Hubei University of Technology

Address:No.28, Nanli Road, Hong-shan District, Wuchang, Wuhan, Hubei Province, P. R. China


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Common Sense in Chinese Labour Law


The Labour Contract Law, which covers all workers in China, changed on January 1, 2008 in an effort to address the rising number of labour disputes. The law requires that employment contracts must be put in writing within one month of employment commencing, and gives clear recourse to employees whose rights have been violated. It covers areas such as severance pay, probationary periods, lay-offs, non-compete clauses and collective bargaining.

According to Chinese labour law, the standard working time is 40 hours per week. In theory, the standard work week in China runs from Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, but in reality, overtime is the norm and most local companies don't compensate their workers for it.

All workers in China are entitled to three national holidays, each stretching into a week of vacation: Chinese New Year (usually in late January or late February), International Labour Day (first week of May) and National Day (first week of October). While employees get the week off, the government mandates that workers "make up" for the holiday by working through the previous weekend (resulting in only three days off). In any case, you should ensure that your holidays are stated in your employment contract.

If you are badly treated at work, you should first complain to your personnel department, preferably in writing, with evidence to back your case. If there is subsequently no change then it could be time to speak to a lawyer. Try to find a reliable Chinese lawyer, as they will be familiar with the local regulations.

If your company wants to fire you for any reason, they should give you one month's notice, first providing verbal and written warnings in cases of alleged misconduct.

If you need further information about Chinese Labour Law, please click the link: Labour Law of the People's Republic of China  

Other things you should know about Chinese labour law:

Contracts are not seen as binding in China as they are in other countries.

Try to get a clear statement on the length of your employment in your contract, including any probation periods. If your contract is for a year or less, the probation period should only be one month long.

You should check salary details, payment dates and currency you're paid in, taxes that will be deducted from your pay, the terms of overtime work and holiday policies. Also make sure that any 'extras' such as housing, travel expenses and mobile phone costs are stated in your employment contract.

Check in advance on what terms you can leave your job, and the company's procedure if it decides to terminate your employment. For maternity leave, the law in China states that women 25 years and older are entitled to four months off work after giving birth. If you're under 25, you're only entitled to three months.

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Address:No.28, Nanli Road, Hong-shan District, Wuchang, Wuhan, Hubei Province, P. R. China