidate their staff and harass them if they take sick leave. This is unfair and dangerous.

In Western workplaces, workers have many rights. If they feel they are being treated unfairly, they can even sue their company. This is not the case here. Companies can take advantage of workers and they have little recourse to justice.

That is how things will remain until the law changes.

Susan, Editor