Working Conditions in China

1. Minimum Working Conditions

An employer should provide an employee with a clean and safe working environment in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations regarding safety and hygiene. The conditions should also contain all required protections against any occupational hazards involved in the employee’s position. An employer must also provide an employee with necessary labor protection equipment in accordance with relevant law. Moreover, employees whose positions involve handling or coming into contact with hazardous materials must undergo regular occupational health checks.

2. Salary

Employers and employees should specify salaries in their employment contracts. Full-time employees should be paid their salary at least once a month. Employees’ monthly salaries should not be less than the minimum wage published by local governments. An employer should pay salaries to its employees in accordance with the law for official public holidays, marriage or bereavement leave and for any periods when they participate in social activities such as exercising the statutory election rights.

Furthermore, employers may arrange compensation and bonus policies according to the law and their own needs. These policies may include performance bonuses, annual bonuses, stock options, etc.

Individual income taxes and other taxes payable by employees are the responsibility of employees. However, employers should withhold such amounts from any payments and pay such amounts to the tax authority on behalf of their employees.

3. Maximum Working Week

The maximum standard working hours in China are eight hours per day and 40 hours per week for employees working under the standard working hour system. An employer must ensure that every employee has at least one rest day each week.

4. Overtime

In some circumstances, an employer may extend the working hours of an employee after consulting with the trade union and the employee concerned. Specifically, hours can be extended to accommodate changes in production or business operations. Generally however, overtime should be limited to one hour per day. In special circumstances, the overtime should be capped at three hours per day, provided that the employee’s health is not affected and the total monthly overtime does not exceed 36 hours.

Employees working under the flexible working hour system are not entitled to overtime unless otherwise provided by local government regulations.

5. Holidays

In the beginning of each year, the State Council will announce a holiday schedule which indicates 11 national holidays, including 1 day of New Year Holiday, 3 days of Chinese New Year, 1 day of Tomb Sweeping Day, 1 day of Labor Day, 1 day of Dragon Boat Day, 1 day of Mid-Autumn Day, and 3 days of National Day.

6. Employer’s Obligation to Provide a Healthy and Safe Workplace

According to the PRC Labor Law, an employer must establish a sound labor safety and hygiene system and strictly implement State rules and standards of labor safety and hygiene, conduct labor safety and hygiene education among its employees, prevent accidents and reduce occupational hazards. The employer must also provide its employees with labor safety and hygiene conditions and necessary articles for labor protection in conformity with the regulations of the State, and organize its employees whose work involves occupationally hazardous substances to undertake regular occupational health checks.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in China, please contact Carol Zhu, Partner at Zhong Lun Law Firm ( at
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