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What legislation governs employment law in China?

The PRC Labour Law (the Labour Law), effective from 1 January 1995, and the PRC Trade Union Law, promulgated on 28 June 1950 and revised on 3 April 1992 and 17 October 2001, are the principal Chinese labour laws. The laws, which apply to all enterprises and economic organizations, address most employment issues including recruitment, contracts, wages, work conditions, occupational health and safety, women in the workforce and dispute resolution.

Under the Labour Law, all employers and employees must execute labor contracts that define the parties' rights and obligations and include the term, nature of the job, safety and working conditions, remuneration, discipline, and conditions for termination and breach of contract. Supplementary laws have also been issued for particular aspects of employment, including:

  • The Regulations on Labour Management in Foreign Investment Enterprises (the Labour Management Regulations), adopted in 1994;
  • The Regulations of the State Council Governing Working Hours for Workers, adopted in 1995; and
  • The Provisional Administrative Measures on Wage Incomes of FIEs, adopted in 1997.

Labour practices vary between regions as provincial and local labour departments have fairly wide discretion in handling local labour matters.

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