international employment law firm alliance L&E Global

China: Beijing launches Special Inspection on Working Hours, Rest and Leaves

Authors: Carol Zhu and Yinbing Chen

The Beijing Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau issued the Circular on Further Protecting Employees’ Rights and Interests in Respects of Working Hours, Rest, and Leaves (the “Circular”).  According to the Circular, special inspection and regulatory actions will be organised and carried out during the period of 15 March to 15 May 2022 in Beijing, to protect employees’ rights and interests with respect to working-time (hours worked), rest periods and leaves. These inspections and actions will concentrate on companies in key industries, focusing its efforts to inspect, rectify and regulate the issue of overtime work arranged for employees, beyond statutory limits, in order to create a harmonious employment relationship.

The inspections, rectification and regulatory actions will, at this time, mainly look into the following aspects: i) employer’s formulation of internal rules and policies regarding working-time (hours worked), rest periods and leaves; ii) employer’s implementation of a special working-hours system; iii) employer’s arrangement of overtime work and consultation with trade unions and employees; iv) employer’s implementation of internal policies regarding working hours, rest periods and leaves; and v) employer’s payment of overtime salary and compensation for unused annual leaves, etc.

Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel

With the pressure of human costs mounting, more and more employers intend to illegally extend their employees’ working hours. If employers fail to properly administrate the overtime work of its employees, such employers will potentially be confronted with enormous sums of overtime salaries and administrative penalties from local labour authorities. To mitigate the relevant legal risks, it is highly advisable for companies in labour-intensive sectors to establish a sound and comprehensive system to effectively administrate their employees’ working-time (hours), rest periods and leaves.