China: The General Office of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of China issued a Notice on Ensuring the Rights and Interests of Workers in High Temperatures.
Authors: Carol Zhu and Lynsey Liu
On 7 July 2023, the General Office of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security issued the Notice on Protecting the Rights and Interests of Workers in High Temperature Weather (the “Notice“) since constant high temperatures have appeared in many areas of China, some of which have even been experiencing extreme heat.
The Notice stipulated that when the daily maximum temperature reaches 40℃ as forecast by the meteorological stations under the meteorological authorities at or above the municipal level, outdoor work shall be suspended. When the daily maximum temperature reaches above 37℃ and below 40℃, the cumulative outdoor work time for workers shall not exceed 6 hours, the continuous outdoor work time shall be shortened as much as possible, and the workers shall not be arranged to work outdoors within 3 hours of the highest temperature period of the day. When the daily maximum temperature reaches above 35℃ and below 37℃, it is necessary to take shifts and other methods to shorten the continuous working time of outdoor workers, and it is not allowed to arrange for workers to work overtime.
According to the Notice, the high-temperature allowance shall be paid to workers in full and on time in the form of legal tender and shall not be replaced by the distribution of cool beverages, heatstroke prevention and cooling supplies, or various types of securities. Workers who suffer an accidental injury triggered by high-temperature work or suffer from occupational heatstroke diagnosed by an occupational disease diagnostic institution shall be recognised as having suffered a work-related injury, and the relevant insurance benefits shall be implemented.
Key Action Points
Employers whose employment involves outdoor work should strictly comply with the Notice, pay attention to the daily maximum temperature, make employment arrangements in accordance with the corresponding provisions, and pay high-temperature allowances on time.