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Labor Contract Law in China – Background and Key Issues / 中国劳动法——背景及主要问题


Author: Marta Casey
Date: April 5, 2014

Labor Contract Law in China – Background and Key Issues

Labor unions, mediation, arbitration, and minimum wage – Chinese labor law has been increasing and becoming more efficient in recent years. In 2008, the new Labor Contract Law of the People’s Republic of China went into effect, building off of the 1994 version of the law. Initially, many foreign companies feared crackdowns and tight regulations. According to Dan Harris of China Law Blog, while some low level manufacturing companies – particularly those from Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong – were heavily impacted and left China, not many North American or European companies were impacted heavily.

However, since the implementation of the new Labor Contract Law, labor disputes have jumped 90%. Mary Gallagher, Director of the University of Michigan’s Chinese Studies Department, also points out that worker protests at foreign-invested production facilities are especially on the rise, with wages on the top of the list of grievances. Workers are increasingly aware of their rights. However, while Western media typically covers large-scale protests, it is important to note that before the 2008 law, there were an increasing number of labor disputes that had inadequate mechanisms for resolution. The new Labor Law allows employees private right of action to enforce their own legal rights, which means employees can sue employers directly without the interference of the state. Now labor disputes are on the rise and – overall – large-scale protests have decreased.

Labor disputes have a three-stage process in China: mediation, arbitration, and litigation. Mediation is optional and is a mechanism that allows employers and employees to try to work out grievances directly without going to court. It can roughly be thought of as a kind of plea bargaining. Arbitration is required if either side decides later to take the matter to court. Labor Dispute Arbitration Committees (LDACs) consist of labor bureau officials and representatives on enterprises and local branches of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU). The ACFTU is the only official trade union in China and is divided into regional and industrial sections. While there is pressure from the government for companies to have unionized workers, it is not technically required. Workers can technically organize themselves on their own to form a union.

Work Hours

Work hours are legally set at 40 hours a week, 8 hours a day, with two days for rest. Anything after that is overtime.

This may be surprising if one reads the news – stories of Chinese workers pulling long shifts without rest days may appear to be the norm. Because many workers leave their families behind to work in factories, days off are not desired – a rest day is often lonely, and workers don’t make money they feel they could be sending home.

Minimum Wage

China does have minimum wage guidelines, and minimum wage is on the rise. There are two standards: monthly and hourly. The standards are set at provincial and municipal levels, so employers must check with the appropriate local bureaus.

There is still some piece-rate compensation, but quotas are strict and must be set so that it prevents a regular 8-hour day or 40-hour week from being exceeded; that is, workers should be able to finish the quotas within regular work time.

Overtime

Overtime pay adheres to the following pay rates:
Regular day: 150%
Rest day: 200%
National holiday: 300%

Contracts

Employers are required to provide employees with a written contract. The important provisions include: terms of employment, job description, place of work, working hours, rest and leave periods, wages, social insurance, labor protections, description of working conditions.

Firing

If there is a union at the company, the union must be notified before an employee’s contract is terminated. The union is then entitled to respond with any disagreements. If the union disagrees with the conditions, the employer must consider the union’s requests and respond with another written notification how it will respond to disagreement.

Employees who have been exposed to occupational disease hazards cannot be fired before a health exam. Finally, employees in the middle of medical care, pregnancy, illness, nursing, or within five years of retirement cannot be fired.

Quitting

An employee can resign unilaterally with 30 days’ notice. However, if there is any abuse, or if the employer failed to pay wages or social insurance on time, or if the employee was required to perform dangerous tasks, the employee may resign immediately.

Generally, an employer and employee must reach a mutual agreement.

When an employee reaches the end of their contract, simply not renewing is also ok.

Writer: Marta Casey, Hopkins Nanjing Center MA ’14

作者:Marta Casey
2014年04月05号

中国劳动法——背景及主要问题

劳动工会,调解,仲裁,最低工资——中国劳动法在近年来持续改善,并且已经变得更为高效。在2008年,中华人民共和国新劳动合同法在1994年版本的法令的基础上生效。起初,许多外资公司对惩罚性的措施以及严格的规则表示担忧。在丹 哈里斯的中国法律博客中,一些低端制造业公司,尤其是那些来自韩国、台湾和香港的企业,受到的影响最深并且退出了中国,但并没有大量北美和欧洲企业受到很大的影响。

然而,自从新劳动合同法实施以来,劳动纠纷率激增至90%。密西根大学中国研究部的主任玛丽加拉赫指出,外商投资生产工厂的工人抗议的增长尤其明显,其中工资问题成为申诉的首要原因。工人越来越多的意识到他们的自身权利。但值得注意的一点是,在西方媒体报道大规模游行的同时,在2008年的劳动合同法前,已经有越来越多解决机制不充足导致的劳动纠纷出现。新的劳动法赋予了雇员利用法律加强自身法律权利的个人行动权利,这意味着雇员可以直接不受政府干涉而起诉雇主。现在劳动纠纷在增加,总体上大规模游行在减少。

劳动纠纷解决在中国有三个步骤:调解,仲裁和诉讼。调解是自选的方式,并且使雇主和雇员可以免于走向法庭而直接解决争议。这大体可以算作诉辩的一种。如果双方之后决定把案件提交法院,则需要仲裁。劳动纠纷仲裁委员会(LDACs)由中华全国总工会(ACFTU)的企业和劳动分支劳动部行政人员和代表组成。中华全国总工会是中国唯一的官方工会,它分为地方和行业部门两类。虽然存在政府对公司组建工会的压力,但这并不是严格要求的。准确的说,工人有权利自己组织工会。

工作时间
法定工作时间是每周四十小时,每天八小时,两天休假。余下任何的时间均算作加班。

这个现象可能比较奇怪,中国工人有一种增加换班时间而不休息惯例。因为许多工人离开家人在工厂工作,不需要休息日——节假日中他们往往会感到孤单,且不能赚到本可以寄回家的钱。

最低工资

中国有最低工资指导方针,而且最低工资也在增长。规定以两种方式计算:每月和每小时。以省级和市级标准设立,所以雇主需要在自己适用的当地部门查询。
此外,还有一些计件工资率补偿金,但限额非常严格并且必须设定的非常高,这样才可能阻止违反每日八小时及每周四十小时的工作时间的现象发生。这也就是说,工人应该可以在正常工作时间内完成工作量。

加班

加班费按下列支付比例计算
平时:150%
周末:200%
全国性节假日:300%

合同

雇主需要提供给雇员一份书面合同。合同重要的内容包括:雇佣类型,职位描述,工作地点,工作时间,休息和请假时间,工资,社保,劳动保护,工作环境描述。

解雇

如果公司有工会组织,工会必须在雇员合同终止前被通告。接到通告之后,工会有表示反对的权力。如果工会对此情况表示反对,雇主必须考虑工会的要求并且以另一封书面通知的形式回应工会的反对意见。

辞职

雇员可以在告知雇主30日之后单方面辞职。然而,如果出现任何职权滥用,或者雇主在规定日期内未付工资或社会保险,或者雇员被要求承担危险工作任务的情况,雇员有权立即辞职。

总体来说,雇主和雇员双方必须达成协议。

当雇员达到合同日期规定期限,仅仅停止续签合同是合法的。

作者:Marta Casey,中美中心国硕士2014

Author: Marta Casey
Date: April 5, 2014

Labor Contract Law in China – Background and Key Issues

Labor unions, mediation, arbitration, and minimum wage – Chinese labor law has been increasing and becoming more efficient in recent years. In 2008, the new Labor Contract Law of the People’s Republic of China went into effect, building off of the 1994 version of the law. Initially, many foreign companies feared crackdowns and tight regulations. According to Dan Harris of China Law Blog, while some low level manufacturing companies – particularly those from Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong – were heavily impacted and left China, not many North American or European companies were impacted heavily.

However, since the implementation of the new Labor Contract Law, labor disputes have jumped 90%. Mary Gallagher, Director of the University of Michigan’s Chinese Studies Department, also points out that worker protests at foreign-invested production facilities are especially on the rise, with wages on the top of the list of grievances. Workers are increasingly aware of their rights. However, while Western media typically covers large-scale protests, it is important to note that before the 2008 law, there were an increasing number of labor disputes that had inadequate mechanisms for resolution. The new Labor Law allows employees private right of action to enforce their own legal rights, which means employees can sue employers directly without the interference of the state. Now labor disputes are on the rise and – overall – large-scale protests have decreased.

Labor disputes have a three-stage process in China: mediation, arbitration, and litigation. Mediation is optional and is a mechanism that allows employers and employees to try to work out grievances directly without going to court. It can roughly be thought of as a kind of plea bargaining. Arbitration is required if either side decides later to take the matter to court. Labor Dispute Arbitration Committees (LDACs) consist of labor bureau officials and representatives on enterprises and local branches of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU). The ACFTU is the only official trade union in China and is divided into regional and industrial sections. While there is pressure from the government for companies to have unionized workers, it is not technically required. Workers can technically organize themselves on their own to form a union.

Work Hours

Work hours are legally set at 40 hours a week, 8 hours a day, with two days for rest. Anything after that is overtime.

This may be surprising if one reads the news – stories of Chinese workers pulling long shifts without rest days may appear to be the norm. Because many workers leave their families behind to work in factories, days off are not desired – a rest day is often lonely, and workers don’t make money they feel they could be sending home.

Minimum Wage

China does have minimum wage guidelines, and minimum wage is on the rise. There are two standards: monthly and hourly. The standards are set at provincial and municipal levels, so employers must check with the appropriate local bureaus.

There is still some piece-rate compensation, but quotas are strict and must be set so that it prevents a regular 8-hour day or 40-hour week from being exceeded; that is, workers should be able to finish the quotas within regular work time.

Overtime

Overtime pay adheres to the following pay rates:
Regular day: 150%
Rest day: 200%
National holiday: 300%

Contracts

Employers are required to provide employees with a written contract. The important provisions include: terms of employment, job description, place of work, working hours, rest and leave periods, wages, social insurance, labor protections, description of working conditions.

Firing

If there is a union at the company, the union must be notified before an employee’s contract is terminated. The union is then entitled to respond with any disagreements. If the union disagrees with the conditions, the employer must consider the union’s requests and respond with another written notification how it will respond to disagreement.

Employees who have been exposed to occupational disease hazards cannot be fired before a health exam. Finally, employees in the middle of medical care, pregnancy, illness, nursing, or within five years of retirement cannot be fired.

Quitting

An employee can resign unilaterally with 30 days’ notice. However, if there is any abuse, or if the employer failed to pay wages or social insurance on time, or if the employee was required to perform dangerous tasks, the employee may resign immediately.

Generally, an employer and employee must reach a mutual agreement.

When an employee reaches the end of their contract, simply not renewing is also ok.

Writer: Marta Casey, Hopkins Nanjing Center MA ’14


作者:Marta Casey
2014年04月05号

中国劳动法——背景及主要问题

劳动工会,调解,仲裁,最低工资——中国劳动法在近年来持续改善,并且已经变得更为高效。在2008年,中华人民共和国新劳动合同法在1994年版本的法令的基础上生效。起初,许多外资公司对惩罚性的措施以及严格的规则表示担忧。在丹 哈里斯的中国法律博客中,一些低端制造业公司,尤其是那些来自韩国、台湾和香港的企业,受到的影响最深并且退出了中国,但并没有大量北美和欧洲企业受到很大的影响。

然而,自从新劳动合同法实施以来,劳动纠纷率激增至90%。密西根大学中国研究部的主任玛丽加拉赫指出,外商投资生产工厂的工人抗议的增长尤其明显,其中工资问题成为申诉的首要原因。工人越来越多的意识到他们的自身权利。但值得注意的一点是,在西方媒体报道大规模游行的同时,在2008年的劳动合同法前,已经有越来越多解决机制不充足导致的劳动纠纷出现。新的劳动法赋予了雇员利用法律加强自身法律权利的个人行动权利,这意味着雇员可以直接不受政府干涉而起诉雇主。现在劳动纠纷在增加,总体上大规模游行在减少。

劳动纠纷解决在中国有三个步骤:调解,仲裁和诉讼。调解是自选的方式,并且使雇主和雇员可以免于走向法庭而直接解决争议。这大体可以算作诉辩的一种。如果双方之后决定把案件提交法院,则需要仲裁。劳动纠纷仲裁委员会(LDACs)由中华全国总工会(ACFTU)的企业和劳动分支劳动部行政人员和代表组成。中华全国总工会是中国唯一的官方工会,它分为地方和行业部门两类。虽然存在政府对公司组建工会的压力,但这并不是严格要求的。准确的说,工人有权利自己组织工会。

工作时间
法定工作时间是每周四十小时,每天八小时,两天休假。余下任何的时间均算作加班。

这个现象可能比较奇怪,中国工人有一种增加换班时间而不休息惯例。因为许多工人离开家人在工厂工作,不需要休息日——节假日中他们往往会感到孤单,且不能赚到本可以寄回家的钱。

最低工资

中国有最低工资指导方针,而且最低工资也在增长。规定以两种方式计算:每月和每小时。以省级和市级标准设立,所以雇主需要在自己适用的当地部门查询。
此外,还有一些计件工资率补偿金,但限额非常严格并且必须设定的非常高,这样才可能阻止违反每日八小时及每周四十小时的工作时间的现象发生。这也就是说,工人应该可以在正常工作时间内完成工作量。

加班

加班费按下列支付比例计算
平时:150%
周末:200%
全国性节假日:300%

合同

雇主需要提供给雇员一份书面合同。合同重要的内容包括:雇佣类型,职位描述,工作地点,工作时间,休息和请假时间,工资,社保,劳动保护,工作环境描述。

解雇

如果公司有工会组织,工会必须在雇员合同终止前被通告。接到通告之后,工会有表示反对的权力。如果工会对此情况表示反对,雇主必须考虑工会的要求并且以另一封书面通知的形式回应工会的反对意见。

辞职

雇员可以在告知雇主30日之后单方面辞职。然而,如果出现任何职权滥用,或者雇主在规定日期内未付工资或社会保险,或者雇员被要求承担危险工作任务的情况,雇员有权立即辞职。

总体来说,雇主和雇员双方必须达成协议。

当雇员达到合同日期规定期限,仅仅停止续签合同是合法的。

作者:Marta Casey,中美中心国硕士2014

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