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News » Infosys founder faces backlash over 70-hour workweek remarks

Infosys founder faces backlash over 70-hour workweek remarks

Infosys founder faces backlash over 70-hour workweek remarks
Infosys founder Narayana Murthy during an interview on The Record. Photo from 3one4 Capital / Youtube

BENGALURU, INDIA — Infosys founder Narayana Murthy has sparked controversy after advocating for 70-hour workweeks to enhance India’s competitiveness. 

He positioned the rigorous schedule as a national duty during an interview with Indian VC firm 3one4 Capital.

Murthy’s stance has ignited debate, with online backlash emerging while growing dissent against demanding work cultures indicates resistance to such proposals.

“Our youngsters must say ‘This is my country, I want to work 70-hours a week,” Murthy said.

“For the first time India has received certain respect. This is the time for us to consolidate and accelerate the progress and for doing that we need to work very hard.”

Murthy’s view aligns with similar perspectives from Alibaba’s Jack Ma and X’s (formerly Twitter) Elon Musk on extensive tech work hours.

However, Indian labor union, All India IT and ITeS Employees’ Union, condemned Murthy’s comments, saying that a 70-hour work week is “illegal” and would be detrimental to employees’ work-life balance.

“With increasing automation, there needs to be a constant reduction in working hours to have more creative and leisure time, which in turn improves productivity,” the union said. 

The International Labor Organization agreed, telling CNBC that long working hours can increase health risks and reduce performance.

Meanwhile, Chandrasekhar Sripada, a professor at the Indian School of Business, emphasized that companies should provide flexibility to boost productivity, not just demand longer hours.

Indian workers reportedly engage in “performative work” for 43% of their time, the highest globally per a Slack-Qualtrics survey, suggesting a disconnect between hours worked and productivity.

This discourse highlights a pivotal moment in redefining work-life balance as attitudes shift. While some entrepreneurs endorse rigorous schedules, growing pushback indicates more nuanced perspectives may be needed.

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