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Yes, its true - you actually have some very useful employee rights in China since some amendments were made in 2012 to China's Labor Laws. Prior to that time, we were pretty much equal to indentured servants! If we had "issues" with management prior to 2012, we either quit, or were simply terminated. Gratefully, times have changed, but 70% of expats working in China don't know their rights. Here are the most important ones...


1) You have the right to receive an original hard copy of your contract that is signed and chopped (red sealed) at the time you sign an employee agreement.

2) You have the right to receive a written job description prior to signing your contract. It is up to YOU to make sure that job description is specific, in English, and not so vague that your hours, working days, work location, pay rate, holidays, bonuses, visa costs, air fare reimbursement, release letters, etc are clearly spelled out in no uncertain terms.

3) You cannot be compelled nor forced to do anything not specified in your job description (which you should insist becomes and exhibit to your contract and also gets signed and chopped. This stops you from being used as a marketing monkey in shopping malls on the street handing out flyers).

4) Your probationary period cannot exceed one month for each year of your employment contract. So if you are asked to sign a one year contract, your probation period should not exceed one month. If however, you sign a contract that specifies a 3 or 6 month probationary period, you are implicitly waiving your right on this issue.

5) If you hold an FEC (Foreign Experts Certificate) you cannot be compelled to unpaid overtime hours without your consent. This one protection alone is worth about 5,000 - 10,000 rmb every month to some expat teachers in China.

6) You have the right to receive both an invitation letter and release letter free of charge (These are both legal requirements and administrative duties of the employer).

7) You have a right to a Z visa if employed in China (Again, this is a legal duty of the employers and of anyone tells you that you only get a Z visa after you complete your probationary period they are surely a scam operation to be avoided.


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