China Part-Time Employee Rules

In China, the rules for part-time workers are not nearly as developed as the rules for full-time employees. China did not even legally recognize part-time employees until a few years ago. The 1994 Labor Law applied only  to full-time employees and did not even mention part-time employees. In 2008, the revised PRC Labor Contract Law for the first time recognized part-time employees on a statutory level.

Unlike full-time employees, part time employees do not require a written contract. This does not, however, mean that the hiring and retention of a part-time worker is any less complicated than for a full-time employee and for the reasons set forth below, our China employment lawyers advise our clients execute written contracts with their full-time and their part-time employees. One reason to have a written contract with your part-time employees is to ensure they understand the terms of their employment and their work responsibilities and obligations. A contract makes clear your employee (full or part time) agrees to obey all company rules and regulations. It can be particularly important to get something in writing regarding your company rules for protecting your confidential information, trade secrets and intellectual property.

A written employment contract is also proof that your part-time employee is indeed a part-time employee. Towards that end, the contract should have a provision clearly stating the part-time nature of the position. We virtually always put the following into the employment contracts we draft between our clients and their part-time China employees

  • The working hours
  • The term/duration of the employment agreement
  • A description of the work the part-time employee will be performing
  • The part-time employee’s wages
  • Applicable labor protections and labor conditions

Note that you are not allowed to set a probation period for a part-time employee.

Under China’s Labor Contract Law, a part-time employee can work no more than four hours a day and no more than 24 hours in a week. If the part-time employee works more than these hours, you are at risk of “converting” him or her into a full-time employee with all the legal obligations that go with that status.

Chinese law requires you pay your part-time employee wages at least every 15 days. This is different from the rules for full-time employees who are usually paid monthly. As with full-time employees, the salary you pay your part-time employees must meet the local minimum wage requirement.

Chinese law allows either the employer or the part-time employee to terminate the labor contract at any time, without prior notice. As a general rule, the employer is not required to pay economic compensation to a terminated part-time employee.

Employers are also normally required to pay only work-related injury insurance for their part-time employees, but because every locale in China has different rules on this, our China we always check first with the relevant authorities to determine our client’s benefit obligations for their part-time employees.