Child labor Laws of China Foreign Companies Must Take Note Of

Along with China’s industrial development, the number of child labors has also increased all across the country. Child labor is a growing problem in China and it is getting severe each and every day. Young children are getting involved in hazardous activities that are restricting their physical, mental, social and educational development.

Chinese authorities have taken a number of strict measures to curb the problem of child labor. As a foreign company with a manufacturing interest in China, it becomes really important for you to know, understand and comply with the child labor regulations of China. Through this article, we are trying to enlighten the foreign companies regarding the child labor laws of China and the steps you can take to resist young children working in your manufacturing hub.

China has signed the ILO Minimum Age Convention and the U.N. Convention on the Rights on the Child. There are also a number of national regulations that ban child labor and restrict the areas where young adults can work. These include relevant provisions in the Chinese Labour Law.

Understanding China’s Child Labor Laws

>>  The People’s Republic of China declares that it protects a wide range of children’s rights through domestic legislation and by ratifying and joining the relevant international treaties. The PRC Constitution provides for the state protection of children and prohibits maltreatment of children.

>>  The most important law in China regarding child labor is the The PRC Law on the Protection of Minors. Passed in 1991 and revised in 2006, this law guarantees the protection of all Chinese citizens under the age of 18. The law is strongest for children under 16, and places legal responsibilities on families, schools, and the government to protect children from various abuses, including child labor.

>>  The child labor laws in China forbid employers in the country from employing people considered to be minors. According to the children laws which have been passed in China, minors are generally considered to be children under the age of 16 years. This is doubly-enforced by the Ministry of Labor under the PRC Labor Law which prohibits the employment of children under the age of 16.

>>  Employment of students under the age of 18 is considered internship in China, and doesn’t require employers to sign law-binding contracts with employees.

In an article posted in China Daily, Lu Shizhen, an expert with the China Youth University of Political Sciences said “ China has already seen a decline in the number of child laborers due to strict regulations and crackdowns.” The rapid economic growth and urbanization transformed the Chinese labor landscape. The uncompromising attitude of the Chinese government regarding child labor is really praiseworthy. All the foreign and domestic companies in China should support the government to eradicate child labor from this country.

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The Provisions that you Must Skip in your China Employment Contract

China lawyers always suggest U.S. and European business owners to sign out a China-centric contract while doing business in the mainland China or with China. This approach is highly important especially in case of the employment contracts with the Chinese employees because the entire agreement is highly local in nature.

There are two things that foreign business owners must have if they have someone in China other than a company performing services for them-

  • Foreign company’s own entity in China
  • A China-specific written employment contract

It has been noted by the professional China lawyers that even translating the entire existing employment agreement into Chinese couldn’t manage to reduce the risk. The executives of the American and Australian companies have been seen asking for assistance from the China lawyers regarding the employment agreement that is translated into Chinese.

We’ve set out to put together a solid list of examples that will clarify the differences in employment law in China with the foreign countries (especially U.S.)

In the United States and other countries, employees are hired on an at-will basis that signifies that the employee can be sacked either for good reason or for bad reason or for no reason at all. But it will not work in China. Putting this type of provision in your employment contract in China will be treated as a wrongful termination claim. China lawyer firms suggest their clients not to put this sort of provision in their employment contract.

The provision of making your employee to work whenever required to complete the job is not entirely invalid if certain conditions have been properly met. But the major issue is that, if you are sued by your Chinese employee(s), this provision may go against you in the court. So diligently skip this provision.

There is a misconception among the American companies that making a provision in a contract with a China employee that United States law will apply and all disputes must be resolved in the U.S. territory is a safe approach. This notion is totally wrong and the success of this provision in a contract is almost zero.

In China, if foreign companies wish one of their employees to be bound by a non-compete provision, they must pay them consideration for their not competing during the entire term of the post-termination non-compete period. A non-compete that comes into force after termination of employment and the consideration for this non-compete is the promise of employment works in the USA but not in China.

By removing the above-mentioned provisions from your China employment contract will help you to gain strong position in case you are sued by your employees. The judges will not doubt about your intention and will offer you upper-hand during the entire legal battle.

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