On 29 and 31 January 2020 we already issued two newsletters on the topics Coronavirus Outbreak: What companies shall do with employees’ holidays? and Coronavirus Outbreak: What should companies do when employees are back to work?. With the ongoing development of the situation, some policies which we reported on in the above two newsletters were already updated. Please find below the major updates.
- Until 3 February 2020, the number of provincial governments which require companies to remain closed for a further period after the expiration of the public holidays for the Chinese New Year due to the coronavirus has increased to 25. Among them, in most locations including but not limited to Beijing, companies are required to resume operation not earlier than 10 February 2020.
- Different from Shanghai, many locations such as Beijing define the period of stop of work from 3 until 7 February 2020 (excluding the weekend of 8 and 9 February) as working days. Therefore, for example in Beijing, companies are not strictly prohibited from starting work during such period and can arrange employees to work at different time periods at the company just in order to avoid staff gathering. Also, during such period for example companies in Beijing can arrange employees to work from home by means of telephone, Internet, etc. No overtime payments need to be paid to the employees working during such period.
- As a result, due to the different nature of the period of stop of work as defined by different local government, i.e., either rest days or working days the employees at different locations during such period will enjoy different salary benefits. For example, if a company asks the employee to work, in Shanghai, no matter whether from home or from the company, the company should pay overtime payments or provide compensatory leave, while in Beijing, overtime work benefits do not need to be provided. Therefore, companies may wish to check the applicable local policies when paying salaries to the employees for such period.
As required by the PRC Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, employees suffering from the coronavirus, or being suspected patients or close contacts and employees who are not able to be back to work because of the isolation measures or other emergency measures taken by the government shall be paid salaries during the medical treatment period, medical observation period or lock-out period due to the control and prevention of the coronavirus. But the salary standards at different locations are different. On 31 January 2020, the Beijing local government adjusted its policies. Please find below an update of the relevant information for the following five major cities and provinces including Beijing.