Seven facts about employment law in China

In China, 2017 is the year of the rooster. Photo: Sipa Asia/REX/Shutterstock.

What is the Chinese statutory public holiday entitlement for employees? Do employers have to pay a premium for working during a public holiday? Are there limitations on the hours an employee can be asked to work? To celebrate the Chinese New Year, which begins on 28 January, Ashok Kanani highlights seven interesting areas of employment law in China.

Global employers can find answers to these questions and more in the guide to employment law in China.

1. Annual leave

The amount of statutory annual leave an employee is entitled to depends on length of service.

An employee with 20 years’ service is entitled to 15 days.

However, taking sick leave can affect an employee’s entitlement to annual leave.
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2. Public holidays

Employees are entitled to three days’ public holiday during the Chinese new year period.

In total, there are 11 public holidays in a year. Employers must pay a premium rate to employees who work on a public holiday.
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3. Hours of work

Employment law in China

China has employment laws that are generally applicable to the whole of the country, as well as local laws that exist in certain provinces and cities.

The local laws may supplement, or substitute, the national laws.

Generally, the statutory normal working time is eight hours per day and 40 hours per week.

An employer can require an employee to work overtime for one hour only in a working day, unless a special circumstance applies.

Various rates of overtime apply, depending on when the overtime is worked.
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4. Minimum wage

There is no single national minimum wage in China.

However, regional statutory minimum wage rates exist. For example, the minimum wage rate in Beijing is RMB 1,860 (Chinese yuan) since September 2016.
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5. Pregnancy and dismissal protection

An employer cannot dismiss an employee who is pregnant and in the year following childbirth. This rule applies even if there is a collective redundancy.

Certain other categories of employees also receive dismissal protection.
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6. Foreign nationals

There are strict restrictions on recruiting foreign nationals.

Employers may only recruit a foreign national to fill a vacancy if the role requires special skills and there is no Chinese candidate.

Asia: employment law

Other countries covered in XpertHR’s international guide include Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.

There are, additionally, conditions surrounding the minimum age, health and criminal records when recruiting a foreign worker, and the employer must obtain approval from the relevant supervisory body.
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7. Training

Employers are required to establish an internal vocational training system and provide employees with training.

A certain percentage of the wage bill must be spent on employee training.
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