Is it legal to work part-time in China?

Part-time workers in China are subject to a set of regulations that are much less established than the rules that apply to full-time employees. It wasn't until a few years ago that part-time workers were even officially recognized in China. It should be noted that the 1994 Labor Law applied solely to full-time workers and did not address the issue of part-time employees. In 2008, the new People's Republic of China Labor Contract Law acknowledged part-time workers for the first time on a legislative basis.

Part-time workers, in contrast to full-time employees, are not required to sign a formal contract. Our China employment lawyers advise our clients to have written contracts with both their full-time and part-time employees for the reasons outlined below. This does not, however, mean that the hiring and retention of a part-time employee is any less complicated than the hiring and retention of a full-time employee. An important reason to have a formal contract with your part-time workers is to guarantee that they understand the conditions of their employment and the duties and obligations that come with their position. It is obvious from a contract that your employee (whether full-time or part-time) agrees to abide by all business rules and laws. It may be especially essential to have written documentation of your company's policies and procedures for safeguarding private information, trade secrets, and intellectual property.

It also serves as evidence that your part-time employee is really working on a part-time basis under the terms of the signed employment contract. In order to do this, the contract should include a clause that explicitly states that the job is just part-time. When we create employment contracts between our customers and their part-time China workers, we almost always include the following clauses in the document.

The hours of operation

The length of time that the employment agreement will be in effect.

Provide a description of the tasks that the part-time employee will be responsible for

The salary of a part-time employee

Labor rights and working conditions that are applicable

Please keep in mind that you are not permitted to establish a probationary term for a part-time employee.

China's Labor Contract Law restricts the amount of time a part-time employee may spend working to four hours per day and no more than 24 hours per week. The danger of "converting" a part-time employee into a full-time employee with all of the legal responsibilities that come with that position exists if the part-time employee works more than these hours on a regular basis.

According to Chinese legislation, you must pay the salaries of your part-time employees at least once every 15 days. This is in contrast to the regulations that apply to full-time workers, who are often paid on a monthly basis. As with full-time workers, the compensation you pay your part-time employees must be sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the local minimum wage law.

According to Chinese law, either the employer or the part-time employee has the right to cancel the labor contract at any time and without giving a reason. As a general rule, an employer is not obliged to provide economic compensation to a part-time employee who has been dismissed.

Employers are also typically required to provide only work-related injury insurance for their part-time employees; however, because each province and municipality in China has its own set of rules, our China office always consults with the appropriate authorities to determine our clients' benefit obligations for their part-time employees before proceeding.

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