The Chinese Labor Contract Law outlines an employer’s responsibilities in terms of providing China leaves, rest days, statutory public holidays, annual leaves, and other leaves employees can take. For foreign employers, it is very important to understand all these holidays when hiring employees in China. This article helps foreign employers to understand the leaves, holidays employee can take in China.
Public Holidays/National Holidays
Holidays and Memorial Days for Specific Groups
Maternity and Related Leaves
Bereavement Leave/Funeral Leave
China Leaves – Annual Leaves
Employees both local Chinese and foreign employees who have worked in China continuously for twelve months or more is entitled to take paid public holidays and annual leaves. Employees who are hired under labor dispatch or China PEO are all entitled to enjoy paid annual leaves. Company cannot give the days lower than the below policy:
Employees are entitled to get full salary during the annual leaves. However, there are some situations that employees are not entitled to take annual leaves of that year:
1. If employee is entitled to take summer and winter vacations, and the number of vacation days is greater than the number of annual leaves days as indicated above, for example, like teachers.
2. Employee has already taken at least 20 days of personal leave, and employer does not deduct his or her salary in accordance with company policies.
3. Employee has worked for one year but less than 10 years and has taken more than two months of sick leave in total.
4. Employee has worked for at least 10 but not more than 20 years and has taken more than 3 months of sick leave in total;
5. Employee has worked for at least 20 years and has taken sick leave for at least 4 months.
China Leaves – Public Holidays/National Holidays
In Chinese culture, holidays are extremely important for Chinese. Most Chinese holidays are joyful and include family. Every year, Chinese people celebrate seven main public holidays. During these public holidays, employees working in China can enjoy public holidays with the normal salary payment. The table below contains a comprehensive list of Chinese public holidays for the year 2021.
In China, the actually public holidays will be released by the government on the end of last year. In some holidays, like Spring festival and National day, government will arrange the holidays to 7 days by arranging some of the weekends before or after the holidays to working day.
If the public holidays fall on a Saturday or Sunday, paid time off will be taken on the following workday. There will be no paid time off if specified groups’ holidays fall on a Saturday or Sunday.
It is very important for foreign employers to know that asking employees to work during public holidays are treated as overtime, which employer shall pay employees OT in China. Overtime payment during public holidays are different with the normal days, employer shall aware and implement in employee payroll in China.
China Leaves – Holidays and Memorial Days for Specific Groups
In addition to the above seven public holidays, employees working in China can also have a half day off in the days of Women’s Day, Youth Day, Children’s Day and Army Day. However, there is special requirement for groups of people who can take such leaves. Details please see below:
- Women’s Day: 8th March: half a day off for women
- Youth Day: 4th May: half a day off for youth (youths at or above 14 years old)
- Children’s Day: 1st June: 1 day off for children (ages under 14)
- Memorial Day of the Founding of the People’s Liberation Army: 1st August: half a day off for active-duty military personnel
According to the provisions on Women’s Festival, Youth Festival and other holidays for special groups of the Regulation of the State Council on Public Holidays for National Annual Festivals and Memorial Days (Order No.270 of the State Council), employees who participate in social celebration activities, or who participate in celebration activities or who work as usual on a holiday designated by the employer for particular groups, are entitled to salary without overtime pay.
China Leaves – Other Holidays
The local People’s Government of each national minority district shall set holidays and festivals for Chinese minorities in accordance with their ethnic customs.
China Leaves – Wedding/Marriage Leaves
Employees who have recently married in China are eligible to compensated marriage leave. Different cities, provinces have different marriage leaves policy, the minimum marriage leaves are 3 days, however, most of the cities offer more for the employees who are in late marriage. Some even provide additional vacation time, with Gansu and Shanxi being the most generous with 30 days each.
Taking Shanghai as an example, Employees who marry late can take an additional 7-day leave as a late marriage reward in addition to the wedding leave provided by the government. Employees on late marriage leave are entitled to the same benefits as those on wedding leave. The late marriage reward leave must be taken in conjunction with the wedding leave. There are some basic requirements for employees to enjoy such holidays.
- Men must be 22 years old to marry, while women must be 20 years old.
- Late marriage is defined as a man’s first marriage when he is 25 years old or older.
- Late marriage is defined as a woman’s first marriage when she is 23 years old or older.
China Leaves – Maternity and Related Leaves
Women employees can take prenatal leaves, maternity leaves when they get pregnant. State level has the minimum requirement for each leaves, however, each city and provinces have their own authority to increase the days.
1. Prenatal Rest and Prenatal Leave
After the 7th month of pregnancy, employees who get pregnant are entitled to take one hour of rest per day. Prenatal leave of two and a half months shall be granted to a pregnant employee upon request and approval by their employer.
2. Maternity Leave
Maternity leave is divided into two parts: one is at the national level, where the standard maternity leave is 98 days, and the other is at each city and province level, where maternity leave is rewarded by provincial family planning legislation. Below are the latest 2021 maternity leaves in different city in China.
3. Late Pregnancy Leave and Late Pregnancy Paternity Leave
Employees who are late in their pregnancy are eligible to an additional 30 days of late pregnancy leave in addition to the state-mandated maternity leave, and their spouses are entitled to three days of late pregnancy paternity leave.
The manner in which employees’ salaries are compensated while on maternity leave varies by city. Employees who are regularly enrolled in China social security system can get the maternity subsidies from local government. There are mainly two kinds of methods.
- Taking Beijing as example, Employee get normal salary from employer during maternity leaves, employer shall apply the maternity subsidies from government.
- Taking Shanghai as example, employer don’t need to pay salary to employee during maternity leaves. Employees shall apply their only maternity subsidies from government. However, since there is a ceiling of the maternity subsidies, employer shall compensate the balance to employees who salary are higher than the government ceiling.
China Leaves – Bereavement Leave/Funeral Leave
According to the local law in China, when an employee’s parent, spouse, or child dies, the employee is entitled to take one to three days of bereavement leave in China. Employers are generally expected to provide three days of bereavement leave in practice. When an employee’s parent-in-law dies, certain local policies (including Shanghai’s) provide for bereavement leave.
During the approved funeral leaves, employee’s salary shall be calculated and paid as usual in China.
China Leaves – Sick Leave
Sick leave, according to Chinese labor law, is a period of time off from work granted to employees working in China who are unwell or have sustained an injury that is not related to their job. Employee who wishes to take sick leave must present a Certificate of Sickness provided by the employer’s medical organization or designated hospitals, which must be approved by their employer.
Employees in China are entitled to medical treatment for illnesses or non-work-related injuries for a term ranging from 3 to 24 months. Prescribed time period for medical treatment shall be set according to the previous working years of the employee working for the current employer. During the first year of employment, employee is entitled to a designated time period for medical treatment of up to 3 months; for each subsequent full year, the prescribed time period for medical treatment is raised by one month, but not to a total of twenty-four months.
The number of sick leave days is determined by the number of leave days taken. If there are any rest days or public holidays within this time, they will not be counted as sick leave.
During a sick leave period, employee is normally paid 60 to 100 percent of their normal salary. Employees have the entitlement to a certain portion of their pay based on their working years. The sick leave salary payment policy is slightly different in different cities. The following graph summarizes employees’ salary during sick leave in Shanghai.
Due to the complexity of China local regulation, the state level usually set a minimum requirement of each type of leaves, and each local authority in city will base on their labor environment, economy to set the local policy, however, the local policy cannot lower than the state level minimum requirement to ensure employees working in China are able to take leaves when needed. Foreign investors doing business in China shall be very carefully to offer all these mandatory leaves and holidays to their employees working in China.