Under China’s labor laws, China-based employers are required to have written employment contracts with all of their full-time employees. At minimum, that employment contract must contain the following mandatory provisions:


Generally, an employment contract is made up of two parts – English and Mandarin (the English section is a replica of the Chinese section. Keep the following warning in mind before signing anything with an employer: Every condition and item you sign up for is based on the Chinese version of the contract, so we highly recommend you have it checked out by a Chinese-speaking friend because the English section is not always as precise as the Chinese one.)


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You should sign and date both sections once you’re happy with the terms and conditions.


If an employer goes more than a month without having a written employment contract with an employee, the employer will be required to pay its employees double the employees’ monthly wage. In addition to having to paying double the employee’s monthly wage, the employer must immediately execute a written labor contract with the employee. Once this second one-month period has passed, even where the employee refuses to enter into a written contract, the employer still must pay applicable economic compensation upon termination.


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Hold on to one original of the fully executed employment contract for your records.

In China, it is fairly common for employers to deliver an offer letter to a potential employee, stating the employers intent to enter into an employment relationship with that employee. When delivered to an expat, this offer letter is virtually always in English. Most expats check this document carefully but far too many stops there, believing their acceptance of this offer letter fully “covers” them. It doesn’t, and if this is all you have, you pretty much have nothing at all. Others, realizing this, ask for a full-on contract but then get that in just Chinese and then just assume it includes everything set out in their offer letter. This assumption backfires pretty much every time for one of two reasons: 

(1) the final employment contract does not include everything from the signed offer letter, or 

(2) the Chinese in the contract does not match the English in the offer letter (or even in the contract itself). When there is this disparity between the contracts, it favors the employer 99.9% of the time.


You would be surprised (or maybe not) how often we see the following when it comes to China expat employment contracts.


Make sure the final version of your contract is the same version as your approved version and make sure it gets fully executed by both parties: On the employer side, this means it should have the signature of your employer’s legal representative and your employer's company seal.


During the medical period and pregnancy, confinement and nursing period, the employer needs not to conclude a new written contract if the former contract expires or pay twice his wage each month as compensations. But it is important that the employer shall decide whether to renew the contract depending on the relevant factors piror to such period expires. If to renew, it shall notify the worker to conclude an employment contract in time.

Take note:

1. The expat’s employment agreement is not executed during the medical period and pregnancy, confinement and nursing period, some employers may decrease your wage or change your position, in this case, you should file a complaint to MOHRSS for their not executing the agreement contract.

2. 'Official purposes only' contract. For instance, employers will ask expats to sign a contract which is out of the agreement for lowering the tax burden or bearing less legal responsibility. In this case, if later he went back on what he had promised, employees are hard to ask back what he/she had offered before. So you should sign and date both sections once you’re happy with the terms and conditions.

Here are the problems some job-hunting companies found. Even if you are enduring economic hardship, do not try to borrow money from your college or employer during offer negotiating, or taking part in your new job. As Chinese enterprises are thinking highly of it, such kind of behavior only offers them a thought that you have a problem in handling your economy, furthermore, they will think that you also have a problem in handling your duty. 

So do not let your employer or college know that you are under economic hardship, or think that they will sympathy you or offer you some help.

GIC team recommend that an employee who suffers economic hardship may get help from families, relatives or friends. After taking part in a job, one could solve the economic problem by a bank loan or canceled some unnecessary consumption.