The New Rules will replace the old ones issued in 2003 and clarify to some extent issues that have long been controversial. The New Rules are the first employment contract rules issued by a local jurisdiction after the PRC Employment Contract Law (“ECL”) became effective in 2008. The New Rules reflect the development of China’s employment environment and comply with the Amendment to the ECL issued on December 28, 2012.

The major changes that the New Rules introduce are as follows:

  • The New Rules require employers to inform employees about the occupational hazards they may face while working. Employers must notify employees about protective measures for occupational diseases. Such measures must be specified in the employment contract.
  • The New Rules no longer require that an employment contract must be written in Chinese.
  • The New Rules allow probation period to be suspended if the employee has an illness or non-work-related injury and is within the statutory medical treatment.
  • The New Rules require employers to notify employees in writing, 30 days prior to the expiration of their fixed-term employment contracts, of their right under the ECL to enter into an indefinite employment contract.
  • The New Rules aim to further protect the rights of employees by stipulating that if an employer fails to renew an employment contract in writing with an employee within one year of its termination, it shall be deemed to have entered into an indefinite employment contract with the employee.
  • The New Rules impose mandatory obligations on employers to pay employees working under high-temperature conditions subsidies accord-ing to national and local standards.
  • The New Rules allow an employer to agree with an employee on a longer notification period for resignation than the statutory 30-day period (max-imum of six months), either in the employment contract or a separate confidentiality agreement, provided that the employee has access to confidential issues related to industrial and intellectual property and trade secrets of the employer.
  • The New Rules allow employment contract to be suspended upon agreement by the parties or under specific circumstances. During such suspension period, the employment relationship remains, but employers are not obliged to pay labor remunerations or social insurance contributions.
  • The New Rules also aims to further protect dispatched employees by including a full chapter detailing various aspects in relation to labor dispatch.
  • The New Rules prohibit enterprises from arranging interns working for an accumulative period of over 12 months, over 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week. It is further stipulated that interns shall receive compensation of no less than the minimum salary of the locality where they work.

Date of issue: January 15, 2013. Effective date: May 1, 2013.