Rishi Sunak’s father-in-law – believed to be worth $4.2 billion – is calling for workers in his home country to work 70-hour weeks to help the country’s development.
NR Narayana Murthy has been called out for promoting “toxic” work cultures with comments that call on the young to work up to ten hours a day seven days a week, or 14 hours a day with a weekend.
Speaking on a podcast, he said: “India’s work productivity is one of the lowest in the world.
“Unless we improve our work productivity… we will not be able to compete with those countries that have made tremendous progress.”
“So, therefore, my request is that our youngsters must say, ‘This is my country. I’d like to work 70 hours a week’,” he added.
After the comments went viral, Murthy was widely lambasted for setting unrealistic expectations of what employers can expect from the people they hire.
Some of the criticism came from people who pointed out the starting salaries – typically on the low end – for engineers in Indian technology companies including Infosys, which Murthy co-founded.
Others focused on the physical and mental health issues that could arise from working without a break.
“No time to socialise, no time to talk to family, no time to exercise, no time for recreation. Not to mention companies expect people to answer emails and calls after work hours also. Then wonder why young people are getting heart attacks?” Dr Deepak Krishnamurthy, a Bengaluru-based cardiologist, wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
Prem Sikka, meanwhile, suggested the proposals would “work people to death”.
“How about giving workers good wage and security – hungry/deprived workers can’t be that productive. You can’t take it with you”, he added.