Engage In China

Table of Contents

About China

Capital City

Beijing

Population

As of March 2024, the estimated population of China is 1.4 billion.

Currency

The currency in China is the Renminbi Yuan (RMB). The currency symbol is ¥.

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Overview

China, located in eastern Asia along the western shore of the Pacific Ocean, is a country of unparalleled diversity and historical significance. Spanning a vast geographical area of 9.6 million square kilometers, comparable to the United States and Europe, China has a population of nearly 1.4 billion people, surpassing the combined total of North America and Europe. Its rich and ancient civilization has left an indelible mark on the world. China is the birthplace of many remarkable inventions and scientific discoveries, including the Four Great Inventions: papermaking, the compass, gunpowder, and printing. From the majestic landscapes of the highlands and hills to the abundance of lakes and mighty rivers like the Changjiang (Yangtze), Huanghe (Yellow River), and Zhujiang (Pearl River), China offers a diverse and stunning natural beauty. The country’s climate varies greatly, ranging from tropical in the south to Siberian in the north, resulting in distinct seasons and unique weather patterns. With a burgeoning tourism industry, travelers are drawn to China’s iconic landmarks such as the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City in Beijing, the vibrant cityscapes of Shanghai, the picturesque landscapes of Guilin, and the ancient wonders of Xi’an. Embarking on a journey to China promises an enriching experience filled with cultural immersion, the exploration of a rich past, and encounters with the warmth and hospitality of its people.

Employment Relationship

Permanent Employment

The Labor Contract Law of China defines a permanent employment relationship as one established by a contract without a fixed term. Employers and employees do not indicate an end date in this type of labor agreement. A permanent employment contract is generally required in the following instances unless the employee proposes otherwise: The employee has worked for the employer for ten consecutive years. The fixed-term labor contract will be renewed for the third time consecutively.

Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

In China, the law does not indicate the maximum term of a single fixed-term contract. It provides that after the execution of two consecutive fixed-term labor contracts, an employee can request an open-term agreement (unless grounds for termination exists). The length of the fixed-term contract determines the maximum length of probation. Severance is required if the employment contract expires and is not renewed, except when the employer offers renewal on the same terms and is subsequently rejected by the employee.

Temporary Employment Contratcs

Labor dispatch agencies (or employment service agencies) can be utilized to staff short-term work projects. The workers, in this case, sign employment contracts with the employment service agencies (rather than the company that they will be working for de facto). In this regard, the company hiring the employment service agency workers is protected from serious liabilities. Agencies may only be used for temporary work (less than six months), auxiliary work (related to non-core business), or substitute work (temporary replacement of employees on leave).

Probationary Period

Per the Labor Contract Law, an employer can only impose one probation period on an employee. Probationary periods range from 1 to 6 months, depending on the length of the employment contract. A probation period may not be established for a labor contract that ends at the completion of a specific task or a fixed term of fewer than 3 months.

Working Hours

Under the Labor Law of China, employees cannot work more than 8 hours a day and 44 hours a week, on average. Employers can extend working hours by 1 hour per day after consulting with the relevant trade union and employees due to production needs or business operation requirements. However, extended hours may reach up to 3 hours per day if the extension is needed for particular reasons, and the health of employees is guaranteed. The total extension in a month cannot go over 36 hours.

Holidays / PTO

Statutory Holidays

New Year (1), Chinese New Year (3), Tomb Sweeping Day (1), Labor Day (1), Dragon Boat Day (1), Mid- Autumn Day (1), and National Day (3).

Paid Annual Leave

Under Chinese law, employees become entitled to paid annual leave after working continuously for 12 months, regardless of whether they worked in the same company or at different companies. After the first 12 months, the employee can use the leave as it accrues. Annual leave pay is the same as wages paid for employees' regular work. The duration of annual leave depends on the length of service: 1 to 10 years of service – 5 days of leave 10 to 20 years of service – 10 days of leave Over 20 years of service – 15 days of leave

Sick Leave

Employees who suffer a work-related sickness or injury receive up to 12 months' sick leave with full pay. For non-work-related disease or injury, employees are entitled to leave ranging from 3 to 24 months, depending on tenure. Employers' sick pay obligations vary region-wise. The employee can take sick leave as needed and does not need to use the entitlement all at once. If employees are unable to perform work and must receive medical treatment due to illness or non-work-related injuries, employers cannot revoke the labor contract concluded with the worker during the medical treatment period. 

Maternity Leave

According to China’s Special Rules on the Labor Protection of Female Employees, pregnant female employees are entitled to a minimum of 98 days of maternity leave, including 15 days of leave before childbirth. Many provincial governments have increased this minimum requirement by 60 to 90 days in accordance with the new Population and Family Planning regulations in China that do away with birth restrictions, allowing couples to have up to three children. Maternity leave in China is paid. For female employees who have participated in maternity insurance, the subsidy is paid by the maternity insurance fund. If employees have not participated in maternity insurance, the subsidy is paid by employers based on the wages prior to maternity leave.

Paternity Leave

Although China’s Labor Law does not stipulate statutory entitlement to paternity leave on a national level, it is provided by all municipal or provincial governments. Paternity leave ranges from 7 to 30 days, depending on the jurisdiction. Fathers are entitled to be paid their regular earnings while on paternity leave. Employees are entitled to paternity leave for the first and second childbirth. There is no legal requirement as to when the paternity leave must be taken or whether it can be broken up. Since China does not recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions, paternity leave benefits are available only to heterosexual couples.

Termination of Employment

Notice Period

In China, employees can unilaterally terminate their employment contract by giving a written notice 30 days in advance (3 days in advance during the probationary period). Similarly, an employer can unilaterally terminate an employment contract by giving a written notice 30 days in advance or providing 1 month’s salary in lieu of notice if the employer and employee meet certain prescribed criteria in the labor code.

Severance Benefits

Severance pay is based on the number of years an employee has worked for the employer: 1 month's wages for every year of service. For employees who have worked for more than 6 months but less than 1 year, the severance pay is calculated based on 1 year. For the duration of employment under 6 months, the severance pay is half of a monthly salary. The maximum period for which severance is paid to it shall not exceed 12 years. If the monthly salary of the laborer is higher than 3 times the local average monthly salary of the place where the employing unit is located, the economic compensation paid to them is paid according to the amount of 3 times the local average monthly salary.

Social Security

Pension

Based on the Social Insurance Law of China, all employees are entitled to the basic old-age insurance, contributed to by both the employer and the employee. The employer contributions to social insurance in China vary from province to province. The old-age pension consists of two parts: social pooling pensions for workers and individual account pensions. The social pooling pension is based on the average local salary in the previous year and the average monthly salary of the individual. It is calculated as 1% of the average income of the insured for each year of contribution. Individual account pensions are calculated based on the average life expectancy of a person and the person’s individual contribution. A third individual account pension is now offered which allows a maximum annual contribution of RMB 12,000. 

Dependents/Survivors Benefit

The Social Insurance Law of China entitles the survivors to receive bereavement allowances if a member of the basic old-age insurance dies from illnesses or non work related causes. The expenses will be provided by the basic old-age insurance fund. The amount will be determined based on the local regulations. If a retired person who used to work in the state organizations dies during military service, the survivors can receive a one time bereavement allowance. The amount is 20 times the per capita disposable income of all residents in the previous year plus the basic salary or basic retirement payment of 40 months.

Invalidity Benefit

In China, employers are required to enroll their employees in the work injury insurance system, a part of the country's social insurance system. Only the employer will make work injury contributions. The rates of contributions are determined by the State and depend on the risk levels associated with the industries. If the employee has met the eligibility for old-age pensions, he or she can switch from the injury benefit to the old-age pensions. If a work injury accident occurs while the employer does not make work injury contributions as required by law, employers are required to pay work injury benefits. The following benefits are paid in case of work injury: One-time benefits – first-level disability is 27 months' personal salary, second-level disability is 25 months' personal salary, and third-level disability is 23 months' personal salary, and fourth level disability is 21 months' personal salary, fifth-level disability is 18 months' personal salary, and the sixth-level disability is 16 months' salary Monthly allowance – first-level disability is 90% of salary, second-level disability is 85% of salary, and third-level disability is 80% of salary, fourth-level disability is 75% of salary, fifth-level disability is 70% of the wages of the person, and the sixth-level disability is 60% of the wages of the person

Taxation of Compensation and Benefits

Personal Income Tax

Immigration

Types of Visas

Foreign nationals from most countries require a visa to enter and stay in China. Travelers from Singapore, Brunei, and Japan are allowed visa-free entry for up to 15 days for tourism or personal visits. If a stay goes beyond the duration of a visa, an extension is required. A renewal application must be submitted at least seven days before the expiration of the current visa. It must include a valid passport, current visa as well as the reason for the extension. The length of the extension depends on the type of visa requested (for example, multiple entry visas may not be extended). According to the State Council of China, visa categories include Tourist (L), Business (F/M), Student (X), Resident (D), Talent (R), Private Visit (S), Family Reunion (Q), Transit (G), Crew (C), and Journalist (J-1, J-2).

Work Permit

Foreign employees require an employment license (submitted by employer) before obtaining a work permit. Applications for work permits may be obtained at embassies and consulates and must meet the following requirements: Z visas obtained prior to arrival Applications need to be sponsored and submitted by a locally registered company in China. Expats need to live and work in the same location as their sponsoring company. Medical examinations from authorized hospitals (foreign or domestic) Beijing requires foreign employees to have a non-criminal background check approved by Chinese authorities. In Shanghai, the medical examination may be obtained after receiving the Z visa and work permit. Employees apply for a work permit at their local labor bureau after arriving in China. Work permits usually have a term of 1 year and never exceed five years unless certain conditions are satisfied. If the duration of a work permit exceeds 1 year, the employer must apply to the government for an annual check of the work permit at least 30 days before the term reaches a full year. 

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