Working Hours Of Construction Employees In Hong Kong Construction Essay

This survey examines whether the local building workers satisfied with the length of their working hours and whether there is necessary for the Government to restrain the on the job hours of the labors by enforcing ordinances or similar control steps. For your background of this survey, this chapter outlined ( 1 ) background of this survey ; ( 2 ) the purpose and aims of this survey ; ( 3 ) methodological analysis adopted and ( 4 ) overview of the survey range.


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Construction industry significantly contributes to Hong Kong ‘s economic. The long on the job hours as the negative feeling of the building industry causes aging jobs and deficiency of fresh blood in the industry.

Harmonizing to the Working Time Directive from Europe ( Directive, 2003 ) , hebdomadal working hours of at least 48 hours or more should be regarded as long. Therefore, more than 48 hours could be regarded as “ long ” working hours which makes consistence among surveies. Alongside with that there are voices that the workers in Hong Kong are presently required to work overly long hours – some suggested that the mean workers have to work for a scope of 60 to 70 hours per hebdomad. This is long if it is compared to the mean on the job hours of labor in the U.S. , the European states, Japan or other developed states. The nature of Hong Kong building industry is utilizing long on the job hours to get by with the tight building agendas. Normally, the workers in the mentioned parts by and large work less than 44 hours per hebdomad ( OECD, 2004 ) .

In Hong Kong, the employers of the contractors are kicking that they presently suffer from labour deficit and job of an aging labour force. Therefore, there are two significances of this survey. First, the decrease in the length of the working hours shall assist to do edifice building a more attractive industry for immature work forces and adult females and deficit and aging jobs. The young person may be encouraged to fall in the edifice building industry. Second, people may endure from weariness after repeatedly working for long hours, such fatigues may take to personal and/ or household jobs, occupational diseases and safety jeopardies. Therefore, the state of affairs on labor ‘s on the job hours must be revealed and studied.

Research Aim and Aims

This research aims investigate of there is a demand for the Government to restrain the on the job hours of the local building workers to a designated bound by enforcing ordinances or similar control steps.

The survey covers apprehensions of the hebdomadal length of working hr of the labor and their satisfaction of the length. And it besides investigates the grounds of the longer on the job hours compared to the opposite numbers in the other advanced states, examines if there are alternate ways to implement edifice building works without the demand of the workers to work for more than 44 hours per hebdomad. It is expected that this survey can do parts to uncover these references if actions shall be taken by the legislators to command the maximal on the job hours of labor functioning the edifice building industry.

The aims of this survey are as followed:

To place the state of affairs of working hours faced by the local workers.

To analyze the possible impacts due to overly long on the job hours of the workers in the edifice building industry.

To place the construct of “ work life balance ” .

To analyze the taking international pattern on commanding the maximal figure of working hours of single workers per hebdomad.

To carry on a questionnaire study to the workers in the edifice building industry for the state of affairs.

To carry on interviews with site agents or undertaking directors of the edifice general contractors for the state of affairs.

To carry on interviews with the leaders of the local labor brotherhoods for any betterments.

To discourse the issues identified and do decisions and necessary recommendations ( for farther surveies ) .

1.4 Methodology

The aims of this survey can be achieved through the undermentioned methods:

Literature reappraisal on books, diaries and web sites were carried out to sum up go outing cognition on related subjects.

Data aggregation was carried out by carry oning a questionnaire study to front-line workers in the industry.

Data aggregation was carried out by questioning undertaking directors and leaders of the local labor brotherhoods in the industry.

Data analysis was conducted by utilizing SPSS16.0 for window. The dependability appraisals, descriptive analysis, one-way ANOVA, Pearson correlativity analysis and multiple arrested development analysis were conducted.

1.5 Scope of Study

In order to accomplish the aims, this survey is divided in the undermentioned chief chapters:

Chapter 1

Give a brief debut of the backgrounds, purpose and aims, methodological analysis and range of this survey.

Chapter 2

Give an overview of building industry in Hong Kong ;

Investigate the impacts of long on the job hours ;

Investigate the construct of “ work life balance ” ; and

Elaborate the construct of “ work life balance ”

Chapter 3

Describe methodological analysis adopted for this survey.

Chapter 4

Conduct analysis on the collected informations by utilizing statistics techniques ;

Discuss on the findings of survey.

Chapter 5

Give decisions and recommendations ;

Give restrictions of this survey ;

Provide suggestions for farther research.

Chapter 2


2.1 Overview of Construction Industry

In Hong Kong, the building industry plays an of import function in the economic system of Hong Kong. The Government announced in the 2011-2012 Budget that HK $ 58 billion would be spent on substructures, which is about HK $ 10 billion more than within 2010-2011. Harmonizing to the Quarterly Report of Employment and Vacancies at Construction Sites, was published by the Census and Statistics Department, the industry ‘s employees were accounted for 56,502 of the labour force in 2010.

Besides, the Government plans to put continuously in substructure to advance growing, that the estimated capital works outgo will transcend HK $ 60 billion for each of the following few old ages. In extra 600 1000s square metres land for commercial or concern usage will be available to heighten the self fight among advanced states. The Government expects there are 60,000 extra occupation vacancies will be created in this twelvemonth.

2.1.1 Long Working Hours

The long on the job hours should be divided by genders, for the male employees, “ long hours ” should be regarded as over 60 hours per hebdomad ; for the female employees, it should be regarded as over 40 hours per hebdomad ( Dex et al. , 1995 ) . In these recent old ages, Messenger ( 2004 ) had compared the on the job hours of employees in assorted states, and found that the advanced states like Japan, in which a high proportion of employees have to work 50 or more hours per hebdomad.

Harmonizing to the Working Time Directive ( Directive, 2003 ) , 48 hours per hebdomad was defined as “ long hours ” and which was used as the index in this survey. As stated in The State of Work-Life Balance in Hong Kong 2010 study conducted by Community Business, 48.7 hours was the mean on the job hours to the employees in different industries. The Government announced in the 2010 Report on Annual Earnings and Hours Survey that there are more than 60 % of employees in building industry have to work more than 48 hours per hebdomad, and besides the average hebdomadal working hours increased 1.6 % from 2009 to 2010. As stated in the abroad literatures reappraisal, the “ ideal ” length of working hours should be approximately 7 to 9 hours per twenty-four hours or 48 to 50 hours a hebdomad.

2.1.2 Factors for Long Working Hours

The survey ( New Zealand Census, 2006 ) found that demands of occupations, income, the civilization of workplaces, and the occupation satisfactions provided motivate people work longer clip.

First, the demands of the occupation include completion of the undertakings appointed, even high work load and respond to the client ‘s demands ; Second, the demand for more income should be driven by both keeping basic demands of life and overwhelming luxury goods ; Third, the civilization of the building site should be ever under tight agenda, no affair due to inappropriate direction or unexpected conditions or accidents ; Forth, the satisfaction of the workers should be intangible wagess of plants ( Lindy, 2009 ; Raphael and Itzhak, 2006 ; Weston et al. 2002 ) .

As the building industry in Hong Kong is really competitory in the old old ages, the figure of undertakings is non plenty for the workers due to the economic recession. Since the building period of each contract is limited, contractors would wish to compact the period of building as possible for their ain net income. Therefore, the workers have to finish their plants every bit shortly as possible to forestall hold of agenda and shorten the building period by yearss. Otherwise, workers may non able to acquire farther occupation chances.

2.2 Impacts for overly long working hours

There are many researches focus on the relationships between long working hours and weariness, which could be associated with physical and psychological wellness of homo. For this characteristic, Dex et Al. ( 1995 ) believed that it brought both positive and negative impacts.

At the positive side, the “ long hr ” working adult male could be regarded as a responsible, industrious and motivated individual to his/ her work, household and society. He/ she could gain more income to the household and be served as a function theoretical account. At the negative side, weariness and emphasis come along with the want of remainder. Those feelings are non good for single societal web and household, and may damage to physical and mental wellness. Insufficient remainder could besides damage public presentation and cause safety jobs, most accidents were due to unconsciousness ( Lindy, 2009 ; Johanna and Joanne, 2003 ; Fox and Dwyer, 1999 ) .

2.2.1 Fatigue

Fatigue is non easy to be defined, which could be acute and cumulative. Konz ( 1998 ) believed that long day-to-day work hours and long hebdomadal work hours would do people being fatigue, particularly if there is a deficiency of remainder. Those effects of weariness should be divided into direct and indirect results, while the indirect result is in term of public presentation of work or wellness jobs. His attack was to avoid overtime of work, that the working hr over 12 hours per twenty-four hours and 55 hours per hebdomad should be regarded as overtime.

For the mechanisms which contributed to tire, Rogers et Al. ( 1999 ) pointed that age, wellness position, quality and measure of slumber, length of working hours, work experience, work motive and place or household life should be used for mensurating grade of weariness.

In the Asiatic states liked as Japan and South Korea, researches showed that workers complained of physical and mental weariness after overly long working hours, such weariness could non be escaped and be kept into the following twenty-four hours. The chronic weariness brought harmful to cardiac wellness and decreases the cardiovascular maps ( Park et al. , 2001 ; Shimonitsu and Levi, 1992 ) . There are groundss that the grade of weariness is in positive relationship with the length of working clip and negative relationship with the length of recovery clip.

2.2.2 Physical Health

A Nipponese term “ Karoshi ” means people die from a syndrome of cardiovascular onslaughts liked shots, myocardial infarction or acute cardiac failure after overly overwork ( Spurgeon et al. , 1997 ) . For a more biological account, Liu et Al. ( 2002 ) conducted a research to look into the relationship between bosom diseases and length of working hours by comparing the workers who have to work more than 61 hours per hebdomad and who have to work less than 40 hours per hebdomad. The survey reflected that overtime work additions blood force per unit area and bosom rate, which induces cardiac symptoms such as thorax hurting. Presence of unnatural bosom rate and blood force per unit area increases the hazard of acute myocardial infarction ( abbr. : AMI ) . Besides, deficient remainder increases the rate of AMI ; the hazard of AMI should be induced by the combination of working hours and the measure and quality of slumber.

Besides bosom diseases, Yasuda et Al. ( 2001 ) pointed out that long hours working may damage the ego unsusceptibility, chronic concern and cranky intestine jobs might be induced by working overtime ( CIPD,2001 ) .

2.2.3 Psychological Health

In Hong Kong, the figure of building site workers in September 2010 was in entire 56,503 people, in which published by the Census and Statistics Department, the ratio of male and female was about 12:1. The female site workers are minority in the building industry. Shields ( 2000 ) noted that adult females who used to work longer hours are more likely to develop depression compared to their co-workers working normal hours.

Depression could be a step in sing emphasis, which the term “ Stress ” is hard to be defined. Spark et Al. ( 1997 ) concluded that there were outcome steps when specifying emphasis. The result steps should include depression, anxiousness, defeat, temper symptoms, hapless sleep quality, function strain, irritability/ tenseness, jobs with relationships and general mental emphasis amongst other things.

All these diverse indexs are used to specify emphasis in different bases. There is a little but important correlativity between psychological wellness symptoms and length of working hours, it should be contrast relationship. However, it was non easy to supply groundss to entree the existent association with long on the job hours and hapless mental wellness results ( Kodz et al. , 2001 ) .

2.2.4 Performance

Most of the available groundss support that hapless public presentation is related to longer working hours, but the relationship should be complicated and non conclusive. By mensurating the public presentation effects, productiveness results and, velocity and truth trials are the direct and indirect measurings severally.

A study showed that the productiveness reduced for 2-4 % whiles the length of working clip increased by 10 % ( Shepard and Clifton, 2000 ) . By carry oning study with direction degree, Worrall and Cooper ( 1999 ) showed that 68 % of directors felt that there was an inauspicious consequence on their productiveness after working for long period of clip. Kodz et Al. ( 2001 ) pointed out a canvass consequence that 62 % of the directors believed that shorter working hours gives workers more incentive in production.

Fatigue induced by long on the job hours could be regarded as a stressor, and inordinate stressors will take to diminish the public presentation of workers, suggested by Proctor et Al. ( 1996 ) . However, an appropriate degree of stressors will increase rousing and enhance public presentation. Some researches tried to happen the relationship between work public presentation and the hebdomadal working yearss and the day-to-day working hours, those researches had tested the employees by seting the different combination of working clip. Shepard and Clifton ( 2000 ) noted that the length of workweek perchance affects the productiveness through effects on single motive, attempt and satisfaction, physical wellbeing, emphasis and weariness, and absenteeism. The consequence showed that there are many variables in sing the correlativity of working hours and public presentation.

2.2.5 Safety and Accident

Peoples after working for long hours would wish to lose their attending and would to take hazards, work-related accidents might so go on. Fatigue due to long on the job hours might do semisynthetic catastrophes. Wellens ( 2001 ) noted that Chernobyl or the Exxon Valdez oil spill were contributed by such weariness.

Besides the weariness, losing attending while working might convey injuries to the workers in certain working environments which are exposure to toxic chemical or jeopardies. Ong et Al. ( 1982 ) said that the prevalence of manus hurts should be related to deficiency of preparation, supervising, rawness and clip of twenty-four hours. The clip of twenty-four hours when is most likely to hold accidents should be around the 8th to A­9th hr at work ( Hanecke et al. , 1998 ) .

The Labour Department announced the figure of accidents of the building industry was 7.1 % among the major economic activities, which approximately 2,755 accidents within 2009-2010. Harmonizing to the statistics published by Labour Department, the top five types of accidents were ( 1 ) Injured whilst lifting or carrying, ( 2 ) Slip, trip or autumn on same degree, ( 3 ) Striking against or struck by traveling object, ( 4 ) Striking against fixed or stationary object and ( 5 ) Contact with traveling machinery or object being machined. The above types of accidents should be man-made, which could be prevented or avoided by great attending, good supervising and preparation. There are clearly showed that long working hours could be related to safety and accidents in peculiar working environments.

2.3 Work-life Balance

Work-life balance ( abbr. : WLB ) has been being concerned in Hong Kong few old ages ago. As began at 2004, The University of Hong Kong ( HKU ) and Corporate Social Responsibility ( CSR ) Asia carried out a study on the subject of work-life balance among the local employees, which was a questionnaire based study. In that research, there were some benchmarks related to the state of affairs in Hong Kong, they were length of working hours, general grounds for working overtime, effects on wellness, handiness of ill foliages and one-year foliages, and trueness to company of the employees.

In 2006, Community Business started to carry on a similar study called “ The State of Work-Life Balance in Hong Kong ” , which published yearly. The local state of affairs about WLB is reviewed by this study per twelvemonth. And the aims of the studies are different by each twelvemonth, the newest study published in 2010 analyzing the function of flexible work agreements in bettering the WLB of employees and reexamining the old consequences since 2006.

2.3.1 Definition

Until present, the construct of “ work-life balance ” is non good defined, but all the definitions are related to the work hours. If the hours of twenty-four hours are non measured, the construct of “ work- life balance ” should be intangible. The different combination of working hours and non-working hours in a twenty-four hours could supply a clear image on the balance. Some people say “ WLB ” concerns flexibleness of agendas, while the others say it is a decrease in working hours ( Kodz et al. , 2001 ; Dow-Clarke, 2000 ; Major et al. , 2001 ; Fox and Dwyer, 1999 ; Wallace, 1999 ; O’Driscoll et al. , 1992 ) . Besides, the term of “ work-life balance ” is non the 1 used to depict the same issues around the universe. Different research workers gave different footings to the issue in their ain surveies. For illustration, O’Driscoll et Al. ( 1992 ) preferred the term “ inter-role struggle ” to depict the struggles within an person ‘s functions ; “ work-family struggle ” brought up by Major et Al. ( 2001 ) and Fox and Dwyer ( 1999 ) ; “ work-to-nonwork struggle ” proposed by Wallace ( 1999 ) . Dow-Clarke ( 2002 ) defined “ WLB ” with regard to household life, income and the life rhythm of her selected employees.

The work hours in WLB represent every bit short as accomplishing or keeping persons ‘ desired balance between work and household life. The Department of Trade and Industry ( DTI ) in UK have made some patterns of WLB in 2001, which are flexi-time, staggered hours, clip off in stead, compressed on the job hebdomads, displacement swapping, self-rostering, working from place and etc.

However, most of the patterns are non practical to the workers in building industry, particularly in this survey. Flexible working hours have been proposed in Hong Kong for several old ages, but it is non really popular ; the pattern has been merely supported by big concern companies and the Government. To contract down the literatures reappraisal of WLB, the effects of working long hours on WLB would be focused.

2.3.2 Effectss of long on the job hours on Work-Life Balance

There are so many “ long hours ” criterions in the assorted researches, some interviewed the employees working for 42 hours per hebdomad and some recorded the employees working more than 50 hours per hebdomad ( Galambos and Walters, 1992 ; Wallace, 1999 ) . It is non easy to compare the effects on long plant. This reappraisal would take to the effects on WLB merely.

As it is difficult to mensurate the impacts of work on place, Kodz et Al. ( 2001 ) concluded that most of the researches took off attitudinal study or instance survey attacks. The study released by DTI and Management Today in 2002, demoing that the UK employees would prefer shorter working hours instead than winning the lottery and most of the workers admitted the low handiness of any flexible working patterns.

For the effects on household life, there are three associations due to working long hours, ( 1 ) Break to household activities, ( 2 ) Dissatisfaction with the engagement and the sum of clip spent in kid attention, and ( 3 ) Dissatisfaction with the sum of clip spent with twosomes ( La Valle et al. , 2002 ) . For the effects on personal life, they are relevant to depression and anxiousness, emphasis, work life and function strain ( Dow-Clarke, 2000 ; Galambos and Walters, 1992 ) . In add-on, Wallace ( 1999 ) concluded that the work life of persons was the encroacher to the household life.

2.3.3 Influence of Work-Life Balance

Besides the negative effects of working long hours on WLB, there are some patterns like tight workweek agenda and flexi-time agenda would be positive for working public presentation, occupation satisfaction and satisfaction with work agenda ( Baltes et al. 1999 ) .

As mentioned before, there are some patterns for bettering WLB, which are all related to the work hours. Flexible clip agenda, staggered hours, compressed workweek, displacement swapping, self-rostering, one-year hours, occupation sharing, working from place, and etc ( DTI, 2001 ) . All of them are the mechanisms to heighten the employees ‘ attitudes to work.

Invancevich ( 1974 ) carried out a work public presentation comparing between workers worked for tight workweek and workers worked for normal agenda ; and Baltes et Al. ( 1999 ) evaluated the work public presentation of workers under flex-time and tight workweek, both of the surveies showed the positive results in shorter workweek. The latter survey reflected occupation satisfaction and satisfaction with work agenda excessively. Baltes et Al. ( 1999 ) pointed that the positive effects of tight workweek would non decrease over clip, and there was no break to the productiveness of absenteeism excessively.

The State of Work-Life Balance in Hong Kong Survey ( 2010 ) showed the jobs ensuing from hapless WLB, there were the responses from employees. About 60 % of respondents felt fatigue degree, drowsiness and utmost fatigue prolonged by the hapless work-life balance. Third of them complained the loss of sum of clip to pass with household. Over a one-fourth of employees believed that their work hours invaded to their societal life and decreased their occupation productiveness. The consequences should be about same as the Work Life Balance Survey of Hong Kong Working Population published by HKU in 2009. To do a decision, the hapless work-life balance affects the clip agreement of the employees throughout a twenty-four hours, maps as a stressor to the workers and harms the wellness of the workers.

2.4 Hypothesiss of Study

Long on the job hours is recognized as an component in the local building industry. The factors for long working hours of each person are assorted, most of them could be classified as four dimensions, demands of occupations, income, civilizations of workplaces and work satisfaction provided ( Lindy,2009 ; Raphael and Itzhak, 2006 ; Weston et al. , 2002 ) .

Impacts due to long on the job hours have been discussed for many old ages, which could be personal, household and societal related. At the positive side, the employee could be served as a hardworking, motivated individual, who should be a function theoretical account in a household ( Dex et al. , 1995 ) . At the negative side, the physical and psychological wellness, household life, societal web and safety jobs are being affected by the long working hours ( Lindy, 2009 ; Johanna and Joanne, 2003 ; Fox and Dwyer, 1999 ) .

Work-life balance is an of import construct in a life individual, but it is merely mentioned for old ages in Hong Kong. There are many patterns used to better the balance, to cut down the proportion of work hours within the whole life. Such as flexible clip agenda, staggered hours, compressed workweek, displacement swapping, self-rostering, one-year hours, occupation sharing, working from place, and etc are the ways used over the universe ( DTI, 2001 ; Baltes et al. , 1999 ; Invancevich, 1974 ) . For the effects due to imbalanced work-life, there are loss of the engagement in household activities and kid attention, the sum of clip with twosomes and full of emphasis and anxiousness ( La Valle et al. , 2002 ; Dow-Clarke, 2000 ; Wallace, 1999 ; Galambos and Walters, 1992 ) .

Hypothesis 1- As suggested by the old literatures, long working hours truly affect the employee by different dimensions ( Fox and Dwyer, 1999 ; Galambos and Walters, 1992 ) . The workers are driven to work for longer hours by their ain motives ( Lindy, 2009 ; Raphael and Itzhak, 2006 ) . Since the grade of satisfaction in working long hours is different by people, it hypothesizes that the attitudes towards motives that can heighten workers ‘ satisfaction in long on the job hours.

Hypothesis 2- As mentioned before, people with imbalanced work-life will decrease their clip in take parting activities other than plants ( La Valle et al. , 2002 ; Wallace 1999 ; Baltes et Al. 1999 ) , and do the life non good developed and healthy. It hypothesizes that flexible work agreement can assist work-life balance in all facets like personal life, household life and productiveness of work.

Chapter 3


3.1 Introduction

In the old chapter, the background of the work hr jobs faced by the workers in the building industry was reviewed. Besides, the jobs induced by long on the job hours and influences of Work-Life Balance were introduced in the literature reappraisal.

The aims of this survey are ( 1 ) to place the drawbacks of working hours to the local workers ; ( 2 ) to analyze the possible impacts due to overly long on the job hours of the workers in the edifice building industry ; ( 3 ) to place the construct of work-life balance ; ( 4 ) to analyze the taking international pattern on commanding the maximal figure of working hours of single workers per hebdomad.

In order to accomplish the research objectives, a questionnaire study had been conducted to roll up informations from building workers, and a inquiries set with cover missive for interviews was designed to roll up sentiments from the brotherhood leaders and undertaking directors in constructing general contractor houses. This chapter outlines the design of questionnaires, inquiries design of the interviews, informations aggregation method and method of analysis undertaken in the following chapter.

3.2 Questionnaire Design

In order to accomplish the research objectives, a 10 inquiries questionnaire was designed ( see Appendix 1 ) . Separate I required the respondents to supply their basic information such as gender, age, experience in the building industry and signifier of employment. Part II required the respondents to supply their normal day-to-day working hours and hebdomadal work yearss, overall working hours per hebdomad, normal day-to-day remainder clip and measure the current length of working hours. Part III listed the possible grounds for overtime work agreement from practical instances ( see Table 3.1 ) . The respondents were asked to click the top five grounds faced and screen the chosen grounds with Numberss ( 1= ” most common ” , 5= ” least common ” ) .

Table 3.1 List of Reasons for overtime work agreement

Item Code

Reasons for overtime work


Deficit of Labours

There are non adequate labors and excessively many plants remained.

Poor agreement of stuffs and/ or equipments

The agreement of stuffs and/ or equipments is non satisfied to the building processes on site.

Poor site direction

Planing is non practical plenty and/ or the agendas of work are non up-to-date or hapless leading of supervisor.

Reworks needed

There are building errors due to ill-defined instructions, deficiency of supervisings, hapless quality control, careless errors made by workers and/ or inappropriate installings.

Equipments damaged

Equipments are damaged and/ or mal-function under normal operations.

Changes of design

Impermanent programming caused by alterations of design, readying and building of work have to be revised.

Time period of Contract

Time period of contract is excessively short for normal building procedure.

Unexpected conditions

Construction procedures could non be operated caused by hapless or unexpected conditions, and so there is a hold.


There are grounds non mentioned but go on in practical building site.

3.3 Data Collection

The targeted respondents of the questionnaire are the front-line workers who work in building site. Two pages questionnaire was sent to the contractor houses and distributed to the targeted respondents. And some of the gathered questionnaires were interviewed by face-to-face.

The targeted interviewees were the undertaking directors or site agents who are working in constructing general contractor houses and the leaders of the local labor brotherhoods. The inquiries set was sent to the targeted interviewees, email answer and phone interviews were conducted.

3.4 Data Analysis Method

In this research, the information analysis was carried out by SPSS 17.0 for Windowss, including

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