Tuesday Nov 29, 2022

Guide to Employment Issues Arising from Working from Home and Resumption of Operation and Production amid COVID-19 Prevention and Control in China – Lexology


Employment issues relating to working from home during the period of epidemic prevention and control have become of concern to employers amid the current COVID-19 outbreak in provinces and cities in China. Meanwhile, employment issues relating to the resumption of operation and production have also come under the spotlight as the epidemic situation improves. This article provides an employer’s guide to working from home and resuming operations and production against a backdrop of epidemic prevention and control, in an effort to contribute to harmonious labour relations during this uniquely challenging period.

1. What if an employer is unable to onboard a new employee and sign the employment contract because the employee is quarantined?

According to the “Opinions on Issues concerning Properly Handling Labour Relations Involving the COVID-19 Outbreak (No. 17 [2020])” issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and other six authorities, the employer may conclude an employment contract electronically after consultation with the employee. For example, the employer can send an electronic version of the required paperwork to the employee by email, and ask the employee to fill out, confirm, print, sign, and take photos of the documents. The employee can then email the photos back to the employer. When the employee is back to the office, it shall promptly re-sign the paperwork in wet signature and both parties keep one original

2. If an employer encounters difficulties in production and operation due to the epidemic, can the employer delay the payment of wages?

The employer may temporarily delay the payment of wages with the consent of the labour union or employee representatives. Generally, the delay period shall not exceed 30 days.

3. What if an employer fails to pay the social insurance premiums for employees on time and in accordance with the law due to difficulties in production and operation caused by the epidemic?

Enterprises in the five major industries of catering, retail, tourism, civil aviation, highways, waterways and railroad transportation can apply for deferred payment of the employer’s contribution to basic pension, unemployment insurance and work-related injury insurance. The deferment period for basic pension applicable to enterprise employees is from April to June 2022, and for unemployment insurance and work injury insurance it is from April 2022 to March 2023. A late payment fee is not charged during the deferment period. Further details can be found in the regulations of local human resources and social security departments.

If an enterprise that does not belong to the above five industries fails to pay social insurance for employees on time, it risks being ordered by the local human resources and social security department to pay the full amount or to make up the difference between what it has paid and the amount it should pay within a certain period of time. A late payment fee of 0.05% of the overdue amount for each overdue day will also be charged. If the enterprise still fails to pay by the deadline, it may be ordered to pay a fine of one to three times the amount in default.

Moreover, according to Article 38 of the Labour Contract Law, if an employee resigns on the grounds of non-payment of social insurance by the employer, the employer may need to pay compensation to the employee. There is an exception: according to the “Solutions to Issues concerning Properly Handling Labour Disputes Involving the COVID-19 Outbreak” jointly formulated by the Shanghai High People’s Court and the Shanghai Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, if an employer (particularly …….

Source: https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=1280745b-ea71-4fd6-963d-a033c718cb0b

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