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.


Annual Leaves

Public Holidays/National Holidays

Holidays and Memorial Days for Specific Groups

Wedding/Marriage Leaves

Maternity and Related Leaves

Bereavement Leave/Funeral Leave

Sick 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:

Annual Leaves in China

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.

China Maternity Leave
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.

  1. Taking Beijing as example, Employee get normal salary from employer during maternity leaves, employer shall apply the maternity subsidies from government.
  2. 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.

China Sick Leave

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.

Frequently asked questions for payroll and hiring employees in China.

No, you do not need.

If you don’t have a company in China, you can hire employees through PEO service through the employment agency in China.

a) Hire employee through the PEO/employment service.

If you don’t have a legal entity in China, this is the only compliance way to have employee working for you in China.

b) Hire employee under WFOE.

If you already set up a WFOE in China, you can sign the labor contract with employees directly. You can either choose to handle their payroll land benefits yourself, or you can choose to outsource.

c) Hire employee under representative office (Ro)

Representative office in China is not allowed to hire employees directly. The only compliance way is hire employees through labor dispatch agency under PEO service

PEO refers to a professional employment organization, in China it’s also called employee outsourcing, labor dispatch. Foreign companies can hire staff in China through a PEO agency without setting up a legal entity in China.

Severance payment in China is based on the number of years employee has worked for the company.

Each full year employee worked for your company, one month salary shall be paid as severance payment.

For the working periods that are less than 6 months, half month salary shall be paid.

If employee’s monthly salary is higher than 3 times local average monthly salary, each year of the severance payment compensated shall be 3 times local average monthly salary.

If employees are in the probationary period, both employee and employer shall give 3 days as notice period for termination.

After probationary period, both employee and employer shall give 3o days as notice period for termination.

If employer need immediate termination, employer shall compensate one month salary.

No, You shall have a company registered in China to sign a written labor contract with each of your employee.

In practice, employer will sign a fixed term contract with their employee. However, when it goes to the third time renewal of the contract, then the contract becomes to a permanent contact.

Sign a two years or three years contract is more common in China.

Labor contract in China shall be at least in Chinese, and including but not limited to:

 Company details including full name, address and legal representative or person in charge.

 Employee details including full name, ID number, address.

 Term of the employment contract; (E.g., 2 years, 3 years…).

 Position (job title), location(city), working hours, holidays, leaves.

 Package: gross salary, bonus, commission, social insurance, other benefits.

 Occupational safety, and occupational hazard prevention.

 Other terms which laws and regulations required.

You need to set up a company in China and then set up a separate Social Insurance and Housing Fund Account. After the company has been set up, you can contribute the benefits to the employees who have signed a contract with you.

The most popular job portals in China is:,, However, these three job portals only accept a registered company in China.

If you don’t have a company in China, you can search candidates through or engage a headhunting or recruitment firm to help you search the candidates.

In China, employees’ individual income tax (personal tax) shall be declared monthly by the employer, and yearly by employee themselves.

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