Labor Rights in China

The labor law of China is designed to protect the rights of employees and employers in an industry. The law gives workers the right to equal opportunity in terms of pay and promotion and provides a legal framework that covers a broad range of employment-related legal issues.

China Labor Law for Foreigners

The Labor Contract Law of the Republic of China applies to all types of enterprises, including private, non-private, individual economic organizations, and other companies within the territory of China. Regardless of the nationality of an employee, whether the worker is a Chinese national or a foreigner with a legal working permit, the Labor Contract Law is considered to be applicable.

Working Hours and Overtime

The labor law has clear regulations about working hours and overtime:

  • Article 36 states that workers are not required to work for more than 8 hours a day and 44 hours a week on average.
  • Article 41 states that an employer has the right to increase the working hours after due consultation with the trade union and laborers. However, the health of the workers should not be compromised, and the working hours should not exceed 3 hours.

Leave Policy

The Regulations on Paid Annual Leave for Employees states that:

  • If an employee has been working for more than a year but less than 10 years, the annual leave is 5 days;
  • If an employee has been working for more than 10 years but less than 20 years, the annual leave is 10 days;
  • If an employee has been working for more than 20 years, the annual leave is 15 days.

Maternity Leave

Female staff are allowed 98 days of maternity leave, including a 15-day leave that may be taken before delivery. An extra leave of 15 days is given in case of a difficult delivery. In case of miscarriage, maternity leave for 15 days is granted in addition to 42 days.

Social Security

According to Article 72 of the law, employers are required to contribute towards social security for their employees. If an employer fails to make a contribution, the labor administrative department will order them to pay within a specified time.

Probation Period

The probation period shall be discussed between an employer and employee and shall not be fixated or imposed by the employer. The period of time shall not exceed more than 6 months, and the employee shall be compensated in terms of salary during probation.

Full Time and Part-Time Contracts

  • Working Hours – The standard full-time working hours should not be more than 8 hours in a day; whereas, part-time workers are required to work 4 hours during the day.
  • Oral Agreements – A written contract is required for full-time workers; whereas, an oral agreement is sufficient for part-time workers.
  • Termination – The contract of part-time workers can be terminated at any time with severance. In contrast, the employer is required to pay compensation to a full-time employee in case of termination.
  • Social Insurance – Employers are required to pay a social insurance fee for full-time employees.


The labor law of China protects the rights of both male and female workers against unlawful discrimination, acts of harassment, unlawful termination, and ill-treatment at the workplace. The law safeguards the interests of the employers and employees to provide a safe and secure working environment.

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