On January 24, 2014, the PRC Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (“MOHRSS”) finalized  and promulgated its Interim Provisions on Labor Dispatch (“Interim Provisions”) by way of MOHRSS  Decree No. 22, which will come into effect starting March 1, 2014. 

In addition to addressing issues such as labor contracts for dispatch workers and social insurance for  cross-region dispatch workers, the Interim Provisions further restricts the use of dispatch workers for  domestic and foreign China-based employers. 

Attached to this alert please find the bilingual text of the Interim Provisions (note: the English  translation was prepared by LexisNexis and is for reference purposes only).

  Below please also find a summary of certain key articles from the Interim Provisions related to the new  restrictions on the use of dispatch workers: 

Job Scope for Dispatch Workers: 

Article 3 provides that dispatch workers can only be used for temporary, auxiliary or substitute jobs,  the definitions for which are the same as those listed in Article 66 of the Labor Contract Law. 

Further, Article 3 also provides that if an employer decides to use dispatch workers for auxiliary jobs,  such employer is required to hold discussions with its employees’ assembly, or all employees, to put  forward any relevant proposals and/or suggestions or resolve any issues by way of equal consultations  with the labor union or employees’ representatives, and also post internal announcements regarding  any decisions on the same. 

Percentage Limit on Dispatch Workers: 

Article 4 requires employers to strictly control their total number of employed dispatch workers and  limits an employer’s total amount of dispatch workers to 10% of its total labor force. 

Article 28 further requires employers to formulate their labor force adjustment plans so as to lower the  percentage of their total dispatch workers in order to meet the 10% requirement within two years of  the Interim Provisions taking effect. Employers are also required to register their labor force  adjustment plans with the relevant local labor authority (i.e., the local labor bureau), and may not  hire any new dispatch workers until they meet the requirements as set forth in Article 4. 

Further, Article 25 provides that representative offices (“ROs”) of foreign companies and foreign  financial institutions (as well as employers that hire sailors as part of crews set to work over  international waters) are exempted from the restrictions noted in Articles 3 and 4. 

What This Means to You: 

As a company looking to employ dispatch workers, you are now restricted to the use of dispatch  employees in the above-specified ways and, more specifically, as follows: 

Article 3 provides your employees with greater say in your use of dispatch workers and pushes for a  more collaborative and specified atmosphere regarding the use and employment of dispatch workers.  The job descriptions for positions in which dispatch workers may be employed (which are the same as  the descriptions specified in Article 66 of the Labor Contract Law) are emphasized further through the  promulgation of the Interim Provisions, and your company will be held to a stricter standard with  regard to holding mandatory discussions on the use of dispatch workers with your employees’ labor  union or representatives. 

Furthermore, Articles 4 and 28 further restrict your company’s total employment of dispatch workers  to 10% or less of your total workforce (previously, there was no limitation in this regard), and allow you  a two-year grace period to meet the 10% requirement. In addition, your company will have to register  your labor force adjustment plans with the local labor bureau and also may not hire any additional  dispatch workers until the 10% (or lower) limitation is met. 

Please note, if your company operates in China as a RO or a foreign financial institution, then the  restrictions noted in Articles 3 and 4 will not apply.