Overtime Law in China Information
It is a fact that China employees experience long unpaid overtime hours. However, what do the labour laws in China stipulate in terms of working hours and overtime, and the rights of the worker. If you plan to hire staff in China, you must have a good understanding of the labour laws in China. The employment contract law states the working breaks, working hours, annual leave, workdays and overtime pay.
In general, Chinese labour law is employee-friendly compared to other countries. Further, it has specific principles about overtime pay.
China Overtime Laws
When it comes to hiring Chinese employees, you must know these specific rules about the overtime pay in China:
- 8-hour workday – Typically, a workday must be up to eight hours. Any work that is performed after this must have a payment of 1 ½ time the employee’s normal salary.
- Overtime of 3 hours – The law is requiring that any overtime must not exceed 3 hours in a day.
- Overtime of 36 hours – The law has put a limit of 36 hours of overtime each month.
- Weekend overtime extra pay – Overtime hours on a weekend must be paid 2 times of the employees’ normal salary.
- Holiday pay – If the China employee must work on a national holiday, he or she needs to be paid 3 times their normal salary.
Consequences of Ignoring the Labor Laws
When the company ignores the labour laws, they will have disgruntled employees who are claiming their overtime pay after resignation or termination. Companies that do not obey the rules can be charged with the unpaid overtime hours, the interest, and penalties. The China labour authorities are very alert when they are presented with a labour case, especially if the company is foreign-owned.
Formal Modifications in the Overtime Pay
Even if the majority of employers must follow rules based on what is described, there are employers that can legally modify the employment contracts to comply with the labour laws.
- The clause on overtime pay – Employers can include any clause about overtime pay in the employment contract or handbook which is different from the standard overtime law in China.
- Flexible working system for the hours – Another option that deviates from the standard labour laws while being compliant with the intent in these laws is by adopting a flexible working hour system.
- Overtime pay options that are informal – Employers can also adopt an informal overtime option. However, they should take caution when it comes to using methods that are not sanctioned by the government. This is because employees still have the right to claim their overtime pay.
For instance, one informal overtime pay option is not paying the employee if they work for more than 8 hours one workday. However, they can leave early on a different day within the workweek. This is their way to compensate for the overtime.
Another method is to give the employee their salary no matter how many hours they worked. This does not meet the China labour laws, which leaves an employee the right to claim their normal wage and overtime hours worked.
Protect Yourself as an Employee
Before signing the contract, make sure to know how the company is calculating the working hours and overtime pay. You can ask them questions based on what was previously stated here. If the employer knows you are smart about this, they cannot cheat you. If the employer presents an informal overtime pay option, it is your decision.
Make sure to comply with the labour laws if you plan to set up a business in China.