Clauses you should double-check before signing a job contract in China

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Following a series of staff termination scandals and legal disputes, a new Labor Contract Law, which covers all workers in China, was introduced on January 1st 2008. This near 100-article-long law is looking to improve working conditions for employees in many neglected areas such as social security, probationary periods, overtime, severance pay and lay-offs.  Although employers now have a stricter “watch-dog”, employees should in any case carefully read and understand all clauses before signing a new job contract.  Here are the main elements to double-check.

General information

  • Identification of both parties
  • Location of employment

Length of employment

  • Clear statement of the duration of the contract
  • Length of the probation period, if any (not more than a month for a one year contract)
  • Number of hours to be worked (generally 40 hours / week)

Salary and payment details

  • Dates of payment
  • Currency paid
  • Taxes that will be deducted from the pay
  • Terms of overtime work
  • Holiday policies (generally 16 to 23 paid holidays)

Extras, benefits and expenses which can potentially be paid

  • Moving  and installation expenses
  • Housing expenses
  • Work related expenses such as a rental or company car, travel expenses and mobile phone costs
  • Travel expenses for vacation back to home country or for family emergencies (death, illness, etc.)
  • School fees for kids

Termination of employment

  • Terms for leaving employment
  • Procedure in the case of a dismissal
  • Maternity leave (generally 90 days)