The Zhengzhou Intermediate People's Court in June 2014 reportedly ruled in favor of a former head of a supermarket food department to invalidate a labour bureau's approval of a company's application to adopt the flexible working hours system, overturning the lower court's judgement.
In the case, an employee sued the local labour bureau because it granted a flexible working hours approval to his former employer, a supermarket, which thereby refused to pay the employee any overtime compensation. The employee claimed that the approval was illegal due to the nature of his job (which requires him to sign up on time and work for 10.5 hours everyday) and because the application and approval process did not meet local regulatory requirements.
The first instance court ruled against the employee, judging that the labour bureau had the right to issue the approval. The second instance court overturned the lower court's judgment mainly on procedural grounds, in that: (i) the documents submitted to support the approval were inadequate since no resolution of an all-employee meeting was found; and (ii) there was no evidence that at least two officials had carried out onsite inspection of the supermarket as required by local regulations.
The case shows that even if a company has obtained approval from the local labor bureau to implement the flexible working hours system, there is still the possibility that employees may challenge the validity of such approval, though such cases are still rare.