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China: MOHRSS issues Guidance for the Conclusion of Electronic Employment Agreements

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (“MOHRSS”) formulated and released the Guidance for Conclusion of Electronic Employment Contracts (“Guidance”) on 1 July 2021, in accordance with the PRC Employment Contract Law, PRC Civil Code and the PRC Electronic Signature Law. The Guidance is intended to guide employers and employees to properly conclude electronic employment contracts in accordance with relevant laws and regulations, and to ensure that the employment contract will be authentic, accurate and complete and that it will not be tampered with.

Specifically, the Guidance explains how to effectively conclude an electronic employment contract and what technical and confidential standards shall be met during such a process. In addition, the Guidance indicates that the human resources and social security departments at different levels shall work to expedite the establishment of the business information system and public service platform for electronic employment contracts, promptly release the data format and standard for receiving electronic employment contracts, and gradually promote the full application of electronic employment contracts in the human resources and public social security service.

Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel 

In March 2020, the MOHRSS first confirmed in its official circular that employers and employees may negotiate to conclude employment contracts in electronic form. In July 2021, the MOHRSS released the Guidance for Conclusion of Electronic Employment Contracts and strongly advocated the application of electronic employment contracts. In view of the attention focused on this issue by the MOHRSS, the electronic employment contract is expected to soon become a trending topic in China’s employment market.