Last updated on: May 31st, 2023
Labor Law in China is regulated mainly by the People’s Republic of China Labor Law & Labor Contract Law. The Labor law governs the terms and conditions of employment such as working hours, weekly rest and breaks, wages, and other employment conditions. Apart from the labor requirement provided under the People’s Republic of China Labor Law, local cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin have their own local labor legislations which govern the employer and employee relations in the cities. Other regulations which govern the employment laws in China are the Ordinance on Annual Holiday, Regulation on Paid Annual Leave, Special Rules Concerning the Labor Protection of Female Employees, Regulation on Enterprise Workers Illness or Non-Work Related Injury Medical Period Specified, etc.
Hours & Pay Regulations
Employees are required to have worked continuously for 1 year in order to be entitled to paid annual leave. Employees are entitled to annual vacation as per the following criteria:
- With less than one year of work tenure – No leaves;
- With 1-10 years of work tenure – 5 working days of leave;
- With 10-20 years of work tenure – 10 working days of leave; and
- With over 20 years of work tenure – 15 working days of leave.
Calculation of Annual Leave – The number of paid annual leave new employee is entitled to is calculated using the following formula:
(the remaining calendar days during the calendar year the employee started their employment ÷ 365) × the number of statutory vacation days the employee is entitled to under the law (as stated above, this depends on the total number of years the employee has worked).
Pay – During the employees’ annual leave, the employer must pay each of the employees the wages the employer would have paid each of them during the normal working period.
Carryover of Annual Leave – Annual leave may be taken at once or for several times within the current year; generally, it may not be carried over to the next year. Where an entity needs to carry it over to the next year for special production or working reasons, it may be carried over to the next year only.
An employer who fails to allow an employee to take annual leave must pay that employee 300% of the employee’s daily wages for each unused annual day. This 300% payment is not required if the employee voluntarily chooses not to take his or her vacation days.
Employees may not take paid annual leave under the following circumstances:
- The employee is entitled to winter/summer holidays and the length of these holidays exceeds the amount of annual leave that the employee may have;
- The employee has taken paid personal leave for more than 20 days in that year;
- The employee has worked with their employer for more than 1 year but less than 10 years and has taken sick leave for more than 2 months in that year; and
- The employee has worked with their employer for more than 20 years and has taken sick leave for more than 4 months in that year.
Annual leave can be arranged to be taken together within a year or may be taken in parts. Unused annual leave may be carried over to the following year. Regulations on Paid Annual Leave for Employees, 2007, arts. 3, 5.
China does not have a statutory minimum wage for the entire nation. The minimum wage differs as per the local conditions of each province in China.
The above information on minimum wages might not be up to date & subject to change. Kindly access this link for the current rates.
Female employees are entitled to a minimum of 98 days paid maternity leave including 15 days prior to childbirth (discretion of the employee). Leave may be extended by 15 days under special circumstances such as dystocia. If the employee gives birth to more than one child at a time, an additional 15-day maternity leave shall be given for each additional infant.
In addition to this, some regions in China have implemented even more generous maternity leave policies. For example, Shanghai offers up to 158 days of maternity leave for female employees who have given birth to their first child, while employees who have given birth to their second child are entitled to 168 days of leave.
15 days of maternity leave is offered in cases of abortion after a pregnancy shorter than four months, and no less than 6 weeks (42 days) of maternity leave in cases of miscarriage/abortion after a pregnancy longer than four months.
Maternity leave entitlements vary according to provincial regulations, i.e. each locality has a separate regulation that has implemented additional duration of the leave. For example, the Fujian regulation provides for maternity leave ranging from 158 days to 180 days.
Pregnant female employees shall be entitled to take paid time off during working hours in order to get prenatal examinations.
Pay – For female employees not covered by maternity insurance, the maternity allowance shall be paid by the employer based on the female employee’s wage prior to her maternity leave. For female employees who are covered by maternity insurance, the maternity allowance shall be paid out from the maternity insurance fund by the local social security bureau based on the average monthly wage of the employees.
A female employee is also given at least 1 hour of paid break daily during work hours for breastfeeding during the first-year post birth of the child. For female employees who have multiple births, 1 additional hour of breastfeeding time per day shall be added for each additional infant. Special Rules Concerning the Labor Protection of Female Employees, 2012, art. 7-9.
Paternity leave entitlements vary according to provincial regulations, i.e. each locality has a separate regulation that has implemented an additional duration of paternity leave. For example, in Shanghai, a male employee is entitled to 10 days of paternity leave in the case of late childbirth, and in Shenzhen and Beijing, a male employee is entitled to 15 days of paternity leave if their wife is 23 or older.
Sick leave entitlements vary according to provincial and municipal regulations.
An employee is entitled to sick leave between 3 and 24 months which must be granted depending on total years of work experience, tenure with the current employer, and local regulations.
Pay: As a general principle, however, the amount an employee is paid during sick leave should be no lower than 80 % of the minimum monthly salary announced by the local government.
An employee on sick leave is entitled to compensation, the amount of which varies by location. In some locations (such as Shanghai), the amount an employee is paid depends on salary and work experience. In other locations (such as Shenzhen), the amount is based exclusively on salary. In still other locations (such as Beijing and Jiangsu Province), the amount depends on the employment contract.
Medical Certificate – The medical certificate must be issued by a qualified medical professional and should contain the following information:
- The name of the employee
- The date of the examination
- The diagnosis and recommended treatment
- The expected duration of the illness or injury
- The signature and seal of the medical professional
Employees must submit the medical certificate to their employer as soon as possible, usually within 2-3 days of their absence from work. Failure to provide a medical certificate may result in the leave being treated as unpaid leave or even disciplinary action. Enterprise Workers Illness or Non-Work Related Injury Medical Period Specified, 1994, art. 3.
Childcare leave refers to a period of paid or unpaid leave granted to employees for the care and/or support of their children under a certain age. Childcare leave entitlements vary according to provincial regulations, i.e. each locality has a separate regulation that provides childcare leave to parents.
It is a paid leave entitlement granted to any employee who: 1) Is working in government organizations or state-owned enterprises; 2) Has worked for more than 1 year for that employer; 3) Does not live with his or her spouse or parents, and 4) Cannot visit his or her spouse or parents on a rest day.
If the employee is to visit his or her spouse, such an employee is entitled to 30 days of spouse visitation leave once a year. State Council, Regs. on Treatment for Employees Who Visit Their Relatives, eff. Mar. 14, 1981.
When an employee’s parent, spouse, or child dies, such employee is entitled to between one and three days of paid bereavement leave.
A number of cities in China are starting to introduce new leave entitlements enabling employees, who are the only children in their families, to take fully paid leave to care for elderly parents. Fujian, Guangxi, Hainan, Henan, Hubei, and Heilongjiang provinces have all issued similar paid leave regulations enabling employees to take off between 10 and 20 days per year to care for sick parents.
Employees in Chongqing are entitled to up to 10 days of paid leave per year to take care of their hospitalized parents.
Employees in Guangzhou are entitled to paid leave of up to 15 days per year to take care of parents older than 60 years old who are receiving treatment in a hospital.